Tourists are often a necessary evil to locals. In Exuma, the economy largely depends on these visitors, but that doesn’t mean residents are always happy with them. Mostly, it comes down to respect. What is a carefree vacation to some is a place full of sentimental value and home to others. Here are the top things tourists do that Exuma locals hate.
1. Leaving Behind Trash
Exuma has some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Its waters are crystal clear and hauntingly blue. The sand is white and powdery. It offers wildlife from ancient stromatolites to stingrays. The stunning landscape of Exuma is part of what brings in the tourists.
Locals love the land just as much, if not more, than the tourists that flock to the beaches for the perfect picture. And they would like to preserve it, which is why there is nothing worse to locals than when tourists leave behind trash. Trash left behind not only pollutes the beaches and water, but it also poses serious health risks to the local wildlife in the area. So do the land and the locals a favor and pick up after yourself.
2. Stealing Nature
Tourists could blame ignorance on this, but now Exuma has posted up tons of signs warning guests about this. Please don’t take nature home with you as “souvenirs”. Exuma has tons of coral reefs and even a beautiful starfish reservation, and locals would like all of that beauty to stay where it is. People may not realize this but coral and starfish are living things and taking them home to sit on a dusty bookshelf are just plain rude and wrong. Leave the nature where it belongs.
3. Feeding The Pigs
There is no doubt that the biggest attraction in Exuma lately is the famous swimming pigs. These adorable swine love to be fed- they even swim up to the boats for it! But these animals can’t, and shouldn’t, be fed anything. Most guides bring along safe food now, but tourists that rent their own boats don’t get this guidance. Please don’t feel the pigs’ junk food, beer, or other harmful things. If you want to know what food is best for them as some of the locals, they would be more than happy to help.
4. Complaining About The Weather
If you come to Exuma during the rainy season, expect it to rain. If you visit during the dry season expect it to be hot. Like any place, Exuma has its weather seasons. It always baffles locals when tourists show up in the middle of hurricane season and do nothing but complain about rain. Do some research beforehand so you know what to expect, and don’t be upset when the worst happens. The Bahamas is located in the Caribbean, which is hot, sunny, and humid. No amount of complaining will change that so just sit back and enjoy the positives of it like the locals do.
5. Expecting A City
Exuma is made up of a chain of small islands. It has a laid-back, beachy vibe that runs on island time. It’s remote location means that almost everything has to be imported, from food to construction materials. That makes it hard to build towering infrastructures. Locals hate when tourists arrive and expect the chill community to be a big bustling city. Exuma isn’t trying to be that, and it won’t be for a long time if ever, so if that’s what you’re looking for this isn’t the vacation for you.
6. Not Listening To Locals
If a local is telling you not to do something, chances are there is a good reason for it. Whether it’s them telling you not to feed the sharks while in the water, or them telling you not to take a certain path, do yourself a favor and listen to them. Locals know the area they live in, and they’ve watched other tourists before you make the same mistakes.
7. Acting Rude
Look, locals understand this is your vacation and you want a fun, relaxing time. But tourists need to understand that Exuma is home to people. Acting rude or like you’re better than the locals won’t get you far. Have respect for the people that work and live in the place you are visiting.
When you come to Exuma as a tourist there are only two things you need to do- have fun and be respectful, to both the land and the people. If you do that then locals will embrace you, not to mention you’ll get way more out of your trip!