Located 80 miles south of Nassau is a 30-acre tropical paradise known as Princess Cays, Bahamas. This privately-owned cruise port is one of the highlights of visiting during a cruise. Lying on the southernmost tip of Eleuthera island, Princess Cays is not actually a cay but an extension of this beautiful Bahamian island.
As the name suggests, the island is owned exclusively by Princess Cruises, which has been generous enough to extend access to its sister cruise line, Carnival.
Featured as a port of call on Western Caribbean cruise itineraries. You would be mistaken to think that this small island doesn’t offer enough fun to rival the bigger stops on the itinerary. However, unlike other busy ports, Princess Cays is a refreshing change. That allows you to just relax and enjoy a perfect private beach day on its beautiful white or pink sandy beaches and the crystal clear blue ocean waters.
But beyond that, you will also have a chance to enjoy other fun activities that are listed in these 11 things to do in Princess Cays’ insider’s guide.
1. Beach it up
Due to the rocky nature and shallow waters of Princess Cays, cruise ships dock a few miles away from the port. Rendering it necessary to tender to the port.
Once at the port you are welcomed into the private beach resort by a long stretch of white sandy beaches dotted with palm trees everywhere, energetic Bahamian music and a burst of colors from the shopping area.
After familiarizing yourself with the facilities available on the 30-acre port. Including the buffet area, the lockers to store your personals, the market, bars and water rental shops. Head on to the beach on the left of the port’s entrance. And grab yourself a beach lounger or hammock to start the perfect beach day. Best of all, lounge chairs are in plenty, the only catch being you have to arrive early to get the ones under the shaded areas.
Princess Cays has a magnificent white sandy beach with crystal clear turquoise waters only rivaled by the beach wallpapers on postcards. If you do nothing else on your port day, other than resting on this beautiful beach it will still be more than enough fun for your vacation.
Plop yourself down on one of the sun loungers and soak in the sun and beautiful views. From here you will be able to enjoy a beautiful beach break. With the occasional splashing and swimming in the crystal clear turquoise water. If you get thirsty, there will be someone readily available to serve you a cold coco loco on a monkey head.
Enjoy the rest of your day, basking in the sun, snorkeling, swimming or engaging in other water activities and enjoy the best photo ops in this picturesque port.
If you prefer a more private experience, then consider renting one of the shorefront beach cabanas, that is just a walking distance from the water. Perfect for a group of 4 or a romantic getaway, these brightly painted colorful cabanas, are located in a private area of the beach. They are airconditioned, featuring a ceiling fan. And come with 4 chairs and a table, with plenty of room to store your stuff in. There are 2 loungers on the porch and two more in front of the cabana, under the shade of palm trees.
On top of that, you also get a personal concierge, transport to and from the cabanas and priority tender tickets as added perks. Enjoy your day at Princess Cays in style on one of these for only $199 a day. Book them early as they book out fast.
Since these private cabanas offer an adult sanctuary, you can take your kids to the nearby playground at Pelican Perch kid’s club. Here they get to build sand castles, slide down playground slides, swing and go through jungle gyms. The catch, however, is that you need to be near to keep an eye on them and since the place doesn’t have direct access to the ocean, most parents skip it and just hang out with their kids at the beach.
2. Go Snorkeling
For those of you who love snorkeling. You will enjoy a good snorkel adventure, just some few yards into the water. Rent snorkel gear or carry your own and see brightly colored fish and sponges in the waters right at the beach. For more experienced snorkelers who wish to have a better view.
Take up a cruise excursion often priced from $55. The excursion starts with you taking a boat tour out to some of the coral reefs in the Bahamian waters. Enjoy the scenic view, the cool ocean breeze on the relaxing boat trip to a better snorkeling spot.
On the other hand, save the extra bucks by going over to the secluded beach on the right side of the port entrance and still enjoy some snorkeling there. The area has more fishes and will afford you an even better glimpse into the life of sea folks.
Note: this area is quite rocky, so carry good water shoes. And also make sure to stay within the protection lines.
3. Go Kayaking
The best way to explore the beautiful coastline of Princess Cays is via a kayak. Go kayaking along the island and enjoy the scenic views of the island from a different angle. Or book an excursion to tour the tranquil lagoon found in the mangrove forest on the island.
Get on a transparent kayak and enjoy viewing marine life both in and out of the water. While paddling gently along the mangrove, with a guide explaining the characteristics of the place while pointing out animals, birds, and plants in the area. Have an opportunity to sight sea creatures such as turtles, angelfish, clownfish, eels and a diverse bird life while on this excursion which will cost you $40.
4. Try Out a Water Sport
Princess Cays offers a perfect opportunity to try out that crazy fun water sport that you have secretly desired to. The most popular thing to do in this port, apart from beaching it up, is engaging in a water sport of some kind.
To cater to this need, the port avails a host of all imaginable water toys and instruments. Starting with paddle boards, large aqua bikes, banana boat rides, sails, floaters, water noodles even a reef board with a see-through window for snorkelers who don’t want to get wet.
Go on an exhilarating ride on the banana boat and hold on while being pulled through the waters at great speeds. Or glide smoothly along the islands coastal line on a paddleboard, enjoying a scenic view of the place, while testing your stamina in balancing the board.
Or engage in some tomfoolery riding the large adult aqua bike, you are guaranteed laughter and a good time to last you a lifetime. If you don’t want to leave your partner behind, then try paddle wheelers, the two in one kayak.
