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THE BEST 15 Things to Do on Eleuthera

adventures, beaches, happenings, tips, Travel - Bret S. - February 7, 2021

15 best things to do on eleuthera

Eleuthera has always been known for it beaches, but there are lots of other things to do on Eleuthera besides visiting beaches. What may have started as a beach vacation may very well end up being the adventure vacation you’ve been looking for and that is what I’ve always loved about the island and its surrounding neighbors. You’re never going to run out of things to do.

By the way, the right answer for the number of 

Things To Do

 on Eleuthera should really be zero. Not that there aren’t a lot of things to do, but the best way to enjoy Eleuthera is to plan to do none and then do as many as you want. Time and time again I see visitors trying to fit everything into one trip and that’s simply not possible. If you like Eleuthera, then you’ll be back…again and again and again. In my opinion, it’s best to do Eleuthera with as little planning as possible. Wake up each morning and see which way the wind blows. That’s how we do it on Eleuthera!

For those who want to know what some of the options are please read my list below of The Best 15 Things to Do on Eleuthera.

#15 – Festivals (Homecoming, Eleuthera All that Jazz, Pineapple Fest, Junkanoo)

Depending on when you are visiting the island attending festivals could easily be the number one thing for you to do on Eleuthera. Attending one of these events could be the primary reason for the timing of your trip. All of the festivals on Eleuthera are oodles of fun and will surely be a memorable part of your vacation. The combination of good food, drink and music combine perfectly and complement the charged vibe of the crowds that attend the events. Keep your eyes on the calendar. It might make sense to time your trip to coincide with one of these events. Attending a festival could make your vacation complete! Eleuthera All that Jazz is usually in April. Pineapple Fest is in June. Junkanoo is late December. The Homecoming celebrations happen throughout the year in different settlements depending on which one is celebrating.

Bright costumes color the junkanoo parade near Governor’s Harbour

#14 – Ruins

The island’s ruins serve vestige to bygone eras. Rather than remove many of the old structures, they have simply remained. Dilapidated and in disrepair, many have been enshrouded by the surrounding jungle vegetation. The ruins in the southern areas of Eleuthera have more historic relevance, in my opinion, since they show off more of the primitive island architecture. They capture a different way of life than we know it now. If you can find them, the remains of buildings such as the Deal’s Town jail and the Bannerman Town Anglican Church are really interesting and historic.

More modern ruins such as the NAVFAC facility that closed in 1980 or Arnold Palmer’s Beachfront Inn are neat finds as well, but don’t have the rich heritage of the much older Bahamian buildings. If you research the old clinic in Whale Point you’ll find that it had a very checkered past making it one of the island’s more macabre ruins.

things to do deal town jail

The ruins of the old jail in Deal Town, Eleuthera, Bahamas

#13 – Fish Fry

The weekly Friday night Fish Fry, held at Anchor Bay in the capital settlement of Governor’s Harbour, is a vivacious outdoor street party. Good food, drink and loud music begin the evening leading to limbo contests, street dancing and lots of libationary social interaction. Due to Covid the Fish Fry has been put on hold, but once restrictions have been lifted this should be on everybody’s weekly things to do list.

things to do anchor bay fish fry eluethera bahamas

The Fish Fry gets hopping once the sun goes down

#12 – Shelling

A must-do for those passionate about collecting the island shore’s free treasures, Eleuthera has so many miles of beaches that this activity could be done each day on the island. Remember to go early or at low tide, take your time, go to beaches that are less visited, of which we have quite a few, and look for wet sand. Treasure hunters are likely to find a bevy of sea glass, conch, whelk, angel wings, scallops, clams, and banded tulips to name a few. Consider picking up a copy of a shelling book such as the Bahamian Seashells guide or the Caribbean Shell Card to help identify your finds.

things to do combers beach eleuthera bahamas

Combers Beach in Tarpum Bay is one of the more prolific shelling spots

#11 – Scuba Diving

Since I’m a diver this always goes to the top of the list. Alas, there is not a lot of organized diving on Eleuthera, but the dives we do have are some of the best and most interesting in the world.

The best diving is found at the northern and southern extremes of the island. Any diving done mid island consist of either shallow shore diving or diving off of one’s own boat as there are no dive operators other than on Harbour Island and Cape Eleuthera. Valentine’s Dive Center is your choice for northern diving. Most of its boat dives will be done along the extensive reef system between Harbour Island and the Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera in depths from 50′ to 100′. If you can coax them to do it, the best dive in the north is the Current Cut, which offer a series of 12 minute high speed drift dives in the channel that separates Eleuthera from Current Island.

To the south you have two dive operators that cover the Great Exuma Wall and the inshore shallow reefs. The wall drops to 6000′ and offers an amazing array of pelagics, rays, turtles and sharks. Your dive operator choices are Scuba Eleuthera or Ocean Fox. My favorite southern dives are the airplane wreck, Hole in the Wall and the Boiling Holes, which are cold fresh water springs that attract the best sea life and have the healthiest reef systems surrounding them.

things to do scuba diving eleuthera bahamas

Scuba Eleuthera with Captain Daryl Miller operates out of south Eleuthera

#10 – Fishing (Deep Sea, Shore, Bone)

As one of the more popular things to do on Eleuthera, there are lots of fishing options. Whether by boat, on shore or in the flats you are bound to have a good time pursuing your favorite catch. Several tour operators and many dedicated fishing guides can be found up and down the island. They will build a schedule to cater to your particular fishing passion. Bonefishing is probably the primary reason why DIY fishing enthusiasts continue to flock to Eleuthera.

things to do fishing eleuthera bahamas bonefishing

If you want the big ones, take a bonefishing excursion with Fishbone Tours out of Savannah Sound

#9 – Wildlife and Nature  (Leon Levy Preserve/Birding)

The Bahamas is home to 379 different species of bird. While they can be found everywhere on the island, one of the more unique places to do your birding is at the Leon Levy Preserve, which is located between Governor’s Harbour and North Palmetto Point along the Bank’s Road. It is the first national park on the island of Eleuthera and is an environmental educational center as well as a facility for the propagation of native plants and trees. One of it’s unique functions is to research traditional bush medicine.

