I’m excited to finally be here to recap Matt and I’s trip to the Exumas! I’ve mentioned this here before, but we try to get away on a trip for just the two of us once a year. A trip that is not a wedding weekend or a trip with friends or family, but a trip that is just us! It’s so nice to be able to do and so important to both of us.
I’m going to preface this post by saying that we were in no way compensated for our trip to Sandals or given anything free. Matt and I traveled to the Exumas about 4 years ago and loved the turquoise waters so much, that we knew we wanted to go back. When we were looking into it, we kept seeing this resort. The Exumas is a part of the Bahamas that is less built up then other parts and there are not a ton of options for resorts. We had read some great reviews about the Sandals Emerald Bay and decided to pull the trigger. I want to start by saying this…I always said that I never had any interest in staying at any Sandals resorts. I thought they were cheesy and they would have people in your face trying to drag you to play pool volleyball and I didn’t want anything to do with that!! Thankfully, it wasn’t like that and it really blew me away.
If you aren’t familiar with Sandals, they have many resorts throughout the Carribean and are all adult-only and all-inclusive. The prices really do blow me away when you consider all that is included and they really do an incredible job with their properties.
We spent 5 nights at the resort. We flew from Pensacola to Miami and then had a short 50 minute flight to Georgetown, Bahamas. The resort was only a quick 15 minute ride from the airport and before we knew it, we were arriving in Paradise!
The resort was gorgeous with the most perfectly manicured and beautiful landscaping. That was probably our biggest “WOW” of the whole resort. The rooms were nice and spacious. I wouldn’t say they were super luxurious , but they were fine. All the staff was so pleasant (including housekeeping) and they had two pools and nine different restaurants to choose from. I was mostly worried about the food not being very good and the booze being bad since it was all-inclusive. Truthfully, the food was pretty good. Not totally incredible, but better than I was expecting. The wine was actually quite tasty and they served top shelf liquors. It felt so good to be able to order whatever we wanted and not have to worry about paying a bill. Even better?? Tips were included too (unless you get Butler service, you do tip them at the end). Speaking of butler service, we did not have that because there was none available when we booked our room; but I think it would have been nice to have. The time we missed it most is when we were hanging out on the hotel beach and we had no beverage service. The butlers would bring you food or pack you an ice chest of beer if you were headed to the beach. That would have been nice to have.
The last thing I want to talk about is the excursions. Those are EVERYTHING. We knew we wanted to go exploring on the water while we were down there. You pay for excursions and they can be pricey, but the ones we went on were so worth it! I’ll share more about them below. Take a look at lots of photos from our trip…
We spent our first full day at the resort just enjoying the pools and beach and getting acclimated. We spent some time talking to people about the best excursions and what they liked the most. We knew we wanted to go see the pigs. We booked a half day excursion to see the pigs, but also tour some private islands, see the iguanas and do a little snorkeling. The guys from Exuma Water Sports were incredible. They were so much fun and made sure they showed us a great time. They are so prideful of their land and take responsibility of keeping these pigs fed, watered and healthy. It was really incredible to watch.
The next day Matt and I went on a romantic excursion to Castaway Cay. This excursion is for one couple only to be driven, then boated to a remote island that you have all to yourself for the entire day. They set you up with an umbrella, two chairs and an ice chest of champagne, beer, water and plenty of food and leave you to your on devices…or lack there of. It was so incredible gorgeous and pretty thrilling to be out there. Sometimes I wondered what we would do if the man never came to pick us back up on his little boat :). But honestly, it was so worth it and a fun way to reconnect with your spouse!! The only complaint we had was that they didn’t pack us enough beers! You book this excursion through the resort.
On our last full day, we took a taxi and then a water taxi to Stocking Island where they have a bar and grill called Chat N’ Chill. On Sundays, they roast a pig and always have a big crowd. We had fun hanging out and ran into a few other people we recognized from our resort. They are known for great barbecue food and some great fresh conch salad.
:: The Food ::
:: Where We Ate ::
We ate all of our meals at the resort (9 different restaurants) with the exception of our lunch at Chat N’ Chill.
:: Our Excursions ::
Half Day Pig Tour with Exuma Water Sports
Full Day at Castaway Cay (book through the resort)
Trip to Stocking Island to Chat N Chill
:: Our Final Thoughts ::
I would absolutely recommend this resort to friends or family. I’m even open to exploring another Sandals resorts (I have my eye on Grenada). There is definitely a lot to be said for really knowing exactly how much your vacation is going to cost. Not having all the extra add-ons is definitely a bonus. I wish Sandals wouldn’t put there name all over everything. I told Matt that was the only thing I felt still seemed cheesy. But I guess the Four Seasons does that too and I probably would never complain about that :). This Sandals Emerald Bay resort was actually a Four Seasons about 10 years ago before the Sandals bought it from them. Even though there are things about the resort that don’t feel “Four Seasons”, I never had a single complaint about service. I felt that there service game was really strong! We loved our trip and I’m so glad we decided to give it a try. If you have any specific questions, I’ll be glad to answer.
If I didn’t tag where I purchased something in this post, I’ll be doing a post tomorrow with everything I wore on our vacation!