And for the laid-back individual, try the glass-bottomed boat tours. For a relaxing zero-exertion, scenic trip to the coral reefs a-far-off to explore Bahamian sea life in style. All these items can be rented out from $5 to $30 a day.
5. Go fishing
Try your luck in fishing at this part of the Bahamas which is famous for its concentration of a vast variety of fish life. Book a shore excursion or enlist the help of a local fisherman. And take a laid-back boat ride to one of the many fishing spots in the area.
Throw your line in with your hook and bait and wait for the tagging, to reveal your catch. After all, is done, take photos with your catch, and gain a new fish tale to tell your buddies back at home. This excursion charges anywhere from $30.
6. Scenic Drive Through Rock Sound
Embrace the local cultures at Eleuthera island by immersing yourself in their ways and history, on this excursion.
Take a scenic tour of Rock Sound, one of the closest villages to the port. Explore its lush vegetation, beautiful 18th-century architecture, and quaint little villages, taking in the scenic view. While your guide narrates to you the history of the place which was a haven for pirates.
Visit the famous ocean hole on Rock Sound, which is one of the most important tourist sites in the area. The bottomless hole is a unique phenomenon, featuring a large hole filled with sea water. Whose water levels rises and lowers in tandem with sea tides of the sea a mile away. Get a glimpse of the colorful sea life in the hole, taking photos to remember the place by.
Though Rock Sound is a quiet town with declining populations, resultant from urban migration. The locals still available are very welcoming and friendly. Finish this tour by visiting lighthouse beach, which has gorgeous white and pink sandy beaches. You will pay $80 or more for this excursion, depending on your cruise line.
7. Dune Buggy Adventure
For the adventure seeker, take a rough tour of Eleuthera in a dune buggy. Take an off beaten path through rough and bumpy roads in the uneven landscape. Visiting places like the sleepy Bannerman town which some say is haunted.
Going through ancient church ruins and visiting nature trails where your guide will describe the flora and fauna of the island. For the bird person, enjoy the over 220 bird species that call the nature reserve in this place, home.
This ride will also take you to the picture-perfect lighthouse beach, which features soft white/pink powdery sandy beaches. Get a panoramic view of the entire surrounding area from the lighthouse at the beach.
Climb the hills made out of limestone, which sometimes raises up to 100 feet above ground and enjoys the scenic views taking as many photos as possible. This adventure will part you with a cool $170 for a buggy of 2 people a day.
8. Explore the Island on Bike Tour
If the speedy rough challenge that a dune buggy adventure presents isn’t your thing. Then take the almost similar tour on a bike and explore the place more up close. This excursion will take you from the port along the mangrove, the lagoon, and the hilly countryside. Where you will visit the Leon Lavy Native Plant Reserve.
A friendly guide will help you learn about the place by pointing out important features about the flora and fauna of the island. End this trip, with a visit to the wishing well on Princess Cays and maybe wish to stay there forever. Enjoy the island bike tour for $30 or more.
9. A Sting Ray Encounter?
Take this exciting trip to a private beach, where you and a small group will be led into the shallow waters for an encounter with harmless southern stingrays. Once in the water, the stingrays will approach you as is their habit. Feed them while you pet them, feeling their silky-smooth skin on you.
The guides will explain everything you need to know about these beautiful and unusual sea creatures. Afterward, you will head back to the beach, where you will have a chance to also explore other sea animals in the show and tell. Learn about the starfish and popular conch which is also the island’s staple food. Enjoy this trip for just $40.
Enjoy a hearty buffet style beach BBQ lunch. There is a buffet stop at the port that offers barbeque burgers, hotdogs, salads and fruit salads. The lunch served on Princess Cays is an extension of the ship’s menu. The buffet area opens from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30p.m. When you get hungry, join any one of the 4 lines at the lunch point and grab an open-air table under the shade of the buffet shack. The meal is good, with very few to zero complaints.
Drinks are served in plenty on the island, ask any of the waiters roaming on the beach to bring you a drink and they will. Depending on which cruise line you came on, your drink package might work or not work on the island. There are at least 5 bars at the port, four of them found on the main beachside, that includes Coconuts, Palm groove, Bahia bar and Banana beach bar.
On the right side of the port, where it’s more secluded you can find the Reef Runners bar. Enjoy local Kalik beer, and a wide variety of coconut and margarita concoctions. While dancing to the tune of island rhythms.
11. Island Shopping
Visit the colorful market at the port and shop for beautiful unique souvenirs at the local crafter’s lane or visit Princess’ Tropical Treasure Boutique also located at the port. Relax and buy whatever attracts your eye, the shops accept your room card.
Over to You at Princess Cays, Bahamas
Now that you know all the fun things that await you at Princess Cays. Come on and start planning your next trip there and get to scratch some of these amazing cool things to do, off your list.
Don’t worry about the weather, the island experiences tropical temperatures all year round. With a small temperature variation of 20°F. The sunniest and warmest months are from May to August, where the temperatures can get up to a high of 90°F. The coldest months are from November to March with temperatures falling as low as 67°F. If you don’t like a raining vacation, then you can skip August all through October.
Word of advice, however, book excursions or the beach cabanas as early as possible to avoid missing your favorite activity. Don’t forget to carry plenty of sunscreens, a hat, and water to drink. But most importantly don’t forget to relax and have fun. Happy cruising!