The Preserve serves Bahamians and visitors who can now walk miles of trails through the native habitat, viewing the beautiful orchids, food, medicinal plants, and the hardwood trees that serve such a vital role in supporting the bird population. Check out some of their neat videos by clicking here.

things to do heron birding eleuthera

This great blue heron is doing some hunting at dusk at Ten Bay Beach

#8 – History, Sightseeing & Natural Attractions

Dating back to 1648 when Eleuthera was originally settled, there are numerous historical landmarks and buildings. Allocating at least one day of your vacation to sightseeing and visiting the natural attractions is a given. Most of the natural attractions, such as the Glass Window Bridge, The Queen’s Baths, The Cow and Bull, and The Cliffs can be found on the northern end of the island while most of the historic landmarks, plaques, and buildings can be found in the settlements or at the extreme ends of the island. Consider hiring a private guide to see the best of the best. Arthur Nixon is one of the island’s best tour guides. He can be reached at 242-359-7879.

things to do glass window bridge eleuthera bahamas

The narrowest place on Earth – The Glass Window Bridge where two oceans collide

#7 – Island hopping

A trip to Eleuthera seems not complete without a visit to neighboring Harbour Island and/or Spanish Wells. I personally prefer the former for a daytrip as there are more things to do. There are several other uninhabited islands that can also be explored by private boat as well.

things to do harbour island bahamas

The Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island is one of the best beaches in the world

#6 – Caves

We have some pretty awesome caves, and they are quite varied. Beginners prefer Preacher’s Cave because it is open and airy. Serious cavers like the Ten Bay Caves because of their overall size, difficulty and plethora of bats. Folks who are in between will prefer the Hatchet Bay caves. There are lots of other hidden caves including a recently discovered cave beach that is accessible only by water. Additionally, we have several cave beaches that can be reached by land, too.

things to do ten bay caves eleuthera bahamass eleuthera

The Ten Bay Caves have some chambers that let in natural sunlight

#5 – Talking to Locals

It is said that the spirit of the Bahamas can only be truly felt through its people. The Eleutherans are amongst the friendliest people you will ever meet and they love to share their knowledge, insight and experiences. Seek them out. You won’t be disappointed!

things to do talk to locals eleuthera bahamas

Mr. Millard Bethel owns a small market in North Palmetto Point

#4 – Blue Holes

The Sapphire Hole in North Eleuthera, which until recent years was almost completely hidden by the jungle, is now sought after by folks who want to perform the dramatic 10′ jump into it. It has become a must-see for adventure seekers. The Ocean Hole in Rock Sound is still a favorite and can be swam or snorkeled, however, many folks go to simply feed the fish. There are a number of other cenotes that can be found through some research and exploration.

things to do sapphire hole

The Sapphire Hole (bottom of pic) is close to Tay Bay Beach and Preacher’s Cave

#3 – Non-motorized watersports (SUP/Kayak/Surfing/Snorkeling/Cliff jumping)

Where there is ocean there is fun and adventure to be had! If your rental doesn’t come with any non-motorized equipment it can be easily rented at one of the shops in Governor’s Harbour or Gregory Town. The best surf breaks can be found at Surfer’s Beach near Gregory Town, but there are several other spots that are worth trying if you have your own board. Cliff jumping is best done on the northern end of the island where heights range from 10′ to 40′ from Glass Window Bridge to James Cistern. The other activities can be done off of almost any beach if the conditions are right, but if they aren’t then visit Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Preserve just outside of Governor’s Harbour to experience SUP and kayaking in a more protected environment.

Snorkeling at Half Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas

#2 – Guided Ocean Tours

Hire one of the tour guides and see Eleuthera from the ocean. You can snorkel, dive, fish, interact with turtles, find huge starfish, and if you don’t mind some wet pig scat, swim with the pigs. The Schooner Cays are really beautiful and can be experienced by boat off of the southern end of Eleuthera. Seeing the island from sea is a completely intoxicating experience. A list of tour guides can be found here.

things to do guided tours eleuthera bahamas

Aqua Bliss runs daily charters

#1 – Beaches

The best thing to do on Eleuthera is explore and find new interesting beaches. The pilgrimage to Lighthouse Beach is almost expected, but there are 134 other majestic deserted beaches that provide an incredible variety of experiences. You can spend your entire vacation searching and experiencing them if you wish to. Depending on the ocean conditions, you can snorkel at almost all of them. Consider picking up The Eleuthera Beach Book and The Eleuthera Snorkel Book to enhance your trip and speed your journey to the best spots.

things to do lighthouse beach eleuthera bahamas

A trip to Eleuthera is not complete without an excursion to Lighthouse Beach

Conclusion

I hope you liked my list of The BEST 15 Things to Do on Eleuthera. I’ve spent many years exploring the island and all it has to offer, and it never grows old. Even after 21 years, each time I visit I find something new. I hope you seek out some of these locations and turn Eleuthera into your go to place for vacation adventure!

eleuthera map pick a vacation rental

A satellite view of Eleuthera reveals both shallow and deep water surrounding it


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#thingstodoeleuthera #thingstodooneleuthera #15bestthingstodoeleuthera #eleutherabahamasthingstodo

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5 more of the best Eleuthera vacation rental tips

adventures, beaches, lodging, Travel - Bret S. - December 13, 2020

eleuthera vacation rentals

This is the second in a series of blogs offering 5 more of the best Eleuthera vacation rental tips. It will focus on what I consider the second most important aspect of your selection – TRAVEL TIME! We will reveal the 5 tips that you need to consider to understand how travel time will affect the quality of your vacation. We’ll also link to a few properties, where appropriate, that exemplify these choices. Click on this link to read the first blog in this series that talks about the 3 secrets of choosing the best island LOCATION for your vacation rental.

Now that you’ve narrowed down your selection to a region and side of the island you prefer, it’s time to consider where you’ll be in relation to things that you are going to need on your vacation. The island is long and narrow and the settlements are very spread out with sometimes more than 10 miles between them. You don’t want to spend a majority of your time traipsing back and forth to run errands and driving long distances to visit restaurants and beaches if you don’t have to. (Click here to pick up your copy of The Beach Book, Eleuthera, Bahamas edition. It’s a must have if you are planning on seeing the best beaches on the island.) What are some of the things you are likely to need during your vacation and where should you stay on the island to reduce your time on the road?


