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Think about a little bit island of solely 120 individuals, the place everybody waves to you, the water is child blue, and also you’re a stone’s throw away from the unique swimming pigs of Massive Main Cay.
Staniel Cay is a little bit island within the Exumas of the Bahamas that’s filled with character and an awesome leaping off level not only for the pigs, however for grottos, cuddling with nurse sharks, sea turtles, iguanas that reside on the sand, and even an underwater piano. Listed here are my favourite issues to do there, plus the place to remain and what to eat when on Staniel Cay:
Issues to do:
Hire a Golf Cart and Discover:
Staniel Cay is small, and although you can stroll it, most individuals go for a golf cart since it might probably get HOT in the course of the day, they usually’re enjoyable to drive anyhow.
I had really by no means pushed a golf cart earlier than making an attempt on Staniel Cay, but it surely was an excellent place to be taught. It’s not like there’s any visitors to talk of on the roads, and when you handle to get misplaced, I’ll be impressed! The golf cart offers you the liberty to drive your self to the seashores and to dinner, and it’s how most individuals select to get across the island. Bear in mind to drive on the left!
You'll be able to hire golf carts here (affiliate hyperlink).
This was my favourite seaside on Staniel Cay, with white sand, child blue water, and the right situations for a floating session. It’s straightforward to get to, nestled on the north facet of the island. Simply comply with G&B freeway virtually to the top, turning proper down a dust highway simply earlier than you attain it. I used Maps.me (a free map smartphone app) to navigate whereas I used to be there and located it simply.
Be mindful there will probably be loads much less seaside at excessive tide, which depends on the moon section.
Sundown on the Yacht Membership
An establishment on Staniel Cay, the Yacht Membership is without doubt one of the solely locations to eat on the island, and is a favourite hangout spot of most guests. Chances are high good that when you’re staying on the island, you’re going to eat right here no less than as soon as. My advice is catching the sundown there, as it's completely located going through west.
There’s a pleasant seaside simply earlier than you attain the Yacht Membership as properly, the place I noticed a ray absolutely breach out of the water! There are nurse sharks close by as properly.
The Swimming Pigs Tour
That is what you in all probability got here to Staniel Cay to see – the swimming pigs! I discovered the expertise to be pleasant. We had such an superior boat captain, Dave with 3N’s Exuma Holidays, who appeared to have a particular relationship with them. He’s even skilled one to face up for treats!
The pigs actually do swim proper over to your boat, and you may get within the water with them and swim round, which I did! They had been lovable, and rather more open to pets and stomach rubs than most different pigs I've met. There are additionally infants that your information will possible bottlefeed and possibly even provide the alternative to strive as properly.
There are touristy issues that generally don’t reside as much as the hype, however this actually did for me. The place else on the planet are you able to see swimming pigs in completely blue, clear water? You can book it here.
Snuggle Nurse Sharks
The swimming pigs excursions virtually at all times embrace the nurse sharks, too. You’ve in all probability additionally seen well-known images of individuals floating with the nurse sharks within the Exumas. These sharks are habituated, and have been for many years. They're used to vacationers swimming within the water with them, and are so docile you possibly can even stroke them and hug them!
That stated, they're nonetheless sharks, so please respect them and watch your fingers whenever you’re interacting with them. Your information will more than likely convey alongside fish treats to draw them over. Even when you’re not snug getting within the water, you possibly can watch them from the dock above.
A phrase to the sensible: Whereas DSLR cameras are welcome elsewhere on the tour stops talked about on this publish, you’re solely allowed to take images and movie with a cellphone on the sharks.
Go to the Sand Bar
Solely seen at sure occasions of day, the Sandbar will probably be a logical cease between the nurse sharks and the pigs on a day tour. In case you have a drone, that is the place to fly! You get good layers of coloration because the sand fades to darkish blue channels for the water to move by way of. Since you possibly can’t fly anyplace on Staniel Cay as a result of proximity to the airport, I appreciated the chance of with the ability to fly on the sandbar.
However even when you don’t have a drone, the superbly white sand set amongst a multicolored blue backdrop makes for stunning images!
This cease has a small space that has a lot of little, colourful fish and good corals for a fast snorkel.
I assumed the corals had been notably good, with a lot of sea followers, parrotfish, and generally even turtles, when you’re fortunate.
En route, ask your captain to cease by the aircraft wreck when you’re . It’s shallow sufficient to be seen from the floor.
The Thunderball Grotto will in all probability be your first or final cease of any boat tour out of Staniel Cay, and entry and exit all relies on the tides. The present can generally be sturdy, however when you’re a robust swimmer and capable of maintain your breath and swim down into the cave, you’ll be simply superb.
