Locals often say you haven’t seen The Bahamas until you have visited the Out Islands. The temporary glaze that comes over their eyes as they start to describe the wonders that exist beyond the capital, Nassau. “You get the true taste of The Bahamas, with the laid back lifestyle, the serenity, sandy beaches and warmth of the local people – there is nothing quite like it.” If that doesn’t make your heart glow with subtle warmth, I don’t know what does.
I spent my last few days in The Bahamas in Harbour Island, with a visit over to North Eleuthera for the day. Harbour Island is known to be one of the most loved Out Islands for many reasons, and but every time I tried to find out why I was refused any kind of insight. Being completely impatient, I was eager to find out sooner rather than later, but let me share one word of advice with you now, it was worth the wait.
For those of you that don’t know much about the two Out Islands, Harbour Island is only three miles long and one mile wide. Its small territory, vibrant pastel-coloured houses and its famous pink sand beach make it one of the most loveable islands. If I could bottle a piece of it up and bring it back home, I would! The Bahamians say that since the island became engaged over three hundred years ago, the only thing that has changed is the clip-clop of horse hooves has been swapped for the subtle whir of golf carts. Most of the island don’t drive cars, even the fellow citizens, the widely used transport method are the golf carts, and they are a whole lot of fun, too!
North Eleuthera is much large than Harbour Island, spanning almost 200 miles long. It has some of the most amazing diving sites, especially with the water being crystal clear and it’s home to unique aquatic species. North Eleuthera is also known for its pineapples, serving all of the Bahamas and the Caribbean with their sweet, delicate pineapples. Often referred to as a “sugar loaf” because they are as sweet as sugar.
Experience The Out Islands, Harbour Island & Eleuthera
Visit the Pink Sands Beach
The Pink Sands Beach spans across the whole of Harbour Island, giving you some of the most beautiful views to sit and digest. On arrival to Harbour Island, I jumped into my golf cart and spun my way through the roads of the island to discover the stunning beach. I was absolutely mesmerised, I’ve not seen anything quite like it before. And, it’s all-natural. The source of the pink sand is actually at the bed of the ocean and comes to the surface and onto the beach when the tide comes in. Bahamians say after a hurricane, the beach is at its pinkest as the crashing waves disturb the pink sand at the bottom, bringing in vast amounts of pretty rose coloured grains.
If you want somewhere to sunbathe or take your shoes off and go for a long walk to clear your head, Pink Sands Beach is the place to go. The beach is so vast, spanning across the island’s three miles, you won’t find big crowds, allowing you to find a quiet spot just for yourself. I actually walked the whole beach, with every step I took the fresh saltwater completely covered my feet. There is simply no better way to relax, especially such gorgeous weather and views to match.
If you want to try something new, I would suggest experiencing the beach on horseback. You will be living the very moment you have seen on many movies, people riding across the soft sand and trotting through along the shoreline. Bliss.
If you’re someone that likes to get up close with nature, I would certainly recommend a snorkelling experience. The water between Harbour Island and North Eleuthera is as clear as day, allowing you to see the colourful corals and the various tropical fishes that call the warm waters, home. I spotted clownfish, and rainbow fish while I was snorkelling my way through the waters. You may even get up and close with resident start fish, which you can actually stroke — a truly unforgettable moment.
Swim with the wild sea turtles
On our tour of the islands, Captain Duke Davis took us to his favourite unknown spot, where you can get up and close with wild sea turtles. Duke told us that they only come up to the boat if you have food, but alas we didn’t. Even to Duke’s dismay, they came over anyway. In the spur of the moment, we decided to jump into the water and get even closer to them. I’ve never been in such awe before, as they paddled right up to us to say hello. It’s so hard to stay calm, and not scream without excitement, but startling them would scare them off. Before I knew it, we were swimming amongst five wild sea turtles, in crystal clear water. Even to this day, I still can’t believe it happened!
Visit Lady Di’s plantation
Lady Di is North Eleuthera’s icon. Her warmth, Bahamian twang and witty humour will have you in fits of laughter within minutes of meeting her. I grew to like her within moments, especially as she started to mimic me videoing an Instagram story, “I’m at Lady Di’s plantation, and I’m so soft I can’t even break a pine.”However, Lady Di has over 40 years of experience growing the best pineapples, it’s no wonder she’s a pine breaking expert. But, not only that, everyone wants one of her pineapples, she often has a long list of people pre-ordering before her produce is even ripe. She was kind enough to pick off a fresh golden pineapple and gift it to me to try. I can vouch for her pineapples to be the juiciest, sweetest pineapples I’ve ever tasted. They may take 18 months to grow, but they are worth every bit!
The Hottest Places To Dine
When visiting Eleuthera, you have to visit Tippy’s for lunch. They have a selection of open-air gazebos that sit right on the beach. The decor is bold, with classic, rustic beachside vibes including tables that are made out of old window shutters and piano keys, which adds a unique touch. The chalkboard menu changes on a daily basis, depending on what the delivery of local produce they receive or fish or seafood caught that day, so you know it will be fresh!
