Exumas: The Secret Bahamas

Everyone knows the Bahamas, but few people have ever heard of the Exumas, an archipelago of 365 cays (one to explore for every day of the year). The area's crstal-clear water and sandbars make for beautiful views, and the environmental area is so unique that 176 miles of the Exuma Cays are preserved and protected as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Known as the Bahamas' "Other Islands," this area offers the best of the Bahamas without the resort crowds.

The privacy and luxury of the islands attract many rich patrons and their yachts, as well as celebrities. Start your trip at Staniel Cay, the main island hub, and watch everyone sail into the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Nearby, you can go swimming like 007 at Thunderball Cave (where the Bond movie of the same name was filmed). Snorkel inside the small cave and hand-feed the friendly fish.

Also worth exploring are the islands of Great and Little Exuma, which are connected by a bridge over a narrow channel. The capital, George Town, is found on Great Exuma, and has the best restaurants and bars if you're in need of a little civilization.

Where is it? In the Bahamas. Fly to Exuma International Airport (check prices).

Where to Stay? At the Grand Isle Resort and Spa, a winner in TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards in both Luxury and Relaxation.

What Else Should I Know? Many of the islands in the Exumas are private—Johnny Depp owns an island here—but budget options exist on the larger islands.

Who's it For? Yachters, celebrities, Johnny Depp stalkers.

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Knumina)

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