Beat Busy Marinas in the Bahamas With These Alternative Locations to Dock

The Exumas offer some of the finest sailing anywhere in the Bahamas
The Exumas offer some of the finest sailing anywhere in the Bahamas | Courtesy of Dream Yacht Charter
Photo of Nicola O'Leary
17 December 2021

On the doorstep of Florida, the Bahamas is a wonderful option for a yacht charter complete with plush hotels, some of the world’s best diving spots, and, of course, the famed swimming pigs. What’s more, with 700 islands and 2,400 cays, it’s very easy to escape the crowds and find a peaceful spot to anchor. Whatever your reason for cruising through the Bahamas, this is an island paradise that promises to deliver. Here we reveal some of the best places to moor up if you’re looking for something a little more secluded.

Explore the quieter side of the Bahamas by chartering a boat through SamBoat or opting for a multi-day sailing vacation with Dream Yacht Charter.

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Natural Feature
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park as seen from the air, Exuma Island Chain, Bahamas
© Tony Pullar / Alamy Stock Photo
The Exumas Cay Land and Sea Park was the first of its kind ever set up in the world, and today it is a very popular spot for visiting yachts. The national park stretches from Shroud Cay in the north to Bell Cay in the south, so there is a lot to take in. For land lovers, there is the island of Eleuthera or the land of the pineapple as it is now known. Visit pineapple plantations and learn about the native plant species at the Leon Levy Plant Preserve. When it comes to anchorages, there are plenty of safe spots but you must pay a fee.

Big Major Cay

Natural Feature
The famous swimming pigs (feral pigs) of the Bahamas living in an uninhabited island
© Giongi63 / Alamy Stock Photo
No itinerary of the Bahamas is complete without a visit to Pig Beach at Big Major Cay. The picture-perfect beach serves up everything you would expect but interrupting the traditional paradisiacal view are litters of small, pink swimming pigs. There are various theories as to how they ended up on the island, including one that they were left by a group of sailors who planned to return and cook them up for dinner. Luckily they escaped that peril and they are now confirmed residents of Big Major Cay and bring much joy to the visitors who encounter them. Nab a top spot on this sandy isle by heading to Big Major Spot West. This anchorage is a bit of a party spot, but there will always be room. From here you can jump straight into the water to swim with the pigs, but beware, they are curious little things.

Big Farmers Cay

Natural Feature
This is undeniably the most exclusive beach in the Bahamas, and it’s so elusive that it only emerges at low tide. Accessible by boat only, this sand bar makes for the ideal anchorage. Depending on your yacht’s draft, drop anchor and take your tender to shore, or jump into the warm waters and swim over to the sand. For the ultimate day trip, get your crew to set up a private beach barbecue.

Jacob’s Island

Natural Feature
Romora Bay Marina on Harbour Island in the Bahamas with boats off shore
© SONNET Sylvain / / Alamy Stock Photo
Upmarket Harbour Island is a draw for many a superyacht, but this is a sight not to be missed. This beautiful island boasts a natural delight. On its Atlantic coast, there’s a mesmerizing stretch of pink sand which is the result of microscopic coral organisms, known as Foraminifera. Mix this with quaint colonial cottages, upscale hotels, top restaurants, and year-round sunshine and you’ve got the perfect holiday cocktail. You’ll find the closest anchorage on Jacob’s Island, which is just a short tender ride away.

Goat Cay

Natural Feature
Pier on a beach by Small Hope Bay Lodge in Fresh Creek, Andros, Bahamas
© Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
The Andros Barrier Reef in the Bahamas is the world’s third-largest barrier reef, and there is no better way of exploring than by boat. Head to the east coast of Andros to dip into this magical underwater world. If you prefer being above the surface, the calm waters are perfect for paddle boarding or snorkeling. For the more adventurous though, the reef drops to eight feet around the island, giving way to colorful corals bustling with marine life; if you’re lucky you might be greeted by the resident turtles. The two nearest anchorages can be found at Goat Cay and off Andros Town in Fresh Creek.

Highbourne Cay

Natural Feature
This will probably be one of your first stops assuming you have joined your yacht in Nassau. It is known as the gateway to the Exumas and it’s the ideal way to relax into your yacht charter. Drop anchor and enjoy the desert island views or plunge into the balmy waters. If you fancy a little more action, book on to a deep-sea fishing tour out in the Exuma Sound. For those moored up in the marina, there are eight beautiful beaches within walking distance.

Conception Island

Natural Feature
Conception Island beach with forests and reef
© Rudi Sebastian / robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
This tiny island is completely uninhabited and a great place to drop anchor in a secluded bay with the Long Island Anchorage being one of the best spots. Feel like a true explorer by setting foot on land and taking a walk through the windswept sands and scrubland. Don’t miss the crystal clear lake where you can swim with green turtles in total privacy. Divers will not be disappointed either with an abundance of colorful fish, and pods of friendly, inquisitive dolphins being a particular highlight.

Staniel Cay

Natural Feature
A hairy, ginger wild pig rests its head on the white sand at Big Major Cay.
© Dream Yacht Charter
This lovely island is located to the south of Big Major Cay and the swimming pigs, so it is a perfect place to add to your itinerary. The island offers cottage-style accommodation, wonderful beaches but also it is a great spot for a snorkel safari, or a sea kayaking session. You might recognize the island from the James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. One of the places not to be missed while visiting Staniel Cay is the otherworldly Thunderball Grotto. This fantastic underwater cave system is located just to the north of the island and has been dubbed the top place to snorkel in the Bahamas.

Find seclusion in the Bahamas by hiring a vessel for the day with Sam Boat. Fancy a longer trip? Book a full sailing vacation with Dream Yacht Charter.

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