Staniel Cay, Bahamas
Staniel Cay is in the middle of the magnificent chain of Bahamian Islands called The Exuma Cays.
Surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with marine life, unspoiled, secluded beaches, remote Bahamian villages and even swimming pigs, Staniel Cay is a beachlover and sunlover's idyllic holiday destination.
If the Exumas are a necklace of sparkling jewels, then Staniel Cay is the diamond pendant. The many islands, forming a chain stretching 100 miles southeast of Nassau, are flanked by Exuma Sound to the east providing deep water reefs and offshore fishing. The shallow banks to the west provide sea gardens, anchorages, shallow reefs and passages between the islands. There are beaches everywhere. If you find someone enjoying their privacy, you simply go to the next one!
The ocean beach at Staniel Cay stretches almost the entire length of the island, with reefs just offshore for great snorkeling.
There are 365 islands in the Exuma chain (one for each day of the year), with Staniel Cay in the centre.
This small island is known for its hospitality and Thunderball Grotto, one of the most outstanding snorkeling attractions in all of the Bahamas. While this hollowed out rock has been the location for the James Bond movies "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again" and also "Splash", it lures snorkelers to enjoy a natural fishbowl and swim in at slack low tide (when the current takes about an hour break from its normal fast run) and enjoy many varieties of colorful fish, corals, sponges and other sea life. Weave through the grotto's many entrances and passageways, escape to the outside through its holes. Gaze skyward when inside the amphitheater to see light streaming through the roof where rain has eroded natural skylights. Tourists may look but not touch as Thunderball and the adjacent two islands are protected by the Bahamas National Trust.
The Village of Staniel Cay has a friendly atmosphere unique to the Family Islands of the Bahamas. Everyone wishes one another well along the narrow roads where golf carts are the main mode of transportation. It's a true community where people care about one another. There is a church, medical clinic, some shops, groceries, a general store, marinas, yacht club and restaurants. There is an all-age school and telephone office, but no banks or ATMs. It's advisable to bring US cash or traveler's checks, although some places accept credit cards. There are several homes and cottages for rent, as well as laid-back resort facilities on the island and in the area.
Cruises here are available year round and are generally 3, 4 or 5 day escapes from the east coast cities of the US. The region is serviced by many of the major cruise lines who now dedicate ships to this market.
7 day cruises combine the Bahamas and Bermuda.
The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout The Islands of The Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate which varies little year round. The most refreshing time is between September through May, when the temperature averages 70-75F degrees. The rest of the year is a bit warmer with temperatures between 80-85F degrees. Sea surface temperatures vary between 74 degrees in February and 84 degrees in August.
Population: 7,314 (all of the Exuma Islands)
Currency: Bahamian Dollar
Time Zone UTC/GMT -4 hours
Dial Code: +1