There’s quite a lot of fish inside, with a number of entry and exit factors that emit mild underwater. There are little bats inside too, although they’ll possible be sleeping whenever you go to.
Round midday, you possibly can even get solar beams capturing into the cave, which might be superb to see!
See the Sea Turtles
Whereas the pigs, sharks, grotto, and sand bar are all a part of the standard tour out of Staniel Cay, you possibly can go for one thing a little bit totally different heading within the different route. For those who’ve at all times wished to swim with sea turtles, you may get the possibility on Farmer’s Cay.
Like many of the animal sights within the Exumas, a neighborhood information takes their favourite meals — conch — out into the water to draw them.
I’m unsure how I really feel about feeding wildlife, however I additionally admire that that is what number of animal interactions world wide are performed, from shark swimming, whether or not in a cage or the deep ocean, to attracting fish when snorkeling. The identical is true of feeding birds when out climbing, or, truthfully, placing out a chicken feeder within the yard. Everybody has to resolve for themselves how they really feel about it, however I no less than need you to enter the expertise with open eyes. Just like the nurse sharks, these guys appear habituated.
The Underwater Piano
About quarter-hour past the place you swim with the ocean turtles, there’s an underwater piano with a mermaid hanging out subsequent to it. That is additionally not a part of the everyday tour, however when you get a bunch of mates collectively and get your personal personal boat, this can be a fairly cool one to cease by and is barely about 15 or so toes down within the water.
This murals, referred to as the Musician, was commissioned by David Copperfield who owns an island close by. It was created by Jason DeCaires Taylor and supposed it to be a shock for the few personal visitors of the island, in addition to day guests like me. Bonus – because it’s not on the standard tour, no one else was round.
Iguanas on the Seashore
In your method again to Staniel Cay, why not one other animal interplay? We did every little thing talked about right here from the pigs onwards in sooner or later, and it felt so filled with fantastic animal experiences, I discovered myself appreciating how a lot selection and abundance there may be within the Exumas.
These iguanas largely survive off of berries and greens discovered on the island, and don't have any pure predators. Just like the pigs, they’re cared for and sorted by official workers, residing out most of their days fortunately on the sand.
The place to Keep:
I stayed at EMBRACE Resort whereas I used to be on Staniel Cay, and it’s nice for a lot of causes – it’s native, Bahamanian girl based, owned, and operated, the central location is nice, and it’s inexpensive.
Whereas there are trip leases and some different choices on Staniel Cay, I beloved the vibe of EMBRACE. My bungalow was lovable, with my very own fridge, an enormous jetted tub, and an enormous mattress all for me. They'd additionally convey by little treats every so often, and actually made me really feel welcomed and at house.
There’s additionally a pool, straightforward golf cart rental and parking, and reductions on the excursions talked about above whenever you stick with them. Additionally they provide COVID antigen testing onsite, which makes getting again house straightforward!
They've a number of totally different room varieties, together with choices with a number of rooms and full kitchens. You'll be able to check out the options here.
The place to Eat:
There’s just one main restaurant on Staniel Cay – the Staniel Cay yacht membership. They're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Through the days, it might probably get fairly busy with tour teams coming in to eat lunch, and for dinner you’ll wish to e book forward of time for the multi course meals, which had been scrumptious.
That stated, Carole at Massive Canine restaurant makes implausible native meals. Every day there are a number of choices like hen, cornish hen, or my selection whereas I used to be there – oxtail. It comes with sides like rice, cole slaw, potato salad, and veggies. Ask at your lodging if they will name her to position an order. Orders have to be positioned by 10:30am to eat at midday every day. That is true, home-cooked consuming and I LOVED it.
Staniel Cay is a couple of 30-minute flight from Nassau. I flew Flamingo Air on a little bit aircraft and loved the view.
You’ll nonetheless fly out of the worldwide airport, heading to the home facet the place you’ll see Flamingo Air on the far left. Be mindful the schedule appears to be versatile, so strive to not go away check-in to the final minute. For assist reserving, you possibly can ask your lodging. EMBRACE dealt with my reserving for me and even referred to as me to let me know when my flight time moved up.
Staniel Cay was a little bit slice of paradise to me. I beloved the friendliness, the small-island vibe, the attractive seashores, and particularly the boat excursions. There’s actually a lot to see on the market, and when you love animals and tremendous clear water, you’ll love the Exumas.
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* This publish was created in collaboration with Staniel Cay Holidays. All ideas on the superb excursions and lodging are my very own.
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