Due to our limited time in the Exumas, we were only able to explore for one day. Due to this, I recommend booking a trip through Coastline Adventures, as it allowed us to cram as much adventure as possible into a single day. Pickups are available from hotels and Airbnbs alike!
It is important to note that non-affiliated tour companies are not allowed on the Sandals Emerald Bay property, so you will have to hustle out to the end of the driveway in order to be picked up. We found this out the hard way, but Coastline Adventures was able to swing back and pick us up without a problem.
Once we arrived at the dock, we checked in and were guided to a comfortable speedboat and were promptly handed cold drinks and whisked away through stunningly clear waters to our first destination; a snorkel expedition into a cenote. We were provided with snorkels, masks, and rubber flippers. Life jackets are not provided as you do have to swim through an underwater rock tunnel to enter the cenote, but there are guides who will help you swim if need be. Regardless, poor swimmers may want to sit this one out. Assuming you’re willing to risk the swim, the cenote is a magical experience where you will see strong rays of light through the water, lighting up fish and rock formations on the ocean floor. The high salt content makes it easy to float, so I spent a lot of time floating face-down in the water in awe, trying not to kick other snorkelers in the face with my flippers with mixed success. Returning to the boat, I got caught in a current and one of our guides towed me back to the boat- although I maintain that I could have made it back myself given enough time!
Our next stop was the famous Pig Beach. We were warned that the pigs may nip you in the butt if you weren’t looking, which we laughed off until we arrived and realized that half the pigs were twice our size and far more mobile in the water than we were. Our guides had provided us with some bread to feed the pigs and they were well trained to hunt it down. Watch each other’s backs! The little piglets are a big draw to the bay, though I was told both that it was okay to pick them up and also that picking the babies up wasn’t allowed since it aggravated the adults. Either way, the larger adults really enjoy attention- I think a lot of people are scared of approaching them, but they’re really quite sweet!
After Pig Beach, we were brought to swim with sharks- nurse sharks to be exact. They were well fed by the dock workers and swam peacefully amongst the waters. I’d never been so close to sharks before and this was my favorite part of the excursion! While rough, the skin was smoother than I expected and they didn’t seem to notice me in their space at all! I could have spent all day with the sharks, but we were quickly brought over to a sandbar made of the purest white sand. We relaxed here for a bit and were fed a type of seafood pico as a snack.
The snack tided us over until we docked at a small village where we could buy into a buffet for 20 USD. The buffet seemed like it was in a converted house and offered authentic Bahamian food- which was delicious!
After lunch, we returned to the boat and had a guided tour of houses owned by various celebrities before stopping to see a huge turtle. You could swim with the turtle for a small fee, or just watch from the docks.
Our last stop of the day was to a beach that was absolutely full of iguanas! They didn’t enjoy being near people, but we were able to bribe some fun poses out of them with lettuce that was provided by our guides.
Coastline Adventures delivered us back to our resort at the end of our trip where we slept well from such a busy day!