Information to Staniel Cay Bahamas (see, do, eat, keep)

Sponsored by Embrace Resort, Staniel Cay

I actually didn’t know something about Staniel Cay, Exumas, when Natajia, co-owner of 3Ns Exuma Holidays and Embrace Resort invited us to expertise this spectacular area of the Bahamas.

Mom and daughters relaxing on a beach
Pirate Seashore, Staniel Cay

I purposefully averted researching an excessive amount of. On this modern-day of social media sharing, surprises have been destroyed by viral tendencies.

I miss the enjoyment of studying a couple of paragraphs in a journey information, seeing some picture prints, or listening to traveler’s tales, and deciding to go and expertise the shock for myself. I wished to return to that thriller. And I bought it. It’s presumably why this journey to the Bahamas – our first time – felt prefer it had a sure form of magic.

Mom and daughter standing in water at a beach
High quality time in paradise.

I used to be in a position to actually really feel the true power of Staniel Cay – and I appreciated it.

Our days have been spent swimming with pigs and nurse sharks, sunning with iguanas, and seeing a number of the most lovely seashores on the planet.

For our 4 days in Staniel Cay Bahamas, the remainder of the world didn’t exist. It was a refreshing change and disappointing having to return.

Lady floating in water at a beach
Pure bliss.

However return we did, and to be sure to have a go to as superb as ours, we’ve ready a information to the Staniel Cay Exumas so you may expertise the thriller like we did.

Disclaimer: Our sponsored accomplice for our journey was Embrace Resort, together with their sister firm, 3 N’s Exuma Holidays, which was the primary journey company on Staniel Cay, and is rated #1 on TripAdvisor, and holds a Badge of Excellence.

Why Go to Staniel Cay?

Father and daughter standing in shallow water at a beach
I imply, simply have a look at this place.

Because the world loves following the lives of celebrities, comply with their lead. Many stars haven’t simply houses within the Exuma Cays, however their very own non-public islands.

In the event that they don’t personal a chunk of this paradise, they’re cruising round in tremendous yachts, undisturbed as they snorkel, zip round on jet skis, and quietly sip on rum cocktails at laid-back bars.

If it’s adequate for Johnny Depp, it’s adequate for me!

Not fairly a pirate, however in any case…

A few of their motion pictures have been filmed within the turquoise waters and snow-white sands of this island chain: James Bond’s Thunderball, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash, Into the Blue, and extra.

Because the Exuma Islands are a bit of more durable to get to – and the massive cruise ships don’t come right here – you’ll discover a extra unique and opulent expertise with little to no crowds.

Actually, we had some of the lovely seashores we’ve seen on the planet, Pirate Seashore, all to ourselves. And that was on Staniel Cay, some of the populated cays within the Exumas.

Pirate Seashore

Spanning 176 miles and made up of 356 islands and cays, the Exumas provide nothing however pristine seashores and outside actions. Be ready for limitless white sand, swirling sapphire blue and turquoise waters, wildlife encounters, and beautiful pink and orange skies at sundown.

It’s an open invitation to flee from the hustle and chaos of life to relearn how you can calm down and luxuriate in days being with nature.

The place is Staniel Cay and the Exuma Islands?

The Exuma Cays are an archipelago of 365 distant islands stretching throughout the Tropic of Most cancers within the southern half of The Bahamas.

They’re discovered about 250-miles southeast of Florida and 75-miles south of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. The Bahama Islands are literally within the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea, however the nation is a part of CARICOM, the Caribbean Neighborhood.

Two women wading through water at a beach with a boat moored on the shore
75-miles south of Nassau

Staniel Cay is among the bigger islands and is situated on the coronary heart of the Exuma Cays. Because it has one of many solely touchdown airport strips it has develop into the gateway to the Exuma archipelago.

Many vacationers come out and in every day for the swimming with pigs’ tour from Nassau, and this small island group is residence to round 100 residents.

