16 Issues to Do in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas [2019 Must-Do Guide]

In search of some Half Moon Cay ideas?  You’ve come to the correct place.  There are some must-try actions on this island and a few issues you may skip.

Half Moon Cay (Little San Salvador Island) is a crescent-shaped personal island owned by Carnival Cruise Line and used seasonally by Holland America Line.

Carnival cruise ships make over 200 stops a yr at this picturesque personal resort, and it’s one of the crucial widespread stops for cruises within the Bahamas.

In actual fact, for a lot of cruisers the cease at Half Moon Cay is the spotlight of their cruise.    With a wide range of cruise shore excursions to select from this can be a personal island with one thing for everybody.

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RELATED:  See the 5 Greatest Cruise Personal Islands as voted by our readers.

What’s There to Do in Half Moon Cay? 

On this submit we’ll information you thru the finest issues to do on the island and provide you with greater than sufficient causes to get off the ship.

Swimming, snorkeling, diving, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, sunbathing, and horseback using are only a few of the excursions you may take pleasure in on Half Moon Cay.  Our full checklist is under.

There’s a straw market on Half Moon Cay the place residents from close by islands will come and promote some souvenirs and native items.  Whereas this could be a handy place to choose up some presents for individuals again house, understand that it’s not a really massive market, and it has restricted selection.

However if you wish to do some procuring that is the place on the island to do it.

The place’s the dock?  Nicely, there isn’t one proper now.  You’ll have to take tenders forwards and backwards out of your ship, however it’s a brief 15 or 20-minute boat trip on a few of the most pristine water you’ll ever see.  Simply have a look at it as a free tour.

As soon as on the island you will notice an entrance saying “Welcome to the Pirates Cove”, and the pirate theme could be very evident.

half moon cay bahamas

Some Data About Half Moon Cay

First, let’s be taught a bit about this personal island earlier than we get into all of the fantastic issues you are able to do right here.

Positioned nearly 100 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, Half Moon Cay is one in every of 700 islands that make of the archipelago of the Bahamas.

The island is over 6 sq. miles in measurement, however solely about 2% has been developed with a view to keep as a lot wildlife and pure fauna as potential.  Many cruisers don’t understand that there’s extra to Little San Salvador than simply the heavenly seashores.

facts, stats on half moon cay

Is Meals Included at Half Moon Cay?

Sure.  Whether or not you’re crusing with Carnival or Holland America there’s a free buffet on the eating pavilion that provides a wide range of meals, together with Caribbean barbecue.  Extra on this under.

Final Record of Issues to Do in Half Moon Cay

Try a few of the excursions and free actions I like to recommend when cruising to this unique patch of land.

 1.  Go to Half Moon Seaside

Some have referred to as this seaside the closest factor to an untouched Bahamas that you could find.  Not solely is it clear, stunning, and accommodating, however there are handy locations close by to get a refreshment or use the services.

The sand is okay and mushy, and Half Moon Seaside is the very first thing you will notice as your tender approaches the island.  There are normally loads of loungers to select from, however the additional down the seaside you stroll the much less crowded it is going to be.

This could be a nice excursion-free go to, and also you don’t have to fret about any pushy distributors attempting to promote you souvenirs whilst you chill out.   There are, nevertheless, loads of Carnival or Holland America workers close by to assist with any points you might have.  In case you want some seaside time in your cruise, that is positively the place to take pleasure in it.

In case you get off the ship early one can find loads of loungers accessible, however the space of the seaside closest to the tenders will refill quick because the day rolls on.

You’ll be able to lease a clam shell so you may have some shade on the seaside, however it would be best to guide that upfront to ensure they aren’t all taken.  There are a number of timber that supply shade additional down the seaside, however in addition they require that you’re additional away from the water.

Half Moon Seaside is about 2 miles lengthy however there are about 10 miles of seaside across the island.

Half Moon Beach hammock

2.  Take pleasure in Captain Morgan’s Pirate Ship

The enduring Captain Morgan pirate ship can simply be seen out of your ship earlier than you ever get to the island.  Go forward and test it out.  There are 3 ranges to the ship.  The underside 2 ranges are a part of the bar and the highest deck permits for excellent photo-ops of the ship and the pristine blue water.

