Less than 30 minutes from Nassau, The Exumas, an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, are a quick plane flight from New York or Miami and a perfect destination for a quick weekend escape. Many of the islands are privately owned or uninhabited--a tropical, untouched paradise. Surrounded by some of the clearest water on the planet and quiet, unspoiled beaches, Alessandro Sarno fell in love at first sight, spending countless days living and exploring the Cays. He has launched High Blue Travel, a travel company specializing in creating custom, made to order itineraries for clients in The Bahamas, Miami, New York City and Veneto Region, which includes Venice and the Dolomites. Here he maps out a long weekend escape perfect for the upcoming winter blues.
Alessandro: “The Bahamas are not the cruise ships of New Providence or the fancy towers of Atlantis; rather the real Bahamas are the family islands and hundreds of small cays scattered in the Atlantic Ocean. Luxury here is walking on a slip of sand gifted from the tides or riding a small boat at night under a blanket of stars. It’s chatting and drinking some cocktails with your friends in front of a bonfire on a private island or spending the day with fishermen hunting for lobsters and listening to their stories. Luxury is stepping away from your everyday life. “
Logistics: Opt for either an early morning flight and arrive in Nassau in time for breakfast, or sleep a little later and catch the next plane to arrive by lunch. After embarking at Lynden Pindling Airport, catch a taxi to the Executive airport, just 3 minutes away, where you will immediately board your chartered Seaplane to travel to your own private island in this Exuma Cays escape. After a 20–25 min ride you’ll arrive at small Highbourne Cay, a gateway to the islands in the Cays with a few luxury cottages, a marina for large yachts and a delicious restaurant Xuma’s.
Afternoon: By now you’re probably quite hungry, so it’s time for lunch overlooking the beautiful sea, a meal of local Bahamian dishes accompanied by a glass of cold white wine. After lunch a boat will take you to Ship Channel Cay, the next island, where you’ll overnight. The island is simply beautiful with no full time residents except for a couple of cute dogs, lots of stingrays and sharks and the island’s care takers. Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by the staff and checked into your cottage, called Area 51. The island is all yours. You can decide to go for a stroll on the beach, take a nap, go for a swim or just hang out at the beach bar.
Evening: It’s time for a sunset cocktail before dinner. The island chef, your personal chef for your stay, will prepare a delicious and romantic dinner for you. You can decide where you want to eat. Toes on the sand, or maybe on your cottage’s deck, or perhaps in the communal dining area. After dinner make sure to look up and admire the millions of stars that are blinking in the black of the night, or sit around a bonfire sipping some aged Bourbon.
Morning: Imagine waking up to the singing of the birds and the gentle crushing of the waves on the rocks underneath your cottage. Make yourself a cup of coffee and walk to the beach where there may be a nice surprise waiting for you--a family of stingrays! After an abundant breakfast, get ready for a picnic in the Exuma Land And Sea Park, the first park in the world of its kind opened in the 1950's. It’s a magnificent area to explore with Captain Nigel, your private boat driver and guide. You will see places that you cannot even imagine. Stop at a deserted beach to enjoy your packed lunch. You’ll return before dark to Ship Channel Cay to enjoy another night by the sea.
Relish another day in paradise before you jump on a speedboat in the afternoon to head back to Nassau. An hour ride in the open seas is a fun experience and once back in Nassau you’ll be transported to your boutique hotel in the quietest and nicest part of New Providence. Nassau is a very old and super busy colonial town, and if you don’t know what to do or where to go it can easily become overwhelming. Spend the night at the Island House hotel, a boutique hotel with just 30 rooms, a anti gravity yoga studio, spa and a 48 seat cinema. Savor a cocktail before dinner in their wonderful Thai Fusion restaurant. In the morning take a stroll on the beach and enjoy breakfast at Compass Point before heading to the airport for the flight back home.