Young girl sitting in shallow water at a beach

I used to be dissatisfied leaving after 4 days, I couldn’t think about flying in for simply the day, seeing the great thing about the Exumas, after which leaving. I recommend staying for 2 nights at the least.

Easy methods to get to Staniel Cay?

We flew on Flamingo Air from Nassau

Until you’re crusing in, the one method to get to Staniel Cay is by small airplane. It’s simply another excuse to go to this lovely island within the Exumas because the 30-minute flight is a scenic one.

It was overcast and at nightfall after we flew into Staniel Cay from Nassau, so we didn’t see an excessive amount of under however had front-row seats to a lovely sundown.

On the best way again, our morning flight with vibrant sunny skies unveiled a shocking vista under of the Exuma Islands, which we flew over nearly all the means.

Plane flying over islands
Gorgeous views over Exuma Islands

You possibly can both fly in from Nassau (Bahamas) by way of Flamingo Air or Titan Air or fly in from Fort Lauderdale Government Airport (Florida, US) by way of Makers Air or Staniel Air.

Flamingo Air, Titan Air, and Maker’s Air have flights twice each day.

When is the most effective time to go to Staniel Cay?

Mom and daughter standing in water at a beach
We had 80F days in January!

I used to be stunned to find that Staniel Cay is a well-liked place to go to year-round. Whereas Staniel Cay has by no means been hit by a serious hurricane, it doesn’t imply it will possibly’t occur.

It’s most likely finest to plan your go to outdoors of hurricane season, which often lasts from early June to late November, and generally into early December. The wettest month is October, nevertheless it nonetheless solely receives on common 12 days of rain in the entire month.

Peak occasions are Christmas and New Yr, Spring Break, the 4th of July, Bahamian Independence Day, and the primary week in August.

Beautiful beach with islands in the backdrop
Pirate Seashore on Staniel Cay

June and July are the busy excessive season. The off-season is often mid-August/early September to mid-November, however remember the fact that that is additionally the wet season.

An excellent time to go to the Exumas is the Spring. From April, the climate is at its mildest and you might be blessed with sunny skies. The height season runs from December till early April, so time to go to can be late April and Could, which is able to see fewer crowds and good climate.

Issues to Do on Staniel Cay

At solely half a mile by two miles lengthy, exploring Staniel Cay is easy and enjoyable. There isn’t any have to hurry. Sluggish days are the most effective days within the Bahama Islands.

1. Swimming Pigs Tour

Pig at the beach with a mother and daughter looking on
Such a novel expertise

One of the best factor to do whereas in Staniel Cay, and why most individuals come right here, is the ‘Swimming with Pigs tour’. Pig Island, or Massive Main Cay because it’s usually often called, is the island subsequent to Staniel Cay and is a brief five-minute boat journey.

One of the simplest ways to see them is to join a swimming with pigs’ tour, 3 N’s Exuma Holidays has the number one ranked tour on TripAdvisor and presents a premium four-hour tour that gives small group sizes.

Pig swimming at the beach
One other beautiful location

It has seven stops in addition to Pig Seashore, and contains drinks (even native Bahamian beer, Kalik), snacks, snorkel gear, seashore towels, and entrance charges and taxes. They also offer private tours.

Suppose sunning Bahamian Rock Iguanas on the seashore of Bitter Guana Cay, swimming with nurse sharks at Compass Cay, snorkeling in a (movie-famous) grotto, and stepping on some of the lovely sandbars on the planet.

Mom and two daughters looking at an iguana on a beach
See Iguanas on the seashore of Bitter Guana Cay

2. Get Round by golf cart

Family exploring an island in a golf cart
Finest method to discover

Because the island is just one mile by two miles, you may stroll in all places on Staniel Cay. However extra enjoyable is zipping across the island in a golf cart, which you’ll be able to lease from Embrace Resort.

