POWER YOUR WAY ACROSS ALMOST 250KM OF THIS HEAVENLY DESERT ISLAND CHAIN ON SEA KAYAK, BIKE AND FOOT.
White sands as far as the eye can see, uninhabited desert islands, bath-tub warm turquoise seas, turtles bobbing up to say hello, sand bars teeming with wildlife, sunken wrecks, palm trees bristling in the wind and the clearest waters on Planet Earth. Includes private plane transfer and luxury private catamaran support vehicle throughout.
SIGN UP NOW FOR ONLY*
*price per month, depending on departure date, click here for more info on pricing
15 - 22 MAY / 2024
13 - 20 MAY / 2026
10 MILES (16.3 KM) ON FOOT + 36.6 MILES (59KM) ON BIKE + 93 MILES (150 KM) ON KAYAK
EXUMA ISLANDS, BAHAMAS
8 DAYS /
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
For this adventure you do need to be a relatively competent kayaker with experience in a sea kayak
7 nights accommodation / hotel and camping.
All meals during activity days included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew. Tips in restaurants not included. Kayak snacks and lunch rations not included.
Airport transfers and private Catamaran return to Nassau included.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional water safety support and private catamaran support vehicle.
Kayaks and all associated equipment rental.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks prior to your departure date.
White sands as far as the eye can see, uninhabited desert islands, bath-tub warm turquoise seas, turtles bobbing up to say hello, sand bars teeming with wildlife, sunken wrecks, palm trees bristling in the wind and the clearest waters on Planet Earth.
The Exumas, sometimes referred to as the Out Islands, are a remote and largely uninhabited chain of tiny sparkling specks of land in the Bahamas, shimmering on the far fringes of the Caribbean Sea. Making up one side of the fabled Bermuda Triangle, this incredible marine environment really is the epitome of what most people conjure when they think of a worldly paradise. The photos almost don’t seem real. But this challenge is 100% the real deal: A full-on multisport traverse of this heavenly slice of the Caribbean. Featuring some running and cycling stages, our adventure is largely focussed on the use of ocean-going sea kayaks to power your way across almost 250km of this Heavenly desert island chain, island-hopping from beach camp to beach camp as we complete a full traverse from south to north.
The overall distance is approximately 250km. After the initial first day on foot and bike, the heavy-lifting is done with multiple back to back days in the kayaks, interspersed with short foot-based sections on some of the islands, to keep the legs pumping. The real essence of this adventure unfolds at sea level of course, with the crystal-clear waters enveloping you and white sand stretching out underneath and all around you, as far as the eye can see.
The following schedule outlines our proposed itinerary and the disciplines and approximate mileages, too. Please note at this stage, the plan is approximate. Distances, daily stages and in-trip logistics may change between now and departure and even during the trip, such is the nature of this major adventure undertaking.
DAY ONE: MEET AT GREAT EXUMA INTERNATIONAL, REGISTRATION AND KAYAK SKILLS
We ask that you arrive on an early flight from Nassau into Great Exuma (or arrive early and soak up the Caribbean vibes!). We will transfer everyone from the airport to our comfortable beachside accommodation. There will be some introductory safety briefings and we will check your kit to ensure you have everything you need for this predominantly ocean-based adventure. There will also be an orientation with the kayaks so we can check everyone is good to go with the gear we are going to be using for the next few days. We will follow this up with dinner on us and this is a great chance to meet the rest of the group and bond over a couple of Sands Light local brewskies – or a classic Caribbean cocktail or two.
MEALS: N/A. Find yourself a local eatery or come and sit with the Rat Race crew.
DAY TWO: EXUMA FILES BEGINS! RUN THROUGH THE TROPIC OF CANCER AND HIT THE BIKES
DISTANCE: Approx 16km on foot / 59km on the bikes
We will transfer early-doors to the very southern tip of Little Exuma Island to commence the Exuma Files. First up is half-marathon-worth on foot, including a stunning beach run section along the length of Tropic of Cancer Beach – which – you guessed it – runs right through the Tropic of Cancer line of latitude. After some very hot, sweaty miles, you will jump on the bikes for 55km up the length of Great Exuma to finish the day’s action at the picturesque dock at Barreterre. Whilst there is very little elevation here, the heat is extraordinarily harsh and it will sap your strength. Go easy today as there’s a long way to go! After the stage we will transfer you all back to the hotel for a mighty big feed.
MEALS: Breakfast, Pit Stop support, Dinner
DAY THREE: PADDLE INTO PARADISE: BARRETERRE TO LINGUMVITAE CAY
DISTANCE: Approx 25km on kayaks
Transferring again to Barreterre where we finished on the bikes yesterday, now it’s time to come face to the face with the lion’s share of the effort – the kayak traverse of the upper Cays from Great Exuma to Norman’s Cay.
