26 Best Things to Do in Half Moon Cay

Located 100 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, is Carnival Corporation‘s private island, Half Moon Cay. It’s better known as “Little San Salvador Island” by the locals.

Half Moon Cay offers visitors a little slice of heaven, where you can relax under a palm tree and soak up the sun, go for a horseback ride, snorkel with stingrays, and the list goes on. 

Let’s explore the best things to do in Half Moon Cay!

half moon cay drone

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’s a list of the best things to do in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas:

1. Lounge on the Beach

half moon cay beach

The white-sand beach is the perfect setting for a day of sunbathing and beach fun. There are beach chairs available free of charge.

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 

marine life at Half Moon Cay

When people think of warm, sunny islands in the Bahamas, snorkeling is one of the first activities that would probably pop into their minds.

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 

horse back riding half moon

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.

RELATED: Going Horseback Riding at Half Moon Cay

4. Take Instagrammable Photos

half moon cay sign

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 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

beach villa half moon

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

Private Beach Cabana at Half Moon Cay

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

glass bottom boat half moon

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 

Bacardi Pirate Ship Cannon

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 

bbq lunch half moon

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 AM to 2 PM.

RELATED: Half Moon Cay BBQ Menu

16. Dine at the Lobster Shack 

Lobster Shack Menu

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).

RELATED: How to Maximize Your Day at Half Moon Cay

17. Go Birdwatching

bird half moon cay bahamas

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

splash zone half moon cay

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.

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

Catamarans at the beachfront

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 sting ray city

Who doesn’t love a stingray adventure? 

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

parasail bahamas half moon

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 paddle board

Stand-up paddleboarding through the crystalline Bahamian waters is a must-do! 

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is Half Moon Cay from Nassau?

Half Moon Cay is approximately 100 miles (150 km) southeast of Nassau, the Bahamian capital. It’s located between Cat Island and the islands of Eleuthera. 

NOTE: Half Moon Cay is 277 miles southeast of Miami. 

What are some things to do for free in Half Moon Cay?

You don’t need to spend a lot to have fun on Half Moon Cay. Here are some top free things to do on the island:

  • Relax on the beach and enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. 
  • Stroll nature trails to see wildlife and learn about the island’s ecology and history.
  • Attend free beach parties and enjoy bonfires, live music, dance lessons, etc. 
  • Explore the many different shops, browsing souvenirs and local crafts.

Does anyone live on Half Moon Cay?

Not really. The island is technically uninhabited, as it was developed as a luxury beach resort and utilized as a private port of call for Holland America and Carnival cruisers. 

The locals who work on the island, who are around 100 people, arrive by ferry from Eleuthera whenever cruise ships are visiting. 

Can you get married on Half Moon Cay?

Absolutely! The tiny yet mesmerizing island is perfect for planning a wedding in the Bahamas. There, you can have your wedding on a white sandy beach or a cruise ship. 

Final Thoughts

No matter your preferences, shore excursions are always available for both land and sea lovers at Half Moon Cay. 

Keep in mind, however, that these excursions and activities vary by the cruise line you’re sailing, so it’s advised 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]

Pin it!

26 things to do at half moon cay bahamas

Share this post

Send this to a friend
Hi, this may be of interest to you: 26 Best Things to Do in Half Moon Cay. This is the link: https://cruiseradio.net/26-things-to-do-half-moon-cay-bahamas/