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Eleuthera Trip Report June 2010

After a day-trip to the north end of Eleuthera several years ago we have been longing to go back to Eleuthera to explore the beautiful beaches this island is known for. I’m on a mission to find the “perfect beach” and knew this long, pink-sand beach island would offer me many choices. However, wanting to leave one for another proved very difficult.

We flew Continental to Nassau where our flight with them would end and our flight with Southern Air began. No crowds and no one in line for customs. This was a first! We prefer flying out of Ft. Lauderdale but no seats were available. We flew Southern Air from Nassau with a quick stop in North Eleuthera and within minutes we were on our way to Governor’s Harbour. We made it to our Out Island in one travel day– unheard of for us.

Our car, a 2000 Chevy Blazer, was waiting for us at the airport so we loaded up and headed to Governor’s Harbour for groceries. About 15 minutes we arrived in the main area seeing the Shell station that is mentioned so many times in beach directions, Pyfrom’s Liquor and around the corner, Burrow’s grocery store. I was impressed with the selection in this store after shopping at other out island stores. They had cheeses, shrimp, some fresh veggies, pasta and sauces, most spices and lots of canned goods. I was very impressed. I brought along my favorite spices to make it easier for me to plan meals.

Now we’re off to our house rental in North Palmetto. This was a 15-min drive from the grocery and no problems on the roads as they are wide & in very good shape. We were told they had repaved the roads recently due to the high number of accidents. Good idea!

Restaurants & Watering Holes:

So impressed with the number of choices of restaurants and “take-away” snack shops. So many choices in Governor’s Harbour and some near us in North Palmetto. We enjoy cooking so many of our meals were at the house, mainly breakfast and lunch. We did enjoy a few spots:

The Beach House: beautiful spot on Club Med Beach. The open seating outside provides shade and some with views of this gorgeous beach. Menu had tapas-style items as well as grouper sandwich and a very good hamburger, according to dh. Prices: shrimp tapa (about 8 shrimp) $14, Grouper Sandwich was $12 or $14, and so was the burger. .Sandwiches came with fries. Mixed drinks were $10 and Bahama Mama was $12. It’s a hotspot on Thursday evenings at 8pm with their live band and locals and tourists alike enjoying the evening.

Tippy’s: We tried to eat there 3 times. They closed out of the blue on Monday. The other two tries were for lunch and the place was empty at 1pm and went by again around 4 for drinks and only one soul was there. We checked out the deck and beach area and it’s really run down and not sure what all the hubbub is about with this place. Maybe in high season it’s a better stop. We hear the food is good and the service is very poor.
*It’s on Banks Road just down from The Beach House a few minutes.

Cocodimama: Delicious! Delicious! I was skeptical after hearing the chef had left but according to the owner the chef from Dolce Vita came to train the chef and the kitchen is putting out fantastic Italian dishes. Wines from around the world were not overpriced and well-pared with the menu. 2 Big thumbs up for Cocodimama.
It’s about 10 minutes or so north of Governor’s Harbour before you get to the airport.

Sky Beach Bar: Now, we felt like we had landed on the moon as the developers have scraped every bit of earth and stone on this property leaving the blinding white stone. They are slowly added some plants back. It’s a very modern, Miami-style place with large, contemporary homes overlooking a stunning stretch of beach. We sat at the covered bar area with an infinity pool. It’s not “on” the beach but you can see the water. We couldn’t put our finger on it but it was just a strange place for us. Not the typical friendly Bahamian spot.

Banks Deli: had a few choices of salami and cheeses. They had just closed the deli part so we couldn’t try this highly-recommended spot.

Unique’s on Poponi Beach: great spot for breakfast and lunch. Serves dinner, too.

Beaches:

We used the website www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com/bahamas-beaches.html for excellent directions navigating side roads and finding road markers. We knew there would be little to no facilities so we bought our backpack beach chairs and canopy to travel with. It opens up opportunities to hang out on a stunning, deserted beach that we would otherwise not be able to do without some time of shade.
We like the Kelsyus Backpack Chair
www.amazon.com/Kelsyus-Backpack-Chair-UV-Canopy/dp/B0024QK6PW/ref=pd_sim_sg_2
and
Cielo Instant Beach Cabana
www.shadeusa.com/beach_cabanas.htm#Cielo_Instant_Beach_Cabana

Those were so easy to travel with and light, too, so we had no problems with overweight bags.

We stayed at North Palmetto so we were already on a beautiful beach with good snorkeling so it was difficult to leave our little bit of paradise.

Poponi Beach: just up the road from us by Unique’s Restaurant. It was a beautiful white sand beach and calm waves for the Atlantic side. Big plus was the breeze that was non-existent on the Caribbean side of the island. No real shade so you’ll have to bring your own. Parking is in the shade of the pines.

Airport Beach: It was fairly easy to find taking Knowles Road and parking was on a side dirt road. Entry from the road was on coral so you’ll need heavy soled shoes. Once off of that part it was a wide sandy beach with a shallow entry to the water. You could walk out for quite a ways before it came to our waist. Soft, lapping waves good for kids. Sand is hard and was good for walking.