Eleuthera vacation rental tips – Tip #1 (ATMs)

First time visitors to the island are usually surprised by how spread out everything is and how remote many of the settlements and vacation rental communities are. The gap between settlements can be as few as 6 miles or as many as 20. With the speed limit in the settlements set at 15mph (if there aren’t any speed bumps) and the maximum highway speed only 45mph you probably have already resigned yourself to the fact that you will be doing a fair amount of driving and spending valuable vacation time just getting around. But, with gas being expensive and vacation time at a premium, you need to think about how much time you truly want to be spending on the road. Is there a way to choose a location on Eleuthera that will reduce your travel time while maximizing your vacation time?

Strangely enough, the first thing you need to think about is money, and I don’t mean the amount of money that you’ve budgeted for your trip. How are you going to get money once you’re on Eleuthera? There are only 3 ATM’s on the island, two in Governor’s Harbour and one in Rock Sound – a settlement that is 28 miles south of Governor’s. Credit cards aren’t widely accepted on the island and where they are, they usually charge a 5% service fee. What this all means is that unless you are bringing all the cash you are going to need with you then you are going to need to withdraw cash from one of the ATMs at least once and maybe several times depending on how long you are staying. How often do you plan on going to the cash machine?

You can see where I’m going with this. If you are going to be eating out, going on tours, visiting Harbour Island and Spanish Wells, or spending any money at all then you are either going to need to bring oodles of cash with you or you are going to have to hit the ATM at least every couple of days. For this reason alone it may make sense to stay in or around Governor’s Harbour. The other strategy to consider is that instead of making a special trip to the ATM whenever you need cash you just regularly stop when you are in the vicinity of one, or whenever you are passing through on your way to see another part of the island.

Tip #1 – If you are going to be withdrawing cash every couple of days then strongly consider staying centrally on the island and near to Governor’s Harbour. If you aren’t staying centrally then have a plan to stop at the ATM whenever you pass through Governor’s or Rock Sound as you explore the rest of the island.

Click this link to see a number of rental properties that are close to or in Governor’s Harbour.

Governor's Harbour Vacation Rentals

Chez Cay is located just south of Governor’s Harbour.

Eleuthera vacation rental tips – Tip #2 (Supplies)

Before I get into my second tip you have to understand a bit about the roads on Eleuthera. There are no street lights. There are very few dividing lines. Queen’s Highway can be hilly and twisty, and some of the settlements have devastating speed bumps that seem to spring up whenever you least expect them. Bahamians also tend to drive fast and they often leave their high beams on at night. The roads can be bumpy and have deep potholes that are big enough to blow out a tire. Finally, tourists have a nagging propensity to drive on the right even though in the Bahamas you MUST drive on the left. All of these factors make daytime driving difficult and night driving treacherous.

Your second major consideration when choosing a location to stay in the island, which factors in night driving, is the frequency with which you will need to purchase essentials such as food, beverages, alcohol, and gas. How often will you eat out? Will you attend the Friday night Fish Fry? Will any of these trips be done after dark? All of the aforementioned necessities are located in the settlements. If you are not located near a settlement, or in the case of the Fish Fry, near Governor’s Harbour, then you are going to be spending a half an hour to an hour driving back and forth to get supplies and dine out. This adds up if you have to do it every day.

Tip #2 – Plan to pick up your initial purchase of groceries and beverages on the day you arrive. Subsequent trips to get gas and purchase additional supplies can be coordinated with a restaurant meal. Bring a cooler with you to keep frozen items cold while you enjoy lunch or supper out, then head home with your supplies. Try to stay near a settlement, if possible. If you can’t stay near a major settlement (Gregory Town, Governor’s Harbour, Tarpum Bay, Rock Sound) then make sure you know where the smaller markets are in the nearest settlement. You can find good products in the smaller settlements if you know where to go.

Eleuthera vacation rental tips

Millard’s in North Palmetto Point is an example of a well stocked neighborhood market

Tip #2a – The four major grocery stores on the island are located in Bluff (North Eleuthera Supply a.k.a. Burchie’s), Governor’s Harbour (Eleuthera Supply and Burrow’s) and Rock Sound (The Market Place).

Eleuthera vacation rental tips

Burrow’s in Governor’s Harbour is one of the best and most well-stocked grocery stores on the island

Want to Earn More Rental Income? 11 Keys to Create Great Vacation Rental Listings

Eleuthera vacation rental tips – Tip #3 (Beaches)

Eleuthera is known for it’s numerous exquisite beaches. With 100 of miles of eastern and western coastline to explore you can find every type of beach imaginable. From small romantic wisps of pink sand that you’ll have all to yourself to massively long majestic shorelines and dunes that are so picturesque that you have to pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming. If you’re going to be exploring, and it’s likely you are, then you need to carefully plan your beach excursions otherwise you’re going to spend hours on the road.

Most first timers try to do too much. Everyone wants to make the long trek to Lighthouse Beach. That in itself can take an entire day depending on where you are staying on the island. It’s really difficult to see all of the special beaches on just one trip when you have so much ground to cover. And, if you try to, then you’re going to spend more time driving to and fro rather than relaxing on the beach or in the water.

Many beaches can be visited without having to drive far, but the more spectacular ones do tend to be at the extreme ends of the island. In addition to them being pretty far away, the access roads to them can be extremely bumpy and rutted making the trip even more time consuming. For example, the last 2 miles of road to reach Lighthouse Beach usually takes about 30 minutes!

Tip #3 – Plan to visit no more than 2 beaches a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Choose a vacation rental that favors one geography of the island – north, central, or south and focus on visiting the beaches in that region. If you must make the pilgrimage to Lighthouse Beach then you are better off choosing a rental that is south of Governor’s Harbour. Make sure to buy a copy of The Beach Book so you don’t waste more time getting lost.

Eleuthera vacation rental tips

Lighthouse Beach is one of the major reasons to visit Eleuthera

Eleuthera vacation rental tips – Tip #4 (Festivals)

Many people come to Eleuthera for the festivals. We have Junkanoo, the Pineapple Festival, Jazz Fest and various settlement Homecoming celebrations throughout the year. There are also numerous religious and national holidays where nightly celebrations occur sometimes multiple nights in a row such as over Bahamian Independence Day. Most of these events occur after dark. You need to consider how far you are willing to drive at night after these events have ended. Many celebrations also offer the opportunity for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. Keep in mind that taxis are few and far between and must be arranged in advance.

