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PRS Oct 10th, 2005 06:04 PM

Harbour Island & Elbow Cay
Would someone please elaborate on the main differences between these two out island destinations? I'm somewhat familiar with Harbour Island and it sounds wonderful, but would like to hear the similarities/differences/your preferences regarding the two. Thanks.

blamona Oct 10th, 2005 07:06 PM

The descriptions almost sound the same, but they have different "feel" to them.
Both have beautiful beaches, and each has a gorgeous little town, with white picket fences and pastel colored houses with flowers spilling over the fences.
Harbour Island is alot more upscale, more "chic". there's a chance of a model shoot on the beach, or walking by someone famous. Pink Sands Beach is one of the most gorgeous in the world. you can have an easy day trip to Eleuthera with gorgeous beaches too. The resorts and bed and breakfasts are luxurious.
Elbow Cay has a more laid back atmosphere, more sail boats, and has a pretty red and white striped lighthouse. The places to stay are more economical. Abacos are great sailing grounds, so nice to take day sails to other Cays, like Great Guana Cay.
I liked the both, but I do prefer Harbour Island.

PRS Oct 11th, 2005 06:05 AM

That is so helpful sounds like Harbour Island would be a little more "our cup of tea" it really as expensive on a day to day basis as I've heard (we are urban dwellers so we are used to higher prices)? I've done some preliminary research and we are looking at a few houses ( that are right in Dunmore Town-near the Rock House/Landing) and or the Coral Sands as a possiblity (I've heard of Pink Sands for years, but it really is a little more than we care to spend for this trip), but I am a little concerned about the possiblity of $25 hamburgers on a daily basis! We are also toying with a stay on Double Bay(Eleuthera) in a great looking house we found there...I realize this would be alot more quite than Harbour Island, but would you think it would be just as appealing in a different way? I'm sure I'll think of many more questions...thanks in advance for your thoughts!

joan Oct 11th, 2005 07:15 AM

Blamona nailed it, PRS. The only thing I would add is that Harbour Island is tiny, you can bike from end to end, or even walk. And there is only one beach, if that matters. Elbow is middle sized, requiring a golf cart to get from end to end. And of course on Eleuthera you must have a car to go anywhere - 100 miles long, but definitely worth exploring.

I have stayed on all three (Harbour Island before it was "The" place to go). If you are an explorer, go to Eleuthera. Boater? Go to Abaco (Elbow Cay or Guana Cay). Just want to veg on the sand and venture out for dinner? Harbour Island.

I have stayed in the beach area of Double Bay - absolutely gorgeous, every bit as pink as HI - very romantic because you will be (almost) the only ones there...also, Double Bay is on the Atlantic side of Eleuthera, which I much prefer to the "sound" or "caribbean" side...breezes and those beautiful seas. Still good for snorkeling from the beach too!

Have fun deciding!

PRS Oct 11th, 2005 08:30 AM

Very helpful again.... I am leaning towards the Eleuthera rental with the idea that we could always take a day trip to Harbour Island. It is good to hear that some of the beaches on Eleuthera are equal to the infamous Pink Sand beach @ Harbour Island that gets SO much press!

As far as Double Bay...understanding we will need to rent a car, are the restaurant options in the area, relatively close? I've seen the map, but still don't have a true understanding of the distances (except to know that the island is loooong!) Any dependable and varied restaurant suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks.

joan Oct 11th, 2005 12:27 PM

There are some restaurant options nearby (10 minute drive). Although I haven't visited Eleuthera in two years, I fondly remember Nate & Jenny's pizza, and Unique Village. THere is another restaurant at Cocodimama Resort that's a little further away (maybe 20 minutes?) that's supposed to be lovely. Plan to cook a few nights, also having lunch out and getting cozy in your villa with an evening snack works well. There is a liquor store, grocery, bakery etc all nearby in Palmetto Point or Governor's Harbour (remember to book your flight to Governor's Harbour airport).

We always do a day trip to Harbour Island. You get to drive over the Glass Bridge (the drive is half the fun!), to North Eleuthera, then catch a water taxi - short and inexpensive. But as wantsomesun will tell you, make sure you're back before dark, as the taxis do not run at night. Plan on having lunch at Angela's Starfish on HI - order conch!