We will spend some time sorting boats and kit and ensuring you are all outfiited with everything you need. Then, moving off in pods of similar speeds/ abilities, we will make our way in a grand flotilla away from Great Exuma and into the big blue yonder.
Our stage today isn’t very long – around 25km in total. But with a bit of tide running against us and the wind just in the wrong place, it could be punchy. It’s a good ‘opener’ for you to get used to what lies ahead over the next few days. We will hope for the prevailing southerlies/ south-westerlies to speed us north anyway, stopping enroute at a lovely little Pit Stop where there is a sunken cave for a refreshing dip.
As you reach the end of the stage at Lingumvitae Cay, you will pull the boats ashore onto a pristine deserted island and strng up your hammock between the palms. Dinner will be served on the beach, with the sun setting on a perfect first day’s paddling in the Exumas. This is only just the beginning…
ACCOMMODATION: Beach camp.
MEALS: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Camp Dinner
DAY FOUR: SNORKEL A SUNKEN PIANO AND OTHER EXUMA ODDITIES: LINGUMVITAE TO BLACKPOINT
DISTANCE: Approx 40km
As we pull away from Lingumvitae we will pass between Darby and Little Darby Islands and you’ll witness one of those classic Exuma scenes that you will get so accustomed to over the next few days – a lagoon-like section of sea between Cays, with a pure-sand bottom. It is like paddling through the world’s most picturesque open-air pool – the water all the time maintaining bathtub warm temperatures.
As we approach Musha Cay about 12km into today’s stage – an island owned by the magician David Copperfield – an unusual opportunity for a dip will occur. Sunken on the seabed in shallow water is Copperfield’s Piano, complete with mermaid seated and tickling the ivories. You will have some time to take a refreshing dive down to the Piano while having a well-earned snack. Back in the boats, we are now making for the small informal settlement of Blackpoint for some pizza, before kayaking onto the northern tip of Great Guana Cay to camp with the Iguanas.
It’s time to turn into the hammocks and enjoy the sound of the sea lapping away metres away from where you’re sleeping. Utter bliss.
ACCOMMODATION: Beach camp
MEALS: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Pizza at Blackpoint
DAY FIVE: FACE TO FACE WITH THE SWIMMING PIGS: BLACKPOINT TO O BRIENS CAY
DISTANCE: Approx 40km
This is the biggest mileage day so far and is crammed full of interest and action from the water. 15km into the day, we make our way first to 15km to yachties’ favourite Staniel Cay, home to the world-famous Exuma Swimming Pigs and also the Thunderball Grotto – a beautiful sunken cave feature used in the eponymous Bond movie.
As we move away from the superyachts and beach vibes of Staniel, we are back into island wilderness as we approach the boundary of the Exuma Land and Sea Park – a protected area with virtually no development within it – and teaming with marine life of all descriptions.
Part of the appeal of the Exumas as a kayaking undertaking is the variety of tidal and other sea conditions we experience. Although the tidal range is not enormous, the tides and currents do rip through the gaps between some of the islands, creating exciting ‘tidal race’ features and other marine phenomena. We will likely witness some of these features today and throughout the trip as we make our way hopping from island to island. These ‘crossings’ between islands are always exciting – and none more so than what lies ahead tomorrow.
ACCOMMODATION: Beach camp
MEALS: Breakfast (brunch at Staniel Cay), Catamaran dinner
DAY SIX: THE CROSSING: O BRIENS CAY TO HAWKSBILL CAY
DISTANCE: Approx 30km
Deep now within the Land and Sea Park, we head for Shroud Cays where we will put into the HQ of the Land and Sea Park before attempting what we dub simply as ‘The Crossing.’ We have been doing mini crossings of varying distances between islands and cays throughout our passage thus far, but today a bigger crossing looms large. As we depart Shroud Cays, we pass some smaller rock features before carrying out a much longer and exposed sea crossing to Hawksbill Cay. We may experience bigger swells and waves here as we are exposed to the full force of the open Ocean. Embrace the thrill as we head for the sheltered waters and one of the most beautiful cays on the trip: Our destination for the night – Hawksbill Cay.
ACCOMMODATION: Beach camp
MEALS: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Catamaran Dinner
DAY SEVEN: JOURNEY’S END – VIA A SUNKEN PLANE WRECK: HAWKSBILL CAY TO NORMANS CAY
DISTANCE: Approx 21km
Whilst today is a shorter day in the boats, you will be weary from the constant attrition of the paddling, salt and sand everywhere and the general battering you may be feeling by now, at the hands of the Ocean.
We have a couple of shorter crossings to contend with, which ultimately bring us to the mangroves of Shroud Cay. A brief paddle through the mangroves changes our scenery to a new paddling experience – and the heat in these sheltered waters will likely turn intense, far from the cool of that constant Caribbean sea breeze.
