Eleuthera: It's Not For Everyone
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published September 2012
Lighthouse Beach makes it onto many of the world’s “Top Ten Beaches” lists, so we had to go see it. We drove two hours to the very bottom tip of Eleuthera and over some incredibly rocky roads to see these stunning, sand carved white cliffs.
Earlier this Summer, a good friend invited my pals and I to Eleuthera–one of the slightly remote Out Islands in the Bahamas–by sending me a link to Orbital’s “Beached,” the theme song from The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio telling me “Never resist an invitation.” How could I? By August, we were sitting in the middle of a rugged paradise with the aqua blue of the Atlantic Ocean in front of us and the calm, sunny Caribbean Sea to our backs.
The unofficial tagline of the island is “Eleuthera: It’s not for everyone” which frankly made me want to go there even more. I like an island that is a little rough around the edges. Islands with only one main road connecting a series of small towns each with only one grocery store, one bank, one gas station, one liquor store. It keeps the masses away, the beaches are nearly desolate, and you almost need to put in a little work to enjoy yourself. Somehow, I find that oddly enjoying. Eleuthera is that island.
The house we rented was called “Conch’d Out.” It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a full kitchen in the main house, and a detached cottage with one bedroom, one bathroom, living room and a kitchen. Not to mention this awesome yard with a hammock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Rock Sound Club is the best name for a resort. It’s one of those deserted island resorts with great architecture and history, and you know that it was amazing in it’s heyday, but now it’s just a sad shell of it’s former self. We love those places! Apparently, Ethel Merman used to swim here and Howard Hughes and Ernest Hemingway used to party here.
Eleuthera is not a fancy place, and there are very few resorts or hotels. Most visitors tend to rent secluded, private homes up and down the island, and quietly enjoy the solitude of island living. While there is plenty to do, you don’t go there looking for a party or lots of activities. You go there to chill with your friends and family. We spent our days driving around the island looking for secluded beaches, lounging in the sun and snorkeling in coves. Our nights were spent relaxing at the two bedroom (plus cottage) house we rented appropriately called Conch’d Out in Palmetto Point.
Palmetto Point is right next to the historic town of Governor’s Harbour in the center of the island. It was relatively easy to get there, but you need to fly into Nassau, then take a small plane to Governor’s Island Airport (GHB) on Eleuthera. We flew on Southern Air, but there are a few local airlines you can fly with great names like Pineapple Air and Bahamas Air.
On our first day in Eluethera, we went to Bullard Beach so maybe that’s why it has a special meaning for me. It was so quiet and tranquil and the water was clear and sparkling.
We took a detour off the main road when we saw a sign for a “Bahamas Heritage Site.” We drove down a skinny dirt road, walked around a sandy corner and scaled this gigantic petrified coral mountain. It dropped off dramatically into a perfect blue swimming pool that had been carved out naturally in the rock. We also saw a massive sea turtle swimming near here, so this place gets extra magical points.
We checked out a lot of beaches in Eleuthera, but my favorites were Ten Bay and Hidden Beach for snorkeling, Lighthouse Beach for seriously stunning white cliffs and scenery and Bullard Beach for absolute solitude. I also really loved jumping off the (low) cliffs into Ocean Hole, a gigantic ocean-fed swimming hole in the middle of the island. For a list of the beaches in Eleuthera, visit www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com and pick up a copy of the book “The Elusive Beaches of Eluethera.”
Eleuthera is not a gourmet paradise by any means, and there aren’t that many restaurants or fish shacks on the island either. Basically if you are into fried seafood, fried rice and beans (almost Chinese fried rice style), spicy mac and cheese and conch served ten different ways, you’ll eat well in Eluethera. My favorites include the town Fish Fry on Friday nights in Governor’s Harbour with local DJs, booze and fresh conch salad; Tippy’s for more “upscale” island dining meaning lobster pizzas, seafood platters and frozen mixed drinks; the Beach House for tapas style dining; the Front Porch Cafe for insanely good conch and fish burgers; Cocodimama for civilized Italian dining; Mate and Jenny’s for conch pizza, Sunset Inn for brightly colored island rum drinks; Sammy’s Place for cracked conch and traditional Bahamian dinners; and on weekends head to Stubbs’s BBQ for ribs, chicken and pies served up in a family’s front yard. For a list of all the restaurants on the island, visit www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com/eleuthera-restaurants.
Eleuthera may not be for everyone, but if you appreciate secluded privacy, empty beaches and mellow vibes, it’s probably for you!
Visit facebook.com/cliktrips to see more photos of Eleuthera.
Ocean Hole is a deep, blue inland swimming hole that is fed by an underground ocean current. You can also jump off the small cliffs surrounding the hole into the crystal blue water.