Our ladies have been most enthusiastic about this – significantly Kalyra, who’s at present getting her driver’s license and wished to observe.

Two kids riding on the back of a golf cart at the beach
Household enjoyable!

Nonetheless, you should be totally licensed and eighteen, so we canned that concept, and he or she had enjoyable sitting within the again as an alternative.

That is a type of occasions when the journey turns into a part of the vacation spot. Have a look at these beautiful views you get as you drive round in your open-air car.

3. Discover the seashores on Staniel Cay

There are 5 foremost seashores on Staniel Cay: City Seashore, Pirate Entice Seashore, Ocean Seashore, Ho Tai Cay Seashore, and South Seashore.

The final two seashores we didn’t go to. I’m unsure why. Doable confusion as to how you can get there on the golf cart, however most likely as a result of we have been blinded by the great thing about Pirate Seashore!

Spend the day on Pirate Seashore

Two kids standing in waist deep water at a beach

Hi there, considered one of our new high ten seashores on the planet. We couldn’t imagine the vistas of Pirate Seashore as we pulled up in our golf cart.

The circumstances have been excellent. Nonetheless, crystal clear, gentle blue water – it was like being at a large swimming pool – tremendous gentle white sand. And there was nobody on it.

On each days we visited Pirate seashore there was solely us and a passing boat with a pair who stopped for some time.

Mom and daughter having a picnic at the beach
Excellent picnic spot

It was the proper seashore for swimming, sitting beneath shady timber and studying (or on the fringe of the water) having a picnic, or exploring.

You possibly can wade over to a small island on the japanese facet of the seashore which supplies you views out to the ocean. Think about our shock after we rounded the small outcropping of rocks to see a brilliant yacht parked simply offshore in its personal non-public area.

Father and daughter wading through aqua colored water
Paradise throughout

On this space, there’s a small cove, which I think about is the way it bought the identify Pirate Entice Seashore, as these shallow waters would lure a pirate – or at the least cover one!

I couldn’t recover from how powdery the sand was. I’d sit there watching Savannah learn by the sting of the water, simply taking part in with the sand; it was like flour.

Mom and daughter reading books at the beach
The serenity!

Don’t swim too far out. There’s a sturdy present within the darker blue waters – you’ll see it and it’ll for certain sweep you out to the ocean.

Pirate Seashore is on the northernmost a part of the island, a few 5 min golf cart journey, or 20-minute stroll from Embrace Resort.

We suggest packing a picnic from the Flying Pig Café and utilizing your cooler out of your Embrace Resort villa.

Take a brief hike to Ocean Seashore

Mother and two daughters standing on a beach looking out to the ocean
Ocean Seashore

The very first thing you’ll discover arriving at Ocean Seashore is that it’s not a seashore for swimming. Because it’s on the ocean facet of the island, the water is quite a bit rougher and there may very well be riptides to observe for.

Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless a lovely seashore, and value taking the brief seashore path to succeed in it.

Lady walking along a beach towards a rocky headland
Ruggedly lovely

You will need to park your golf cart at the start of the trail – there’s a signal – and stroll up. Don’t drive the cart, it should get caught. Tajia, our host at Embrace Resort recommends Ocean Seashore because the place for dawn on Staniel Cay.

Loosen up on Public Seashore

Mom and two daughters relaxing on a beach reading

This small seashore is situated subsequent to the Staniel Cay Yacht Membership. There have been by no means greater than 5 individuals on it after we visited, though there have been a couple of boats moored out the entrance.

On our first afternoon swim, a sting ray joined us on the fringe of the shore. This was simply after our morning swimming with pigs, and sharks, and hanging out with iguanas. What a spot the Exumas are!

Woman swimming at the beach with trees behind her
Good spot for a swim too!

There are additionally lounge chairs on the seashore to be used. You may also go kayaking or stand-up paddle-boarding and lease gear from the Staniel Cay Yacht Membership, should you choose to be a bit of extra energetic.