No journey to Half Moon Cay is full with out boarding the Captain Morgan and bellowing out a number of of your finest pirate-impersonating expressions.

Observe:  There are 3 different bars on the island as effectively, together with the primary bar close to the Welcome Heart and the “I Want I May Keep Right here Endlessly” bar which additionally makes for an important photo-op.

half moon cay things to do
Captain Morgan’s ship on the correct and Seaside Villas on the left at Half Moon Cay.

3.  Go All-in on a Personal Seaside Villa

A few of the coolest cabanas within the Bahamas might be discovered on this personal island.   However if you would like the last word in beach-front luxurious you may improve to the Seaside Villa.

These are 2-story cabins, brightly coloured and completely fitted for a reprieve to your day on the seaside.   These villas have a 5-person sizzling tub, A/C, a fridge, a eating space, a misting bathe, and a non-public balcony on each ranges.

Recent fruit, veggies, chips, and snacks can be supplied for you in addition to mushy drinks and bottled water.

Even floating mats and snorkel gear are supplied for you whilst you have this villa to your group all day.

All of this and it’s solely steps from the water.

The fee is $599 and is sweet for as much as 8 individuals with a surcharge for any additional visitors.  It would look like some huge cash, however it averages out to about $75 per individual and affords a way more relaxed and handy time at Half Moon Seaside.

You can too get an ordinary cabana for rental beginning at $359 that has area for as much as 4 individuals.

4.  Splurge on the Personal Oasis

Lots of people don’t even find out about this selection.  The Personal Oasis is a 1,620 sq. foot personal cabana that has a walkway that leads proper into the pristine turquoise water.   The new tub, hammock, loungers, and full moist bar together with barbecue space all provide an ideal unique atmosphere for as much as 12 individuals.   The fee is about $1,600 however most teams which have booked it have mentioned that it’s well worth the price ticket.

Carnival’s web site explains what comes with the Personal Oasis:

“Your package deal consists of the providers of a butler, private chef, bartender, cabana Steward, and lifeguard together with the next:

    Entire contemporary fruits, chips & salsa. Beverage Bundle with choose Imported and Home Beers; Wines by the Glass; Tropical Cocktails together with Bahama Mamas, Rum Punch, and Margarita, Frozen Classics together with Pina Coladas, Banana Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris; in addition to Virgin Pina Coladas, Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris and Virgin Banana Coladas.”

5.  Take a Nature Stroll

As we talked about, over 95% of Half Moon Cay has not been developed so there are some nice nature trails to benefit from the wildlife.

You are able to do this by yourself or take a $19 tour with a tour information that may stroll you thru 1.5 miles of the path.  The information will level out the tropical palm and sea grape timber, curly-tailed lizards, and Bananaquit birds of Half Moon Cay.

Mountain climbing across the island is a good low-key train for simply getting some cardio in whereas having fun with the sights.   The dune paths are clearly marked, and one can find some informative indicators subsequent to the plants alongside the best way.

6.  Do the Island Bike Tour

You’ll be able to kick issues up a notch with a motorbike tour of this crescent-shaped island as effectively.   This can can help you see a bit extra of the island than the earlier tour.

The bike tour will take you by the welcome middle, the Bahamian church, Half Moon Seaside, the secure of the swimming horses, and a 700-acre lagoon.  You’ll even find out how the they desalinate the ocean water and generate electrical energy on the island.

There’s additionally a motorbike and hike tour should you’re fascinated by each.

Bahamian church on half moon cay
Bahamian church. Good place for a cruise wedding ceremony.

7.  Get Up Shut with the Stingrays

Some individuals don’t understand that Half Moon Cay has an important Stingray encounter as effectively referred to as Stingray Cove.   It’s only a quick tram trip away or you may stroll should you’d like.

