Allen Cay Yacht Charters
Located just 30 minutes from Nassau, horseshoe-shaped Allen Cay is the gateway to the Exumas. One of the northernmost islands in the Exumas chain, Allen Cay is home to beautiful anchorages and postcard-worthy beaches. But the real draw are the Allen’s Cay rock iguanas.
You’ll notice them right away, as several live right on the beach and wade in the surf. And at nearly three-feet in length, they’re hard to miss. As a stop on a Nassau yacht charter, Allen Cay is a must-see. Just make sure to bring some lettuce or grapes to feed the lizards!
Want to plan your trip to Allen Cay? Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Iguana Beach on Allen Cay.
How to See the Allen Cay Iguanas
Allen Cay – which is actually three islands, including Allen Cay, Leaf Cay and Southern Allen Cay – is located a short cruise from Nassau, about 45 minutes. As Allen Cay is uninhabited, you can only reach the island by boat. There are great anchorages off the southern shore. Then take a tender or dingy ride to the so-called “Iguana Beach.”
Although they’re commonly referred to as Allen Cay iguanas, they’re officially known as Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas. These reptiles are native to the Exumas islands, and although there is a half dozen or so islands with iguana populations, Allen Cay has the largest “mess” (which is the term for a group of iguanas). Be sure to bring your camera! A few facts about the Northern Bahamian rock iguanas:
- Don’t get too close – Wild iguanas can be aggressive if you get too close. Stay back as you feed the lizards. One trick: Try feeding them grapes or cherry tomatoes on sticks, because they can bite, especially when grabbing food.
- They’re fairly big – Northern Bahamian rock iguanas can get pretty big, up to 3 feet and nearly 30 pounds, which is about the size of a terrier. They also live long lives, up to 40 years old in the wild.
- Go during the day – As cold-blooded reptiles, your best bet is to head to Allen Cay on a sunny day. (That’s fairly easy considering the Exumas get nearly 300 sunny days a year!) You won’t find them at night either. Try sunup to sunset.
- Bring the right foods – The iguanas love fruits and veggies. Grapes, bananas, lettuces and apples are all favorite foods.
Do be respectful around the iguanas. The Northern Bahamian rock iguana is critically endangered, and according to the Iguana Foundation, they were believed to be extinct in the early 1900s.
There are just an estimated 5,000 animals left in the wild. In addition to Allen Cay, you’ll find iguanas, as far south as Leaf Cay and Adderly Cay, as well as Bitter Guana Cay in the middle region of the Exumas. There is also a population on Andros Island.
Allen Cay Yacht Charters: Anchorages and Marinas
Allen Cay is the perfect stop in the Exumas for an overnight, and Bahamas yacht charters have many ways to visit these islands. They include:
- Anchorage – The lagoon is a favorite anchorage for smaller yachts, as it’s protected from winds. Larger yachts will find anchorage in the northwest of the Allen Cay islands.
- Marina – There isn’t a marina at Allen Cay, but there is one nearby at Highbourne Cay. With accommodations for yachts up to 180 feet, this is a favorite superyacht destination in the Exumas.
What Else to Do on Allen Cay
After you’ve spent some time getting to know the iguanas, there’s still plenty to do on Allen Cay. A few must-do activities include:
- Diving – Just north of the islands, they are two great reef dive spots, Ray’s Reef and Barracuda Reef. They’re not as visited as other spots, and both are great for beginners in just about 30 feet of water.
- Relax on the Beach – Allen Cay is horseshoe shaped, and its home to a protected beach at its apex. Spend an afternoon lazing on the white-sand beach.
- Kayaking – There’s plenty to explore by kayak in Allen Cay. Just off the southern shore, there are several tiny islands, and the lagoon is a great spot to paddle.
What’s Nearby: Exploring the Surroundings
Being so close to Nassau, Allen Cay and the iguanas is a short cruise to the best of the northern Exumas. Highbourne Cay, Norman’s Cay, and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park are all just a short cruise away. Some of the best spots to see after visiting Allen Cay include:
- Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park – This sprawling 176 square mile National Park is home to some of the best snorkeling in the world. One of the largest barrier reefs in the world, the protected park offers a glimpse into pristine nature. Stop at Shroud Cay, a great snorkeling spot as you enter the park.
- Snorkel a Plane Wreck – Norman’s Cay, just south of Iguana Beach, is a quiet island known for its sandy beaches. One must-see destination is the plane wreck, located off the island’s east coast.
- Stop at the Beach Club – The Norman Cay Beach Club is home to one of the best beach bars in the Exumas – MacDuff’s. Stop in and enjoy a cocktail in this breezy cabana bar.
- Fishing – The waters around Allen Cay are a world-class destination for sport fishing. In particular, stop here for bone fishing in the flats, or stick to the deepwater for barracuda and tarpon.
- Hiking at Highbourne Cay – The private island Highbourne Cay offers numerous amenities, including a spa, cabanas and a beach bar. The hiking trails, though, are a favorite to-do. Hike the sandy trails and enjoy an afternoon in solitude.
Ready to plan your visit to Allen Cay? Contact a charter broker with Worldwide Boat to learn more about luxury Exumas yacht charter vacations. Allen Cay is the perfect itinerary stop on a visit to the northern Exumas.