Friday, May 27, 2016

Visiting Exuma, a jewel in paradise!

It’s been a long time; I shouldn’t have left you. . .

I’ve been away from this blog for a while, because well, life and procrastination. My one big vice, putting off things I should do that make me happy and further my dreams.

But alas, I am back and more committed to keeping this place an active space.

I spent a few days in Exuma last week. The experience opened my eyes to what’s important in life. Spending time with people you love, being in nature and outside of the concrete prison that is my office building, and just living in the moment.

Our first day my friends and I spent time at the Tropic of Cancer Beach in Little Exuma. It is hands down one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas. The beach was nearly secluded. A small group was there when we arrived but left a few minutes later so we had the gorgeous scenery to ourselves.

(Tropic of Cancer Beach)

Before that we stopped at the Fish Fry for lunch. Options there were limited but I ordered salad with peas and rice from one of the food shacks which was satisfying enough.

The next day we went on a boat tour arranged by a one of the local tour companies. It is a one of a kind experience and I recommend it to anyone planning to visit the Bahamas. We booked with a company called Four C’s.

We were picked up from our hotel around 8am before taking a 45-minute drive to the company’s office to pay for the tour and then head out on the boat. We sailed through the Exuma cays, passing celebrity homes, before stopping to ‘Pig Island’, a little cay where the swimming pigs of Exuma live.

The pigs literally jump into the ocean and swim out to boaters when they hear them come in, jostling for food and drink and seemingly happy to have the company. The pigs live on the island by themselves and I was told that local boaters and tourists stop by regularly to feed them.

After the pigs we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant at Black Point. I was scared they would have nothing for me to eat because traditional Bahamian food is heavy on meat, seafood and dairy and light on the veggies. And this was a buffet style lunch! Concerned, I asked one of the tour guides if there was any salad I could eat with the peas and rice that was put out, explaining to him that I don’t eat meat or dairy. He went in the back to talk to the restaurant’s owner and I was not expecting much but she fixed a plate especially for me with fries, corn, and a salad which I ate with rice. She was more accommodating than most restaurants in Nassau, let me tell you. It may not sound like much but it was all yummy and filling.

So for any vegans going on a tour with Four C’s, speak up about your dietary needs beforehand and I am sure they will accommodate you.

We also went to another cay where native iguanas live. We were able to feed them lettuce and take pictures with them.

We also stopped to a beautiful place called the Thunderball Grotto where my boyfriend and friends snorkeled. I can’t swim (gasp) so I stayed on the boat, but they raved about it. There were lots of other interesting sights on the tour including a chance to swim with nurse sharks and a stop at a breathtaking sandbar.

(gorgeous sandbar)

It was a fun-filled day that is worth the money and the trip.

Our last full day in Exuma we visited Chat n Chill Beach on Stocking Island. You can catch a ferry from downtown George Town, it’s a short ride, and chill on the beach and pet sting rays. While we were near the shore, two sting rays kept swimming through our group, obviously familiar with humans and hoping for food. The main draw at the beach is a pig roast that’s served buffet style with more traditional Bahamian food. There’s also a regular bar menu. I brought my own snacks because I knew options would be limited and by this point I was tired of fries and salad.

Exuma is truly a beautiful place. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to eat but all the restaurants had some sort of vegan option so I never went hungry, even if my choices were limited. I also packed fruit and tons of snacks to tide me over. The hotel we stayed at (Hideaways) has a nice restaurant called Splash but again, vegan choices on the menu are slim. I mostly ate salad and fries while there.

A short walk away is the Exuma Beach Resort which had pasta dishes that were customizable to become vegan.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to go back again!

Here's a video my boyfriend made of the trip: