The word Eleuthera means “Freedom”. And after visiting Eleuthera, I’m convinced that this island should be ranked among the top 5 most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. Some of the beaches have a shade of pink, lending its name to the “Pink Sand Beaches” of the Bahamas. One doesn’t visit Eleuthera for the nightlife or parties, you go for pure relaxation. It’s one of the sleepiest islands for unwinding, de-stressing and reconnecting with mother earth. Perfect for couples, honeymoons and families. The locals are laid back, friendly and leave you alone unless you need help. There are enough restaurants, bars and hotels, just as there are enough hidden beaches to explore for a whole week. Here is your ultimate Eleuthera Travel Guide including the logistics of traveling there, best beaches, things to do and where to stay.
Eleuthera is one of the best-kept secrets of the Bahamas. The island is 180 kilometers long and span just a little over 1 mile in width. This beautiful island is located 118 kilometers from the capital, Nassau. As popular as Bahamas is for a Caribbean getaway, you don’t hear many visit Eleuthera, which makes it still such a special gem. Though, things are changing as Disney Cruises signed a major contract to develop tourism as one of their stops on Lighthouse Beach in south Eleuthera.
This unspoiled beauty will keep you coming back with stunning beaches that are empty on most days, amazing food, jaw-dropping sunrise and sunsets, and the laid-back vibe. The locals are warm and friendly too. Say “hello” and ask them anything, and they will be happy to point you to the island’s main attractions.
Eleuthera Travel Guide – Table of Content
- The 3 Main Areas of Eleuthera
- Harbour Island
- Governor’s Harbour
- Rock Sound
- Logistics of Traveling to Eleuthera
- Best Beaches in Eleuthera
- Top Things to Do
- Where to Stay
- Beautiful Airbnb: Escape to Serenity Private Retreat
- Gorgeous Hotels and Resorts
- Book a Massage
Breaking Down Eleuthera into 3 Main Areas
The first step in planning your trip to Eleuthera is to get familiar with the layout of this long narrow island. When getting recommendations from friends and communicating with locals, it’s broken down mainly into 3 sections of the island. You should fly into the airport closer to where you are staying as it can take 45 minutes between each airports (and 1.5 hours between ELH and RSD):
- North Eleuthera (fly into ELH):
- Spanish Wells: Where many go for the Swimming with Pigs
- Harbour Island: More upscale, established Hotels and Restaurants. Most happening area if you want access to more entertainment.
- Central Eleuthera: Governor’s Harbour (fly into GHB)
- South Eleuthera (fly into RSD):
- Rock Sound: The area where I stayed and really recommend if you want complete serenity.
- Popular Beaches: Cape Eleuthera and Lighthouse Beach
Logistics of Traveling to Eleuthera
December to April is the peak season in the Bahamas which means prices may increase during this time of the year. Eleuthera, though, is way less crowded compared to the other islands in the country. If you want to spend less money and have total peace and quiet though, I highly suggest you plan your trip between May-August.
I went at the end of May, beginning of June and it was perfect for a quiet getaway. Some of the beaches we had literally all to our selves. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather though. Most touristic places in Eleuthera are closed from September to October due to the hurricane season.
Visit the Eleuthera Tourist Office for more information or call +1(242) 332-2142.
If you also want to explore Nassau, I recommend going first. That way you can spend the rest of your trip relaxing in Eleuthera (and go home refreshed!). From Nassau to Eleuthera (or between other Bahama islands), there are flights on Bahama or Pineapple Air for around $100 one way. And it’s only a 25 minute flight. If you want to skip Nassau, you can book flights from any major airports in the US to Eleuthera, with a layover in Florida at: Fort Lauderdale (FLL) or Miami (MIA). Travel time from Fort Lauderdale by air takes approximately 1 hour and 14 minutes while flying from Miami takes approximately 2 hours.
Eleuthera has 3 Airports:
- North Eleuthera International Airport (ELH)
- Governor’s Harbour International Airport (GHB)
- Rock Sound International Airport (RSD)
Traveling by Sea takes way longer but it is an option: Take the ferry from Nassau to Governor’s Harbour via Bahamas Ferries. Round-trip tickets start at $161.50 USD for adults and $112.75 for child passengers. Travel time by sea takes 5-8 hours, depending on the schedule. See the trip schedule here.