What villa are you considering? We've rented Calypso, Lighthouse, and another one whose name escapes me...

PRS Oct 11th, 2005 12:56 PM

Thanks Joan....the lead choice for the villa seems to be a place called "Silent Quays". We are looking for something that is well furnished with a sense of taste/ stylish "island chic" and this seems to fit the bill. How were the villas you rented? I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions.

joan Oct 11th, 2005 04:25 PM

Silent Quays looks very nice. You will not find the level of chic on Eleuthera that you will on HI, I guess you realize that.
Also nice and within your budget, are Hakuna Matata and Conch'd Out (and I've heard good things about both).

Of the three we stayed in, Calypso was the "budget" choice, the Lighthouse house was the nicest and the most secluded. It had a skylight in the living room, and an actual working lighthouse on the widow's walk. Arthur Nixon, the caretaker, guide, a real go-to guy, was reason enough to rent this place! Check it out:

That third home was "finiterre", which was very nice, but it did not have as much privacy as the Lighthouse, since it was located on a cove with about four other homes.

I noticed when googling these places that there are now many many places to rent on Windermere Island - I would be careful of renting here, as it would be quite a drive to go anywhere - Windermere is private gated island connected to Eleuthera by bridge, recently reopened I believe.

wantsomesun Oct 12th, 2005 02:06 PM

I jsut had to chime in since you are asking about my favorite place in the world for vacation.

Everyone else has stated it beautifully, so don't have much else to add, other than there is not much YET on Eleuthera other than privacy, beautiful beaches and a few restaurants, and you have to drive quite a distance to get to any of them. The further south on Eleuthera you go, there are a few small lovely communities like Tarpun Bay, which is becoming an artist community, a bit of shopping and a couple of restaurants. There are also several houses for rent there so you might look in that area as well.

Try the website and the and site for more info.

Staying on Harbour Island you have I think a few more choices of things to do, several terrific restaurants and the beach which is 3 miles long. There are also 2 dive shops on island for dive or snorkle trips and there are some wonderful sites in the area, like a Civil War TRAIN, (lol) yes I said train. Just after the Civil War, it was on it's way to a plantation in Cuba and got blown off course and sunk on a large barge, makes for an amazing dive site 100 or so years later.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

PRS Oct 13th, 2005 11:58 AM

Thanks wantsomesun...I do have a few HI specific questions...we are toying with the idea of Coral Sands or perhaps even renting a house in town. Are you familiar with Chatterbox & Bluebonnet House & Beside the Point? I would appreciate any has been quite difficult getting firsthand experiences on any of the houses. How would the "town" experience be as opposed to being right on the beach? If one is not staying on the beach, are there "beach clubs" where one can rent loungers,etc.? Lastly, we are thinking of going either sometime in May/June or perhaps early-mid November. Generally speaking (just looking for your experience), which of these times would be the "best" to go? Thanks.

wantsomesun Oct 13th, 2005 08:53 PM

I don't know those specific houses, but if you post a question about them on you will get lots of answers.

Coral Sands is right on the beach and is a lovely resort, recently redone so it's probably even better than the last time I was there. When we go we stay at Runaway Hill and you might look into staying there as well as the Rock House. The websites are:

There are also a few new places to stay, like the Big Apple B&B and THe Landing, though not new was recently given a bit of a face lift as well.

May/June to me are the best times to go, since you will probably get better weather than in November, and some of the resorts and restaurants are closed during the hurricane season for rennovations, so will probably be just opening up again in late November.

The beach is public so you won't have a problem finding a spot, but I don't think any of the resorts rent out chairs. There are 2 beach bars however, Coral Sands and Pink Sands so you will can be close to refreshments at all times.

My favorite thing to do is to hit Arthur's Cafe early in the morning for a loaf of coconut bread, and a few sodas at the Pigly Wigly and I am good to go for the day. Usually splurge on a nice dinner.

In town or out at the beach are both wonderful locations and not that much of a difference, since most of the homes in town at least have a view of the bay, and the island is only half a mile wide by 3 miles long so you can't be far from the beach.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions.

denice7 Oct 21st, 2005 11:11 AM

we rented a house for a week on harbour island the first week of May this year. We had a house on the bluff overlooking the beach on the atlantic side. We paid 1,000 for the house as it was a small bungalow but it was perfect. We rented through teh real estate agency on the island.

