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18 Apr

the exumas: part one

where do I even begin?

the exumas are absolute heaven on Earth. total paradise. blue water for miles and miles and sand so bright white, you can see straight to the bottom, always.

I’m still in awe. the world is a truly beautiful place. and so are the people. one of my favorite moments was over lunch at a little beachside seafood shack, when a Bahamian woman, after asking how old I was and if we are planning on having children soon, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “have the conch salad tonight, trust me.”

this trip was one of my favorite trips of my life. the sheer beauty around us was breath-taking and made you grateful and humble.

I want to share some of our favorite photos from the trip, and then I’ll follow up with another, post later this week- a vlog!

if you’ve had the exumas on your bucket list – move it to #1, TRUST ME!


the exumas recap

we stayed at the Grand Isle Resort, which was a beautiful hotel. it was right on the beach, with a gorgeous infinity pool. they had water sports available (kayaks, paddle boards, snorkels, etc), but we didn’t take advantage. there was beach-side drink service, which I always appreciate. the drinks were delicious- and strong!

our room was HUGE and had a pretty outdoor terrace that looked over a marina. there was a full kitchen, living room, giant bathroom, and L’Occitane toiletries. the bed was comfy and the ceilings were high. I loved the room! I wish we had more time to enjoy it.

the food wasn’t anything out-of-this-world, but it was good, and there was enough on the menu that you could eat there every night (like we did) and not get bored. the one thing I did LOVE was the curried shrimp wrap, which I had on our last day, right before leaving for the airport!

there was a good bar scene at the hotel, so if you wanted to stay up and feel a little nightlife, it was definitely packed – but we were there during high-season, so I don’t know what it would have looked like otherwise.

so here is our itinerary, and if you are planning a trip to the Exumas for the same amount of time as we went (thursday through sunday), I highly recommend you copy everything we did – I couldn’t imagine it any other way!


we arrived around 3pm, got in our bathing suits, and went straight to the beach. we had a few cocktails, took a nap, and then around 6:00pm, meandered over to the hotel bar (which is outside, of course), and ordered a hummus plate with pita, to tie us over until our 8pm dinner reservation. we had dinner, a few glasses of wine, and called it a night.


we woke up around 8:30am and went straight to the concierge. the concierge was so accommodating and helpful! within 20 minutes, we had a full excursion day booked for Saturday and we also booked a rental car for THAT day.

while we waited for the car to arrive (the rental place brought the car straight to us!), we had breakfast. I had the most incredible homemade granola with yogurt and berries (which I had every day I was there – it was that good) and Lu had an egg white omelette. a couple coffees later, we went back to the concierge and voila – our red Jeep was waiting for us!


we hopped in the car and drove to Tropic of Cancer beach. it was about 45-55 minutes away from the hotel, but that was okay – we rented a four-door Jeep and put the top down and enjoyed the gorgeous sun in our faces as we listened to reggae on the radio and took in our surroundings.

once we arrived, we were in awe. literally, the most gorgeous beach I’ve seen in my life. the water was so blue in all directions and the water was so white, I can’t even explain it. luckily, I have pictures:


we laid our towels down, cracked open our books, and spent the day there (like, 11am – 2:30pm), hopping in and out of the water and just enjoying the gorgeous beach. after we had enough sun, we packed up our stuff and drove 5 minutes down the road to Tropic Breeze, a beachside restaurant that was PERFECT. a little shack, we had lobster poppers (perfectly lightly breaded lobster with tartar sauce) and fish tacos – and a couple of cocktails.

then, we got back in the car, drove back to the hotel, chilled by the pool for a bit (with a few more cocktails), and then went back to the room and showered. we were so exhausted and Lu was getting over a cold, so we actually ordered room service and hung out! it was just what the doctor ordered – true relaxation. we were exhausted from a day in the sun and just snuggled on the couch and watched Dateline 🙂



seriously, if you go and don’t do this, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. after seeing the beauty of Tropic of Cancer Beach, I didn’t think we could be anymore wowed, but wow…. we were wowed.

we had breakfast at 7:30am and met in the hotel lobby at 8am for the shuttle pickup. the shuttle drives you to the beach dock, where we got on a boat with about 12 other people and then, we were off. the boat drives you around the whole entire water as you explore the exumas.

