Eleuthera, Bahamas – Trip Report

When most people think of the Bahamas, they naturally think of Nassau, the Atlantis resort, Cable Beach, or maybe a cruise stop in Freeport.  And, I have been to those places and they were lots of fun.  However, from here on out, I will always think of Eleuthera.  My wife and I recently had a chance to rent a house there with a few other couples and completely unwind for a week.

Eleuthera is an outer island that stretches 110 miles from north to south but is only about 2 miles wide.  It has three airports – North Eleuthera (ELH), Governor’s Harbour (GHB), and Rock Sound (RSD).  They basically serve the north, mid-island, and south of the island respectively.  Eleuthera is probably best known as the island where Prince Charles and Lady Diana spent their honeymoon and for a Club Med property that operated there until it was destroyed by Hurrican Floyd in 1999.

Today, the most popular parts of the island for tourists are at Harbour Island at the north of Eleuthera and the Rock Sound area in the south.  This post will focus on our week in the middle of the island between Governor’s Harbour and Palmetto Point.

This part of the island is not for everyone.  There are no fancy resorts and no drinks with umbrellas.  When you go into town to get supplies, you’ll see chickens walking around the streets, goats in pick up trucks, and locals drinking Kalik beer at 8:30 in the morning.  But, you will also find extremely friendly locals, gorgeous beaches, small restaurants that will give you an authentic experience, and places where you can get away from others.

We got to GHB via Bahamasair which I posted about previously.  The terminal at GHB is building of about 1,500 sq. ft. and don’t expect to find an Avis or Hertz rental car counter.  In fact, there are no rental chains anywhere on the island.  Instead, there are a couple of locals who run a rental car service, of sorts.  You will be paying cash and there will be no contract.   You will get a vehicle that is likely to have 150,000 miles or more on it and most of the warning lights on the dash will be lit up from the get-go. 

Our group has been using Stanton Cooper for years and also recommends McClain Pinder.  We got a relatively “new” Astro van that only had about 95,000 miles on it.

We rented a house across from “Club Med” or “French Leave” beach.  You can read a review of this gorgeous strip of beach here

Sunrise - Club Med Beach

Most of our days were spent exploring for isolated beaches or new sites.  We got to see Surfer’s Beach with several surfers in action.  Apparently, we were they during “high season” for waves.  We saw Ten Bay Beach, Twin Beaches, Winding Bay, and, our favorite beach, an unnamed beach on a lagoon just south of Winding Bay.  We spent a day there and during the course of eight hours saw exactly zero other people.

As for dining options, my favorite place has to be The Beach House on Banks Rd., just south of Governor’s Harbour.  It sits right on Club Med beach and offers live music a couple of nights a week.  Other options include Tippy’s, the Buccaneer Club, and Mate and Jenny’s, a pizza place in Palmetto Point.  Your other option is to catch your own meal or buy direct from the fisherman that operate in every little community on the island.

Probably my favorite meal of the week was when the guys were up north in the Gregory Town area.  We stopped at a hut of a bar and asked about dining options.  The guy we asked, Dennis, asked us to hold on a minute and made a quick phone call.  He pointed us to a house on the hill where a young woman carrying her daughter came out to the porch and asked us if we wanted fish or chicken.  I’m sure she was probably Dennis’ daughter or niece or cousin, but the food she served us was great and she was suddenly $40 richer.

Another recommendation is to visit Island Farm which sells fresh bread, local jams and jellies, and assorted fruits and vegetables when in season.  My primary caution is to NOT go to the Friday night fish fry in Governor’s Harbour.  That is, unless you want to watch a bunch of tourists and ex-pats doing the Macarena and other inane dance songs.  Next time, I’m trying the fish fry down in Tarpum Bay.

As you can tell, it was a great, relaxing week.  Please just don’t go the same week we are there..


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