Renting a car is pretty much necessary unless you want to spend a ton of money and inconvenience hiring a car/driver. Driving in Eleuthera is easy as there is just one major road “Meridian Highway”. There also isn’t a lot of traffic throughout. Since Eleuthera is such a small island, you’ll likely rent from a local person and arranging the rental is like dealing with a friend of a friend. The communication will be casual through WhatsApp and you can have them bring the rental car to the Airport at your arrival. A 4×4 is highly recommended as roads are not all paved, especially to the more secluded beaches.
Cost of car rental is about $60 for compact and $80-$90 per day. You may also rent a scooter though it’s not as convenient if you’re carrying beach gear and food. Renting a car is the most economical and convenient way to explore Eleuthera as there are few cabs around and will cost way more.
I recommend contacting (call or WhatsApp) Brian Major for a Car Rental +1(242) 376-1454. Brian also owns Rock Sound Beverage (liquor store) where you can stock up for your cooler to the beach!
The Bahamian Dollar (BSD) is pegged to the US Dollar (USD) at 1:1. All establishments we went to accept US dollars for payments. Most restaurants and bars accept Credit or Debit Cards but it never hurts to have extra cash while traveling abroad. (And of course, make sure you are using cards with no foreign exchange fees!)
Eleuthera is not a cheap destination to travel in. Prepare to pay at least $15-20 per meal. You can save a little more if you buy from the market, but even prices there cost more than the states.
Now the most important part of this Eleuthera Travel Guide, of course, are the Best Beaches to visit! Truth be told, you can’t go wrong landing at any beach throughout the island. They are pretty much all soft white sand with aqua green water, but each beach has it’s own uniqueness. It is important to know where to go for what mood and purpose.
Tip: Be sure to pack your own beach chair, towels and food/drinks as most beaches do not have them (except a few like French Leave Beach).
Harbour Island: Most touristy part of Eleuthera with less local activity and more touristic activity, but this is where you can find the most action. If you are looking to take a boat tour to the Exumas to swim with the pigs, this would be your port of departure.
Surfer’s Beach: Located just two miles south of Gregory Town. This has been named the one of the best beaches in the world to surf next to some of Hawaii’s finest locations. Ask around and look for Surfer Pete who owns the only shop on the island where you can rent surfboards. If you are a beginner, you can also hire Pete for surfing lessons.
Lover’s Beach: Located in Gregory Town, it is one of the most secluded beaches in Eleuthera and empty on most days as the path to this location can be rough. Perfect for beach combing and just hanging out. You would have to be a good swimmer to be able to brave the waves as Lover’s Beach is on the Atlantic side of the island with darker blue water.
French Leave Beach: Also known as Club Med Beach, is located in the capital of Governor’s Harbour. The shore stretches out for about a mile featuring powdery white sands. This beach is popular among tourists because of its accessibility. As with the other beaches in Eleuthera, it boasts crystal clear, calm water where you would share the beach with a few other small groups. Parking is easy off the dirt road just steps away from the beach. There are also beach chairs and umbrellas provided by French Leave Resort which you can use. You can order food from their restaurant as waiters do come by to take your order.
Double Bay Beach: Located in the town of Savannah Sound, Eleuthera. This beach features the turquoise blue waters of the Atlantic. This is a popular picnic spot among tourists and locals. Sit back and relax as you take in the fresh air and the scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Ten Bay Beach: Just north of Savannah Sound, this is a popular beach among families as it is significantly shallow. If you are bringing children with you, this beach will definitely give you a peace of mind while letting the kids enjoy a day of swimming and playing at the beach. Relax and enjoy the calm waters or go snorkeling at the southern end of the beach. Don’t forget to bring your picnic mats and beach towels!
Twin Cove Beach: Perfect for snorkeling so don’t forget to bring your gear! The shore is lined with palm trees and the water is crystal clear. This place can get secluded so if you want to relax without distractions, this a great place to visit.
Lighthouse Beach is absolutely the most stunning, purest white powdery (with a tint of blush pink) sand beach of the Bahamas. It is located on the Atlantic side in the southern tip of Eleuthera. It is also a swimmable beach, and so picturesque for photography.
