The 5th destination on the #wanderlustseries is a place most of you probably haven’t heard of: the EXUMAS! This chain of islands in the Bahamas were completely unknown to me just a few months back, until I started reading some travel blogs boasting about this hidden oasis. When most people envision (and visit) the Bahamas, their thoughts primarily consist of Nassau and Paradise Island, and Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. It’s nice to get away from it all every once in a while, isn’t it?! The Exumas consist of over 360 islands, with Great Exuma being the largest at just 37 miles in length. It is joined to another island, Little Exuma, by a small bridge. It’s sapphire-blue water, unspoiled beaches, and interesting wildlife (see pigs below!), it’s a place that has drastically risen on my bucket list. So where exactly are the Exumas?! See that little sailboat hanging out around Nassau? The Exumas are the string of islands a bit south, with some of it’s islands closer to Cuba than Miami. Top Things to See and Do: Snorkeling The Exumas are known for their snorkeling! With so much variety, from colorful reef fish to nurse sharks and sting rays, to snorkeling inside a cave (Thunderball Grotto), the Exumas provide a fabulous underwater playground to explore. Starfish Reserve The waters around the first few cays are known as the Starfish Reserve, where so many starfish can be found. With the water being extremely shallow, it’s rather easy to find them. You can pick them up- as long as you don’t keep them out of the water for too long. Look how big they are! Go Conch-Shell Diving Like conch salad? Would you like to try some? Go with a guide and they will be sure to find several conch shells. Your guide will then pull out the raw conch from the shell, and make some conch salad — the Bahamas’ version of ceviche. The dish also includes onions, peppers, lime and orange juice. Sounds tasty! Explore Stromatolites Stromatolites, the oldest known macro-fossils on Earth, can be commonly found in the Exumas, including Lee Stocking Island, Stocking Island, Highborne Cay, and Exuma Land and Sea Park. They are frequently buried by shifting sand, so will appear different at every viewing. Allen’s Caye Hundreds of wild iguanas live on Allen’s Caye. You can get super close and interact with them — all you’ll need are grapes and a stick! The iguanas are just waiting for snacks! Relax on Pelican Beach Spend a day (or two or three) relaxing on the Exumas’ prettiest beach: Tropic of Cancer, also known as Pelican Beach, located on Little Exuma. The snorkeling right off the beach is fantastic. Look out for a little white hut with benches and you’ll known you found it! Take a Sea-Jet Swim with Pigs (!!!) Never expected this, now did you?! If swimming with pigs is right down your alley, head on over to Big Major’s Cay. The pigs aren’t shy — they will swim in the water right near you, and even greet you as your boat pulls up to the island. Bring some scraps of food for even more fun! Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park The park, at 22 miles long, offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the country. This is mainly because it’s water has never been fished. For those who prefer land activities, there are numerous hiking trails (with gorgeous views) and some birding sites. Have I convinced you to plan a trip to the Exumas?! Would you ever swim with pigs?! I’d love to hear!