Seven hundred islands and over two thousand cays and islets spread through the Atlantic Ocean. It doesn’t seem real. This archipelago is an authentic ecological oasis that should be the next destination of your sailing holidays. Especially if you dream of relaxing on incredible pristine white or pink sand beaches and swimming in one of the calmest and most transparent waters on the planet. A sailing itinerary in The Bahamas is the best choice!
But these are only a few of the island’s attractions as it has much more to offer. When people think of The Bahamas, of course, the first images that come to mind are those of its beaches. But, there are many other things to do, besides sunbathing on its shores. Food, fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving, lovely animals inhabiting the beaches to cuddle, like friendly pigs and iguanas that welcome tourists, historical attractions, festivals, lively nightlife and thousands of shops, markets and craft centres to scratch your itch to shopping.
Of course, don’t forget about the perfect, consistent temperature all year round. Keep reading to learn more about the weather and how to enjoy to the fullest this archipelago with our sailing itinerary in The Bahamas starting from the magical Palm Cay Marina at Nassau.
Wheater and Navigation
The Bahamas have a pleasant tropical climate with a little variation year-round. Its mild climate throughout the year is indeed one of its great attractions. The average temperature is around 28ºC (83ºF). Temperatures cool off a bit in winter, during the peak season between December and April, with an average of 80ºF (26ºC). The coldest months are between December to February 70º-75ºF (21º-24ºC). Summertime in The Bahamas goes from May to October, which is also the rainy and the off-peak season. The average temperature is of 86ºF (30ºC), but the hottest months are July and August, while the wettest are May and June. Hurricanes are a threat during the period between June and November.
We can say that cruising in The Bahamas is possible all year round. Of course, it is better to avoid the humid season. As we said, the archipelago is blessed by an agreeable climate thanks to its trade winds. The average wind speed is between is 5-20 knots throughout the year, except the hurricane season.
Sailing Itinerary in The Bahamas
Exuma Route from Nassau
Our sailing itinerary will be focused on the Exumas, an archipelago of 365 and cays. Imagine, you could have a different island each day of the year! It is dived in three major areas: Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Exuma Cays. On Great and Little Exuma there are lively settlements and historic ruins, while the cays compose a narrow chain of uninhabited islets.
It’s impossible to say which is the best beach because in this little paradise on earth every beach is the best, but let’s see the major points of interest that you can’t miss if you’re travelling to The Bahamas.
Day 1. Nassau
Arrive at Nassau, the capital and the commercial hub of The Bahamas. Reach Palm Cay marina, one of the largest of the archipelago with five-star services and amenities. Finish your check-in, the technical briefing, and with your crew get acquainted with the boat. Do your provisioning, meander among its dockside cafes and restaurants, and get ready to start sailing the following morning. If you arrive early in the morning, you can always explore the beautiful nearby beaches of Nassau!
Day 2. Allen Cays and Highbourne Cay
Wake up early and head to Allen Cays, one of the few places in which you can still find the Allen’s Cay Iguana, an endangered subspecies of the northern Bahamian rock iguana. Its aspect can be a bit scary, but they are really gentle and friendly with visitors. Remember to bring them some gift as some vegetables to feed them. After lunch, sail north towards Highborne Cay. You can delight yourself with a snorkelling session to explore the stromatolite reefs dating back 3.5 billion years. You can overnight at Highbourne Marina, which is a famous marina and hangout for boaters looking out on a gorgeous bay.
Day 3. Warderick Cay
Day three of your sailing itinerary in The Bahamas and get ready for an exciting excursion at Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, the largest underwater sea park in the Caribbean. Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular in this stretch of white sand and pristine water as its an ecological reserve and a shelter of a unique marine ecosystem.
You can relax in one of its 20 isolated beaches or take your dinghy ashore to explore one of its trails, like the one that brings to the highest peak of the cay Boo Boo Hill. By tradition, leave a piece of driftwood with the name of your boat as an offer to Neptune for a good and safe sailing experience. To visit this area an anchorage and a mooring fee is required and keep in mind to respect the area where you can’t park due to the presence of shells, plants, and corals.
Day 4. Compass Cay or Staniel Cay
For your fourth day, head to Compass cay. A good reason to love this tropical paradise is the marina located in a naturally protected harbour. However, the island is a popular tourist attraction for its nurse sharks. You can take a selfie with them, as they are really photogenic, or feed them. They are like cats but with the appearance of a shark. Don’t be scary, marina workers already feed them, so they won’t gnaw off one your limbs!
If you have time sail to Staniel Cay or you can go there directly skipping Compass Cay. The attraction that you can’t miss is Thunderball Grotto, called after the James Bond film “Thunderball” that was shot there. This is a spectacular cave system filled with coral reef and colourful marine creature. Further down there is Big Major Cay, another beloved tourist spot of this archipelago. Here you will encounter other friendly animals on its beaches, even if they are not precisely the kind of animal species that you will expect to find on a beach. Because the only inhabitants of this cay are the pigs. As soon as they see your boat approaching, they will get closer to look for food and swim with you as they do with all tourists.
Day 5. Shroud Cay
Here we are on your fifth day of this sailing itinerary in The Bahamas. Keep sailing towards Shroud Cay, an archipelago made of rocks and white beaches that belongs to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park territory. However, we recommend having a stroll on the mainland to meander among its enchanting mangrove channels and creeks. Conch, lobster, sea turtles, and other various marine creatures inhabit its coves spread around its perimeter, while on the east side of the inlet we suggest you to visit the blue lagoon.
Day 6. Norman Cay
The next morning head towards Norman Cay, less than one hour away from Shroud Cay. Besides the coral reef and the pristine islets surrounding it, this spot is famous for the ruins of a plane crash. You can explore its ruins and the tropical fish and coral that make it as their shelter.
Day 7. Nassau
We conclude our sailing itinerary in The Bahamas doing the check-out of the boat at the base of Nassau.