4. Get a Therapeutic massage from the Therapist to the Stars!

Lady getting a massage at a resort

Khori from Illusions by the Sea got here to our villa for an unimaginable deep-tissue therapeutic massage. I felt like a brand new individual after it and have made a pact with 2023 to make this a month-to-month factor!

you might be in good arms when your therapeutic massage therapist is the masseuse to the celebs. Yep, we have been one diploma of separation from many well-known stars together with Michael Jordan, Paris Hilton, Johnny Depp, and Pooh Bear.

Actually, my therapeutic massage was postponed as a result of Khori was caught up with Johnny Depp on his non-public island. #ThisIstheExumas

5. Watch The Sundown on Public Seashore

Seize your cooler with a couple of drinks and a few snacks and pull up a lounge chair on Public Seashore for a spectacular sundown occasion.

The sundown is healthier from right here than from the Staniel Yacht Membership (talked about under) because it’s a a lot wider vista, and we had all of it to ourselves. It was the proper method to finish our Staniel Cay trip.

6. Get pleasure from Sundown Drinks at Staniel Cay Yacht Membership

Mom and daughters sitting on a deck over water watching sunset

The Staniel Cay Yacht Membership is known on this tiny island. It’s the place the place celebrities come to really feel considerably regular, drink a rum cocktail on the bars, and never be disturbed.

We got here down right here one night to observe the sundown. We grabbed a rum cocktail and sat on the small deck outdoors for sundown. We loved watching the massive boats dock into the marina simply as a lot.

Though insider information says they have been infants in comparison with the tremendous yachts that navigate the deeper waters.

7. See the Feeding of Nurse Sharks at Staniel Yacht Membership

Nurse Sharks feeding off the scraps the fishermen throw in from the nearby cleaning station.
Nurse Sharks

Whereas on the Staniel Yacht Membership, pier over the sting of the marina to see a college of nurse sharks feeding off the scraps the fishermen throw in from the close by cleansing station.

Whereas they’re docile and mild, they nonetheless have sharp enamel and received’t tolerate any silly people.

You’ve gotten the chance to swim with nurse sharks on the swimming with pigs’ tour.

8. Tour the close by islands and seashores by boat

Mother and two daughters playing on the sand at a beach
Iguana Island

If there may be one factor we remorse about our Staniel Cay trip, it’s not exploring the close by islands and seashores in a ship.

Sadly, we didn’t really feel assured to drive a ship round on our personal, as our expertise is proscribed and it’s important to take into consideration tides, reefs, sandbars, and extra if you’re cruising round. The very last thing we wished to do was crash a ship and get stranded on a distant island…Or did we?

People on a boat in The Bahamas taking a photo of a beach
Extra of this subsequent time!

When you can confidently drive a ship, then positively lease one whereas on Staniel Cay. Embrace Resort and 3N’s Exuma Vacation Travel Agency will help you arrange that.

In hindsight, we want we had of employed an area driver to take us round.

All you’re going to seek out on the market are hidden coves, jaw-dropping sandbars, wildlife, and empty seashores. Pack your picnic, snorkels, sunscreen, and your curious and zen like spirit.

9. Go snorkelling (or scuba diving) at Thunderball Grotto

Mom and daughter snorkeling inside a cave
The Grotto

Only a brief boat journey west of Staniel Cay and also you’ll attain the spectacular Thunderbal Grotto, an underwater cave system that’s nice enjoyable to snorkel or dive in.

When you’ve seen the James Bond Thunderball film, then you’ll absolutely recognise this spot (hense the identify, Thunderball).

Fish swimming among coral

As you may anticipate from Staniel Cay within the Bahamas, it’s alive with marine reside and vibrant coral reefs. You may see some yellow-tail snappers, Angel fish, Sergeant Majors and perhaps even some nurse sharks!

The place to Eat on Staniel Cay

There are just a few locations to eat on Staniel Cay (plus grocery shops listed under).