Here are some properties in Gregory Town, home of the annual June Pineapple Fest.

Tip #4 – If you are going to attend any holiday celebrations, events, parades or other such activities then you must consider staying as close to where the event is going to be held as possible. It’s dangerous to drive at night. It’s even more dangerous to drive at night after a few drinks if you have a long distance to travel. Find a house rental that is close to the action, if possible.

Eleuthera vacation rental tips – Tip #5 (Tours and Diving)

Our last consideration doesn’t apply to everyone, but as an avid scuba diver I always have to give this some thought especially when diving choices are limited. The last thing I want to do on my trip is spend several hours driving to a dive boat to then have to spend several hours on a boat going to the dive site. This will similarly apply to you if you plan on doing any of the tours or if you want to surf on the island. Surfing is done primarily at Surfer’s Beach in Gregory Town. Tours are generally run on the northern and southern tips of Eleuthera with only one well known and established tour operator, Fishbone Tours, operating out of the middle of the island in Savannah Sound. If you are going to go swimming with the pigs, do some organized snorkeling or fishing, or scuba dive then you need to consider where you’ll be in relation to where those tour boats depart from. Click here for a list of tour operators.

eleuthera scuba diving

Scuba diving is done at the northern and southern ends of the island. The Great Exuma Wall is reached by boat from either of the southern marinas – Cape Eleuthera Marina or Davis Harbour Marina in Wemyss Bight. If you are staying in the middle of the island then it’s at least a 45 minute drive in each direction to reach the marina and even longer if you have to go all the way to the Cape to catch your boat. Diving to the north is done out of Harbour Island. You’ll have to drive to the Three Island Dock and then take a short water taxi to Harbour Island. You’ll probably need to leave an hour’s worth of time to get to the boat unless you are staying on the northern part of the island.

Here’s a vacation rental called Gone Shelling that is just south of Tarpum Bay on the southern part of the island and closer to Davis Harbour Marina than many other rental properties.

Tip #5 – If you are going to be doing a lot of diving or going on a lot of tours then your first consideration in terms of vacation rental location may just be how close you are to the dive or tour operators. It’s no fun getting up early and spending half your day on the road just to get to where the boat leaves from!

eleuthera scuba diving

Scuba Eleuthera runs out of Davis Harbour in Wemyss Bight


Summary

Now you have 5 more tips to help you decide on where to stay on the island. I know this can seem overwhelming because there’s a lot to consider, but it will be well worth it in the end if you plan properly. You DON’T want to spend your entire vacation on the road. So, my final tip in this blog, is to PLAN ON COMING BACK. There’s a lot to do and see on Eleuthera. It takes years if not decades to see it all. Take it easy. Don’t try to do too much. We hope to see you next year!!

Here are this blog’s tips:

  1. ATMs – if you’re going to be using the cash machines then stay in or around Governor’s Harbour. If not, then plan to stop at an ATM whenever you are passing by.
  2. Supplies – choose to stay near one of the major settlements – Gregory Town, Governor’s Harbour, Tarpum Bay, Rock Sound. The best and largest grocery stores are in Bluff, Governor’s Harbour and Rock Sound. You can pick up many essential items in the smaller markets in the smaller settlements. Plan to pick up supplies in combination with another trip such as when you are going out to eat. Do your first large shopping on the day you arrive. Be extremely careful if you have to drive after dark.
  3. Beaches – choose a vacation rental that favors a region – north, central, south. Visit a maximum of two beaches a day. Visit beaches in the region that you are staying in. Pick up a copy of The Beach Book.
  4. Festivals – use taxis if you are going to be partying. Choose to stay closer to the festival to avoid excessively long drives after dark.
  5. Tours and Diving – if you are planning on diving or going on excursions then choose to stay in close proximity to the tour operator, fishing guide, or dive operation.

Those 5 tips turned out to be more like twenty when you add them all up!! If you need any help choosing what part of the island to stay on please contact us at support@eleutheradirect.com.

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Eleuthera Navy Base: Haunted or Santeria art collection?

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - August 6, 2020

Is the NAVFAC on Eleuthera haunted?

Exploring the Eleuthera NAVFAC always piques my interest as I love all things macabre. The first few times I ventured through I was merely trying to find the main beach in front of the massive parking lot, but on subsequent visits I became fascinated with the native art that was deemed to be Santeria. Now, I don’t know if it is or isn’t, but it is pretty weird. The fact that most of the art can be found in the building that used to be the chapel also makes the walk through the building just a bit more creepy, as if something will jump out at you (besides one of the goats!) at every turn of a corner. Enjoy a smattering of my photos from my journey through the chapel in 2019. For a brief history of the facility, read on.

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The Eleuthera, Bahamas facility was officially commissioned on September 1, 1957. There were 150 officers and enlisted men plus 45 Bahamians. Much of the work detail was related to transportation and communication, and it was said that its main mission was to interecept foreign communications from vessels above and below the ocean that traveled near the Eleutheran shores. Eleuthera made history June 30, 1970 by being the first facility to employ women in oceanographic research. NAVFAC Eleuthera was decommissioned March 31, 1980 after 23 years of service.

For some additional history on the area make sure to check out this interesting read from Project Eleuthera.

Note: As per the first comment from Chuck Miller (thanks Chuck!), I have added some photos of the catchment basin and my car hovering precariously above the last slab of cement.

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Papaw Bay Beach, South Palmetto Point #1 Best Video Tour: Eleuthera, Bahamas

adventures, beaches, eats - Bret S. - August 3, 2020

Papaw Bay Beach, South Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, Bahamas

Located in South Palmetto Point, take a scenic video tour of Papaw Bay Beach, Eleuthera, Bahamas. This beach is easily reached from the nearby settlements of Governor’s Harbour, Savannah Sound, South Palmetto Point and North Palmetto Point. This beach is ideal when it’s windy on the west side of the island as this bay and beach are very protected. It’s perfect for a morning visit followed by either take-away from 3J’s jerk pit or a pizza from Mate and Jen’s.