After a briefing you may placed on some snorkel gear and see the stingrays of their habitat and even really feel how silky-smooth they’re.  A internet retains different marine life from stepping into the enclosure.

stingray cove half moon cay

8.  Go Swimming with Horses

Even when you’ve got by no means ridden a horse earlier than you may do that exercise on Half Moon Cay.   The horseback expertise will tour a few of the island and take you to the best level.  From there you may see 360 diploma views of the island in addition to a few of the different Bahamian islands.

After that the guides will allow you to get one thing to drink whereas they put together the horses with a particular “saddle” for his or her swim.  It’s a particularly designed pad and cord halter.   That is positively a bucket-list merchandise.

There are about 20 horses which might be saved at Pegasus Ranch.  Even should you don’t guide a horseback using tour you may comply with the trail to see the horses and see some stunning flowers alongside the best way.

9.  Kayak the Lagoon

For nature-lovers the kayaking on Half Moon Cay is epic.  There’s not a ton of train concerned although, as you’ll solely kayak half a mile or so at most.

Bone Fish Lagoon takes up a large 1,400 acres of habitat that’s protected.  You’ll be able to see some unique seabirds and admire the water’s readability as your information will level out all the opposite wild life round you.

There’s a cease alongside the best way to see starfish, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and conch.  The guides are enjoyable and make it enjoyable for the entire household so it’s a great household exercise to strive on the island.

Observe: You can too take a glass-bottom boat tour of Bone Fish Lagoon if you would like a extra leisurely exercise.

10.  Snorkel by Boat

The water round Half Moon Cay is stunningly clear, so snorkeling permits for wonderful visibility in seeing the coral and marine life.

You’ll be able to deliver your personal snorkel gear and take a look at the primary seaside space, however there isn’t actually a lot to see there, aside from crystal clear turquoise water that’s.

A ship trip can take you to a web site off the coast of the personal island so you may see an abundance of marine life within the Caribbean waters.  You may even see a stingray within the wild

11.  Play Some Video games

Are you so excited to be on a cruise trip that you simply simply need to get some vitality out?  Why not play some seaside video games on Half Moon Cay?  You’ll be able to take pleasure in actions like basketball, seaside volleyball, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.  Simply take a look at the required gear from the Sports activities Heart situated close to the Bahamian Church.

12.  Let the Youngsters Hit the Playground and Aqua Park

Perhaps it’s the youngsters that have to vent some vitality.  Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park is situated proper on the primary seaside and has a pair water slides and a pirate ship that shoots water from its canons.  There’s additionally a fountain of water offering a cool mist because it sprays into the air.  The aqua park is free to make use of.

Half Moon Cay additionally has a playground with out the water, and as soon as once more there are pirate ships concerned which act as play areas.   There are a number of slides, swings, teeter totters, and a extra restful picnic space for the adults to take pleasure in a reprieve.

13.  Take the Aqua Trax/Jet Ski Journey

Jet skis are referred to as Aqua Trax on the island and cruisers can lease them to discover the wonderful saltwater lagoon.  Some elements of the lagoon are off-limits, and you need to have a driver’s license to take pleasure in this water journey.

Personally, I take pleasure in jet snowboarding out within the ocean as a result of you may hit the waves and catch some air.   In Bone Fish Lagoon the water could be very calm so it’s a {smooth} trip.

14.  Eat on the Lobster Shack

Sure, you may eat free burgers and BBQ on the Island Barbecue for lunch.  However the eating pavilion is often solely open from 11:30am to 1:30pm.   So, should you’re a bit hungry outdoors of these instances otherwise you simply have a hankerin’ for some scrumptious crustaceans, the Lobster Shack is the place to be.

One factor to notice is that these lobsters aren’t New England lobsters, however they’re native and contemporary.  That freshness is clear after the primary chew.   The fee is $20.

Observe: A few of the different meals gadgets provided on the free buffet additionally embody hotdogs, ribs, Caribbean jerk, chili fried rice, banana rum cake, titi shrimp and extra.

15.  Hire a Hobie Cat (a small catamaran)

There have been blended reviews as as to if or not these are nonetheless accessible at Half Moon Cay, so tell us what you discover once you get to the island.