Lighthouse beach is perfect for picnics, snorkeling, and even camping. Be warned, though, that the auto path is not easy to get to but don’t let this hold you back. Due to its location, this beach stays unspoiled and empty on most days. So if you prefer the silence and privacy, this beach is the best choice. Though as mentioned, Disney cruises has signed a huge contract, despite the local’s protest against it. Things may change drastically by 2023, so hurry and get there!!
Rainbow Bay Beach is popular as it is accessible and the water remains shallow for about half a mile, making this beach perfect for family outings with children. This is one of the top beaches in Eleuthera so it can get a bit crowded at times but the view and the water definitely makes up for it.
Shop for Fresh Produce at the Island Farm
If you prefer to make your own meals during your trip, there’s no better way than to shop for fresh produce at the Island Farm. Island Farm grows their own produce organically in a garden located behind the store. They also sell fresh-baked bread, jellies, maps, and postcards.
- Website: https://www.islandfarmeleuthera.com/
- Opening Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm | Closed on Sundays
- Location: Queen’s Highway, South Palmetto Point Settlement, Governor’s Harbour, Bahamas
Explore Governor’s Harbour
Governor’s Harbour is the capital of Eleuthera. It is the largest town on the island that features 19th-century homes overlooking the harbor. It is best to explore the Governor’s Harbor on foot. I suggest exploring this town on your first day on the island to give you a glimpse of what life in Eleuthera is like.
Stopover at the Glass Window Bridge
The Glass Window Bridge is a 30 feet-wide strip of rock separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. This bridge connects the northern and southern parts of Eleuthera. This bridge is also considered as the narrowest part of the island. A quick stop at the Glass Window Bridge will give you a full view of the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the turquoise waters of the Carribean on the other side.
Jumping and Swimming in the Sapphire Blue Hole
The Sapphire Blue Hole is located in the northern part of Eleuthera. This activity is not for the faint-hearted as it involves a 20-feet jump and you would have to climb up a rope to get back up. If you don’t have it in you to jump, at least enjoy a quick stop and a photo-op.
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Gene’s Bay, North Eleuthera
Visit the Preacher’s Cave
If you have time to spare, I suggest you visit the Preacher’s Cave just minutes away from the Sapphire Blue Hole. The cave was discovered by William Sayle and a group of Christians who fled Bermuda seeking religious freedom. There is an altar made out of a large boulder in the cave. Locals and tourists come here for picnics and to go swimming in the nearby beach.
- Location: Gene’s Bay, North Eleuthera
Paddle and Get Close to the Turtles at Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve
This lake is located just outside of the Governor’s Harbour. Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve offers paddleboards and kayaks for rent. Paddle your way through the vast mangrove areas and see the lake’s marine life. This marine reserve requires a reservation so make sure you book your trip in advance.
- Website: http://www.edwinsmarinepreserve.com/
- Opening Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm | Closed on Sundays
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Eleuthera
- Contact: +1(242) 422-9109
Trip to the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve
The Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve is a 25-acre plant reserve and serves as the first national park of Eleuthera. This plant reserve also serves as an educational and research center for plant propagation and the preservation of the Bahamas’ biodiversity. There’s a hiking trail if you wish to see more of nature or you can climb up the tower overlooking the Atlantic Sea.
- Entrance Fee: $10 USD (Adults) | $8 USD (Seniors 60+ y/o) | $6 USD (Children 3-12 y/o)
- Website: http://www.levypreserve.org/home
- Opening Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Eleuthera
- Contact: +1(242) 332-3831 | email@example.com
Fishing, Diving and Scuba in Eleuthera
Beaches aren’t the only main attractions in the Bahamas, it is also known for its diverse marine life. Eleuthera has one of the best diving spots in the world. If you are a certified diver or want to snorkel, spare a day for just swimming and diving. Pack your own snorkel gear (or some accommodations may provide it).
For a Diving, Fishing or Scubadiving tour, contact Miller’s Dive Shop:
- Website: http://www.scubaeleuthera.com
- Contact Captain Daryl Miller: +1(242) 436-3644 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scubaeleuthera/
Ocean Fox Cotton Bay also offers a wide variety of water activities including shark diving and shark feeding.