I loved the place but if you are into night life this isn't it. Food was great. Ate at Rock House, Pink Sands, Coral Sands and a few others. The worst was Runaway hill. The service and food were bad and the price was ridiculous.

I would vote for renting a house.

ccrosner Oct 22nd, 2005 03:21 AM

Hoping Denece will respond...

If you had only three nights on Harbour Island and were staying at Coral Sands, where would you chose to eat dinner? Wantsomesun has recommended Runaway Hill highly and we'd like to try it but it seems perhaps that the management change has caused some loss of service.


wantsomesun Oct 22nd, 2005 04:11 PM

Sad to hear that Runaway Hill was a dissapointment. Yes there has been a change in Management but I understood that Miss Rica had stayed on as the chef, and she is a wonderful cook.

If that is the case then I would suggest trying Romora Bay or Dunsmore Beach, and The Landing or Harbour Lounge. Coral Sands also redid the entire resort a couple of years ago, and it is beautiful. There is also a new chef there who has been getting great reviews.

For casual, Angela's is the BEST on island for conch salad and cracked conch, and it's cheap too.

Have a great time.

denice7 Oct 30th, 2005 04:09 PM

The Landing and Rock House were the best for dinner. We had breakfast at The Landing too and it was very good but quite expensive. I don't mind spending money for dinner but I have a thing about pancake/french toast costing $15.00.

Runaway - the other thing that was strange was that the guy tried to get the few diners to take a room at the Inn after he knew we were staying elsewhere and the other diners were staying on a yacht.

I loved Harbour Island and we are considering getting married there in 06. This is a rarity for us because as much as we have traveled we have never gone back to a place. I always believe there are other beautiful places and so little time.

wantsomesun Oct 30th, 2005 08:25 PM

Historically, Runaway dinner was for guests eating in and of course reservations were appreciated for other diners. It may have been that the chef did not prepare enough dinners for the people who showed up.

I had heard that Miss Rica decided to stay on at Runaway after the new management took over, if she is no longer there, please let me know.

Have a great time.

ccrosner Oct 31st, 2005 03:52 AM


Many thanks for the response. I leave on Thursday for our Florida/Bahamas trip so this is very helpful. We will check out The Landing and Rock House and will see what we can find out about Runaway Hill for you, Wantsomesun.


wantsomesun Oct 31st, 2005 07:59 AM

Have a great time and enjoy the island. Reggie or Jenna will pick you up at the dock and take you to your hotel (or rental home) so please say HI for me (Gail).

Have dinner at The Rock House it is a newly opened small resort overlooking the harbour and has been getting great reviews.

Angela's is fun for a cheap and very good conch anything.

Please stop by the straw market and buy something from Miss Sarah, her's is the first stand close to the dock. She is in her late 80's and still going strong. All her income comes from the stand and she usually has some cute things, tee shirts, straw baskets and gifty things, and give her a hug for me.

The last time I brought ny chorus to the island, we had a nice reception at the Methodist Church and Miss Sarah was there and we did a special little concert just for her. She is such a sweet woman.

The people on the island are very warm and welcoming and you will have everyone you meet say hi and wave as you go by, it's an island tradition.

So have a fun trip!!!!

BahamasBoy Nov 7th, 2005 05:36 PM

Much of what I read about Harbour Island is true, but there are a few things I would like to say.

I feel that Harbour Island is only good for one day. that's it.

Go to Ma Ruby's Tingum Village, eat a cheesburger for lunch, spend the afternoon on that splendid beach, get trashed at the Harbour Inn, and eat at Valentine's. Go to Vic's Hum for more debauchery.
then hit the mainland of Eleuthera for the rest of the visit. Rent a car, and drive to the many beaches; Surfer's Beach, Club Med Beach, Ten Bay Beach, Atlantic Cove Beach, Cotton Bay, Jack's Bay, then finally Lighthouse Beach. These are some of the best beaches you will see in your life, and there is a good chance you will be the only one on the beach. Dont' bother with a bathing suit, but please wear one when driving around, and walking around the small towns.
Harbour Island is getting overdeveloped/ I guess it used to be a good place, but it's getting worse, unfortunately.


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