Be sure to check out our guide of South Palmetto Point, too!

All of our videos can be found on the EleutheraDirect YouTube channel.

south palmetto point

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Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island Tours and Tour Guides

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - July 17, 2020

eleuthera tours, spanish wells tours, harbour island tours

Eleuthera tours and Spanish Wells tours

have been around for awhile. When I first ventured to Eleuthera in 1999 there were very few options for touring the island. Some land based operators would take you to Preacher’s Cave, the Ocean Hole, The Hatchet Bay Caves and the Hatchet Bay grain silos. There were three scuba guides as I recall. And, that was about it. The rest of the island, and adjacent islands, you needed to explore on your own, which was fun, but time consuming. Well, times have changed and as the island has grown up so has it’s tour business. It is now possible to tour south, central and northern Eleuthera as well as what is referred to as “pig island” just south of Russell Island. Tours encompass cliff and cenote jumping, turtle and pig feeding, snorkeling, scuba diving, deep sea and reef fishing, lobstering, spearfishing, beach picnics, sailing and pretty much anything you can dream up on land, sea, or both. This blogs lists on the tour operators who offer a more immersive experience rather than only fishing or scuba diving. Those operators will be featured in a separate blog. Below is about as comprehensive of a list of the operators that I was able to find online. I’ve included videos where possible as well as contact information, and a general description of what kind of services they offer. There are LOTS of options and I recommend calling them to discuss your particular needs and wishes.

Central Eleuthera

 

Fishbone Tours – offers adventure and snorkeling tours as well as bone, deep sea and reef fishing. The Adventure Tour, their most popular option, is an enticing combination of snorkeling, conch diving, starfish and turtle encounters, reef fishing complemented by a conch salad lunch and drinks. Captain ‘Bubba’ Julius Rankine is the tour guide. He operates out of Savannah Sound, which is 10 miles south of Governor’s Harbour and 1 mile north of Windermere Island. He and his wife also own and operate the popular Fishbone Beach Bar and Grill. Make sure to take an excursion and enjoy a most pleasant meal afterwards. Contact info: info@fishbonetours.com, 242-332-6524

South Eleuthera

Eleuthera Tours – founded and operated by the husband and wife team of Kristel and Donald Anderson are the tour of choice for both visitors staying on Eleuthera and for those cruising through Princess Cays. Their particular focus is on the southern end of the island and their two most popular tours are to Lighthouse Beach and the Schooner Cays. They also offer fishing, sunset and night sky boat tours, and kayak adventures. Their reputation is stellar and their area of operation truly unique.

Contact info: United States: 407-442-629, Office cell/ texts & Whatsapp: 242-557-7381, Kristel:  242-557-7381, Donald: 242-470-2048,  Email: info@eleutheratours.com

North Eleuthera

S/V Eventide – is the only sailing vessel on the island that I’m aware of that offers charters. Hailing out of Whale Point, Eleuthera, and Harbour Island you can enjoy a day of sailing, snorkeling, beachcombing, and relaxing on the beautiful waters around the islands. Eventide is a classic CSY 44 sloop. She comfortably accommodates up to 12 passengers and crew. Visit a deserted island, see dolphins and turtles, marvel at colorful reefs and sea life, gather shells and sea glass washed up from the ocean… all on your own private sailing charter! Phone: (305) 432-2331, 242-475-3741

Bahamas Out-Islands Adventures – operates out of Gregory Town and where it differs is that most tours are land based and surfing oriented. You can experience kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, beachcombing, shelling, hiking, exploring, caves, blue holes, flora and fauna, beach activities and games, and even stargazing. Tom Glucksmann is the tour operator and he can be reached at 242-551-9635 or 242-335-0349. The company email is info@bahamasadventures.com.

James Munroe – operates out of Current, Eleuthera. I couldn’t find specific information about the types of tours he offers, but he is highly respected by folks who have reviewed him on various forums. I assume that you can arrange whatever type of northern tour you would prefer. James can be reached at 242-470-0671.

Spanish Wells

Exotic Excursions – allows you to create your dream charter!! Choose from many fun and exciting options!  Swimming with the pigs / Feeding turtles in the wild / Snorkeling beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks / Visit the beautiful sandbank / Bottom fishing / Deep-Sea Fishing / Lobster Spearing / Dive conchs and make fresh conch salad / Diving starfish and sea glass / Beach picnics / Underwater Caves / Cliff jumping and more. Will also do video for guests on tour for free.

Contact information: Captain Sheldon Pinder:  242-557-7128; or Sasha:  242-470-6123.  Email:  exoticexcursions242@gmail.com . Facebook.

 

 

TyMan Fishing Charter and Adventure – they provide fishing, snorkeling and diving excursions. If you are visiting the Bahamas, Harbor Island, Eleuthera or Spanish Wells and would like to see the sites and catch the fish and enjoy a day on our beautiful waters, contact us to get booked. Spanish Wells, Touring, Snorkel and Dive, Fishing, Pigs, Sapphire Hole, Deep Sea Fishing, Lobstering. Contact information is 242-464-0642 lobsterhunter45@hotmail.com

 

Island Charters – offers half day charters starting at 4 hours and full day charters departing daily out of Spanish Wells, Eleuthera and Harbour Island, Spanish Wells. They offer a wide variety of custom charters including: Feed the Turtles, Reef Fishing, Spearfishing, Bottom Fishing, Swim with the Pigs, Beach Picnics, Snorkeling, Dive the Shipwreck, Beaching, Shelling, Island Excursions, Lunch on Spanish Wells, Bridge and Cliff Jumping, Eleuthera Tours, Glass Window Bridge, Sapphire Blue Hole, Preacher’s Cave. Contact info is 242-470-6206, islandchartersspanishwells@gmail.com.