Do not forget that meals on the island is imported, so some menu gadgets will not be obtainable if you go to.

Embrace Lodge has a provisioning service the place they will have groceries from Nassau prepared for you if you arrive.

Flying Pig Café Embrace Resort

People sitting outside at a cafe

We ate most meals throughout our keep on the Flying Pig Café at our Embrace Resort. Even in case you are not staying right here, you may eat at their café.

I used to be stunned at how reasonably priced, recent, and scrumptious the meals was. Kalyra couldn’t get sufficient of the hen bacon panini, Craig and I ordered the flank steak practically day-after-day, and Savannah fell in love with Mahi Mahi.

These fluffy chocolate chip breakfast waffles have been an enormous hit, particularly with the $6 price ticket! There are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan choices on the menu, like a coconut chickpea curry.

We have been thrilled that the Flying Pig Café additionally had incredible espresso, and signature cocktails at an reasonably priced worth.

There’s a shaded outside seating space, a beautiful trendy ambiance, and a enjoyable video games night time each Thursday for the Staniel Cay group. We have been unhappy to overlook it as a result of wet climate cancellation.

You possibly can learn extra concerning the Flying Pig Café in our Embrace Resort evaluation.

Staniel Yacht Membership

Entrance to a restaurant on an island with palm trees blowing

There’s additionally the choice to dine on the Staniel Yacht Club for lunch or dinner. Notice that the costs might be dearer for dinner than lunch. We have been fortunate, on the night we ate right here, that they have been solely working from the lunch menu, which was extra reasonably priced.

Burger on a plate with coleslaw
GF burger choices

That they had gluten-free buns, so I had a blackened recent catch burger with Asian slaw. The child’s menu was fairly costly at $15 for hen tenders!

The place to Keep on Staniel Cay

Resort swimming pool surrounded by pool chairs and villas
Embrace Resort

Because it’s a small island, there aren’t many lodging choices – largely trip leases in small bungalows. The one “lodge” selection is the Embrace Resort, which is the place we stayed.

Embrace Resort was opened in 2014 by an area Bahamian lady, Nicole (Nikki) who has been working within the tourism trade for 30 years.

Pool chairs in front of a 2 story villa
Our two story villa

The resort goals to embrace the true essence of Bahamian tradition – leisure and a spot the place households can come collectively.

We love that Embrace Resort is an all-female, family-owned enterprise that’s the product of affection and expertise. The Resort is made up of seven one-bedroom villas to three-bedroom villas, surrounding a swimming pool and plush gardens.

All visitor rooms include the facilities you’ll anticipate from a resort, akin to security options like smoke detectors and hearth extinguishers within the room, flat display screen television with cable channels, free toiletries within the rest room, and naturally, free Wi-Fi.

Facilities on Staniel Cay

People sitting in a golf cart
Airport pickup by golf cart

Come ready in your keep on Staniel Cay as there are restricted facilities. 

The village (solely three tiny streets) is generally a residential home, a church, a marine provide retailer, a publish workplace, a library, a clinic, a small on line casino, three grocery shops, and a laundromat/ liquor retailer.

The grocery shops are:

  •  Pink Pearl Groceries – least expensive.
  •  Burke’s Comfort Retailer – the most costly.
  •  Isles Normal A-Z Retailer – closest to Embrace Resort.

There’s additionally a liquor retailer for extra reasonably priced alcohol choices. Don’t neglect duty-free in your method to The Bahamas.

How a lot does it value to go to Staniel Cay?

Family getting a photo at the beach
Pirate Seashore

As this can be a very subjective query carefully tied to your spending habits, the dimensions of your celebration, and what hacking methods you implement to get free or cheaper flights by way of mileage factors, I can solely give a tough guideline for prices on Staniel Cay.

