As a helpful visual someone has painted a line on the walkway down to the beach complete with Tropic of Cancer lettering and the latitude and longitude particulars. But beyond the catchy moniker, Tropic of Cancer Beach could quite possibly be the most beautiful and peaceful find in the world. We shuffled through the thick sand, marvelled at the colours of the water — think melted gemstones from diamonds to the darkest sapphire — swam, lounged and gabbed about how lucky we were to find this slice of paradise. Which brings us to the protracted tale of just how difficult Tropic of Cancer Beach is to find. First of all, guide books wax poetic about it, proclaiming it to be the prettiest beach in the Exumas. Therefore, you have to go. Anticipation builds and a day trip is planned entirely around time at this must-see-and-experience place. But no map of Exuma we have has the beach on it. So down we go to the front desk of <strong>Grand</strong> <strong>Isle</strong>s, the family-friendly luxury condominium resort where we are staying. The clerk first tells us that there’s no sign on the main road identifying Tropic of Cancer Beach. It keeps getting stolen. Seems everyone wants to have a sign with the famous Tropic of Cancer name on it. She tells us from the bridge that connects Great Exuma to Little Exuma go five miles and turn onto the dirt road with the abandoned car seat at the corner. We climb in the rental car and set off, I and my wife in the back seat, our friend driving and his wife riding shotgun. First stop, the Exuma Tourist Office in the capital of George Town to pick up a map that has Tropic of Cancer Beach on it. No such luck. But we’re tipped off that the turnoff also has a utility pole with a bunch of blue reflectors on it. We set off again, over the bridge, counting the miles, looking for that abandoned car seat and the utility pole with all the reflectors. We only stop when we hit the end of the road, which is at the tip of the island, and can go no further. The car is turned around and we stop at the first place we can for directions — Santana’s Grill Pit — a roadside shack restaurant with signs for cold Kalik (Bahamas’ national beer) and the best cracked conch (the national dish).
Macy Rolle at Santana’s Grill Pit will give you directions to hard‐to‐find Tropic of Cancer Beach. Photograph by: Steve MacNaull, Postmedia News Cook-bartender-waitress Macy Rolle throws her head back in laughter and tells us everyone drives right on by the turnoff and ends up here begging for directions. We order Kaliks, it’s almost 11 a.m. after all, and sit down facing the ocean to get directions: head back the way we came about a mile and a half and take the second right after the Church of God that’s under construction. While we finish our beers a couple from Northern California skids in, ask for the same directions and order Kaliks. We get to talking and it dawns on us that maybe it’s Santana’s that keeps swiping the Tropic of Cancer Beach sign — after all, the steady stream of lost tourists isn’t exactly hurting business. We pile into the car and drive away and yes there it is: the turnoff with the abandoned car seat and utility pole with all the reflectors. The stone and sand path in front of us can hardly be called a road but we nonetheless make it the few hundred metres in the car to a pavilion with an ever-so-small sign finally identifying Tropic of Cancer Beach. Just so you don’t think we spent the entire time in the Exumas haplessly searching for an elusive beach, we had more than ample time to explore surrounding waters and islands, eat and drink at places ranging from authentic beach shacks to gourmet restaurants and be spoiled at Sandals Emerald Bay <strong>Resort</strong>, where we moved after two days at <strong>Grand</strong> <strong>Isle</strong>.