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The Wild Island of The Bahamas: Eleuthera

french leave resort

July 9, 2017 | Categories:

Eleuthera (pronounced eh-LOO-thera) is one of the “out islands” of The Bahamas and its name means “freedom” in Greek. Guests who want to vacation here are looking for wild island beauty, pristine pink beaches, sea adventures (above and under water!), escaping crowded tourist locales and wanting to explore the scenery of the Caribbean while getting to know the locals. It’s great for fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing, and exploring the 18 unspoiled beaches. Much of the island isn’t developed. The island is known for its pineapple plantations and is a major exporter of pineapples.

 

Weather:

The weather in Eleuthera is why you’re visiting the famous pink sand islands. It’s usually in the 70’s to mid-80s temperatures with an off season of August through October rainfall averaging 2 to 5 inches.

 

Getting here:

There are direct flights from Miami and Atlanta to Eleuthera (approximately 45 minutes). Eleuthera is 50 miles east of Nassau. Three airports serve the island: North Eleuthera Airport (ELH), Governor’s Harbour Airport (GHB) and Rock Sound Airport (RSD) with daily, non-stop flights from Miami & Fort Lauderdale. Delta and American Airlines fly to Eleuthera airports and Pineapple air takes off daily from Nassau, which is easily reached by major airlines across the U.S.

 

Booking a car:

You’ll want to reserve a car at least three weeks in advance before you arrive because the volume is limited at the airports.

 

Where to stay:

>The French Leave Resort (pictured)

The 270-acre resort in Governor’s Harbor just re-opened as a Marriott Autograph Collection resort, and features 12 remodeled villas, each with a sea view of Cupid’s Cay. It has an infinity pool, water sports, fitness center and golf cart use for each room that allows guests to drive the short distance to the resort’s private-access pink sand beach. The resort plans to have 22 villas and a spa opened by the end of 2017. During the low season, nightly rates start at $379 for a 1-bedroom oceanview villa, $429 for a 1-bedroom oceanfront villa, and $629 for a 2-bedroom oceanfront villa.

Contact: Jahmed Mills, General Manager

jmills@frenchleaveresort.com

FrenchLeaveResort.com

 

>La Bougainvillea Resort

This is a five-star boutique hotel that recently opened in Governor’s Harbour. It has approximately 11 rooms and a beautiful restaurant with a modern, Miami feel. With its gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the palm-tree lined beach, it would be the perfect place to host a wedding or event, or just come for drinks and appetizers, even if you’re not staying here. Inquire about prices and availability.

Contact: Namia Ingraham, General Manager

info@labougainvillea.com

http://www.labougainvillea.com/

 

>Valentine’s Resort & Marina, Harbour Island

This is an upscale, boutique resort located on Harbour Island. It’s perfect for the sea explorer and boater, offering custom-made dive boats, full scuba equipment rental, and camera rentals, as well as a private beach for their guests.

The resort just announced this travel agent incentive: For resort stays from now through Labor Day, Valentines is increasing travel agent commission from 10% to 12% (excluding holidays). Rates start at $350 for a luxury junior villa, 1 bedrooms at $410, 2 bedrooms at $530, and $880 for the Governor Dunmore 2 bedroom penthouse in the low season.

Contact:

reservations@valentinesresort.com

 

>The Cove Resort

This 57-room luxury resort feels like it’s on its own private island and has rooms, suites, villas, and cottages situated on a property that features two private beaches, a gorgeous infinity pool, open-air gourmet restaurant and sushi bar. Rates at this start at $469 per night for the resort’s standard rooms. They recommend guests book at least two weeks in advance.

Contact: Grace Kaczowka, Corporate Director of Leisure Sales

VIPResDesk@EnchantmentGroup.com

http://www.thecoveeleuthera.com/

 

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

If you’re in Eleuthera on Friday, attending the “Fish Fry” at Anchor’s Bay in Governor’s Harbor is the place to be to meet locals, socialize with other tourists, and sample the best of the island cuisine while enjoying drinks in an open area overlooking the harbor.

