Eleuthera

Eleuthera is an island in Bahamas.

Get in

By plane

Eleuthera has 3 airports: North Eleuthera (ELH), Governors Harbour (GHB), and Rock Sound (RSD). All airports are small, open-air and convenient. ELH and GHB have onsite bars and ELH has an onsite restaurant.

ELH has the most flights arriving and departing. ELH is a short taxi ride and water taxi ride to Harbour Island. Most car rental places on the island will gladly pick you up at ELH and drive to another town on the island. ELH is 15 to 20 minutes north of Gregory Town.

GHB is the centrally-located airport, located just south of the town of James Cistern and a 10 to 15 minute drive to Governor's Harbour, the largest town on Eleuthera.

Continental flies into ELH from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) and Miami (MIA). Twin Air flies from Ft. Lauderdale into all 3 airports on Eleuthera. It's about an hour's flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Eleuthera. You can fly from Nassau to Eleuthera on Southern Air or Bahamas Air; the flight is less than 30 minutes from Nassau.

By boat

Bahamas Ferries. The ferry docks on Eleuthera at Governor's Harbour, Spanish Wells and neighboring Harbour Island. To get to and from Eleuthera and Harbour Island or Spanish Wells, you take a water taxi and a cab ride to reach your destination.

Regions

Harbour Island To reach Harbour Island, one can take a water taxi (~$5) from the main island of Eleuthera. Harbour Island has the highest concentration of hotels; many of them upscale. Harbour Island is more densely populated than Eleuthera. The 3 mile beach on Harbour Island features pink sand and clear waters and has often been cited by various travel magazines as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Get around

Eleuthera has no public transport system. There are taxis and car rentals. It's generally best to rent a car to explore Eleuthera. Hitchhiking is popular and locals are generally helpful and friendly. Bicycling is increasingly popular, but see notes below.

In 2010, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, a lush, 25-acre sanctuary, opened as Eleuthera’s first National Park. Created jointly by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Bahamas National Trust, the Preserve is home to more than 171 species of indigenous plants and has become a popular destination for local teachers and schoolchildren, as well as tourists.

Eleuthera is 110 miles long, and delightful to explore. Be prepared: Eleuthera's gas prices are $1-2 higher than the U.S. Car rental costs are based on a per day basis and never involve extra fees. In most cases, you don't sign papers. No car rental chain companies exist on Eleuthera -- you rent from locals who may keep a fleet of rental cars in their yards. Some entrepreneurs combine their car rental companies with a gas station or with a taxi company. As you drive around (on the LEFT-HAND side of the road), you will need a good map or good local knowledge.

By bike

Eleuthera with its rolling hills (and three killers around Gregory Town) is the most challenging island of the Bahamas. The main road, Queen's Highway, the only option for road bikes) should not be ridden by beginners. For more casual riders, mountain bikes are fine; a hybrid is an ideal compromise. There are no bike shops and serious riders usually bring their own, but several resorts and individuals rent mountain bikes or hybrids. Refer to other pages on Eleuthera for details.

Bicycling is a growing sport and Eleuthera hosts the Cancer Society "Ride for Hope," with 50-75-100 mile competitions, every April. The Queen's Highway is well paved (watch out for road repairs north of Governor's Harbour airport). Drivers are generally courteous, giving bikes a wide berth, but use a rearview mirror and wear a helmet. The greater danger lies ahead: cars pulling out to pass who may not see you coming at them. Be alert when you see an oncoming car closely following another. Another problem: being chased local dogs ("pot-cakes"). Lately there haven't been many, but be on the lookout south of Tarpum Bay and around Gregory Town.

By car

Eleuthera Car Rental by Gateway

See

Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

Do

Enjoy (walk, swim, snorkel, get a tan, or whatever you like to do on beaches) the many great beaches. The water is usually rougher (bigger waves) on the Atlantic side of the island.

Surfing near Gregory Town in North-Central Eleuthera ("Surfer's Beach").

Swim, snorkel or dive the tidal current at Current Cut (North Eleuthera). Thrilling!

Fishing is one of the biggest sports in Eleuthera. Several people have recommended Paul Petty as a good local fishing guide.

Explore the Hatchet Bay Cave... bring a friend and at least one flashlight (preferably one each - or a back-up candle and matches - you don't want to get stuck without light down there!). Bring swimming gear if you want to explore the lowest level, which is half-filled with water. There are some friendly bats in the cave, but not many.

Explore some of the other caves on the island (there are several)! A) There is one just north of Ten Bay Beach (South of South Palmetto Point) - look out for the "Bahamas Heritage" sign on Queen's Highway. This one has a huge colony of bats, you can't miss them, and you will need a flashlight here! B) There is a nice system of caves just south of Rock Sound - look out for the "Bahamas Heritage" sign opposite to a church. You don't need any flashlight here. There is a small colony of bats in one of the caves. Also, look out for the turtle in the nearby "bottomless" pond. C) Preacher's Cave, close to a nice beach at the northern end of Eleuthera, is of historic interest as "The first Bahamian settlement". No flashlights needed here. The unpaved road, taking you the 2 miles or so from Queen's Highway to the cave, is a tough drive for a normal car (although possible).

Watch the Junkanoo parade in Tarpum Bay (this is a must if you happen to be on the island during Christmas time)! Check with the locals for the exact schedule.

Feed the fishes (or swim with them) in the Ocean Hole in Rock Sound.

Take a bath in "Queen's Bath", a mile or so south of the Glass Window Bridge. But make sure to watch out for big waves!

Attend a "Friday Night's Fish Fry" in Governor's Harbour. A large percentage of all tourists on the island seems to gather here every Friday for some BBQ, drinks and loud music. Be prepared to wait for an hour or more to get your food once you have ordered.

Visit nearby Harbour Island accessible via water taxi, approximately 10 minutes from the boat dock just east of North Eleuthera Airport.

Other activities

Go snorkelling at Kemps Creek, Twin Coves or the Current. Go to the Schooner Cays, off Cape Eleuthera; hire a local who takes you over to these islands for the day, and live like the former beatnik on Dobey Gillis, Gilligan, sans Skipper and MaryAnne; you might see movie stars though.

Buy

Eat

The Laughing Lizard

Drink

Sleep

On Eleuthera there are only about 3 hotels on the waterfront even though the island is 100 miles long. Many foreigners rent their homes.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 22, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.