A lot of the Staniel Cay points of interest listed on this publish might be free. Right here’s a fast finances breakdown to provide you an thought:

  • Accommodation at Embrace Resort: On the time of writing (January 2023) room costs begin at $250 for one bed room, $550 for two bed room and $600 for 3 bedrooms.
  • Meals: At Flying Pig Cafe, Count on to pay $6-12 for breakfast and round $12 – $35 for lunch and dinner. Staniel Cay Yacht Membership anticipate to pay round $20-$50
  • Alcohol: Cocktails ranged from $10 – $16 | Beers $5-$6
  • Golf Cart Rental: Begin from $60
  • Swimming with pigs tour begins from $300. Embrace Resort friends obtain 30% off.

FAQs About Visiting Staniel Cay Bahamas

Right here’s what individuals often ask us about visiting the Exumas and staying in Staniel Cay.

Is Staniel Cay Secure?

Girl standing in shallow water at the beach looking out over islands

We discovered Staniel Cay to be very protected and didn’t really feel nervous or afraid as soon as. Theft or crime shouldn’t be actually an issue, locals even depart the keys of their golf carts and sleep with doorways unlocked. 

The island is small and everybody is aware of everybody, so there’s not quite a bit that may go by undiscovered. However once more, that doesn’t imply issues can’t occur so be cautious.

As with every place you journey to, it’s essential to make use of frequent sense and concentrate on your environment!

Is there an ATM on the island / are playing cards accepted?

There isn’t any ATM on the island, so carry money. You should utilize USD or Bahamian {dollars}. It’s a 1:1 forex change. You might obtain Bahamian change should you use USD or vice versa.

Sure, Credit score Playing cards are additionally accepted!

What’s the climate like in Staniel Cay?

Mother and daughter standing in waist deep water at a beautiful beach in The Bahamas
We had beautiful climate in January!

The Exumas have a tropical savanna local weather with dry winters. The yearly common most temperature in Exumas is 81°F (starting from 76°F in march to 85°F in august). 

Annual rainfall is 64.3 inches, with a minimal of two.1 inches in March and a most of 11.7 inches in October. 

We visited within the first week of January and had beautiful heat climate (80F) day-after-day with a couple of sudden, however fast rain showers. Perceive that climate is at all times unpredictable and can’t be managed. Learn to dance within the rain! 

What’s a Cay?

Beautiful blue water beach surrounded by white sand and small islands
Pirate Seashore

Don’t really feel foolish should you’re questioning what a Cay is or how you can pronounce it. As a result of that was all me.

Cay is pronounced Key (just like the Florida Keys) and it’s merely a naturally occurring low island, both a sandbar or a coral reef. Cay is most frequently utilized to Caribbean islands and comes from the Spanish phrase, Cayo, which suggests key.

Do it’s important to tip?

Tipping shouldn’t be obligatory however welcome and accepted because the norm. Some locations could mechanically add on a gratuity of 15% so you should definitely test your invoice. Keep in mind to tip your guides as effectively. 

Closing Ideas on a Staniel Cay Trip

Sunset with boats moored near the beach
Sundown at Public Seashore

It could take time in your Western wired-up physics to calm down into Bahama Time. That’s, issues occur after they occur, you flow of the day, and largely there isn’t something to do however swim, learn, and be mesmerized by nature’s magnificence.

Keep in mind this, it’s okay to do nothing. Being busy shouldn’t be at all times finest and you’ll not fall behind should you put stillness first.

This journey took me again to my days backpacking Southeast Asia and Africa – earlier than smartphones and social media – and I couldn’t cease craving to return to that.

Young girl wading through water at a beach
Take me again to this!

They have been the times spent being totally current, participating in what was proper in entrance of me, connecting to different cultures, individuals, and nature, and feeling hidden from the skin world.

These have been actually the most effective days and I believe on this hyper-connected social world, all of us want extra of them.

That is Staniel Cay, and the Exuma Islands!

Are you planning on visiting? Tell us within the feedback!