Nina Agdal & Ariel Meredith in the Bahamas, 2013 :: Walter Iooss Jr./SI
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Day 13: Exuma Islands, Bahamas
NASSAU AND its sky scraping hotels get all the pub in the Bahamas but it's an open secret that here, in Georgetown, the capital and largest city of the Exuma Islands district, are some of the most picturesque waterfronts on the planet. Paradise? Paradise ain't got nothing on this place.
The Exuma's are a collection of islands known for its natural treasures. One of the first stops on our boat tour takes us to an island inhabited by oversized Iguanas. Putter out a little further and go ashore at a thick sandbar planted in the middle of the sea. Sand is just sand to you until you stick your feet in this and watch them sink up to your ankles. A trip to a private marina allows passengers the opportunity to swim with sharks, while at the Thunderball Grotto—so named for its use in the 1965 Bond film—snorkelers can cruise through the caves gazing down at the thousands of fish that call it home.
The highlight of the trip is the finale, a small, seemingly uninhabited island. It looks quiet upon first approach, but the sound of the outboard motor sends a pack of 300-plus pound pigs indigenous to the area charging into the sea. Tourists are encouraged to feed, pet and swim with them, and the pigs are happy to hang out as long as food keeps coming in their direction.
It's a unique experience in a unique place. And it's why for any visitor who makes the journey to Georgetown, one trip is never enough.