- Choice of accommodations
- Hotel taxes and service charges
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
The Abacos, Bimini, Eleuthera, and The Exumas–often referred to as the Out Islands–are essentially a network of amazingly soft, perfectly placed beaches. White and pink sand as far as the eye can see makes up thousands of secluded sand oases, the perfect spots to enjoy the sublime Caribbean sun either all to yourself, or with others.
The undersea world pops with activity as colorful fish, astonishing coral formations, mysterious ocean depths, and a kaleidoscope of marine life come alive. Explore everything from sunken wrecks, downed airplanes, unique underwater ecosystems, and even an underwater locomotive, lost during the Civil War. Some say the lost continent of Atlantis is located there.
The Out Islands are swarming with tuna, dolphinfish, amberjack, marlin, swordfish, barracuda, shark, and other varieties of ocean fish. Ernest Hemingway made these islands famous with his pursuit of the big catch, as well as penning several of his works in the Bahamas, most notably, Bimini.
What's the climate like?
Water temperatures in the Bahamas seldom dip below 72 degrees.
How do I get around town?
Roundtrip transfers between the airport and your hotel are not included with air and hotel packages to the Out Islands. To get between the airport and your hotel, a taxi or ferry is recommended, depending on the location of your hotel.
Taxis are available at most cities in The Abacos, Bimini, Eleuthera, and The Exumas, but many are not metered, so be sure to settle on a price before leaving. Some areas are scattered among several smaller islands, making travel by water taxi appropriate. Where necessary, water taxis run regularly from each portion of the island to the next, making travel easy.
Foot traffic is common on much of the Out Islands, as many are small enough to explore by simply walking from place to place. In Bimini, it's possible to walk right off the airplane to the hotel area, only a short distance away.
Mopeds/Scooters, Golf Carts, and Bicycles
Mopeds/Scooters and bicycles are popular modes of transportation on the Out Islands, as are golf carts. Most cities have establishments to rent these locally.
There are a few independent car rental companies with locations there. Rental cars typically cost about $70 - $90 per day. One thing to note when driving in the Bahamas is drivers drive on the left side of the road.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
The Abacos, Bimini, Eleuthera, and The Exumas are a bedrock of local cuisine, serving up the sea's finest fare; including conch, land crabs, shrimp, crawfish, and rock lobster, which has usually been pulled up from the waters near the restaurant that morning. For those looking for more traditional American cuisine, the quintessential burger and fries, grilled chicken, and sirloin steaks are also regularly dished up. Here is a sampling of places to dine on each island.
- Curly Tails Restaurant and Bar
This eatery attracts nearby yacht navigators as well as visiting pro athletes from time to time. Chefs prepare conch in every conceivable way as well as other seafood delights.
- The Job Room
This Bahamian delight has perfected the friendly atmosphere of the islands. Stop by this fun restaurant for genuine conversation, and genuine local food.
- Casa Lyon
Oceanview restaurant serves up artistic, yet simple island food in an open-air veranda, or an air-conditioned dining room with oversized windows.
- The Tackle Box
A popular boater and angler hangout, this restaurant is located in the Bimini Big Game Resort and features sweeping views of the marina, filled with world-class fishing boats.
- Sammy's Place
Like most restaurants on Eleuthera, Sammy's is a local hangout, serving up fresh seafood dishes as well as American fare like juicy burgers.
- DolceVita Restaurant
DolceVita offers fine dining and a delightful wine list. The outdoor porch dining area offers an excellent view of the Exuma Sound sunset while enjoying cocktails.
- Big D's Conch Spot
This roadside bar has been serving up the best conch salads and cracked conch on the island for more than 30 years to locals and travelers alike. A breathtaking beach provides the perfect place to lie back and enjoy the island life.
- Coconut Cove
Straying from the typical sea-plentiful island cuisine served up at other restaurants, this glassed-in dining spot specializes in hot Italian and Mediterranean dishes with a Bahamian flare.
Where should I go shopping?
Much of the shopping in the Out Islands revolves around the quaint open-air markets where travelers bargain for homemade goods like straw and cloth items like handbags, baskets, dolls, and other keepsakes. You won't find high-end retailers on the Out Islands, only smatterings of outlets selling arts and crafts, along with handmade clothing items.
When are the local events?
January. This Mardi Gras-style festival begins 2 or 3 hours before dawn on New Year's Day. Throngs of cavorting, costumed figures prance through Nassau, Freeport/Lucaya, and the Out Islands. Jubilant men, women, and children wear elaborate headdresses and festive apparel as they celebrate their African heritage with music and dance.
The Mid-Winter Wahoo
February. The Bimini Big Game Resort & Marina draws Hemingway look-alikes and other anglers to this winter event that is heavily attended by Floridians.
George Town Cruising Regatta
March. A popular sailing regatta, attracting more than 500 visiting yachts annually for a week of fun and festivities. Visiting yachtsmen test the speed of their vessels in the beautiful waters of George Town, Exuma - in 3 main boating events.
June. Every year in the beginning of June, the residents of the island of Eleuthera dedicate the first week or so in June to the celebration of the pineapple. This sweet, succulent fruit is a symbol of hospitality to all Bahamians, particularly those on Eleuthera, where the fruit is grown.
Various. World-class fishing tournaments are held throughout the Bahamas, year round, as the islands are often referred to as the sport fishing capital of the world. Anglers flock to the Out Islands to battle gigantic billfish in the waters once frequented by Ernest Hemingway.
What are my sports and recreation options?
The Out Islands' tropical waters are known for their abundance of fish, from blue marlin to barracuda, and kingfish to tuna; these game fish are plentiful and attract many anglers up for a fishing challenge.
Fantastic coral reefs and undersea gardens bring many snorkelers and scuba divers to the Out Islands. There are several attractions for underwater enthusiasts in the Out Islands, notably the Adirondack wreck, located in shallow 10-25 foot waters, and the Abacos Train Wreck, consisting of 2 locomotives lying on their sides.
Abacos Train Wreck
This unusual dive site lies in 15-20 feet of water and consists of 2 locomotives lying on their sides. During the U.S. Civil War, they were part of a Union train captured by Confederate troops and then sold to Cuba. The barge transporting the train ran aground on a reef during a storm in 1865.
The Glass Window Bridge
The Glass Window Bridge is one of Eleuthera's more popular attractions. Referred to by locals as the "narrowest place on Earth," the bridge is located just north of Gregory Town. The man-made bridge took the place of a naturally formed bridge of rock that was destroyed by a hurricane. From the bridge, you can see an extraordinary contrast between the dark blue Atlantic Ocean and the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Hollywood On the Out Islands
Part of the James Bond movie Thunderball was filmed on location in Staniel Cay, at the appropriately named Thunderball Grotto, a beautiful marine cave. It is also one of the best places for snorkeling in the Exumas. Other films filmed shot on location here include the James Bond flick, Never Say Never Again, and the Tom Hanks mermaid tale Splash.
Good to Know
|Exuma International Airport
||December - May
||May - November
||Bahamian Dollar, but U.S. currency is accepted everywhere; bring small bills if you are going to barter at the markets.
||English, with an Irish/British/Scottish, and/or African lilt
||Eastern Time Zone, 1 hour ahead of the Central Time Zone
|Proof of Citizenship:
||Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
||All food, whether self serve or served at the table will have an automatic 15 percent gratuity added to the bill. There are rare exceptions to this, so check your bill carefully before paying. However, visitors are free to tip above this percentage at their own discretion.
||Casual, lightweight clothing is accepted and suggested for most events, however, swimwear is only appropriate at the beach. If going out at night, men should wear long pants and a collared shirt; women should wear long pants or dresses.