Life has been so crazy busy, and it was great for my husband and I to take the time to travel as a couple. We were first timers to Sandals Emerald Bay, and we wanted to experience the beauty of the island. So we decided to go the Great Exuma Historical Tour through the resort. Definitely a must-do!
Where Is Great Exuma Located?
So before we talk about the tour itself, let’s get a little background about Great Exuma island. Great Exuma is located in the Bahamas, and is the largest of 364 island cays! About 450 miles Southeast of Florida, it is the perfect place for a tropical getaway.
And the water? None of the pictures I took truly captured the beauty of the water, it is absolutely stunning!
How Can I Get To Great Exuma?
So how do you get to Great Exuma? You can fly in from the major airports like Miami, Charlotte, and Atlanta. There are no direct flights except from Toronto. This airport is very small, and there are only a few flights per day.
I have to tell you, I have never experienced an airport like this. Small, quaint, and super organized. Baggage claim is a hoot, but you can’t describe it until you experience it in person.
The airport is located in the Great Exuma capital of Georgetown. You will get to experience Georgetown on the tour, so I will talk about it more below.
What Is Island Routes?
Island Routes is the tour company that Sandals Resorts uses at all their properties. Each resort has an Island Routes tour desk on property, and you can sign up when you reach your destination.
You also have the option of booking tours online, but I don’t believe it is really necessary. Unless, of course, the tours are really popular, like the Moriah Sea Park tour. The swimming with the pigs tour is popular as well, but we chose to take ours through an outside vendor because we got to see more for the same price.
Where Do I Sign Up For The Tour And How Much Does It Cost?
You can sign up for the tour online, but I recommend waiting until you get to the resort. You can sign up at the Island Routes tour desk right on the resort.
As far as the cost of the trip, it is $157 per person. Because you are staying at the resort, the cost of the tour will be charged right to your room. It was very convenient that way. The cost of your lunch is included in this price as well, which is a great value.
Bonus tip: if you plan on booking another trip to Sandals resorts, make sure you book on the Wednesday after the Returning Guest Dinner. You will get a $100 credit that you can use towards your tour. It saved us money on an amazing trip.
Because you are staying at an adults-only all-inclusive resort, there will be no kids on your tour bus. However, you may encounter them in various places during your other stops. They were no problem, and we found it amusing to see them playing in the water.
If you are not staying at a Sandals Resort, then I recommend booking this trip online. You can also call 1-877-978-1915 to book your tour and discuss your travel arrangements. Kids on the tour should be 7 and over.
Does The Tour Run Everyday?
(From their Website)
Days of Operation & Tour Time(s):
- Wednesday:10:00 AM
- Friday:10:00 AM
Are There Any Restrictions For The Tour?
These are the list of medical recommendations that they have listed on their website. Discussing these with your own physician before booking is highly recommended.
- Not recommended for pregnant women
- Not accessible for the physically challenged
- Not recommended for people with back problems or who have had a recent back surgery
- Not recommended for people with respiratory or heart problems
- Not recommended for people with a recent arm/hand surgery
- Not recommended for people with motion sickness
- Not recommended for people with a fear of heights
- Not handicapped accessible
If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to talk to the Island Routes desk. I will add, that the road into the Tropic of Cancer beach is extremely bumpy. So if you have back or neck problems, I would check with your physician at home before booking this trip.
Do I Have To Drive Myself On The Island Routes Tour?
Absolutely not! We had an air-conditioned van that was driven by an awesome driver who knew the area very well! We traveled with other guests, and it was an absolute blast.
I know many guests that rent jeeps and drive around themselves, but I feel like this was the best way to see the island because you could look around at everything without worrying about where you were driving(or what side of the road you were on!)
How Long Does The Great Exuma Historical Tour Last?
The tour lasts approximately 5 hours. We left the resort going on 10 am, and we were back by 4 pm. It was the perfect amount of time, and we weren’t overly tired from it. That is what was great about it.
What Should I Wear On The Historical Tour?
We went to the resort in July, and it was hot! So I wore shorts and a tank top, and I was perfectly comfortable. I also had on grippy water sandals, but most people were wearing socks and sneakers. My thoughts? Bring both! Wear the socks and sneakers during the majority of the tour, and save the water shoes/flip flops for when you go to the Tropic of Cancer beach.
