The Ultimate Staniel Cay Guide

Think about just a little island of solely 120 folks, 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 Large Main Cay.

Staniel Cay is just a little island within the Exumas of the Bahamas that’s filled with character and an ideal 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:

Lease a Golf Cart and Discover:

Staniel Cay is small, and although you may stroll it, most individuals go for a golf cart since it could possibly 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 attempting on Staniel Cay, however it was a very good place to be taught. It’s not like there’s any site visitors to talk of on the roads, and if you happen to handle to get misplaced, I’ll be impressed! The golf cart provides 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. Keep in mind to drive on the left!

You may hire golf carts here (affiliate hyperlink).

Pirate Seaside

This was my favourite seashore on Staniel Cay, with white sand, child blue water, and the proper circumstances for a floating session. It’s simple to get to, nestled on the north aspect of the island. Simply comply with G&B freeway nearly to the tip, turning proper down a mud highway simply earlier than you attain it. I used (a free map smartphone app) to navigate whereas I used to be there and located it simply.

Remember there will likely be so much much less seashore at excessive tide, which relies 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 whilst you’re staying on the island, you’re going to eat right here a minimum of as soon as. My suggestion is catching the sundown there, as it’s completely located going through west.

There’s a pleasant seashore simply earlier than you attain the Yacht Membership as nicely, the place I noticed a ray absolutely breach out of the water! There are nurse sharks close by as nicely.

The Swimming Pigs Tour

That is what you most likely 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 educated one to face up for treats!

The pigs actually do swim proper over to your boat, and you will get within the water with them and swim round, which I did! They have been cute, and way more open to pets and stomach rubs than most different pigs I’ve met. There are additionally infants that your information will seemingly bottlefeed and perhaps even provide the alternative to strive as nicely.

There are touristy issues that generally don’t reside as much as the hype, however this actually did for me. The place else on this 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 nearly all the time embody the nurse sharks, too. You’ve most likely additionally seen well-known pictures 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 may even stroke them and hug them!

That mentioned, they’re nonetheless sharks, so please respect them and watch your fingers whenever you’re interacting with them. Your information will more than likely carry alongside fish treats to draw them over. Even if you happen to’re not comfy getting within the water, you may 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 put up, you’re solely allowed to take pictures and movie with a cellphone on the sharks.

Go to the Sand Bar

Solely seen at sure occasions of day, the Sandbar will likely be a logical cease between the nurse sharks and the pigs on a day tour. You probably have a drone, that is the place to fly! You get good layers of shade because the sand fades to darkish blue channels for the water to move by means of. Since you may’t fly wherever on Staniel Cay as a result of proximity to the airport, I favored the chance of with the ability to fly on the sandbar.

However even if you happen to don’t have a drone, the superbly white sand set amongst a multicolored blue backdrop makes for lovely pictures!

Sea Aquarium

This cease has a small space that has a number of little, colourful fish and good corals for a fast snorkel.

I assumed the corals have been significantly good, with a number of sea followers, parrotfish, and generally even turtles, if you happen to’re fortunate.

En route, ask your captain to cease by the aircraft wreck if you happen to’re . It’s shallow sufficient to be considered from the floor.

Thunderball Grotto

The Thunderball Grotto will most likely be your first or final cease of any boat tour out of Staniel Cay, and entry and exit all will depend on the tides. The present can generally be sturdy, however if you happen to’re a powerful swimmer and capable of maintain your breath and swim down into the cave, you’ll be simply nice.

There’s a wide range of fish inside, with a number of entry and exit factors that emit mild underwater. There are little bats inside too, although they’ll seemingly be sleeping whenever you go to.

Round midday, you may 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 same old tour out of Staniel Cay, you may go for one thing just a little completely different heading within the different route. If you happen to’ve all the time wished to swim with sea turtles, you will 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 undecided how I really feel about feeding wildlife, however I additionally respect that that is what number of animal interactions world wide are accomplished, 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 chook feeder within the yard. Everybody has to resolve for themselves how they really feel about it, however I a minimum of 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 standard tour, however if you happen to get a bunch of buddies collectively and get your personal personal boat, this can be a fairly cool one to cease by and is just about 15 or so ft down within the water.

This murals, known 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 company of the island, in addition to day guests like me. Bonus – because it’s not on the same old tour, no one else was round.

Iguanas on the Seaside

In your method again to Staniel Cay, why not one other animal interplay? We did the whole lot talked about right here from the pigs onwards in at some point, and it felt so filled with great animal experiences, I discovered myself appreciating how a lot selection and abundance there’s within the Exumas.

These iguanas principally survive off of berries and greens discovered on the island, and haven’t any pure predators. Just like the pigs, they’re cared for and taken care of 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 lady 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 cherished the vibe of EMBRACE. My bungalow was cute, with my very own fridge, an enormous jetted tub, and an enormous mattress all for me. They’d additionally carry by little treats every so often, and actually made me really feel welcomed and at house.

There’s additionally a pool, simple golf cart rental and parking, and reductions on the excursions talked about above whenever you stick with them. Additionally they supply COVID antigen testing onsite, which makes getting again house simple!

They’ve a number of completely different room sorts, together with choices with a number of rooms and full kitchens. You may 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 could possibly get fairly busy with tour teams coming in to eat lunch, and for dinner you’ll need to e book forward of time for the multi course meals, which have been scrumptious.

That mentioned, Carole at Large Canines restaurant makes implausible native meals. Every day there are a number of choices like rooster, 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 put 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.

Getting There:

Staniel Cay is a couple of 30-minute flight from Nassau. I flew Flamingo Air on just a little aircraft and loved the view.

You’ll nonetheless fly out of the worldwide airport, heading to the home aspect the place you’ll see Flamingo Air on the far left. Remember the schedule appears to be versatile, so strive to not go away check-in to the final minute. For assist reserving, you may ask your lodging. EMBRACE dealt with my reserving for me and even known as me to let me know when my flight time moved up.

Staniel Cay was just a little slice of paradise to me. I cherished the friendliness, the small-island vibe, the gorgeous seashores, and particularly the boat excursions. There’s actually a lot to see on the market, and if you happen to love animals and tremendous clear water, you’ll love the Exumas.

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