Exuma Sandbar Swimming

I’m obsessed with clear blue water. The kind where you can see your toes no matter how deep you’re in. When I see water like this, I just want to jump right in. This is the water I’m talking about.

Turtle Island Exuma

Most people know how tropical and beautiful the Islands of the Bahamas are, but they don’t know the history of the Bahamas. So here’s a quick bit. The Bahamas consists of about 2,000 islands and cays scattered off the coast of South Florida. Christopher Columbus set foot in 1492. British settlement began in 1647. The islands became a colony in the late 1700’s and attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1973.

Some of the islands have changed a lot since 1973. Nassau has grown, and Paradise Island has massive resorts like Atlantis. And there’s a number of tiny and barely inhabited out islands. But whether built up or not, people are drawn by the clear blue water. Since the Bahamas are pretty close by, I try to visit as often as I can. I live in Florida right now, so it’s really easy to get to – just 40 miles off the coast. Flight up, flight down. Less than an hour and I’m in the clear blue water I always daydream about. I’m grateful this water is so close by, but it hasn’t always been this easy to get to.

The Bahamas

My trips to the Bahamas began in middle school. When I was a kid growing up in Virginia, we made an annual trek down to the Bahamas. This meant my dad drove me and my sisters 18 hours to Florida to catch up with our mom (who skipped the driving part and flew the whole way) and take a cheap puddle jumper to Nassau. We hit campgrounds up and down the east coast, and all the mosquito bites that went with them. Saving on the travel down to Florida gave us budget for ultra nice digs with casinos on the beach once we got to Paradise Island or Freeport.

I’ve been to the Bahamas so many times, but have barely touched the more than 700 islands in the “archipelago.” Most of the islands have completely different vibes, even when they’re literally right next to each other. So far, I’ve been to the larger islands of Nassau, Paradise Island and Freeport, and the smaller Out Islands of Bimini, the Abacos, Eleuthera and the Exumas. There are still many more for me to hit like Andros, Cat Island, the Berry Islands and San Salvador.

All of the larger islands typically have dozens of smaller ones surrounding them. There are many ways to get there, mostly by water – from public ferries, to fast catamarans, mail boats, sports tours, private tours, water taxis, friends’ boats, rented boats and even jet skis. And by plan, there are several major airports that fly you into Nassau, but you’ll usually have to take a puddle jumper or sea plane to get to the smaller islands, as most don’t even have runways.

I’ve recently visited Abaco and Hopetown, Eleuthera and Harbor Island, Bimini and a slew of smaller cays. I just came back from a great trip to the Exumas (see the photo featured above), with Great Exuma as my temporary home base. I have some great photos of all these places, so come along with me and learn a little more about the Out Islands of the Bahamas!

Written by Suzi Albrecht
Digital Project Manager and Traveler