“Old God sure was in a good mood when he made this place.”
Flying into the small airport on the Caribbean island of Great Exuma, Bahamas, in May, it was that description from Thompson’s iconic novel The Rum Diary that immediately came to mind.
We’d left Nassau, Bahamas, just an hour earlier at the end of an unexpected tropical storm of such force it had me digging my Rescue Remedy out of my purse and regretting I had nothing stronger with me. As my partner and I raced across the tarmac to our small Sky Bahamas plane, the wind tangled our hair and the rain drenched our clothing, though it did nothing to relieve the oppressive humidity Nassau was suffering that morning. Strapped into our seats, I maintained a death grip on my partner’s hand as our flight took off, the clouds and wind causing the plane to shake and dip much like a toy gripped in the hand of a petulant toddler.
But within minutes of take-off, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the clouds disappeared allowing my first glimpse out of the plane’s window of that emerald green water featured in so many photos of the Caribbean. And, then shortly after, thanks to the experienced pilots of Sky Bahamas, we landed at the Exuma International Airport and the start of our week on this tropical island.
EXUMA: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Car rental: If you’re not staying at an all-inclusive resort, you may consider renting a car in order pick up groceries, etc., and tour the island, but keep in mind they drive on the left and rentals are no bargain.
Taxis: We used Luther Rolle Taxi, driven by Luther himself – 242-345-5003.
Liquor: Booze is cheap, cheap, cheap in Exuma, but mix is not. One option is to bring packages of juice or ice tea crystals from home. There is a liquor store in George Town and at Emerald Bay.
Groceries: On the way from the airport to February Point we bought most of our groceries from Prime Island Meats and Deli, which was cheaper than the market in George Town. In fact, we bought two of the best ribeye steaks we’ve ever enjoyed for $16 total. Primeislandmeats.com.
Exuma Market in George Town: Picked over and pricey, but sells the basics.
FoodStore2Go: This is the way to go if you’re staying in a holiday rental. This delivery service will stock your fridge with food and drinks before you arrive and the prices are comparable to what you pay at most stores. Foodstore2go.com.
Bug spray: Take it and use it. (You’ll thank me later.)
Restaurants: We read a lot about several fish fry shacks popular with tourists, including the Chat “N” Chill, but since we didn’t rent a car, we never checked them out. But we did visit Catch a Fire Bar and Grill and had a blast. We also ate at Coral Lounge and Bistro at February Point,which serves the freshest seafood imaginable. Februarypoint.com. I’d also highly recommend poolside dining at the Palapa Grill at Grand Isle Resort. Grandisleresort.com. Try the conch anything at any of these spots.