Club Med Beach: gorgeous long stretch of soft sand and light waves. It was very calm water for being on the Atlantic side. It seemed more like the Caribbean beach side actually but with the much-needed breeze. This beach had the most we saw on a beach – 8 people! And, all were spread out so in no way did we feel encroached upon. We parked at the south end entrance where upon returning to our vehicle found we had been vandalized. A window was broken out of our rental so we dialed 911 and the police were there quite quickly. We had all of our possessions with us so no casualties there. But, it seems there had been a lot of break ins lately and the police had assigned a task force to find this criminal. And, after checking in on TA I read that they had caught the person they believe is responsible.

More exploring:

Harbour Island
We had a late start the day we were to drive to Lighthouse beach at the end of Eleuthera so we decided we would go back to Harbour Island. The drive to the ferry dock was an hour 20 minutes. Ferries were coming and going so no wait to get over to Harbour Island. Once there, we had our choices of golf carts for the day and for $40 we had it for as long as we wanted. Granted, we got one of the slow, sluggish white carts but it was hot and we weren’t having to walk so all was good.

It was lunchtime so our thought was a nice lunch and drink at Sip Sip. It has been several years since our last visit but it was funny how we found our way the first try to this colorful, beachfront spot. I had a great lunch of mahi mahi and dh had a lobster quesadilla which was fantastic ($30 but lots of lobster in it). Specialty drinks were $10 and $12 each not off from our last visit. Sip Sip has never been cheap but then nothing is on Harbour Island. (Sip Sip accepts Visa/MC but no AMEX)

We buzzed around the island taking in the charm of the old cottages and beautiful gardens. After picking up a couple of trinkets for gifts we stopped at Runaway Hill. We stayed here our last visit and some things have changed – bartender now instead of the honor bar – new patio furniture and furnishing inside but the same great beach and beach view from the covered outdoor dining space. We enjoyed a cold drink and reminisced about the great trip we had the last time here.

The day was passing by quickly so we returned to our carts and buzzed about some more passing by Valentines which was very busy with fisherman coming in from their day of sea fishing. We drove up the hill to Angela’s Starfish. Still the same cute house on the hill. It’s nice to see that some things are the same around here. We had time for one more stop at the end of our day so we popped into Pink Sands. The grounds are so lovely but this hot day provided no breeze at all so we headed straight for the Blue Bar on the beach. They have opened up the outdoor building to the deck seating now and it’s a really nice space. The pink sand beach is still in view and the outdoor bar had a separate bar spot to sit and enjoy the view away from the main spot where the young crowd was busy one-upping the other on the size of daddy’s bank account. That part of Harbour Island gets old but you can get away from it, too.

We said goodbye to Harbour Island and ferried back to our car. Missing the turn by the airport we ended up in unfamiliar territory and stopped for directions. We waved thank you and were back on Queen’s Highway and back to North Eleuthera before sunset.

We spent the last couple of days enjoying our own little bit of paradise. It’s a great beach and good snorkeling off of North Palmetto beach. Fins would have been helpful but we were told there was snorkeling equipment at the house. Missed the small print about “no fins”. Oh well.

Departure day was uneventful to Nassau. We checked in to our Southern Air flight from Governor’s Harbour to Nassau 90 minutes prior as instructed. It was a long wait so the gate lady gave us the thumbs up to leave for a while but to be back 30 minutes before our flight. The taxi man was there and took us to Cocodimama which was only a 5 minute drive. There we enjoyed snacks and a cold drink while watching Italy play in the world cup. Some very nice looking Italian men were there, young and old, cheering on their team. Is “nice looking Italian men” redundant? ! After enjoying our hour away from the airport we were on our way back with our taxi man returning promptly 5 minutes before our 30-minute requirement.

Our flight was full and non eventful. We were in and out of Nassau airport in no time and took our cab to Bob Marley House where we would overnight before our flight home the next day. I cannot say enough about Bob Marley House. Beautiful grounds, nice pool, and very nice rooms with flat screen tv and a large bath. But, their staff really made our stay one of the best we’ve had anywhere. Truly a 5-star experience. No request was too much and our enjoyment and comfort was top priority. We will definitely stay there again.

Left our little oasis in Nassau to the airport which was a quick 10-15 minute ride. I spent $69 each to get the exit row seat since we were flying Continental’s small Embraer (1-2 seat config) and so glad I did as this gave us a lot of leg room. It was well worth it. Flew Nassau to Houston with no customs/immigration arrival. We arrived directly into a domestic area of the airport. Strange. We had US customs/immigration in Nassau before we left. This is something new they are trying and is not announced to you. It was fine with us as we didn’t have to contend with the long lines of Houston Immigration/customs area.

((Y)) to Eleuthera. We loved the people, the island, and always the charm and remoteness of the Out Islands. This is an island we look forward to visiting again to explore some of the many beaches we missed and to again enjoy those we were fortunate enough to visit this trip.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

http://s418.photobucket.com/albums/pp267/BeachGirl24-7/Eleuthera%202010/

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