Ronnie’s is a local bar that’s pumping music in their outdoor space that’s popular on Friday after the fish fry.

1648: This restaurant is located on The French Leave Resort’s property and overlooks Cupid’s Bay. It’s the perfect place to enjoy gourmet cuisine al fresco while watching the sunset.

The Rainbow Inn: The locals go here on Monday for a casual dinner of pizza and listen to live music.

Pascal’s Ocean Front Seafood Restaurant and Pool Bar (Governor’s Harbor): This a great place for drinks and seafood apps that can be enjoyed from the pool at the bar. It’s located on the property for the Sky Club.

 

ATTRACTIONS

Boat Tours

Fishbone Tours: Book a private boat tour with conch fishing experience, sea turtles exploration and snorkeling adventure. You’ll be entertained by native Captain Julius ‘Bubba’ Rankine who is knowledgeable about the sea life in Eleuthera, the history of the island, and teach you how to conch fish that you’ll enjoy in a fresh conch salad with drinks on the boat. The “adventure tour” is approximately $600 for five people, 4-hour tour. You can also have lunch on one of the small islands Julius will take you to for an extra $150 for the group. They also have big game, bone fishing, and reef fishing tours. The boat takes off from Savannah Sound, Eleuthera. Email fishbonetours@live.com or visit http://www.fishbonetours.com
You can take other boat tours out for specific goals, like a day trip to Exuma to swim with the pigs (yes, that’s a thing), or book a sunset sail along Cupid’s Cay, with the French Leave resort sits on.

 

The Glass Window Bridge:

Make a stop during your ride along Queens Highway in North Eleuthera at the most narrow part of the island, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Exuma Sound. The man-made bridge is sometimes referred to as “the narrowest place on Earth.” You’ll see the dark blue violent ocean on one side and the calm green sea on the other. Be careful when you’re taking photos here as rogue waves have been known to crash over the bridge!

Preachers Cave

This cave was discovered in the 1600s by Captain William Sayles and a sign outside claims he shipwrecked at Devil’s Backbone and found refuge here. It’s approximately 10 miles from the North Eleuthera airport, along a beach called Tay Bay Beach. It’s a nice spot to take photos and explore the sandy cave area for a bit if you’re taking off from that airport shortly afterwards.

 

Surfer’s Beach

This is the most well-known surfing beach in The Bahamas. It’s located a couple miles south of Gregory Town on the Atlantic side and features a great left break over a deep reef.  Ask your hotel concierge about arranging surf lessons, surfboard rentals, snorkeling, kayaking, cliff jumping, flora and fauna, historical sites through Bahamas Out Island Adventures.

 

 

Lighthouse Beach:

Located at the southern tip of Eleuthera and an all-time favorite of many travelers. It’s not easy to find or get to. Located 18.1 miles south of Rock Sound.

 

Harbour Island:

This island lies about 2 miles northwest of Eleuthera and is accessed via flights through North Eleuthera Airport, you can take a taxi to the ferry dock where you can enjoy a quick 20-minute water taxi to the island for about $5 each way per person. Known as Briland, it’s occasionally called the Nantucket of the Caribbean. Once there, you can walk around the island 3.5-mile long by 1.5-mile wide island, or rent a golf cart for about $40. Many visitors spend the day browsing the high-end shops in Dunmore Town which often feature resort clothing, jewelry, unique art, gifts, and home décor. Supermodel India Hicks has a home on the island and brings her inspirations to the Sugar Mill Trading Company at the foot of Government Dock. When shopping’s worked up an appetite, take a load off and refuel in one of the open-air restaurants with stunning views, like Sip Sip for a casual lunch, Coral Sands Beach Bar for seaside drinks and Caribbean fare, or Rock House for elegant fare served on white tablecloths and stunning sunset views of the harbor.

You can learn more about Eleuthera on The Bahamas’ out islands website, MyOutIslands.com.

See the article as it was published in Agent at Home magazine in Spring 2017.

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