 

 

Uncle Rob’s Great Adventures – where their mission is for people to have adventures and make memories that will last a lifetime. Contact info is 242-557-7655, unclerob59@outlook.com

-Swim with the Swimming Pigs
-Feed the Wild Sea Turtles
-Shipwreck and Reef Snorkeling
-Visits to the Sapphire Blue Hole
-Awesome Cave Adventures
-Trips to the World famous Sand Dollar Beach
-Cliff and Bridge Diving
-Beach Picnics

 

True Blue Charters –  they are purveyors of adventure who offer Eleuthera Tours, Snorkeling, Wreck Dives, Beachcombing, cliff jumping, watersports, fishing, feed and swim with the pigs, We provide fishing, snorkeling, wreck dives, beach combing, cliff jumping, and water sport excursions. Captain Todd and Sister Cassandra have a combined 40+ years of experience in adventuring the waters of Spanish Wells. Contact info: toddpinder5@gmail.com, 1 242-470-8241.

 

 

 

Da Salty Pig – historical eleuthera tours, swim with pigs, reef exploration, reef bottom fishing, turtle encounters, beach picnic, deep sea fishing, sand dollar sandbank. Contact info: info@dasaltypig.com, 242-422-9348

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Dunnam – reef exploration, snorkeling, scuba, beach getaway, deep sea fishing, reef exploration, scuba diving, swim with pigs, spanish wells and islands, message in a bottle. Contact info: 242.470.1930, dunnamjames@gmail.com

 

 

 

Swimming Pigs with Captain Ryan Neilly – Excursions to see the swimming pigs of Spanish Wells.  Also, deep sea, reef, bottom, bone and spear fishing, and snorkeling. Leaves from Gene’s Bay ferry dock in North Eleuthera.  Cell phone (call or text):  242-359-7894; landline:  242-333-4721; email: rneilly@gmail.com;

 

 

 

 

Captain Kid Tours – Looking for a 1/2 day or day excursion? They’ve got the boat, the gear, and the expertise to help you enjoy the great Bahamian outdoors, and we provide you, your family, and friends with memories that will last a lifetime. Feed the green sea turtles, visit the swimming pigs, let’s go fishing, custom land tours, private land tours, sand dollars and shells, awesome snorkeling. Contact info: jodypinder@gmail.com, 242-557-7351.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aqua Bliss Charters – Enjoy half day & full day charters, deep sea fishing and spear fishing with Aqua Bliss Charters. You can explore Preacher’s Cave, Pig Island, a sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean, snorkeling and more! Contact info: aquablisscharters@gmail.com, 242-470-8040

 

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Eleuthera, Bahamas – Eleuthera Island’s 5 Best Ocean Blue Holes plus several others

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - June 24, 2020

Eleuthera island is known for its famous and mostly deserted Eleuthera pink sand beaches of which it has 135. Additionally, it is very different from Atlantis – Paradise Island, Nassau – Bahamas and Exuma – Bahamas in that Eleuthera offers a myriad of beautiful and free natural attractions. This makes it not only unique and affordable, but also exciting and adventurous to explore.

What many travelers aren’t aware of are it’s numerous blue ocean holes. These seemingly bottomless salt-water filled cenotes connect to the ocean at some point and are scattered around the island. The majority of them are located towards the southern end of Eleuthera island. Most people are at least familiar with it’s most notable blue hole, The Ocean Hole, located in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. It was explored by none other than Jacques Cousteau who never found the connection to the ocean. But what about the other ocean blue holes on the island? Watch the video to learn my 5 favorite ocean holes and read the rest of the article to learn about the other Eleuthera island blue holes that I’ve explored on my adventures. This article contains GPS coordinates, descriptions, pictures and a few maps detailing their locations. It’s time to explore the island that Lenny Kravitz calls “Eleutheria”.

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  1. The Sapphire Hole in North Eleuthera is fast becoming one of the island’s favorite attractions. Visitors come to this blue hole to experience it’s 10 foot high jump into the crystal clear blue water below. This is also an interesting snorkeling site as the hole is home to Cuban Cave Shrimp. It can also be scuba dived to a depth of about 90′.  GPS: 25° 33.220’N, 76° 42.342’W

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2. James Cistern is a settlement on Eleuthera that also has an ocean hole bearing the same name. It was used as a water source when the US Navy had its facility near there in the late 50’s and 60’s. Today it is just an abandoned ocean hole that is too deep to enter and exit safely. It is also littered with debris and had a ‘pond scum’ type film covering much of it when I last visited. GPS: 25° 20.168’N, 76° 22.521’W

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3. Ten Bay has it’s own small ocean hole that one of my neighbors nicknamed X10. For what reason? I have no idea! There is a small area to park, however, the hole itself is surrounded by extremely soft sediment. It is easy to sink in above your ankles. While I have not approached this hole closely I have seen divers in wetsuits exiting the water. GPS: 25° 7.034’N, 76° 8.736’W

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4. Kemp’s Bay, just south of Ten Bay, has it’s own ocean blue hole, too, but it is extremely difficult to reach. I tried several times to cut my way through the brush, finally succeeding. Unfortunately, the part of the hole that I hoped to explore was on the opposite side from where I was standing and the muddy, silty bottom was almost quicksand-like so I opted not to venture far from shore. Alas, I seem to have misplaced my photos from the adventure. GPS: 25° 6.440’N, 76° 8.662’W

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5. The Ocean Hole in Rock Sound is the most well known and visited blue ocean hole on the island. It has many varieties of fish and crustaceans living in it including angelfish, grey snapper, porkfish, blue tangs and blue mussels. It can be swam in and snorkeled. There are two ladders for easy entry and exit. Many visitors come here to feed the fish. Additionally, you can follow the walking paths to circumnavigate the hole and enjoy the native flora and fauna. There are signs in the settlement of Rock Sound on Queen’s Highway pointing the way to the hole and the hole itself is marked with signage and a gazebo making it very easy to find. GPS: 24° 51.839’N, 76° 9.332’W

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6. The Boiling Hole in Rock Sound is interesting to look at with its abundance of lush shade trees enveloping the entire circumference of the hole, but it’s not a great place to swim or snorkel. There are a couple of caves on its opposite shoreline, but they are only for viewing rather than exploring. If you follow the path leading past the hole you will find the ladder that you can descend to The Cathedral (aka Spider) Caves. These two attractions are beautiful, very natural and worth visiting for an hour or two. GPS: 24° 51.248’N, 76° 9.376’W

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7. The Shrimp Hole earned its nickname due to the abundance of Cuban Cave Shrimp that I found inhabiting the water. The day I found this hole it was pouring rain and I had to cut my way back to it using a cutlass. The vegetation was tall and wet. It took me several tries before I actually found the edge of the hole and by the time I got there I looked like I had just come out of the shower. I must admit that I was a bit unprepared for the excursion. The rocky ironshore around the hole was extremely sharp and I couldn’t find a safe place to enter and exit the water. Additionally, the edge of the hole had a lot of soft sediment that I would have had to stand on in the water. I used my cutlass to sample the consistency and I went straight in up to my arm. Without a spotter I didn’t think it was safe to enter the water on my own so I left the full underwater exploration to a future excursion. Fortunately, I did have my underwater GoPro with me and was able to get a few short videos, which confirmed my belief that this was indeed an ocean hole since the organisms were ocean-like rather than pond-like. On the map below, the Shrimp Hole is the one at the top of the map. GPS: 24° 49.668’N, 76° 9.820’W

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8. The Gwoupa Hole was another one that I had to nickname due to it having numerous large fish swimming in it including grouper. It had to be an ocean hole because the fish wouldn’t have survived in a brackish pond. The walls of the hole were 15′ to 20′ high and while there was a way to get to the water, it was not going to be an easy climb. I returned a second time to find out that the hole is on private property and that the fish were being stocked by the owner. Since it was farmland, the family that own it, and their workers, would eat lunch above the hole, feed the fish and sometimes fish for them, too. On the return trip we confirmed that there was a way to get to the water’s edge. It is hoped that in the future, land based tours can be organized to bring visitors to this hole for a swim. On the map below, the Gwoupa Hole is the one at the bottom of the map. GPS: 24° 48.774’N, 76° 10.512’W

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9. Our last blue hole is nicknamed the Golf Course Blue Hole as it is found on one of the fairway cutouts of what was to be the “new” full size Cotton Bay golf course. I found it almost by accident as I drove back there one day to see the progress on the course. I hiked a few of the holes and came across the cutout of what was going to be a nice par 3 over a “pond” except it didn’t look like a pond. The water was way too blue and had the crystal clear sheen of the ocean. While I didn’t see any organisms, and couldn’t 100% say for sure whether it truly connected to the ocean, it had all the visual characteristics of an ocean hole. However, it didn’t look like one of those great deep blue ocean holes like most of the others. If not for the clearness of the water and its vibrant color I would have thought otherwise. See for yourself. GPS: 24° 47.270’N, 76° 10.976’W

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While I’m sure there must be many more ocean holes on Eleuthera island, I have yet to find them. Eleuthera’s blue ocean holes can also be found in the ocean, too, but the ones I explored were deemed too dangerous due to shark activity so I will not be revealing them in this blog. I highly recommend putting on your adventure cap and taking a few rides into the jungle to experience these unique phenomena. I find them all interesting and hope that you do, too. While you’re enjoying the Eleuthera pink sand make sure to also take some time to enjoy Eleuthera’s blue holes.

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The Point at Half Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - May 15, 2020

Eleuthera vacation rental properties closest to this part of Eleuthera can be found in nearby Winding Bay, a residential community featuring numerous rental properties, or Tarpum Bay, one of the larger Bahamian settlements on the island. There are a series of beaches that run on the ocean side of Half Sound, a large body of water that resembles a large lake. It has a wide mouth that feeds to the ocean. Beware the current that runs from the ocean to the sound as it is wicked strong and impossible to swim against. There is also an interesting channel at its southern end that offers unique mangrove-like snorkeling. Additionally, there is a man-made channel on its northern end that connects to Winding Bay and it’s beautiful beach. This channel is great for a lazy kayak ride back and forth between the two bodies of protected water. There are several boat launches as well. You must navigate Half Sound by boat with caution, however, as it is very shallow in most areas. Stay to the outside and follow the mouth to take a boat out to the ocean for some fishing!

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There are at least three access points to the beaches on the ocean side and several accesses to smaller bay side beaches, too. The road that leads from Queen’s Highway to the beaches can be very slow going as it is deeply rutted. The 2+ mile trek to The Point at Half Sound can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. A vehicle that has good clearance is recommended as well as one where rubbing up against brush on the sides of the vehicle will not be a problem. Your vehicle will likely earn its ‘Eleuthera stripes’ venturing back this way especially if your adventurous side takes over and you try to get to the bay side beaches. A good way to identify the road to the beaches is to look for the electric lines running across the road just south of the Rock Sound settlement sign as you drive on the long straightaway after Carey’s Hardware store if you are heading south. You can also look for the electric lines when heading north after you pass Hotel CTI or what locals still refer to as the old Rock Sound Club, which was built by Vining Davis back in the ’50’s.

In terms of snorkeling, just in front of the beach at The Point is one of the healthiest and largest reef systems that also has the added benefit of being close to shore. It is featured in The Snorkel Book as the best place on the island for ocean snorkeling due to its size, health and variety of sea life that it attracts. If you are heading south on the island and want some quality beach time, good snorkeling and maybe some boating then look no further than The Point at Half Sound because it checks all the boxes!

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Eleuthera – It’s Not For Everyone…or is it?

adventures, LifeStyle, Travel - Bret S. - April 15, 2020

Come and enjoy the island paradise of Eleuthera, Bahamas. Enjoy our sneak preview above the land and below the waves.

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IS THERE REALLY A LIGHTHOUSE AT LIGHTHOUSE BEACH?

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - April 10, 2020

Pssst!! Hey, you! Want to know a secret? On Eleuthera, one of the Bahamian Family Islands located just 60 miles east of Nassau, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches…IN THE WORLD!! Could that be true? We think it is. Read on to learn more and be sure to watch our YouTube video and subscribe to our channel for a peek at this truly amazing location.

Read on Lighthouse Beach Lovers!

