Posts for beaches Category

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


READ MORE

eleutheradirect lodging and house rental

#thingstodoeleuthera #thingstodooneleuthera #15bestthingstodoeleuthera #eleutherabahamasthingstodo

Continue Reading

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.

READ MORE

Continue Reading

4 Eleuthera travel tips you need to know before traveling to Eleuthera

beaches, eats, Travel - Bret S. - September 2, 2020

eleuthera travel tips

Would you like to go to the Bahamas, but have never been there before?

Would you consider Eleuthera, one of the Family Islands in the Bahamas, but don’t know enough about the island to choose it as a destination?

Well, I’ve got some Eleuthera travel tips that will help you decide if it’s for you and better prepare for the experience if it is!

There are four things you really need to know before you go.

MORE--->

Are you surprised?

The fact that there are 4 Eleuthera travel tips you need to know in order to start planning your dream vacation to one of the most beautiful beach destinations on this planet pretty much means you don’t have to waste a lot of time fretting over a lot of details. That makes trip planning so much easier!!

Let’s get started.

1. Eleuthera Travel Tip #1: What should you pack?

This may be a turn off for many, but the island has biting insects and you need to know that. No-see-ums or sand flies, which are pervasive whenever there isn’t a breeze, have ruined many a trip and have landed numerous visitors in one of the public clinics seeking relief. Mosquitoes, or wings with teeth as the locals call them, are usually most bothersome at dawn and dusk. Trust me on this one, they sometimes swarm in ferocious packs and can be extremely aggressive. They are especially bad during rainy season (July) and after large rain storms.

There are lots of concoctions that have been offered on how to deal with them. Regimens of antihistamines, such as Benadryl and Pepcid, along with a mix of vitamin B supplemented with organic insect repellents have been recommended by numerous visitors and residents. However, multiple scientific studies have shown that vitamin B has no value whatsoever as an insect repellent. Most of the people who claim otherwise are probably vitamin B salespeople! If you took it and had fewer bites you likely experienced breezy conditions, were exposed to fewer bites or were just plain lucky. Antihistamines taken for several weeks continuously before one’s trip can help if you are hyper-allergic to bug bites and the ensuing itching welts. I have seen firsthand what happens when someone has an allergic reaction and it’s not pretty. Many people claim that they don’t get bites at all. Likely, what is happening is that they don’t get the allergic reaction to the bite that can cause itchy, puss filled welts that can last for weeks on end.

What you want to pack is a bug spray that has DEET along with a good after bite treatment to apply after each bite. Other types of insect repellent can be effective, but sprays with DEET are a sure thing. I personally use a spray called Ben’s with either 80% or 100% DEET to increase the duration of protection. You’ll also want to pack cover-ups such as light pants, socks and a long sleeved shirt to wear in the mornings or evenings to help minimize the amount of exposed skin. Finally, if you are already there and forgot these things, then try to find a breeze when outdoors and use air conditioning when indoors. No-see-ums go dormant in cooler conditions and when there is a breeze they have a much harder time to land and bite.

Here’s another one of my Eleuthera travel tips: Don’t overpack!

Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells are very casual islands. You can dine out at the most elegant restaurant and still be perfectly acceptable in shorts, t-shirt and sandals. During the day you’re not going to be dressed in more than that and most likely you’ll be in a bathing suit most of the time. If you feel you need to pack something dressier then by all means go ahead, but don’t overdo it. A light summer dress for ladies and a button down short sleeved polo with casual shorts for men is perfectly fine. The airlines are going to charge you if you carry more than 50 lbs in your luggage (40 lbs on some of the smaller carriers) and I’ve learned over the years that bringing two or three changes of clothing for a week, along with a couple of bathing suits, is more than enough for how casual every place on the island is. If your luggage weighs more than 30 lbs then you’ve probably packed too much.

Here one more tidbit to consider.

Make sure to bring plenty of suntan lotion. You can find it on the island, but it’s expensive.

To summarize, pack bug spray with Deet, after bite treatment, suntan lotion, a light cover-up, and half as many clothes as you were thinking of bringing!

2. Eleuthera Travel Tip #2: Should you rent a car, a golf cart or get around by taxi?

Eleuthera is 100 miles long and 2 miles wide. The main highway, Queen’s Highway, is long, narrow, mostly unlit, and with very few road markings such as dividing lines. Bahamians tend to drive fast. The highway has only two lanes. Plus, you drive on the left, which is unfamiliar territory to many visitors. The roads have many blind turns. The speed limit is 45 mph on most of the highway and 15 mph in the settlements. If you visit either Harbour Island or Spanish Wells, then a golf cart is the only way that visitors move about on those islands. They can be rented by the day at the government docks and it’s usually best to reserve one in advance. Driving around Eleuthera in a golf cart is not an option for safety reasons.

Since golf carts are out on Eleuthera then what about relying on taxis?

Here’s the thing. Taxis are available, but the taxi drivers work out of the airports. That means if you are staying away from the airport then it’s probably going to take a while for your driver to get to you; not very convenient. It’s not like you can just stand on a corner and hail a cab although hitch hiking is a perfectly acceptable way to get around for many folks on the island. If you are trying to get anywhere on a schedule then you will need to make a reservation. It is also true that since the settlements are rather far apart, the cost of your ride will not be inexpensive. For example, from North Eleuthera Airport (ELH) to Governor’s Harbour Airport (GHB), a trip that totals approximately 25 miles, it will cost you about $120US. A single taxi ride can sometimes cost as much or even more than the cost of renting a car for the whole day! Another consideration is that most of the places you are going to visit, such as the hidden beaches, natural attractions, restaurants, etc. are remote. Because of the cost, inconvenience and length of time to get a ride, I am advising you to not rely on taxis unless you just need transportation to and from the airport.

