CocoCay is a very unique stop on your Bahamas cruise. Once called “Little Stirrup Cay,” it’s now a privately owned island by Royal Caribbean, and an all-inclusive getaway for cruisers. Nassau is a short boat ride from the island, and a day in CocoCay, Bahamas promises to be playful, colorful, and hugely relaxing for the entire family.
The island of CocoCay, Bahamas is a mere 140 acres, mostly consisting of private beaches, water parks, and plenty of shopping for souvenirs. CocoCay, Bahamas could very well be described as a giant grown-up playground. Unwind at one of the four beaches: Barefoot Beach, Snorkel Beach, Water Sports Beach, and Coconut Willy’s. Each beach has its own style. Whether you’re solo or with a family, the beaches on CocoCay have something for everyone. Or, go exploring the island on any of the available excursion like kayaking, parasailing, or stingray sightings.
Souvenirs, t-shirts, and crafts are all available for sale at Straw Market on the island, set up in the same style as the open air markets you’d find in Nassau or other destinations in the Bahamas. Bring extra cash if you want to purchase anything.
Seeing CocoCay via kayak is a fun, active excursion for the day. You might see stingrays or tropical fish swimming in the shallow waters near the island. It won’t take long to kayak the entirety of the island, so gather friends and family for the ride.
Another excursion you can take during your cruise to CocoCay Island is heading to Stingray City. The cruise line will arrange a boat for groups, taking you on a brief ride into the waters surrounding the Berry Islands where stingrays are likely to be swimming. You’ll even get to feed them during the tour.
Kids will have a blast at Caylana’s Castle Cove, a large inflatable water park on CocoCay. They will enjoy the water slide, bounce on trampolines, and have plenty of fun on the adventurous floating rock walls. This aqua park is simply fun for all ages.
In the waters just beyond CocoCay, Bahamas, there’s a replica of the famous pirate Blackbeard’s ship, “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” Sign up for a snorkeling excursion and you’ll be taken to the area where the replica lives to snorkel and swim. These crystal clear waters of the Bahamas mean you’ll be able to see a variety of wildlife as well as fascinating man-made structures submerged below the water.
For the more adventurous, you can take a speed boat around the island parasailing on a Parasail Adventure Tour. The views you’ll get of the island and the sea in the other direction can’t be beat. A perfect daytime excursion for thrill seekers and active families.
For those who need a day to rest and relax, CocoCay’s Barefoot Beach will meet all your needs. Rent a beach umbrella or lay out a towel and sunbathe. You can even rent cabanas for a more secluded experience on the island.
Complimentary food is included in your cruise pass during your cruise to CocoCay island, but other than that, there aren’t any independent restaurants on CocoCay. Bahama Jack’s and Blackbird’s are the two buffet style joints on the island, serving barbeque, hot dogs, and other beach day foods. The lunch buffet is only open for a short period from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, so arrive early to beat the rush.
Previously, the island that is now CocoCay was called Little Stirrup Cay. CocoCay has been privately owned by Royal Caribbean since 1999, when they made substantial updates and renovations to make the island an exclusive getaway for passengers. Today, CocoCay is ever-expanding with even more effort made to build up a cruise terminal, improve infrastructure, and provide even more activities for passengers on their one day stopover on the island.
CocoCay is an incredibly compact island. You can get by exclusively on foot, or use the tram service that runs across the island every few minutes. Beach wheelchairs are also available should you need.
Head to Straw Market on the island, where you can purchase souvenirs, crafts, commemorative t-shirts, and even jewelry. There aren’t any other restaurants or shops on the island.
The U.S. dollar (USD) is the official currency in CocoCay. While you’re in the Bahamas, tipping is generally similar to other destinations, where 15-20% is recommended for good to excellent service at a restaurant or bar, and the same goes for taxi drivers and tour guides. At CocoCay, you’ll typically pay for drinks in cash, so be sure to tip there. Because tourism helps fuel the economy and supports workers in CocoCay and the greater Bahamas, tipping is an important part of how they make a living.