So people always ask us… why did you choose Staniel Cay as the winter home for the Magic Bus vs the BVI’s? We could say the welcome and warm people that make you feel so safe the moment you arrive, or we could says its the proximity to the breathtaking Exuma National Park (which has to be in the top two or three of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world). However, the simple answer is… it still feels like it just has not been found yet!
We’ve done the BVI’s and lower islands our whole life. Never did the Exumas until we took a pandemic voyage last year. What we learned was that sailing out of Nassau, where most charters start and end from simply takes too much time for any bareboaters to make it deep enough to really see the Exumas. Those 7 day trips (with one LONG day in and one LONGER day back) just really become a lot of schlepping around (and that’s IF you have good weather) – vs starting and ending your vacation in Staniel Cay is like getting two extra days added onto your trip! And lets face it, starting out in Nassau is not much better or safer then Tortola is today.
But Staniel Cay is different, the moment you land you instantly feel the small island vibe where everyone knows everyone (there are only 120 islanders) and you just feel safe and welcome immediately. The golf carts roll up to your plane and friendly islanders line up to give you a lift (if you overpacked for the 10 min walk to the beach). Then once you do walk into the Staniel Cay YC… in the deepest part of the Exumas… well it just reminds me of the BVI’s in the ‘80’s before the big builds showed up.
It’s completely normal in the Exumas to have the world to yourself. Miles of beaches where the only one watching you is a sea turtle or a nurse shark are the norm vs the exception. Yet you can belly up to the bar at the Staniel Cay YC in Staniel, MacDuff’s in Norman, or the Chat N Chill in Georgetown and swap stories with fellow sailors from all over the world. Be warned you might die of envy as most who you meet in the heart of the Exumas are liveaboards or long term cruisers – the typical 7 day bareboaters almost never reach Staniel or beyond…
If you can’t tell we are in love with everything about this part of the world – and we have most of our charter weeks so far booked to friends and family – as we’ve told them all… it is a bucket list trip while the Bus stops here. So yeah, we put the Magic Bus right in the middle of it all. You can do Shroud, Norman, Wardwick Wells, etc… all within a quicker sail/motor then Anegada in January or Block Island in June, and believe it or not it’s 10 times more beautiful then you can ever imagine.
Planning helps if you want to travel around a holiday. We’ve got all the links here to help you – and we’ve used all these options ourselves. Find a good AM flight to Fort Lauderdale and then book a lunch flight on Makers Air. The $539 Round Trip (+taxes) flight might seem like a lot, but when compared to Tortola in May (at least $800) it looks pretty good – and when you get off the plane – your not in Tortola (On Makers you’re literally landing at the beach, right next to the boat, with the dinghy waiting and all customs cleared!)
When landing in Tortola you always spend a day + trying to get out of Tortola. Couple all that with the fact that Makers covers all the taxis (golf carts) etc… it’s a pretty good way to travel.
Still I love a deal, and they are out there to be had. Look for a good flight in and out of Nassau… then try Titan or Flamingo Air who offer multiple daily 30 min flights to Staniel from Nassau for $200 or so round trip…. we’ve gotten in and out for under $500 by planning and taking the best deals we can find.
Still reading – well here is a reward. PRO TRICK – we use Makers Air and charter their beautiful 9 passenger private plane for a whole day. Totally the way to START your vacation vs the way to get there… now before you say “must be nice BUT” check the math… We line up charters that come and go the same day… so we can put 9 people on each way… AND you get the whole trunk of the plane at no charge. No bag fee’s – plus roll over to Costco before your flight and fill up the trunk of the plane with bags of food and this private flight looks like a deal. Now add in a bottle or two of champagne – as when you land the boat is right there and you’re on vacation!
So – lets go! Feel free to email or call us (860) 650-0303 with any questions about how we can create the vacation of a lifetime for you. The Exumas are just warming up!