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A complete guide to sailing the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas: Part one – all things sailing


If you are looking for a yacht charter holiday you won’t forget, head over to the Bahamas, where sailing The Exumas will without a doubt be one of the greatest adventures you’ll ever have and our base at Palm Cay Marina is perfectly situated to explore the Exuma Cays.

With so much to see and do, we understand that planning a yacht charter in Exuma can be a daunting task, so to help, we’ve pulled all the key information together we think you need to get on your way, in our complete guide to sailing The Exuma Islands.

Why choose The Exumas for a sailing holiday?

Consisting of 365 stunningly beautiful cays, many of which are uninhabited, The Exumas are an archipelago of islands south of Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas. Home to one of the world’s biggest marine parks, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, The Exumas are teaming with wild animals and its marine life is plentiful. There are no shortages of things to see and do while on a yacht charter in the Bahamas, where swimming with pigs is just one of the amazing activities that you can enjoy while exploring this paradisiacal island chain.

“Absolutely amazing! The crew were so accommodating and did so much for us. The food was incredible! Thanks so much!”  – Laura, by the cabin charter customer, The Exumas

As well as having a year round warm climate, the islands of Exuma have some of the best beaches in The Bahamas, and savouring a cold cocktail and a conch salad while sunbathing on the pure whites sands is a perfect way to spend a day after sailing to find your perfect spot.

What is the weather like in the Exuma Cays?

Weather in The Exumas is warm throughout the year, with the hottest month of August seeing temperatures of up to 29°C and the coldest in January reaching an average of 21°C. While August is the hottest month, it is also the wettest, so we recommend visiting in the high eason, between October and April.

What are the sailing conditions like in The Exumas?

The Exumas are located along the eastern edge of the Grand Bahamas Bank and as such boast calmer waters than neighbouring archipelagos. The water on the inside of the island chain and to the left are calmer and shallower than those to the east, where the open seas are much deeper and the tide is stronger. Because the waters on the inside are much shallower, you’ll likely be required to sail to the east where the winds can be stronger and as such, we recommend that you have adequate sailing experience. 

“The sailing in The Bahamas is absolutely incredible. With so many cays to explore it really is one of sailing’s golden jewels and the condition are pretty much always on point! “  – Martin, Dream Yacht Charter Skipper

While it’s not a legal requirement to hold a sailing licence or qualification to sail in The Exumas, we highly recommend that those chartering a yacht on a bareboat basis hold an RYA Day Skipper or above. 

The best anchorages in the Exuma Cays

Leaf Cay

A little further south than you may be planning on sailing, but if you have time, we recommend heading down to Leaf Cay, around 100nm from our base at Palm Cay Marina. The private island is owned by none other than Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage and boosts luxurious restaurants, a beautiful beach and delightful locals.

Warderick Wells

Due to the areas popularity, there are a number of good mooring fields to take advantage of in Warderick Wells. As the area is protected, you’ll have lots to see and do while moored here and its tranquillity is just one of the reasons we recommend visiting here for anchorage.

Big Major Cay

Anchor off the coast of Big Major Cay and watch the island’s pigs swimming leisurely through the water from the back of your yacht. This is a great anchorage where, after a day playing with these furry friends, you’ll be able to kick back with a cold beer and watch them as they go about their business!

Compass Cay

Another spot located within the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Compass Cay is a great place for anchorage while on your way from our base in Nassau to more southerly islands in The Exumas, where you can swim and snorkel throughout the day and watch the sunset over the cay at night.

What yacht charters are available in The Exumas?

Dream Yacht Charter offer a large fleet of 61 yachts from our base in Nassau to sail The Exumas, including four power catamarans. Choose from smaller monohull yachts, such as the Dufour 382, perfect for smaller parties of up to six or for larger parties of up to 14, opt for a catamaran such as the Lagoon 52.

We also offer a seven-night by the cabin charter on board a spacious Lagoon 620 yacht where you’ll have a double cabin with private bathroom. Your skipper will sail you to some of The Exumas’ most popular areas so you can explore these beautiful islands without having to lift a finger.

“We offer a wide range of sailing options in The Exumas, so regardless of whether you can sail or not, we have everything you need to get on the water and experience one of the worlds most beautiful places. “  – Sue, Dream Yacht Charter Sales Manager

All of our yachts in The Exumas are also available on a skippered charter basis, so even if you can’t sail yourself, you can still experience this wonderful location with the help of a professional skipper, who will work with you to arrange the perfect itinerary.

How do I get to The Exumas

Direct flights to Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) are available from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) with British Airways and are around nine hours long.

Once in Nassau, our base at Palm Cay Marina is a 25-minute taxi ride away. Our dedicated sales team will be happy to help you arrange transfers should you require – let them know when you’re confirming your booking with us. Our base in Nassau is just 26nm from The Exumas.

Find out more about yacht charters to The Exumas

To find out more about bareboat, by the cabin, power catamaran or skippered charters with us to The Exumas, contact our team of specialists today on 02380 455 527 or email [email protected].

Read next article: Part two – The top places to visit while on a sailing holiday in The Exumas

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