iguanas at bitter guana cay exuma bahamas

the boys with iguanas exuma
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iguanas at bitter guana cay exuma bahamas


I took Tristan and a few of his friends on a great trip to the Exumas, one of the gorgeous clusters of Out Islands in the Bahamas chain.

Gin clear water and sand bars that go on forever.

I’ll write all about the whole trip soon, but for now, let’s talk about the iguanas on Bitter Guana Cay.

According to Wikipedia, the Exuma Island Iguana, or Cyclura cychlura figginsi, is an endangered species that is found on only about 7 cays in the Bahamas.

There are only 1,300 estimated that remain in the wild population.

It was incredibly encouraging to see so many of them on this island. They basically owned the island.

Bitter Guana Cay was the last stop on an all-day trip to see a bunch of islands, sights and wild animals.

Our day started at the docks in Barreterre, on the northernmost point of Great Exuma. Once we left Great Exuma, we sped past a series of small islands and cays, all with different stories to tell.

We passed Bitter Guana at the beginning of the trip, but did not stop, as this was planned to be the last stop of the day.

But when we sped by, we could see dozens of the iguanas on the shore from afar, just basking in the sun, and waiting for us to return later.

We did return at the end of the day, and as our boat approached the beach, the iguanas did not make a move. They did not run away, and barely appeared to even blink.

We jumped off the boat, and they actually came towards us. It turns out that like the other islands we went to that were inhabited by wild animals, they were actually accustomed to people visiting them and feeding them, so they were somewhat domesticated.

These guys looked like mini dinosaurs. They can grow to be approximately 3 feet long, though most of the ones we saw were probably more around 2 feet long.

They are pretty ferocious looking, like they might reach out and bite you at any moment.

But in reality, they have no interest in eating people, as they are vegetarians. Or, more technically, Herbivores.

They prefer plants and berries, and were really excited when we started feeding them lettuce.

In addition to unexpectedly being plant eaters, they are also, as a whole, pretty chill. It turns out that they live in large social colonies with a lack of social structure, and typically don’t show aggression towards each other. They just seem to bask in the sun and relax.

We posed with a bunch of the iguanas for some great photos, and then explored the island a bit.

There were some shallow pools filled with coral and sea life. They have some pretty nice digs!

Not a surprise to find yet another stunning island in the Exumas. And these islands don’t go unnoticed, as Faith Hill and Nicholas Cage’s private islands are pretty close by.

So our day wrapped with the iguanas as our last stop after swimming with pigs at Major Cay, swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay, and swimming underwater to a cave at Thunderball Grotto.


Written by Suzi Albrecht
Digital Project Manager and Traveler