By Sarah Tucker
We just got back from a little slice of paradise known as the Exuma Bahamas islands. I am so excited to spill all the details about this vacation today! You may remember that we previously celebrated JB’s 40th birthday in Harbour Island Bahamas. This experience was so great that it made its way onto my list of top ten tropical islands. Therefore, taking another trip to the Bahamas for my 40th birthday seemed like a great idea. Once again, the experience did not disappoint!
Today I’m going to share all about where we stayed, what we did, and our favorite places to eat in Exuma Bahamas. If you’re looking to add a new exotic destination to your bucket list or need a milestone birthday trip, keep reading!
ABOUT EXUMA BAHAMAS
If you’re not familiar with this tropical destination, you’re in for a real treat! Exuma is a district of The Bahamas that consists of over 365 islands and cays. The land is absolutely breathtaking with sapphire blue waters, white sand beaches, and deserted cays; not to mention the endless amount of tropical activities to explore and outstanding restaurants to enjoy. After this trip, I am convinced that I need to re-write my list of favorite tropical islands so that it includes the Exumas!
HOW TO GET TO EXUMA BAHAMAS
You may remember from my Harbour Island post that the journey to get to that destination involved a lot of steps. However, traveling to the the islands of Exuma Bahamas was a bit easier! We flew out of Tampa to Miami and then from Miami to the Exuma International Airport, near George Town. There are direct flights to this airport from multiple locations in the US, which is really nice!
BALLYMENA PRIVATE OASIS
We stayed at Ballymena, which is a private vacation rental in Great Exuma. I cannot recommend this rental enough, as it was truly a little slice of paradise! The location is absolutely breathtaking. And honestly, there’s so much to do on-site that if you didn’t want to leave, you wouldn’t need to. We spent most of the days enjoying some rest and relaxation, needlepointing with Nan, eating lobster every chance we got, and soaking up the memories with the family. It was absolutely perfect! You are also right next to Casa Bella, Peeps Cottage, and Marina House. So if you wanted to go in with other families, or a big family reunion. This is the spot!
EXUMA BAHAMAS PRIVATE RENTAL
The Ballymena private rental had five roomy bedrooms, five bathrooms, one half bath off the kitchen, and a large fully-equipped kitchen. It was plenty spacious to comfortably fit all of the family that came on this trip, as it is ideal for accommodating up to ten guests. Not only was the rental and its surroundings stunning, but it was also a prime location in Exuma Bahamas. Ballymena is located in Hartswell, which is peaceful and secluded, but also within easy reach of George Town. Especially quick if you rent a boat!
WHAT MAKES THIS RENTAL STAND OUT
Undoubtedly, there are lots of resorts and rentals along the Exuma Bahamas islands. And while I haven’t experienced others, I do think this one really stands out for a few different reasons!
There are tons of activities you can do on-site….kayaking, swimming at the infinity-edge private pool or outdoor jacuzzi, paddle boarding, strolling down to the private beach, or snorkeling!
Ballymena, as well as the other private homes nearby, is run by an All-Bahamian family. They started working on the property in the year 2000, and they’re passionate about the Exuma Bahamas islands. Their joy for sharing this destination with others is evident in the care and pride they take in the rental home. Nothing about their rentals feels sterile, but like you are visiting a family friends beautiful home. I love the photography throughout the homes by one of their family members, Sofia Whitehead – who is part of the family who owns Exuma Rental houses. Her book “Bahama Mama” is my new favorite coffee table book!
These other nearby private homes can also be rented out at the same time, allowing for very large groups to travel together. This would be wonderful for a small destination wedding!
Ballymena and the other private homes have access to the only private marina south of George Town. You can keep your own boat in the marina, or you can rent a boat and keep it here. This is also super convenient when someone else is picking you up by boat for off-property excursions. We did an excursion one day, but had a boat the rest of the time. It was great to get around by boat!
The Moriah Harbour Cay National Park is directly in front of the vacation rental. This offers a protected view of the incredible scenery, including some of the prettiest sand banks I’ve ever seen.
This beach house offered a lot of great services (for an additional price) including cleaning and laundry, a private chef, massages, and boat tours.
It’s stunningly gorgeous views. We all loved sitting outside – morning, noon and night. The view with the pool, the crystal clear ocean, nothing better!
EXUMA BAHAMAS VACATION
Our trip to the Exuma Bahamas islands was one I’ll never forget. It was the perfect way to ring in the start of my 40th year, and I’m so grateful I got to experience it with family. I highly recommend opting out of material gifts and instead gifting experience gifts, such as a vacation, from time to time. It’s always worth it!