Crusing round in a Hobie Cat on a stupendous sunny day might be the spotlight of your day. These small catamarans might be rented from the water sports activities shack close to one of many bars.

The fee is about $50 an hour final time we checked.

16.  Go Birding on Half Moon Cay

As a result of solely a small proportion of the personal island has been developed there may be nonetheless loads of wildlife to take pleasure in in its pure habitat.

As a part of the sale settlement of Half Moon Cay Holland America Line agreed to take care of the island as a nature protect and a wild hen sanctuary.  In addition to discovering nesting seabirds within the wild, birders may uncover nearly 50 totally different species of birds.

A few of the varieties of birds to be discovered on the island embody burrowing owls, white-crowned pigeons, Roseate, Sooty, Bridled, Brown Noddies, shearwaters, Bahamian pintails, ospreys, Bahamian, Nice blue heron, snowy egrets, merlin, pintail, morning, ringed neck and tobacco doves.

Guests on Half Moon Cay are inspired to doc reviews of hen sightings to social media and web sites like to assist keep efforts to guard this habitat.

Try this aerial view of Half Moon Cay shot in 4k

What Concerning the CHEERS Drink Bundle Whereas on Half Moon Cay?

Whereas there are numerous locations to get a beverage to drink on the island, you won’t be able to make the most of Carnival’s drink package deal.  You’ll have to return to the ship for that.

So sure, even with the drink package deal you’ll have to pay out of pocket for each beverage.

What About massages on Half Moon Cay?

I’ve heard some individuals ask about getting a therapeutic massage on the island so I needed to deal with this as effectively.  It is a personal island, so it’s operated by the cruise line and any therapeutic massage appointments will sometimes undergo the cruise line.

Usually you may guide your therapeutic massage by means of the spa entrance desk and see if there are any openings.  The therapeutic massage hut is true by the water.  Simply ensure you examine together with your cruise line to see if this service continues to be provided.

5 Tricks to Make Your Half Moon Cay Go to Even Higher

  • Take the free tram to get across the island simpler.
  • Don’t skip the seaside. This place is thought for its unbelievable sandy seashores so whether or not you lease a cabana or go for a swim, soak in Half Moon Seaside.  Stroll additional down the seaside to keep away from any crowded areas.
  • Do every thing early. This implies get on the primary tender, be the primary to the lunch pavilion, and should you’re going to lease a clam shell, cabana or villa do that effectively upfront of your cruise.
  • Maintain lathering on the sunscreen. You’ll be able to go from being in paradise to being in ache in a rush should you don’t defend your self from the Bahamian sunshine.
  • Benefit from all of the nice picture ops. The favored selfie with the ship within the turquoise water simply within the distance is at all times a great one to get individuals jealous again house.

See extra basic cruise ideas right here.

Historical past of Half Moon Cay

The island was referred to as Little San Salvador when Holland America Line bought it for $6 million {dollars}.  Holland America (Owned by guardian firm Carnival Company) then proceeded to speculate $15 million into growing and enhancing the island.

The official inhabitants of Half Moon Cay is zero, though a few of the cruise line’s workers can be stationed there all through totally different instances of the yr.

What Type of Climate Can I Count on at Half Moon Cay?

The Caribbean Sea offers year-round temperatures on the island which might be very onerous nearly excellent.

Throughout the hottest months of the yr in June by means of September the temperature will prime out round 88 levels Fahrenheit.  The lows in December by means of February can be round 64 levels.

August and September would be the rainiest months of the yr with about 17 days of a minimum of a bit rainfall every day.

See the present forecast for Half Moon Cay right here.

Map of Half Moon Cay

What Half Moon Cay Excursions do you take pleasure in once you go to this personal island?

What have you ever finished on Half Moon Cay?  Tell us within the feedback under so our readers can profit out of your cruise knowledge.

You can too be at liberty to depart your Half Moon Cay critiques within the remark part.  We’d like to know what you considered your expertise.

16 Things to Do at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas [Island Tips Guide]

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