If you go during the Winter months, it may be cooler(the weather is comparable to Florida) so you might need a long-sleeved shirt if you chill easily. Otherwise, shorts and a regular t-shirt will suffice.
What Things Should I Bring(Or Not Bring) On The Tour?
Things to bring:
- Sunscreen and a hat!
- A towel. This is the one thing I didn’t bring that I wish I would have. You use it to clean off your feet after playing in the water at the Tropic of Cancer beach.
- Bug spray or bug wipes on rainy days or if there was a recent rain shower.
- Your phone with a waterproof case for pictures.
- Something to keep your money and room key in. One of the best investments I made was a KYSS bag. It comes with a chain that has a lock on it.
- Some cash for shopping in Georgetown.
- Some water in a bottle.
Things not to bring:
- Large and bulky camera.
- You don’t need to bring fancy jewelry or tons of money.
What Places Will We Visit On The Island Routes Historical Tour?
This is the description from the Island Routes website:
Experience true beauty with a local Exumian guide, who is highly knowledgeable on the history of the Bahamas and The Exumas. Your adventure starts with a visit to the Pompey Monument and prison, followed by a drive through several of the islands historic settlements. Stop at William’s Town, where you can see one of the island’s old salt beacons still standing tall atop a cliff. While there, you’ll witness a view like no other! The next stop is Santana’s, where you will have an authentic Bahamian lunch, made famous by the cast and crew filming Pirates of the Caribbean. Have your choice of an enjoyable serving of grouper, shrimp or lobster. Then, it’s off to the Tropic of Cancer beach to absorb the beautiful scenery before heading to George Town. While there, feel free to enjoy a little souvenir shopping before you return.
I just wanted to add that there might be different versions of this tour, so be prepared if yours is a little different. We did not stop to see the salt beacons, nor did we eat at Santana’s. I was a bit disappointed about that, but I will explain more about it below.
Here is a photo from the Pompey Monument and prison.
We really enjoyed how our guide explained everything about the local settlements(they are similar to our towns), he showed us a local school, and told us the history of different places.
We also had the stop at the Tropic of Cancer beach. It was rainy at that point in the tour, so we weren’t able to capture the beautiful blue color. But it was a beautiful place to stop!
Are There Places To Eat On The Historical Tour?
There are two opportunities to eat when you are on the tour. The first is the scheduled lunch stop at Santana’s. Like I said earlier, I was really disappointed that we weren’t going there, especially since I wanted to see where the cast from “Pirates of the Caribbean” ate. You know, be all fan girly thinking: Orlando Bloom could have sat in this seat. Yeah, total dorky, I know.
However, with that said, the place we did stop at was amazing! I have never in my life tasted lobster that was so good. The lunch included an amazing side dish of rice AND absolutely amazing rum punch. And the fact that it was included in the tour cost made it perfect.
The second place you can get something to eat is at the Tropic of Cancer beach snack stand. You will need cash, and keep in mind, it is quite pricey there. So you may want to pack some snacks in your bag if you get hungry before you head back to the resort.
Can I Get Souvenirs When We Are Touring?
One part of the historical tour is the stop in Georgetown. There are several shops as well as a straw market to get souvenirs in. Have cash handy, and be ready to do some haggling. They are not overly aggressive, and their items are beautiful and worth the price.
There was also a specialty shop that had some great momentos as well as clothing items to purchase. From dresses to souvenir shirts, even some men’s clothing, it was a perfect stop to visit for some authentic gifts. What a special part of the Great Exuma historical tour.
Will We Be Safe On The Great Exuma Historical Tour?
As always, you need to be aware of your surroundings. We went with a large group, as well as an experienced guide, so there was never a time where I felt unsafe, even when we were walking from store to store. Just use common sense, and you will have a safe & enjoyable tour.
What We Learned On The Great Exuma Historical Tour.
The Great Exuma historical tour was such an amazing way to see the island and learn about the people and the culture. Make sure you ask your guide about the Legend of the Three Sisters. The story is fascinating, and you can even see the legend while you are on the tour!
All in all, this is definitely a tour that I recommend for all guests to take. You will get a greater appreciation of the island and its history, and you will be able to have a wonderful memory to take home.