you pass celebrity homes (like David Copperfield’s 11-island resort and Faith Hill’s gorgeous island home), all while on the open water where you can see straight to the bottom, because the water is so dang clear and blue. the driver was blasting reggae and top hits, so it was a festive boat ride.

some people brought drinks (we didn’t), but the people we met shared their libations and I was drinking prosecco with new friends an hour into the trip! we stopped all over the exumas, some of the highlights being:

  • pig island, where we swam with wild pigs! it was insane – these pigs literally come right up to you! they’re used to humans petting them and everyone is respectful, so it’s sweet to see the pigs swimming alongside you. they were a little scary at first, but then you realize they’re calm and just want attention!


the sandbar: I can’t even explain how unbelievable this place was. I can only show you pictures and then later this week, a vlog. I will never forget this place – it was truly paradise and anyone that tries to tell me otherwise, is wrong! 🙂

swimming with the sharks: I couldn’t believe Lu did this! he’s so afraid of sharks, but he got right in there (I was so uninterested, haha)… at the place where you swam with the sharks (by a dock), they also had a little store that sold sunscreen and drinks, so we grabbed some Kaliks (the island beer) and hung out. I mean… look how scared he is just touching them, haha!


this last night we had dinner at the hotel and drinks afterwards at the bar and then went home and passed out! we had such a full day, it was an amazing day, and I’ll never forget it!


our flight wasn’t until 4pm, so we had the morning to relax by the beach, which we did. we had a nice long beach walk, hung out, and then went up by the pool, had lunch, and then got ready, and headed to the airport!

we ended up getting randomly upgraded to first class on our miami to newark flight (that’s never happened – I’ve never flown first class!!), so that was just the cherry on top to a perfect weekend.

we already want to go back and bring friends! it was truly paradise!

  • clarisse

    wow – i just told my husband we need to go here for our one year anniversary later this year and i want your whole itinerary!! looks incredible. Please share bathing suit details please!! LOOKs like a fantastic trip.

    Tue April 19 at 6:11 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Details are in the post before this!

      Thu April 21 at 7:29 pm Reply
  • Stacey

    Hey Ali – this post is seriously convincing me to get a GoPro! I saw that you linked one in your "packing for the Exumas" post. Did you use the GoPro for all of the shots here? (Mainly curious about the shots of you and the pig, as well as where you’re in the teal bathing suit. I know the other fishbowl-looking ones are from the GoPro!)

    Tue April 19 at 7:30 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      All shots are with the GoPro or my iPhone!

      Thu April 21 at 7:29 pm Reply
  • alyssa

    Hi Ali! I am looking to book a trip to Exuma for my husband’s 30th birthday! I wanted to just ask you a question!!

    1. Where did you fly into and how did you get to the island?
    Wed April 20 at 1:30 am Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      We flew into Miami and then took a 1 hour flight to Exuma Airport which is in Georgetown! Our hotel was a 15 minute ride from the airport.

      Thu April 21 at 7:29 pm Reply
  • marianna

    Hi Ali! question is where your bikini top from?! I love it !

    Thu April 21 at 3:39 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      You can find a link to it in the post before this one!

      Thu April 21 at 7:25 pm Reply

    Ali..Definitely "PARADISE"….maybe when you go back wouldn’t it be great if you can do an INSPIRALIZED type fan tour. Looking forward to installment #2

    Fri April 22 at 5:21 pm Reply
  • Lilly

    Hi Ali – I’m curious about the beach/beaches right by/at your hotel. The ones on your excursions look absolutely perfect, but where they that pretty right by you?? Thanks!

    Sat April 23 at 11:06 am Reply
  • Pam

    This looks fantastic!! We were able to stay at Atlantis last summer, I would love to visit this spot as well 🙂
    Where is your next trip?

    Sat April 23 at 4:26 pm Reply
  • Naomi

    Wow!! Your trip looks like a dream!!! I want to go so bad. If I wasn’t sold from the gorgeous beaches on their own, pig island really sealed the deal! I emailed my boyfriend a link so we can discuss a future trip 🙂 thanks for the idea!

    Wed June 8 at 3:48 pm Reply

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