Things To Do On Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay is located about 75 miles southeast of Nassau’s Bahamian capital, 62 miles northwest of George Town, and 250 miles southeast of the U.S. State of Florida. It is a small island in the middle of the Exuma Cays chain, approximately 2 square miles in size, and a popular choice for visitors to the Bahamas due to its proximity to some of the most desirable attractions and points of interest the Caribbean. When planning your visit, make sure to take advantage of these top things to do from your Staniel Cay beach retreat!
Staniel Cay is a very walkable destination, but biking is a popular way to get around the island. By far, the transportation of choice is a golf cart, which can get you anywhere within the village area in just five minutes or less. Local agencies offer bicycles, golf carts, and other recreational equipment for rent as needed.
Surrounded by these sparkling waters, undisturbed reefs and coves, and white-sand shorelines, it’s only natural that the beach takes high priority during your stay. Multiple picturesque beaches set the scene for unparalleled seclusion and serenity in paradise.
The beaches of Staniel Cay can all be reached by foot, with Town Beach being the easiest to access and a fabulous spot to catch a Bahamian sunset. With its calm waters, dunes, and sea oats, Pirate Trap Beach offers an array of breathtaking colors and off-shore coral reefs. Ho Tai Cay Beach is a bit off the beaten path, and although there is little sand to dig your toes into here, you can’t beat the views – or the tranquility. From Ho Tai Cay beach, pick up a trail that leads to South Beach, the longest beach on Staniel Cay. On the east coast of the island, Ocean Beach is home to sizeable waves and legendary sunrises.
Spend full day beachcombing, sunbathing, and soaking in the clean, salty air on any (or all) of the Staniel Cay shores. Be sure to carve out some time to explore the sandbars, which become prominent and easily accessible at low tide. A favorite is a sandbar at Pipe Creek.
Boating And Watersports
Those searching for watersports will find epic opportunities for windsurfing, kitesurfing/ kiteboarding, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking from a Staniel Cay starting point. Choose from short jaunts around the island’s coastlines, or extend your journey and take an island-hopping kayak tour. Popular Exuma’s destinations to consider include Compass Cay, Big Majors (Pig Beach), and Little Farmers Cay. Keep an eye out for visiting dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays on your path!
You can also cruise the island chain on a sightseeing tour! Cruise options range from public to private guided charters aboard an assortment of watercraft, such as sailboats, powerboats, catamarans, and yachts. You can even rent your own and take to the season a course of your choosing. Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the happening pit stop and gathering place for boaters of all types to pop in for a sip, a bite, and a break, so make sure to make an appearance.
Snorkeling And Scuba
Another way to experience the islands’ sapphire waters is to dive right in… literally! Take a guided snorkeling or scuba tour to explore this unique underwater world alongside exotic marine life and vibrantly colored coral reefs. The clear, shallow waters surrounding the islands are inviting for novice snorkelers, but plenty of challenges exist for the more seasoned divers – like steep reef walls and historic shipwrecks. Scubadiving.com ranked the Bahamas as number one among the “best-advanced diving locations in the world” and the best spot for diving overall. The Exuma Islands were named the third best location for underwater photography, so don’t forget your waterproof camera!
The underwater cave at Thunderball Grotto is a site that should top your snorkeling list! Head out at low tide to easily access this popular locale and world-famous movie set or take on a high tide cave diving adventure. Featured in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball, the grotto has made many iconic films. Other favorite spots to discover include the underwater piano and mermaid statue just off Rudder Cut Cay’s coast at David Copperfield’s private island and the Sea Aquarium and sunken airplane near the northern portion of O’Brien Cay.
A variety of opportunities exist for visitors to mingle with Bahamian residents, not just human ones! The Exumas offer unprecedented interactions and encounters with wildlife inhabitants, all just a short boat ride from your prime location at Staniel Cay. You can swim with friendly nurse sharks at Compass Cay, see the endangered Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas at Bitter Guana Cay, swim with the sea turtles at Farmers Cay, and feed the swimming pigs at Big Major Cay (also known as “Pig Beach”). The famous swimming pigs are widely lauded as the highlight of a trip to the Bahamas.
For access to a vast canvas of experiences, visit the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park – the first protected area of its kind in the world. Established as a refuge for marine life in 1959, the 176-square-mile park is a fantastic spot for snorkeling, diving, and observing flora, fauna, and wildlife like diverse fish species, sharks, jellyfish, birds, conch, and more. The entire grounds are labeled a “no-take” zone, so fishing is prohibited at the park, handling the coral.
If casting a line has a certain appeal, never fear. Beyond the Land and Sea Park, you’ll find ample opportunity to create an epic fish tale to share with your friends and family back home. The Exuma Sound’s open waters set the stage for great deep-sea fishing opportunities rife with grouper, snapper, dolphin, tuna, lobster, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and more. Anglers can also try their luck at bonefishing, spearfishing, and bottom fishing throughout the island chain. Thousands of fishers head to the Bahamas annually to participate in fishing tournaments hosted in the thriving waters.