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Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

Level Contributor
10 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

Will be traveling to Bahamas for the first time next May. We have a group of 11 adults and will be renting a house. The best rentals in our price range are on Eleuthera, which looks beautiful and amazing to me! However, I keep reading the water in Exuma can't be beat. Is the water in Exuma REALLY that much better (bluer, calmer) than Eleuthera? Enough to push the budget over to stay on Exuma? Thanks!!

7 replies to this topic
Nassau, New...
Level Contributor
5,747 posts
1. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

When you read about the beauty of the Exuma waters, they're likely talking about the Exuma Cays -- not necessarily Great Exuma. Big, big difference. The Exuma Cays, viewed from the Space Station, has been prounounced one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

So with that clarification out of the way, Great Exuma and Eleuthera waters are just as beautiful and clear, but in my humble option, Eleuthera has the edge witih both sides of the island -- the wild and rugged Atlantic side AND the serene blues and greens of the "calm" side. The best of both worlds! Some may disagree, but to each his own...

Mobile, Alabama
Level Contributor
264 posts
2. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

well said, Dusty! I agree.

Gastonia, North...
Level Contributor
4,234 posts
55 reviews
35 helpful votes
3. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

Exuma for sure. Even around Great Exuma the water is much more turquoise than Eleuthera in my opinion. The water all around Great Exuma is more calm than Eleuthera too because of the geography. GE is smaller too and easier to navigate.

Windsor, Canada
Destination Expert
for Eleuthera
Level Contributor
2,783 posts
4. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

Take your pick of the two sides of Eleuthera, turquoise and calm or indigo and wild:


10 posts
5. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

I've been to both many times. Exuma takes the cake for sure water wise. Anyone saying different must need glasses. Much clearer, warmer, and calmer. I visit mainly April through August so this may not apply to other months.

The only beach in my opinion that gets close to an Exuma beach on Eleuthera is Lighthouse Beach. I remember a family we recently took to Eleuthera on day 9 when we went to Lighthouse Beach said, "finally, an Exuma beach".

Level Contributor
361 posts
21 reviews
12 helpful votes
6. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

Both islands are beautiful IMO. Eleuthera was the first of the two we visited. Locals were friendly on both islands, but we made better connections with the people on Eleuthera. Dining is good on both islands, but for us, Eleuthera had the edge...granted we did not eat at Sandals or Grand Isle so that might change our mind. Having said that, I’ve been to Eleuthera twice and Exuma five times (twice this year).

A few things to consider based on your own priorities and wants. Eleuthera is over 100 miles long vs around 30 miles on Exuma so you can spend more time traveling on Eleuthera. Eleuthera has more drive-to beaches (buy The Beach Book if you go). Both islands have beautiful clear water, but IMO if you are out on a boat on a sunny day in Exuma the water glows almost a neon blue sometimes and is the prettiest color. If spending the day on a boat beach hopping and going to beaches you can’t drive to is your thing, then Exuma is the place for that.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice. Just go with an open mind...infrastructure has its quirks, grocery and other items can be hit or miss, and Island time is a real thing.

Destination Expert
for Burlington
Level Contributor
3,841 posts
10 reviews
11 helpful votes
7. Re: Exuma or Eleuthera - the water

I wouldn't pick an island based *just* on water color.

We've been to both Exuma and Eleuthera and we preferred Eleuthera. Quieter, friendlier, more "miles of empty beach" (literally, miles without seeing a person on the Atlantic side), better food/produce selections, more sense of DIY adventuring versus paid touring.

Exuma had the edge on boating, and we really enjoyed renting a boat and exploring the beaches around Elizabeth Harbor on our own.

Overall, we loved Eleuthera and were just so-so on Exuma (except for the boating part), but our impressions are based on 1-week vacations so obviously, take with a grain of salt.

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