There are dozens of things to do in Half Moon Cay. Here, cruise passengers can pass the time by having fun at its white sand beaches, horseback riding, and experiencing eco-adventures.
Both Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line use the island. Though you won’t find both brands there at the same time, it is common to have more than one cruise ship docked at the island from the same cruise line.
Interested to know more about this Bahamian paradise?
Here are the 26 best things to do in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas:
In this article:
- 1. Lounge on the beach
- 2. Go snorkeling
- 3. Experience horseback riding
- 4. Take Instagrammable photos
- 5. Rent a clamshell
- 6. Relax in a cabana
- 7. Chill in a beach villa
- 8. Go sightseeing at the Private Oasis
- 9. Go kayaking
- 10. Tour the island
- 11. Play basketball
- 12. Visit the Bacardi Pirate Ship
- 13. Ride a jetski
- 14. Buy some souvenirs
- 15. Have a BBQ lunch
- 16. Dine at the Lobster Shack
- 17. Go birdwatching
- 18. Have fun with your kids
- 19. Rent a catamaran
- 20. Try a bike tour
- 21. Swim with the stingrays
- 22. Experience deep-sea fishing
- 23. Explore the island’s wildlife with a guided boat
- 24. Go parasailing
- 25. Experience paddleboarding
- 26. Rent a water bike
- Final Thoughts
- Watch: A Tour of Half Moon Cay [VIDEO]
1. Lounge on the beach
The white-sand beach is the perfect setting for a day sunbathing on the beach. There are beach chairs available free of charge, but if you want to take cover from the sun, you’ll have to fork over a few dollars. You can rent an umbrella on the beach at the dive shack and use your cruise card to pay for the rental.
There are also servers who roam the beach throughout the day to ensure you stay hydrated. The bummer is that the drink package does not work if you stop here with Carnival Cruise Line.
On Holland America, the line offers a drink package for around $20 per day available on the island. It’s not included in the ship’s drink package, however.
PRO TIP: If you plan on staying on the beach, consider getting an iced-down bucket of beer.
2. Go snorkeling
When people think of warm, sunny islands in the Bahamas, snorkeling is one of the first activities that would probably pop into their minds, as the water at Half Moon Cay is perfect for enjoying an afternoon of swimming around and spotting various sea life.
There are fish all around Half Moon Cay, but if you want to see the best place to view them, walk down to the kiddie splash zone and head out until you’re parallel with the private oasis hut (on your left side).
3. Experience horseback riding
Horseback riding is another popular activity on Half Moon Cay, led by a professional. You and your horse will travel to the island’s highest point before returning to the barn.
After swapping saddles on the horse, you’ll enjoy a refreshing ride in the temperate Bahamian water. Because there are multiple horseback riding sessions throughout the day, there will be plenty of opportunities for swimming and exploring the island before or after your ride.
4. Take Instagrammable photos
There is an area popular among tourists where you can take many photos with the sign “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever” as your backdrop. However, note that the best time to photograph is in the afternoon because of the sun’s position.
5. Rent a clamshell
If you want to enjoy the beach but also want some respite from the sun, consider renting a clamshell sunshade. It costs $30, which includes two lounge chairs. The clamshells sell out pretty quickly because they are the most affordable shelter on the beach.
6. Relax in a cabana
Half Moon Cay’s cabanas are colorful little buildings on the beach that you can rent for the day. They include snacks, water, soda, a table and loungers, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, a misting outdoor shower, floating mats, and snorkeling gear.
Cabanas can accommodate four people at the base price, but up to six people can be accommodated for an extra fee per additional person. Half Moon Cay has 15 cabanas in total.
7. Chill in a beach villa
One of the best ways to spend the day on Half Moon Cay is to rent a two-story villa where you can rest with your friends and loved ones. The villa has an enclosed hot tub, snorkel gear, a fully functioning bathroom, a ceiling fan, a table upstairs, snacks, and a fridge.
The perks still depend on the cruise line, though.
READ MORE: Our Villa at Half Moon Cay
8. Go sightseeing at the Private Oasis
If you’re standing on the beach at Half Moon Cay and looking out over the water, you’ll notice Private Oasis, a big octagon building you’ll see on the left side. This is where you and your closest friends can rest and be catered to all day.
Private Oasis includes your bar, a dedicated chef to cook your lunch, a lifeguard, two bathrooms and showers, loungers, day beds, and a giant hot tub. Best of all, no one can bother you there as there is a gate to get on the dock.
This is the ultimate way to relax on the island and by far the most expensive. Twenty-four people can be on this oasis for an additional cost.
RELATED: A Day at the Private Oasis
9. Go kayaking
One of the best ways to enjoy the ocean is to catch sight of some stingrays while kayaking. The benefit is that you can work off some of those calories as you paddle through Bone Fish Lagoon.
10. Tour the island
If snorkeling isn’t your thing, touring the island by boat is a great alternative that allows you to see the beautiful sea life without getting wet. Here, you can enjoy a glass-bottom vessel and see stingrays, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, bonefish, conches, and sea urchins.
