Exuma Bahamas Sailing Itinerary

Chart your course with confidence and explore our handcrafted Exuma Bahamas sailing itinerary.

We've visited the Exumas several many times now, and every time we return, we explore a new corner of this paradise.

For a first time visit, this is how I would plan out your 7 days on the water assuming you start your trip at Palm Cay in Nassau. Check out my full description of the itinerary in this post. You can also read about many of these locations in my recent December trip report.

Looking for a longer itinerary? Check out this 10-day version.
Halls Pond Cay in the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park

Day 1: Travel day

Arrive, get settled in, and stow away your provisions. Familiarize yourself with the boat's systems if you'd like. Crack a beer - you've made it!
Enjoying some SUPing after a recent Yellow Banks crossing

Day 2: Yellow Banks crossing to Highbourne Cay

Raise your sails for a long day on the water as you cross the Yellow Banks to reach the northern Exumas. Highbourne Cay is a convenient first night stop. There is a beautiful beach for an evening stroll, or check out Highbourne rocks for some snorkeling

Day 3: South to the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park

Get an early start as it's about 20-25 nautical miles south to the Land and Sea Park. If the weather is settled, consider using one of the cuts to enter the Exuma Sound for some deep sea fishing.

Emerald Rock is a great anchorage with several beautiful beaches that have trail access to Warderick Wells. Explore Boo Boo Hill and make a quick dinghy ride over to the visitors center to snap a picture with the whale skeleton.
Staniel Cay anchorage and Thunderball Grotto

Day 4: Thunderball Grotto and the swimming pigs

Continue making your way south towards the anchorage at Big Major Cay. Sandy Cay is a fun lunch stop close by with one of my favorite sandbars. Big Major Cay is the location of the famous swimming pigs, so go get your picture for the Instagram channel.

The other famous attraction in the area is Thunderball Grotto from the James Bond movie. Plan this cave snorkel at slack tide.

To round out the day, enjoy dinner and drinks at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, the largest establishment you'll come across on your trip.
Crescent Beach at Compass Cay

Day 5: Back north to Compass Cay

Compass Cay is a short 1-2 hour sail back north. You can anchor outside the marina, or for more of a challenge, explore the the many channels of Pipe Cay.

The Compass Cay Marina is worth a visit. The nurse sharks will be hanging out and you can also take a short hike to a beautiful beach aptly named Crescent Beach.
The mangrove river at Shroud Cay

Day 6: Shroud Cay and the magical river ride

Head about 25 miles to Shroud Cay in the Land and Sea Park - one of my favorite Exuma stops! Your visit along the Sanctuary Creek mangrove river is best timed for a mid-high rising tide. Once you reach the other side, beach the dinghy and jump in the water slide. Nearby Camp Driftwood is also worth a visit.
Sunset at the Norman Cay anchorage

Day 7: Norman Cay as a last night's stop

For your final day, enjoy an easy sail to Norman Cay. Again, if weather permits, head out to the drop for some fishing. At Norman Cay, the main attraction is a snorkel of Pablo Escobar's sunken plane. Try to plan it for slack tide.

You can also celebrate a final night in the Exumas with a meal at Macduff's. Call or radio ahead to make sure they know you are coming.
The Palm Cay Marina

Day 8: Crossing back to Palm Cay

Hopefully you have some decent wind for a leisurely sail back to Palm Cay. We like to stop for a quick lunch snorkel at one of the many coral heads you'll pass, if conditions are settled.

Our crew enjoys getting cleaned up and enjoying the Palm Cay pool, but if you'd rather anchor one more night out, consider nearby Rose Island. It's about an hour's motor, so leave enough time on your last morning to return to the base, fuel up, and get checked out.

Exuma Bahamas charter planning?

Consider booking with the Yacht Warriors.