Many people are surprised to find out that just a mere hour and change flight from the Florida coast they can visit this natural wonder of the beach world, Lighthouse Beach, which sits at the very southeastern tip of Eleuthera. While getting to Eleuthera is fairly easy, just take a direct flight from Atlanta, Florida, or Nassau, New Providence in the Bahamas, the ground trek to Lighthouse Beach can prove to be a bit daunting. That’s because the beach, or beaches as it were, are well hidden at the end of a long 2 mile jungle road. It’s not just any 2 mile road, either. If Glass Window Bridge to the north of the island can be considered the narrowest place on Earth then maybe the road to Lighthouse Point might be the bumpiest. Decades of erosion have left long deep ruts with Volkswagen sized holes that are big enough to swallow a small child. Because of the road condition those last two miles can take anywhere from 35 to 50 minutes depending on how much ground clearance your vehicle has and the driving nerves you possess. It’s not uncommon for visitors to simply abandon their vehicle and hike to the beaches although we don’t recommend doing that. The road is long and barely wide enough for one vehicle in most places. It should not be used as a parking lot if that can be avoided.

After passing a large inland body of water aptly named Big Pond, you will come to the first southern shore beach area, which has been nicknamed Lighthouse Beach Caribbean, by, ummm, me. It’s a beautiful stretch of cool pink sand! The brilliant turquoise waters of the shallower sound side of the island lovingly lap at her shores. Many visitors are content to stay right there, but there’s so much more to see. With one parking area at the beginning of the beach, and a second one next to a wooden bench just before the sandy hill leading to the Atlantic side beach, there’s plenty of room to spread out. Since this beach is considered so special, ironically, it’s often the beach that has the most visitors even if it is one of the harder ones to reach. But, Lighthouse Point has much more to offer and plenty of additional areas to explore.

If you continue to drive past the bench up and over the hill be very careful. The road is little more than a soft sand trail wide enough for one vehicle and with deep ruts. It’s easy to bottom out or get stuck in the sand. With no help nearby you might be there for quite a long time if that happens. If you don’t have experience driving in sand or you don’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, don’t even take the chance. Park at the bottom of the hill and take a leisurely stroll up and over the hill. If you’re more adventurous, look for the trail that can be found just past the beach and in the direction of the series of cays. Hike from there up to the abandoned lighthouse building.

The Atlantic side beach is gorgeous! It stretches for more than 6 miles before you would run into a piece of land requiring you to take a little swim to the next beach around the bend. There is plenty of reef to explore on this side of the island if you are interested in snorkeling although the reef, at least the last time I visited, was not healthy and mostly devoid of life. Do pay attention to the current and wind direction as it’s easy to get blown out to sea if you venture too far from shore.

But, what about the lighthouse? I thought this article was going to answer whether or not there is really a lighthouse at Lighthouse Beach!

Once you are done exploring the beaches then find the roped off cutout steps that are carved out of the spectacular limestone outcroppings at the tip of the beach. Climb those steps and take in one of the most incredible elevated views you will ever experience. From that vantage point you’ll be able to observe two oceans colliding between the main body of land and the first cay. It’s truly awe-inspiring! The cays themselves resemble a series of stepping stones for some ancient giant or perhaps Poseidon himself. Venture farther up the path to what remains of the ruins of the old lighthouse and notice the tall poll next to the last remaining building. Yes, the actual light from the lighthouse, or what remains of it (see the end of the video to see what it looks like now) is still standing. I’ve never been able to find out much more history about this place or when the lighthouse ceased to function. It stands today as a testament to times gone by when it’s beacon of light helped ancient maritime sailors avoid tragedies at sea.

There are numerous other little hiking trails each one leading to another spectacular view, lookout ledge or hidden beach. I strongly recommend making a day out of the adventure. Pack all the food, drink and sunscreen you will need and spend the day enjoying and experiencing the majesty that is the Lighthouse Beach. We may not have this view for much longer as the land has been purchased by the Disney Corporation and they have plans to turn it into something other than what it is today. If that happens then the likelihood of being able to visit Lighthouse Point will probably only be possible by boat or by embarking on one of their cruises. It’s a future that I don’t like to even imagine, but a possibility nonetheless.

Make sure to pick up a copy of The Beach Book, Eleuthera, Bahamas edition for explicit driving directions to Lighthouse Beach and be sure to Like and Share our Facebook page below!

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HARBOUR ISLAND’S PINK SANDS BEACH

adventures, Travel - Bret S. - April 10, 2020

Harbour Island, often characterized as the polar opposite of Eleuthera due its eclectic populous atmosphere, is what many vacationers picture when they visualize a tropical vacation. It’s the place where you might catch a glimpse of the rich and famous, but here, everyone is equal. There are opulent boutique resorts, trendy little nightclubs, expensive restaurants, and just about every imaginable water activity available at your fingertips.

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But, what about the beach, you ask? It’s one of the best and there are some very specific reasons for that, first and foremost, being its size. As we often learn from popular TV, bigger is better, and the massive Pink Sands beach of Harbour Island is certainly no exception. What makes it different, though, is that it’s almost perfectly rectangular. Most beaches taper in places especially at the tips, wind around, or have rock obstructions, especially on Eleuthera. This 2.5 mile long beach maintains its 100 yards of width its full length from north to south. If you couple that with how flat it is you feel like you are on an endless bed of the most gorgeous pink sand that you’ll ever see. This is further complemented by fantastic water and a bustling village.

The look of the beach is also unique. There is a very tall dune at its back that looks like it was hand-painted. It is replete with exquisite tall palms, luxury homes, and brightly colored resorts. It just screams ‘tropics’. When you arrive here you can easily go from ZERO to VACATION in less than 60 seconds.

The water color is also to die for. There is an abrupt change from turquoise to deep blue that is unlike anything elsewhere. The water starts shallow, but gets deep almost immediately creating the change in hue. It is both dramatic and divine.

To reach Harbour Island you’ll take the water taxi from the Three Island dock just north of the North Eleuthera Airport (ELH). An inexpensive one way ride brings you to the Government Dock. From there you can walk over the hill or rent a golf cart to go to the beach. There are lots of other things to do here so we recommend renting a golf cart, spending the day, and exploring the island. Bring money. You’ll need it.

The main negatives with this beach are caused by its rather dense population per square mile. If you have become accustomed to Eleuthera where privacy and solitude are the way, then you’ll be shocked by the volume of activity on Harbour Island. The beach is about as public as a beach gets and there is sometimes a fair amount of seaweed although no debris as the beach is regularly maintained to keep it looking pristine. We recommend making this trip a MUST for anyone staying on Eleuthera.

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