Charter a Luxury Yacht in the Bahamas and explore Nassau, Highborne Cay, Norman’s Cay, Warderick Wells, Staniel Cay, and Eleuthera on this 7-day Bahamas sailing itinerary
The Bahamas is one of the most exotic holiday destinations in the world. Comprising over 700 islands, it is part of the larger Lucayan Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and is scattered off the northeast of Florida in the United States. Made up of small islands called cays (pronounced keys) and reefs, the Bahamas is best explored in a chartered yacht.
It’s a perfect vacation spot for everyone: from the notoriously popular Bahama beach pigs to some of the world’s best catchment areas for laidback family-time fishing, from sailing and ambling in your yacht to swimming underwater amidst the corals and flora and fauna, and easy accessibility from the United States. It’s a summer holiday destination like no other.
Hatch a 7-day plan or shorter to rest and relax in a super boat along the Bahamian and Exumas island stretch and experience some of the most beautiful resort islands in the world. Check out our Bahamas yacht charter itinerary below to see what you can expect from one of the most geologically complex island stretches in the world and some good old hospitality from us.
Bahamas Sailing Itinerary – Nassau to Nassau in 7 Days
We cover Nassau through Staniel Cay and return via Eleuthera for a week-long Bahamas yacht charter holiday. However, all our Bahamas yacht charter holidays are fully customizable according to your preferences, weather and sea conditions, and the number of days. We can also create all-inclusive itineraries for a competitive price.
Feel free to suggest your preferences to the captain and be open to recommendations based on the weather during your sail.
Yacht Charter Day 1 – Arrive in Nassau
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is usually the best starting point for any Bahamas skippered yacht itinerary as air travel from your source is convenient. Our itinerary starts and ends at Nassau keeping this convenience of air travel in mind. Once you alight and get yourself tucked in in the comforts of the best resort hospitality that Nassau can offer, start with some hobnobbing in the city. Nassau is as crowded as the Bahamas gets.
A vibrant island resort that’s in the heart of the Bahamas, there’s a lot to do and kickstart your holidays here. Do a little jiggy at this entertainment capital of the country while snacking on some local food. Then watch the sunset from your hired yacht while sipping on some locally brewed rum, served the way you like.
Whether you are arriving as a family, a couple, or solo, there’s a lot that Nassau offers. We recommend trying your luck in the world-famous casinos that stretch on the island or just head for some beach time on Paradise Island. Towards the night, get ready for some grown-up indulgence at a luxury spa, a fine diner, or maybe just some cozy time back on the yacht.
Sailing in Nassau – Things to Know
- Nassau is a crowded part of New Providence, the 11th largest Bahamian island
Mooring in Nassau – Things to Do
- Visit casinos, enjoy water slides, and dine at plush restaurants
- Shop at the Nassau Straw Market
- Go for a rum tasting session
Yacht Charter Day 2 – Highborne Cay
This is where things get interesting. Highborne Cay or Highbourne Cay is a private island, inviting you into the vast stretch of the breathtaking Exumas. Interesting because cruise ships and cruises can’t go in, and this is where your tropical Bahamas holiday yacht charter actually begins.
If the dreamy waters of the Nassau beaches weren’t enough, here are some more options of the pristine turquoise along the 3-mile stretch. After mooring at the central marina, walk into the island to explore any of the eight wide beaches on the island for some “me” time. We recommend the pristine East Beach that’s yet untouched by the vagaries of mankind.
However, the best thing to do in Highborne Cay is to take a dive boat and explore the rich coral ecosystem around the Austin Smith shipwreck that rests 60 feet below. It was a 90-foot Bahamian Defense Force patrol vehicle that was decommissioned in 1995. Today, the wreck is a lively example of nature’s power to regrow as you’ll find exotic coral, sponges, and sea fans lining the wreck. Quite an experience if you’re a serious diver.
Sailing in Highborne Cay – Things to Know
- Highbourne Cay Marina and Resort charges for fuel, dockage, and power
Mooring in Highborne Cay – Things to Do
- Dive to the wreck of an old cutter (Austin Smith), down 60 feet
- Visit the Horseshoe Bay, an anchorage named after its shape
- Engage in scuba diving, swimming, and snorkeling
- Visit the marina restaurant Xuma
- Swim with or feed the nurse sharks around the marina
Yacht Charter Day 3 – Norman’s Cay
Just like Highborne Cay, Norman’s Cay is also partly uninhabited. Hence, there is no dearth of beautiful corals and the exotic underwater flora and fauna in the turquoise waters that splash on the resplendent beaches. Walk on the sandy beachfront lined with palm trees and spend the day ambling around.
