Homeaway Heaven on Eleuthera in the Bahamas
Eleuthera is known for its pink sand beaches, turquoise ocean, and secluded snorkeling spots. It is a small outer island of the Bahamas, just a short puddle jumper flight from Nassau. What might surprise some visitors is the lack of resorts and restaurants on the island. But if you are looking to truly get away from it all as we were, this is a fantastic place for a family vacation.
We chose to rent a two-bedroom Homeaway property in Governors Harbour with a private pool. This stunning villa was surprisingly reasonable. Our average nightly rate for four people was just $392/night. We would never be able to afford to stay in a two bedroom hotel suite of this size or caliber. This home has a beautiful living space, well-appointed kitchen, lots of outdoor living space and a washer and dryer. Our family had plenty of space to spread out. Our hosts Kathy and Bob were so warm and welcoming. On the first evening, Kathy even made us dinner which was a wonderful surprise after flying all day. Throughout our stay brought us fresh vegetables from her garden.
We prepared many of our meals at home. There are no large grocery stores on the island, you will need to gather your food from different markets. In Governors Harbor there are two small grocery stores, however the biggest and best one is in Rock Sound. They even carry a few gluten-free products. Fair warning, everything costs almost double what it does in the United States. A half gallon of milk is $7.50! For fresh produce check out the wonderful farmer’s market on the southern end of the island. Another option for visitors traveling to Eleuthera is to bring dry goods and even frozen meat with them.
Most days you will find the local fisherman sharing the day’s catch on a stand right in the middle of town. This is by far the best source for the fresh fish and lobster. They will filet your grouper or butterfly a lobster tail. Prices are very reasonalble. I paid $10 for two of the tastiest lobster tails I have ever had.
When our 15-year-old son wanted to learn to Scuba dive, we thought Eleuthera would be a great place to do it. We were right. The water is crystal clear and very calm. We spent a day with Al at Ocean Fox in Davis Harbor on the southern tip of the island. We highly recommend him for first timers.
Most days though we spent exploring the uncrowded beaches of the island. Often we were the only ones there. Just the way we like it!
Top 10 Tips for First Time Visitors
- Cash is King – Not a lot of places accept credit cards. There are ATMs on the island, but the surcharge is $3 plus your foreign transaction fee.
- Tippy’s – You likely aren’t coming to Eleuthera for the cuisine. But if you are looking for a great meal be sure to make a reservation at Tippy’s one night.
- Island Farm– Located in Palmetto Point. Great place to find organic produce, fresh baked bread, cheese, salsa, and jams.
- Banks Road Deli – This deli is on the road to Tippy’s. Here you can buy sliced deli meats, cheese, pasta, and sauces. But best of all they have fresh croissants and baguettes!
- Bugs – They are vicious! There are no-see-ums and mosquitoes. Bring bug spray and/or sunscreen with bug spray in it.
- Bottled Water – Although we had a 5-gallon water dispenser in our house, we wished we had we had brought refillable water bottles from home to take to the beach with us.
- Car Rental – You will need one and it is very expensive! Between $55-65/day, plus pick up fees, etc. You won’t find a Hertz or Avis on the island. Your property agent can suggest where to rent cars.
- Beaches – Get out and discover as many beaches as you can. Be sure to print the directions before you go and take a map! We loved French Leaves (AKA Club Med) and Twin Cove.
- Harbour Island – Worthy of a day trip. We took a water taxi over ($14 for the four of us each way) and rented a golf cart once we were there. We had a lovely, but expensive, lunch at Sip Sip.