A car rental is the way to go and I would recommend getting a vehicle that has some type of clearance underneath it so that you can more easily manage the dirt roads and rocky beach paths that lead the way to most of the hidden beaches. A sedan is fine if you are going to stick to the settlements and most of the easily reached beaches, but it’s pretty impractical for the ones that are a bit more challenging to find. Remember, too, that when reserving your vehicle, every type of small SUV is called a jeep by the Bahamians. If you ask for a jeep you are likely not going to get an actual Jeep brand of automobile. Vehicle rental costs range from $60 to $90 per day and there is no additional cost for insurance. Most of the rental vehicle businessmen will want cash or a personal check although they are starting to move towards credit card transactions.

3. Eleuthera Travel Tip #3: How much money should you bring?

You are going to want to budget between $100 to $200 per day per person with my recommended budget being $150. This is excluding your transportation and lodging costs and is really meant as a budget for food, drinks and entertainment. I know there are a lot of variables that go into this question such as how often will you eat in versus out? When you eat out will you be going to higher end restaurants or budget friendly take-aways? Will you be drinking expensive alcohol drinks? Will you be engaging in activities that require equipment rentals such as kayaking, paddle boarding or scuba? Will you be going on any paid excursions or tours? In general, visitors find the price of groceries and dining out to be relatively expensive. So, let me explain my thinking and how I came up with that number.

I’m assuming that most people will be staying at a place where they can have at least half of their meals in, and all or most of their breakfasts. While groceries are generally expensive on any tropical island, you can find things to purchase that won’t break the bank. Let’s budget $150 per person for a week’s worth of groceries or ~$20 a day.

For eating out let’s budget $40 for lunch and $80 for dinner per person. That’s $120 a day, however, we’re only eating out half the time so we’ll cut it <span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@louishansel?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/gourmet-food?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>down to an average of $60 per day over the course of a one week trip. This budget also assumes that we do a mix of more expensive meals with some moderate ones.

Let’s do a budget for alcohol. A case of beer is going to run $60 or $2.50 a bottle. A bottle of wine will be an average of $30 or about $5 a glass. A bottle of rum is less than $10 or $0.60 per drink. A mixed drink at a bar is going to be around $15 – $20 and that’s just the way it is. I’ll assume that most visitors will do a mix of all of these choices. Let’s say we budget for 4 adult beverages a day across this mix. If we have 4 drinks out the cost is $80 on the high side. If we have four rum drinks at your rental we spend $2.40. Let’s meet more towards the middle, but stay on the low side because it won’t be often that we have four premium drinks at an expensive restaurant each day. We’ll make our booze budget $20, which is probably still on the high side.

Lastly, let’s take into consideration our activities. Fortunately, most activities on Eleuthera, such as beaching or visiting the attractions, are free! What can be expensive are guided tours and equipment rentals. If we allocate budget for two planned excursions – one a tour and one a rental – we’re looking at a budget of $150 for the tour and $80 for equipment for a total of $230. Over the course of a week that comes out to about a $33 daily average.

Our daily budget = $20 for groceries, $60 for dining out, $20 for drinks and $33 for entertainment, which comes out to $133. If we budget $133 per person it fits nicely in the range of $100 to $200. You can spend a little more or you can spend a little less, but I’m going to round that up to the nearest $50 and use $150 per person per day as a good round number to start with. You should also be aware that credit cards are still not widely accepted on Eleuthera. Cash is still king so plan on bringing it else you must frequent the ATMs, which can only be found in the settlements of Governor’s Harbour and Rock Sound.

4. Eleuthera Travel Tip #4: Is it worth it to go to Lighthouse Beach?

In a word, YES, it is worth it to go visit Lighthouse Beach, but, first, let’s talk about why some folks choose not to go there. (Click Here for a short video tour of Lighthouse Beach.)

It’s far, the road is a mess and there are few, if any, street signs.

Those are the three main objections to not making the trip, and I get it. Who wants to spend 3 to 4 hours of their precious vacation time traveling back and forth to a beach, or getting lost, when you can easily visit any number of beaches within minutes of where you are staying if not right outside your back door? However, Lighthouse Beach is not just any beach. It’s arguably the most dramatically beautiful beach on the island and maybe one of the best beaches in the world. With its striated limestone rock formations, overlook cliffs, sand-filled caves, and a channel where you can swim between two connecting seas, it’s simply magical and breathtakingly gorgeous!

But, how bad is the road, really?

It’s bad, but manageable. The ruts are deep. Some of the holes look like they’re big enough to swallow a Volkswagen. There are loose rocks and oftentimes large pockets of standing water. It’s likely that you’ll have to drive so far to one side of the road that your vehicle is going to get scratched by the branches and vegetation, what we call earning your Eleuthera stripes! If whomever rented you your vehicle doesn’t want you getting their car scratched, then there’s a reason not to go. Otherwise, it’s slow going, but you’ll make it. Even in a sedan. It’s much more comfortable to have a vehicle that has some ground clearance so that you don’t risk bottoming out in places, but if you take your time, keep your tires on the high spots, and when the holes are too deep, keep your tires as far to the edge of the road as possible, you’ll make it.

There has also been talk for some time about it being closed off to tourists as the property has been bought by The Walt Disney Company and they plan to turn it into a cruise ship port. They haven’t started any building. The road is still open. There has been no announcement as to when or if that will change.

Go see Lighthouse Beach while you can. It will make enough of an impression that I bet you’ll remember it and the experience for the rest of your life!!

So there it is. You have now learned 4 things you need to know before traveling to Eleuthera. I hope you all have a better vacation because of this article.

 

 

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading