Stocking Island, though small, is a popular day trip from Great Exuma Island for tourists looking for a laid back spot to enjoy good food and a day at the beach. It is rare that people stay on this island their extended vacation, but is possible, and if you're planning to do so it is important to know all about your transportation options.
Due to the lack of an airport on the island, tourists will have to look into all of their options before planning their trip to Stocking Island. Flying to a nearby island and then hiring a boat is certainly a possibility, as is sailing yourself.
There are no roads on Stocking Island, an attribute that locals have worked hard to maintain in order to keep up the natural appeal. For tourists, this means the primary mode of transportation will be to walk or bicycle from place to place.
Locals, meanwhile, make use of boats to get around. If you are adept at sailing, you can rent a boat of your own, but there are also plenty of people who make their living sailing tourists around so hiring a boat to take you from place to place shouldn't be an issue.
Tourists who choose to fly as close to Stocking Island as possible will fly into the Exuma International Airport on Great Exuma, which is just a mile away from the island. Flights are available several times daily from South Florida, or once weekly from Toronto, Canada aboard larger commercial airlines, or from New Providence Island in the Bahamas on a small domestic flight.
... before you can step foot on land...
Whether you're sailing on your own, or traveling aboard a crewed yacht, there are a few steps that must be taken before you can step foot on land on Stocking Island. Because Stocking Island is not an official port of entry, your first stop will be to nearby George Town on. You'll sail in with your yellow quarantine flag up to let immigrations and customs know that you have not yet obtained official entry to the country. As you approach George Town, place a call to VHF Channel 16, so that someone from customs will meet you when you dock.
This official will walk you through the inspection process, which will include having everyone on board fill out immigration paperwork. Once approved, you'll be responsible for a fee of between $150 and $300(USD) that will cover your 90 day cruising permit, fishing permit, and departure fee.
Because most people who visit Stocking Island do so just for a few hours, the ferry from George Town is what brings most people to the island. The ferry is run by Club Peace & Plenty, a resort on Great Exuma, that offers the service for guests of the hotel free of charge, and $12(USD) for those who are not staying on property. The trip takes about 20 minutes and departs twice daily at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
As you plan your trip to Stocking Island, you'll quickly learn how few transportation options are available. While this may be upsetting to those who like to have a lot to choose from, it does make planning your trip to this tiny island getaway easier than you could have ever imagined.
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