During the tour, the guide will provide information on Bahamian history, culture, flora, and fauna.
11. Play basketball
Most people visiting Half Moon Cay probably never even realize it has a basketball court. If you’ve got an urge to shoot some hoops while on the island, you can definitely do so.
12. Visit the Bacardi Pirate Ship
Captain Morgan’s Bar, better known as “the pirate ship,” is a must-visit when spending a day on the island. Even if you don’t get a drink, check out the space and head up to the top deck for great views down the beach. This is also where the DJ is set up on the island, playing beach tunes.
13. Ride a jetski
To maximize your experience in this place, book the Aqua Trax watercraft adventure and check out the island with a guided tour. Note, however, that you need a valid driver’s license and must be 16 years or older.
Additionally, this excursion also depends on the weather. The adventure could be canceled, for example, if the water is too rough or if there are thunderstorms in the area. In the case of a cancellation, you will receive a full refund.
14. Buy some souvenirs
You can get souvenirs and beachwear from the Straw Market. Remember that the market is not affiliated with the cruise ship, so the vendors accept cash. Most of what you’ll find here are items exclusive to the Bahamas region, like handmade jewelry, woven straw hats, shot glasses, t-shirts, and handbags.
TRIP REPORT: Double Dip at Half Moon Cay
15. Have a BBQ lunch
The island has a beach barbecue with typical hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and jerk chicken. Plus, there are plenty of side dishes like fresh fruit, corn, salads, coleslaw, desserts, and a drink station. The buffet is usually open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
RELATED: Half Moon Cay BBQ Menu
16. Dine at the Lobster Shack
Located near the “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever” bar, the Lobster Shack serves up fresh grilled lobster and Caribbean coconut beans n’ rice, served with a rum-jerk butter glaze and pineapple and Caribbean Sofrito salsas ($20).
Other Lobster Shack Half Moon Cay menu items include Caribbean Conch & Seafood Chowder ($5), Caribbean Lobster Roll ($13), Seafood Chowder and Lobster ($24), and Seafood Chowder & Lobster Roll ($17).
17. Go birdwatching
The Bahamas, home to 47 different types of birds, is another excellent place to do birdwatching. The good news is there’s a map of the island; scope it out and decide where you’d like to go birdwatching. There are also nature trails throughout the island, which are easily accessible.
PRO TIP: Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated if you hit the trails.
18. Have fun with your kids
The island has a splash pad and playground for the little ones. This is accessible at the first part of the beach and has little slides and water toys to play with on the island. There is also a giant pirate ship, dump buckets, water cannons, and nautical-themed water shoots.
19. Rent a catamaran
If you know how to operate a sailboat, you can definitely rent a little Hobie Catamaran Sail Boat. All the sailboats have four capacities each, and rentals are available per hour.
20. Try a bike tour
Set out on a guided bicycle tour, which takes participants from the sports rental center along Half Moon Beach to Bone Fish Lagoon. The guides here lead you to historical locations on the island while providing information to visitors about its history, from its early inhabitants to the present day.
21. Swim with the stingrays
Who doesn’t love a stingray adventure? Here at Stingray Cove, visitors will learn about the behaviors, habitats, feeding, and breeding of the southern stingrays that call Half Moon Cay home. Guests don snorkeling gear and wade into the water along with a guide to see these stingrays in the water.
22. Experience deep-sea fishing
Board a 28-foot fishing vessel and head miles offshore into the open waters to catch some of the most popular fish in the Bahamas, including wahoo, grouper, snapper, barracuda, and mahi-mahi.
This is strictly for sport fishing, and it’s catch-and-release, so you won’t be frying these fish up after catching them.
23. Explore the island’s wildlife with a guided boat
If you aren’t up to kayaking through Bone Fish Lagoon, you can board a guided boat that’ll give you a complete rundown of the history, wildlife, and natural wonders around Half Moon Cay dating back to the early adventurers. A glass-bottom boat also lets guests see what’s underneath the lagoon.
24. Go parasailing
This one is strictly for the adventurous because you’ll be lifted several feet from the surface and get spectacular views around you. If you plan to take your camera to snap photos, ensure it is secured in a waterproof pouch or a strap around your neck.
PRO TIP: Ask one of your fellow cruisers to take photos of you while you’re in the air.
25. Experience paddleboarding
Stand-up paddleboarding through the crystalline Bahamian waters is a great thing to experience! Half Moon Cay offers per-hour rentals of paddleboards and paddles, which you can find at the island rental hut.
26. Rent a water bike
Ever heard of biking on water? Well, here, you can rent a water bike. It can be rented hourly and must be kept in the boundary area.
No matter your preferences, shore excursions are always available for both land and sea lovers. Remember that these excursions and activities vary by the cruise line you’re sailing. It’s advised, then, to check the cruise line’s website for more detailed information.
READ NEXT: Half Moon Cay by Drone
Watch: A Tour of Half Moon Cay [VIDEO]