While Norman’s Cay wears a calm look throughout the year, it’s amusing to note that it was once a haven for drug smugglers and pirates, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Post the turn of the millennium, when the Bahamas experienced globalization, the cay was bought and turned into a private island. However, it still has a whiff of its olden days with the remains of a mansion and plain wreckage dotting its shallow waters.
Towards the end of your 3rd day in Bahamian waters, enjoy the stunning scenery and indulge in some local concoctions and aperitifs.
Sailing in Norman’s Cay – Things to Know
- Norman Cay is a private island
Mooring in Norman’s Cay – Things to Do
- Visit the wreckage of a mansion on a beach and a plane underwater
Yacht Charter Day 4 – Warderick Wells Cay
This is the day when you and your Bahamian chartered yacht enter the mid-section of the Exuma stretch. Warderick Wells Cay, officiated in 1958 as a land and sea reserve extending to more than 112,000 acres, still maintains its ecological balance. This is one prime reason why your charter will be piloted with more care. As you can guess, fishing is strictly prohibited.
Despite the ecological boundaries, you can explore much of Warderick Wells on foot. The beaches offer a blend of scenic views and a fresh breeze from the southwest. Its thriving marine life calls for a definite snorkeling dip underwater, which is bound to be one of your best experiences in the Bahamas.
Sailing in Warderick Wells – Things to Know
- Fishing is prohibited (no-take reserve) in Warderick Wells due to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
- Mooring can cost $20 and upwards
Mooring in Warderick Wells – Things to Do
- Hike through one of the walking trails
- Snorkeling or swimming in the shallow waters near the reserve
Yacht Charter Day 5 – Staniel Cay
Day 4 calls you to shun the snorkeling tubes and go for your swim of a lifetime.
That’s right! A day stop at the Staniel Cay signals one of the most Instagram-worthy experiences of your life: playing with the Bahamas’ famous swimming pigs. We mean, what is a Bahamian holiday without a pic with these permanent residents of the cay, majorly located at the Big Major’s Spot (Pig Island)! There’s also plenty of room (without the pigs) on the waters and the beaches for some kayaking and family picnicking respectively.
Spend your afternoon at the Thunderball Grotto and see if you can guess the spot from not one but two yesteryear James Bond films. Or skip the underwater hike and go swim with the baby sharks near the Staniel Cay marina.
Sailing in Staniel Cay – Things to Know
- Staniel Cay is an inhabited island with a population of roughly 100
- Staniel Cay Yacht Club charges for fuel, dockage, and power
- Carry some food like carrot and celery for the pigs
- The pigs may bite, so be careful
Mooring in Staniel Cay – Things to Do
- Visit the Thunderball Grotto
- Play with the Bahamas beach pigs at Big Major’s Spot
- Swim with a rich marine life consisting of parrotfish, grunt, and angelfish
Yacht Charter Day 6 – Eleuthera
Eleuthera is the last stop in our 6-day Bahamas yacht itinerary and thus comes with an obvious relaxation memo. This is because the cruise from Staniel Cay can take most of the day.
The small island itself located on the easternmost edge of the Bahamas is fascinating, with one side offering blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean for deep sea diving and the other the trademark Exumas sandy beaches with shallow Caribbean waters. But swim or dive, and you are bound to run into the incredible marine life (mostly turtles) that’s so omnipresent in these waters you’ll be tempted to stay a bit longer. The Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve is one such spot to focus on.
Eleuthera is one of the most underrated islands in the Bahamas and a pit stop is definitely worthwhile. Or say our patrons who prefer to enjoy a laidback evening on the island before heading back to Nassau. There are several resorts for a night-stay or more if you’d like to extend your Bahamas yacht itinerary.
Sailing in Eleuthera – Things to Know
- 4th most populated island in the Bahamas; population 11,000
- French Leave Harbour Resort charges for dockage and resort stay
Mooring in Eleuthera – Things to Do
- Explore the Glass Window Bridge, the skinniest road on the island cutting the Atlantic and the Caribbean
- Visit the French Leave Beach in the Governor’s Harbor
Yacht Charter Day 7 – Back to Nassau
The sail back to Nassau is the longest and can take about 6 hours. But thankfully there’s respite at the end as saying goodbye to the Bahamas and getting ready for your trip back home will be easier. The sail itself will be enthralling as you can sit back and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bahamas archipelago at a meandering pace.
We recommend spending a few hours post anchor on the island and exploring local delicacies and concoctions. By sundown, head to the airport in a taxi.