I almost always prefer to book a homestay over a hotel, unless I’m only planning to stay at the resort the whole time. I had a wonderful experiences at the newly renovated “Escape to Serenity Paradise“. Karen is a lovely, compassionate, friendly American women who moved to Eleuthera in 2015. This house is a 4 bedroom bungalow situated in Rock Sound (5 minutes from the airport) and can fit up to 8 people. If you have less people, inquire about just renting the rooms. Besides being an incredible host, Karen will provide you with every information you need while visiting the island. We are still in touch today so be sure to say Hi for me if you stay with her! Email her for questions Whitmore.Karen@gmail.com.
First time using Airbnb? Use my link for $20 off your first trip.
Surfers Manor is located in the northern part of Eleuthera, perfect for those who want to be close to Surfer’s Beach. This accommodation offers cozy and secluded rooms, away from the hustle and bustle of Governor’s Harbour. Rates start at $110 USD per night.
- Website: https://www.surfersmanor.com/
- Location: Eleuthera Island Shores, Gregory Town, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: +1(242) 335-5300 | +1(242) 808-1444 | email@example.com
Unique Village is located in Palmetto Point on the Atlantic side of the island. This accommodation features 10 hotel rooms, 2-bedroom units, 2 villas, and 1-bedroom apartments. Unique Village is perfect for solo travelers and families who want to relax away from the capital. Rates start at $120 USD per night.
- Website: http://www.uniquevillage.com/
- Location: Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: 1(877) 610-3874
Hut Pointe Inn
Hut Pointe offers 2-bedroom apartments complete with a full kitchen, living and dining areas. They also offers activities such as horseback riding on the beach and scuba diving. Rates start at $278 USD per night with a minimum of a 3-night stay.
- Website: http://www.hutpointe.com/
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: 1(760) 908-6700 | firstname.lastname@example.org
French Leave Resort
French Leave Resort’s beach-front suites give you access to the pink sand beach of Eleuthera. Every accommodation features a patio where you can relax and enjoy the sea breeze. This resort can get a bit crowded at times due to it being family-friendly and accessible. Rates start at $299 USD.
- Website: https://frenchleaveresort.com/
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: +1(242) 332-3778 | email@example.com
Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina
Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina is a Caribbean-inspired resort and marina that offers 2-bedroom villas complete with a full kitchen and a private balcony. Villas can accommodate up to 6 guests. 1-bedroom cottages feature luxury bathrooms, a kitchenette, and can accommodate up to 2 guests. Villa rates start at $320 USD per night and cottages start at $215 USD per night.
- Website: https://www.capeeleuthera.com/
- Location: Cape Eleuthera Drive, Rock Sound 26089, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: 1(844) 884-1014 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sky Beach Club
Sky Beach Club offers seven ocean view accommodations and 4-star villas. This beach club also features a swimming pool and a pink sand beach that stretches for over a mile. Beautiful pool bar, great for sunsets! Bungalow rates start at $325 USD and villa rates start at $560 per night. There is a minimum of a 3-night stay for all accommodations.
- Website: http://skybeachclub.com
- Location: Hut Point, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: +1(242) 689-8450
Pineapple Fields Resort Hotel
Pineapple Fields Resort Hotel was voted as the #1 Resort in the Bahamas by TripAdvisor in 2017. This 32-bedroom hotel offers various activities for guests to enjoy such as deep sea fishing, yoga, kayaking, and snorkeling. This accommodation is a few minutes walk to the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve. There’s a minimum of a 2-night stay, price starts at $398 USD.
- Website: http://www.pineapplefields.com/
- Location: Banks Road, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: 1(877) 677-9639 | +1(242) 332-2221 | email@example.com
The Cove on Eleuthera Island
This 40-acre luxury resort located at the Caribbean side of the island features seaside villas and suites. The Cove on Eleuthera Island also offers various water activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and paddling. The resort is complete with a spa, an organic produce garden, and an infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean. Book your stay in advance here. Cottage prices start at $430 USD.
- Website: https://www.thecoveeleuthera.com/
- Location: Queen’s Highway, Gregory Town 1548, Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Contact: +1(242) 335-5141
I would ask your accommodation host or concierge regarding hiring a massage as it’s not always easy to find on the internet. I had a great, affordable massage with Patti of Deep Creek Massage who came to my Airbnb for $50 an hour. You can call or WhatsApp her at +1(242)470-7567. Another option is Chelsea Taylor +1(242) 464-0610 for Relaxation, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Deep Tissue. Email ChelsTaylor357@gmail.com.