Towards the end of the stage you will see Norman’s Cay looming on the horizon – Journey’s End. Situated around 1km offshore from Norman’s is one of the area’s most interesting and famous wrecks – that of a 1970s drug-smuggling plane which crashed on take-off from Norman’s when the island was owned by one of Columbia’s most notorious cartel figures. Lying in around 3 metres of water, it provides a final evocative Pit Stop for us to anchor up our support boats as you dive down and snorkel on the wreck, with tropical fish flitting in and out of the windows of its rusting hulk.
A few more km now and it really will be journey’s end as you pull up to our uniquely Caribbean finishline on the beach outside the legendary MacDuff’s bar. The beers are on us, as we toast a quite incredible week together adventuring in the Exumas.
MEALS: Breakfast, Snack Lunch, Celebration Dinner plus a couple of beers on us.
DAY EIGHT: AN EXTRAORDINARY WAY TO END AN EXTRAORDINARY TRIP: PRIVATE CATAMARAN BACK TO NASSAU
After having breakfast on the private yacht, the crew will sail you back to Nassau. You can learn to sail and help the crew or you can relax and unwind with the wind whistling through you hair and a cocktail in hand. This is such an incredible way to finish the trip as you sail away from Norman’s Cay across the Caribbean Sea. We wave you goodbye at the marina in Nassau, where our itinerary ends. Talk about finishing on a high. Wow – what an adventure!
ACCOMMODATION: N/A – Depart from Nassau International, or spend the night in Nassau with accommodation at your own discretion
MEALS: Breakfast and lunch. Service and itinerary ends upon arrival at the marina in Nassau
Our accommodation is characterised by two comfortable hotel nights, 1 night on a catamaran and 4 nights’ beach camping either in hammocks or tents. You are also able to spend some additional nights in the catamaran if camping is not your thing.
Our beach camps underline the very essence of the Exuma Files experience. The ability to string up your hammock* or put up your tent and gaze out on a Caribbean sunset with the sea lapping at a white sand beach yards away is simply sublime. Add to this our legendary campsite & catamaran catering – with local barbecue and loads of other goodies – then you onto a sensational way to end the day – every day – whilst on the water.
*Don’t worry if hammocks are new to you – we will help you out and will have pre-selected decent tree locations
All hotel accommodation is always offered on shared room basis. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant/s of the same sex in a twin room unless you take any available single supplement. If you have preferences for who you share with, you are able to specify that prior to departure.
This accommodation is of a very good, clean standard. Bathroom facilities could be shared or en-suite and in general, the style of accommodation is always in keeping with the vibe of the area we find ourselves in – and always cosy and comfortable.
Where we eat at a hotel, or nearby restaurant, Rat Race will always provide meal choices and/ or a set menu, with Gluten intolerant and Vegan options. You will be responsible for your own drinks in all instances.
We will always offer a hearty breakfast, both in the hotels and at the beach camps during activity days.
We will provide you with a calorie dense meal at the end of each activity day. At the hotels, this will be as it-down affair and when we are beach camping, the food will be plentiful and hearty. This will be a real highlight of the experience. At all times, we will cater for dietary intolerances and choices.
You will pay for your own drinks in the hotels and and Rat Race will run a pay-as-you-go beach bar at our camps. We will ensure our special beach bar is stocked with some real Caribbean favourites. When we get to journey’s end at Norman’s Cay, your final couple of drinks are on us.
Throughout the trip, all other beverages are on you. In all cases where we provide catering, we will cater for all reasonable dietary requirements and will always ensure there are Gluten-intolerant and Vegan options available.
During the challenge we will endeavour to set-up our famously well-stocked Pit Stops when on your run and cycle journey at the roadside. You will carry your own snacks (and stock up from ours) on the boats also – meaning you always have snacks aplenty onboard.
On kayak stage will typically be set-up lunch from our mobile ‘floating’ support team at set spots on the route. Sometimes you will be given lunch and a snack as 'packed lunch', it all depends on the route for the day and the changing tide and ocean currents. We will sometimes anchor up the boats and physically do this ‘at sea’ or on a sandbar. At other times, we will come ashore and position the pit stops on stunning white sand beaches. At all times we will ensure that participants have access to adequate sustenance and supplies to keep them energised throughout all stages.
Pit stops will typically have a minimum of the following available:
Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Salty snacks – such as chips and peanuts.
A fruit option – such as oranges or bananas.
Sweets – such as Skittles (vegan) and local speciality sweet candy treats.
Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have – if you use gels and other such products – you should plan to bring these with you. If you have any special dietary requirements then please also plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional, catering to as broad a mix of needs and diets as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.
Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard. We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your tshirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.
No problem. Where we use hotels, rooms are offered on a twin / shared basis. If you wish to share with a fellow participant, you will be asked to add this information to your event participation from which we will issue you with approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event.