The Landing restaurant
The gorgeous property where The Landing resides, dates back to the 1800s, giving it such great character and presence on the island. Beyond the architecture, the restaurant boasts an intimate space serving some of the best of the Bahamian cuisine. I would recommend going into the gorgeous quaint bar first, before dining in the restaurant. A suggestion when choosing your pre-dinner concoction would be to try the ginger-infused vodka, or a cocktail with it inside — it will blow your mind.
Madelene Pedican, the resident chef at The Landing knows her way around a kitchen, especially as the resident chef for over 15 years, that’s special. Madelene cares deeply about the food she produces and giving visitors and locals a great place to fill their stomachs. Her creativity and skills are second to none and it simply shines through the food she cooks up. If you’re ever visiting Harbour Island, I would recommend visiting for dinner — you will be in for a night to remember.
Runaway Hill restaurant
A stone’s throw away from the mesmerising Pink Sands Beach, in the heart of Dunmore Town, you will find the boutique hotel, Runaway Hill Inn. The stunning location makes it appealing for guests to stay, as it hangs over the waters, bringing in a fresh breeze from sunrise to sunset. It doubles up as one of the hottest places to dine on the island too and becomes exceptionally romantic as the sunset sets right above the water’s edge.
Executive Chef, Krishana Higgs whips up diverse and delectable dishes for everyone to enjoy, especially with her favourite concept “from sea to table.” Indulge in the local fish such as fresh Grouper, Mahi Mahi, Yellow Fin Tuna or even the Red Snapper. If seafood doesn’t fit your palette, Krishana has something up her sleeve for you. Choose from an array of meats, such as rack of lamb, sirloin steak or stuffed chicken, cooked to perfection and with exceptional love.
Where To Stay
Stepping into The Dunmore Hotel is like gliding into heaven. This five-star property gives you everything you need while staying on the island. A true luxurious charm oozes throughout the hotel, with lovely nautical and modern touches. The panoramic views of the Pinks Sands Beach will leave you dazzled as you step out of your hotel room for a breath of fresh air in the morning.
The Dunmore possesses a stunning private club atmosphere, that provides guests with a truly intimate stay, especially in the tropical cottages. The vibe runs right through to the dining spaces at The Clubhouse, offering up a retro-chic experience with a cool beach breeze that pairs perfectly with an ice-cold cocktail and the Mediterranean menu.
Pink Sands Resort
The true old-school island charisma truly expresses itself at the Pink Sands Resort. The unspoilt charm of the Bahamas and enchanting elegance graces the resort, as all the villas and rooms situated within single buildings. Work your way into the spell-binding experience as you reside amongst the calming waters, the unbelievable sunset views right from your room, and as you rise from a peaceful tropical night’s sleep at Pink Sands. Feeling revived and rested, you won’t want to leave once you have to spend a night or two here!
Coral Sands boasts a range of rooms, suites and cottages, all to find your budget and preference. The whitewashed beach-chic vibe mixed with the nautical vibes of Harbour Island will leave you feeling right at home. The décor is designed by British designer Baraba Hulanicki, providing a luxurious feel with polished dark-wood floors, custom-built cabinets and naval coloured Egyptian sheets to match.
Unwind by experiencing some of the extensive facilities within the hotel, with tennis courts for a quick game before dinner, relax by the pool infinity pool that overlooks the Pink Sands Beach, or go for a hardcore session in the gym followed by a relaxing massage. The possibilities are endless at Coral Sands. Finish up your day by dining shoreside resident restaurant, Latitude 25 serving up award-winning gastronomic delicacies by Chef Ludovic Jarland.
If you want a slice of serenity, then Valentines Resort is the place to stay. It’s situated right by the harbour with a boardwalk that leads you directly to many mega yachts that are docked right in front of the hotel’s terrace. The hotel is split up into various areas, that almost feels like you’re living in a small, pastel coloured village. Split into four different buildings, each is named after one of the famous Out Islands and interior design theme, giving it extra charm and character.
From dancing in the streets with the locals to late nights at the bar, you feel a real community spirit at Valentines. There is always something going on, which makes your experience equally as thrilling. However, if you want the peace and quiet of your room, you will be undisturbed by any sounds for hours on end — which makes it the perfect family resort too.
I became quite fond of the little independent coffee shop on site, Cocoa, which serves up the best iced vanilla lattes and acai bowls. It is the perfect way to kick start your day before lounging by the pool or going out for a spin in a boat, seeing the best of Harbour Island and Eleuthera.
Overall, Harbour Island and North Eleuthera definitely topped my visit to The Bahamas. I would definitely recommend adding on a few days after Nassau to experience the true island life. You won’t regret it!
Until next time…