Imagine cruising through the pristine islands of the Bahamas, gin clear water, miles of empty beach, spectacular reefs teeming with life, world-class sportfishing and diving, sun-drenched days and night skies with a trillion stars.
The Bahamas is all about exploring above and below the water line. In addition to the world’s most breathtaking beaches and astonishing seas, you will discover quaint towns, historical sites, and superb resorts.
There are 700 islands in the Bahamas chain (30 are inhabited) and over 2,400 cays (coral reefs).
Let these regional highlights of the two most popular island groups, the Exumas and the Abacos, inspire you to book your perfect paradise Bahamas luxury yacht charter.
The Exuma islands offer an extraordinary escape from civilization. The 365 cays are largely uninhabited, making the region the best destination on earth for privacy and seclusion. Rejuvenate in a pristine environment with nature as your playground.
Leave your cell and iPad and grab your snorkel and fins. Spend time reconnecting with family and friends. Go beachcombing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing and exploring, or simply relax in the sun.
Nassau is the common point of embarkation for yacht charters in the Exumas. Highlights of the city include an outstanding artist community exhibiting in several fine art galleries and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. As a major cruise ship port, the narrow, crowded streets are lined with souvenir vendors and duty free shops.
The Paradise Island Resort is a Disney-like affair, with flashy casino, a range of restaurants, bars, and shops, an extraordinary aquarium that winds through the property, sweeping beaches, river tubes and giant waterslide. By motor yacht it is about a two-hour passage from Nassau across the Yellow Banks to the northern Exumas.
Atlantis Paradise Island – www.atlantis.com/thingstodo
Northern Exuma Cays
Allan Cay, Highbourne Cay, and Norman’s Cay are so close that they beckon a Jet Ski adventure. Allan Cay is famous for remarkably tame, sunbathing Bahamian Rock iguanas. Highbourne Cay is a private island favored by a high profile clientele for seclusion, powder white sand beaches and deluxe marina.
The anchorage, which is close to the cut, is ideal for deep-water fishing. Hop on the waterskis or wakeboard to zoom around the glassy waters of the upper lagoon at Lone Palm Island. To the south, Norman’s Cay, once the compound of Columbian drug smugglers, has a sunken airplane just offshore.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Dive and snorkel in crystal clear waters with parti-colored fish and rays so tame they eat from your hand.
Kayak through the inland sanctuary, where baby sharks and turtles swim beneath your boat. Seven miles of nature trails cross the island over rocky bluffs and sand dunes, mangrove creeks and sand flats.
The island is locally known as Pirate’s Lair because it was a favorite hideout for every Caribbean swashbuckler, including Blackbeard. After dark climb Boo Boo hill, where ghosts are said to howl, and King Neptune rewards offerings with fair winds.
Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park – www.exumapark.org
Staniel Cay is one of the favorite destinations in the region. The ocean is a spectrum containing the most beautiful blues on earth. Everyone smiles and island time is slow. Dock at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for canapés, cocktails, music and camaraderie.
The iconic bar and restaurant, thick with vintage photos of movie stars and film crews crowding the walls, is the island’s social nexus. Scenes in the James Bond movie, Thunderball Grotto, were shot in a nearby underwater cave, referred to by that moniker ever since. Snorkeling among the ultra-tame fish in this sun-streaked cave is a must.
Wild pigs live in the brush on Big Majors Cay, and eagerly swim out to boating visitors in the hope of a snack, so bring your camera and some table scraps. There are some one hundred islands and islets in the area; most are deserted and waiting for you.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club – www.stanielcay.com
Fly into Marsh Harbor and you’re in the Abacos, fondly dubbed “the party islands” when compared to the Exumas. As in the Exumas, you will find mesmerizing snorkeling, diving and world-class fishing, in addition to historic villages, upscale resorts and some infamous watering holes.
The Abacos are especially ideal for yacht charter parties with varied interests, because here there is something for everyone at every port of call.
The anchorage at Little Harbour is the playland of dolphins, sea turtles and rays, and the fishing and snorkeling are amazing. Launch the kayaks to explore the famous blue holes, some with long tunnels, and others that “boil” on an incoming tide. The island is riddled with caves.
Randolph Johnston and his family became the first inhabitants when they were shipwrecked here in 1952. They lived in a cliff cave, with friendly bats and giant land crabs, and eventually built the house and foundry that stands today. Randolph pioneered what has blossomed into a professional artist colony on this colorful little island.
You can tour the foundry, where the lost-wax process is used to create fine bronze sculptures. Pete’s Pub and Gallery is a rustic building with sculpture, furniture and jewelry displayed in one room, and cold beer, good food, and walls of artwork in another.
The Story of Randolph Johntson – www.abacoescape.com
Hope Town, on Elbow Cay, is much loved for an excess of Out-Island charm. Stroll the auto-free, postcard-perfect town of gingerbread architecture, single aisle shops, mouth-watering bakeries and family-run restaurants. The Wyannie Malone Museum and the High Street cemetery, are windows to the turbulent past. One hundred steps up the iconic candy-striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse rewards you with stunning views.
Garbanzo Beach, on the Atlantic side of Elbow Cay, has the best surfing in the Bahamas. End your excursion at Firefly for Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, or try a “Blue Hole” at Lubber’s Landing.
Great Guana Cay
The 5.5-mile expanse of beach is just 50 feet from third largest coral reef in the world. Species of exotic birds, including Abaco parrots, white-crowned pigeons and white-tailed tropicbirds, fill the wild forest with song.
The dozy village of Kidd’s Cove has a few supply shops, a Church, a one-room schoolhouse, and quaint clapboard houses with gingerbread cornices, pastel shutters and tidy gardens. Nippers Beach Bar and Grill has a reputation as the best party hangout in the Abacos, day and night. Take your snorkeling gear and explore the reef just offshore, then head to Nippers beach to join in the mayhem.
A favorite stop for yachtsmen has long been the Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort, not for its sophistication, but for its casual, island-style simplicity and welcoming atmosphere.
The 3.5-mile long, sugar soft, white sand beach will delight beachcombers. Fishing enthusiasts will find the fly-fishing and big game fishing superb.
If you’ve missed swinging racquets and clubs, head for the tennis courts or the 6,985-yard Dick Wilson golf course, the discreet destination of many PGA superstars. In addition to the Tipsy Seagull bar, which always gathers a crowd, the property has shops, a bank and medical services.
Why charter a yacht in the Bahamas? Because this paradise is unlike anyplace else on earth.
You won’t need your dinner jacket or cell phone, high heels are simply unheard of. The water is astonishing, everyone greets you like family, and your only obligation will be deciding where to play next.
The Bahamas serves up over 700 islands and islets, both inhabited and uninhabited. We have highlighted the most popular cruising groups of islands but there are many more for the adventurous yachtsman to visit including the Out-Islands, Long Islands, Mayaguana, Inagua, Samana, San Salvador all the way down to the Turks and Caicos Islands that are a diver’s paradise.
Call 877-759-8263 or contact us for free yacht charter booking advice.
We KNOW these islands well and have a fine selection of Bahama based yachts, both motor and sailing, catamarans, single-hull vessels at a price you can afford.