I left one paradise for another. The plane ride from Nassau, Bahamas to Great Exuma is feels like as soon as you get in the air, you're already descending. I was fortunate enough to stay at magnificent resort known as Sandals Emerald Bay.
When one hears, "all inclusive," you don't think it means from the time you get off the plane.I went to the taxi area and was greeted by a lovely man with clipboard who said, “Are you going to sandals? Please step over here.“ He then picked up all of our luggage and took us to our resort. Sandals is adults only, so no children under 18 running around doing cannon balls into the beautiful pool (only adults doing cannon balls here). You can come alone, with a significant other or with friends.
I went to Sandals Emerald Bay with my Mom. At check in, we learned that there were several mid rise buildings as well as several beachfront villas. A bonus with the villas is your own personal “butler” at your service that you can reach via a special cellphone that they provide. The butler will bicycle over with whatever you want....amazing!
There is a gazebo perfect for outdoor wedding ceremony, there is also a little sculpture garden, an area with hanging swinging chairs with backs so comfy, a beautiful area for croquet ...and so much more.
There were bottles of top-shelf alcohol that are completely included, but my mom and I are “cheap dates,” as neither of us drinks, but for everyone else this is a huge plus. There are in-room refrigerators stocked with sodas, beer, bottled water, sparkling water, and, you can ask your butler for anything else you want.
Now onto our villa......
Our villa was beach-front with two full bathrooms, a great room, a huge master bedroom and dressing area, and, upon opening our sliding doors, a hammock and two chaise lounges looking out onto the ocean. After a short walk to the beach, we found our own private hut to watch the ocean and relax and picnic in the shade. Our butler brought us fruit, bottled water and whatever else we wanted in an insulated picnic bag. The beach has swings set up that let you stand over the waves as they roll under your feet towards the shore. Huge sand bikes for two are waiting for you to use, as well as kayaks, surfboards and equipment for every water sport. The water is a crystal clear turquoise and absolutely beautiful. You can relax in the waves and participate in all water sports and beach volleyball, etc. There are also several pools and a gym with a schedule that includes everything imaginable...yoga, fitness classes, Pilates and more. If you want to have something to do every minute, there are more than enough options at Sandals Emerald Bay to pack your schedule. If not, you can relax in your hammock or by the pool, or dine in the outstanding array of restaurants (11 to be precise) at your own pace and leisure.
The eleven restaurants have something to suit anyone’s gourmet palate, from coffee and French pastries at cafe Paris, a buffet breakfast restaurant with an orange juice machine that makes the best fresh squeezed orange juice right in front of you in seconds, to a Japanese hibachi style restaurant called Kimono, your options are far from wanting. There's even a barbecue restaurant with jerk pork, jerk chicken and even jerk veggies (perfect for me!). There’s a swim up bar and room service was great as well!
The highlight of our Exuma trip was an excursion to the island of pigs. We took a short boat ride and stopped in the middle of serenely beautiful small cays to find that one of them has its own sounder of wild (but docile and friendly) pigs. These pigs, some big and some small, some old and some young, and some pink, some spotted and some black, all swim around in the pristine water and hang out on the beach! It's an unreal experience. I picked up the cutest little piglet for a photo op - she reminded me of my little puppy at home who I was missing so - and surprise! The little piggie went poop. It wasn't that bad and amazingly, I didn't freak out. Plus, there was plenty of ocean water to clean off the tiny mess!
Next we went to iguana island, which felt more like a non-scary version of Jurassic Park. This was absolutely insane (in the best way possible). The island is home to a large group of friendly iguanas. We were given grapes to feed them, and I decided to sit down and get acquainted with them. They loved the grapes, and soon there were about six on my lap (sounds scary, probably looks scary from the pictures, but not scary, just truly amazing!). As a heads-up, if you do decide to get up close and personal with the iguanas, their claws are pretty sharp and they may unintentionally scratch you. This happened to me, but it wasn't bad at all. We stopped at another small island and walked up a bit of an incline and the view was perfection. I do recommend wearing shoes other than flip flops like I was wearing. It was well worth the climb to the top for the view but I wish I had normal shoes for the trek.
Back at Sandals Emerald Bay, we relaxed by the the jazz piano bar. The impeccable service by an amazingly friendly staff, andthe plethora of activities available make you feel like the beautiful natural world is your oyster, but don't just take my word for it, book a vacation there and see for yourself! Exuma is paradise and you can enjoy it however you like. Oh, and at Sandals, everything's included!
xxErin P.S. don’t forget to write me with any questions, concerns or whatever! I am here to help and always love to hear from you my readers!