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Trip report w/pics Harbor Island, Eleuthera, Paradise

Trip report w/pics Harbor Island, Eleuthera, Paradise

Old Aug 30th, 2007, 04:40 PM
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Trip report w/pics Harbor Island, Eleuthera, Paradise

Part 1:

Had a layover in Nassau for 4 hours, so thanks to Caribtraveler, went to Compass Point for lunch. The taxis all faught with us to take us there, gave us a $12 price. When we arrived, taxi charged us $20, (said had to pay full for 5 yr old which still isn't good math) threatened to call police. Who wants to spend a layover fighting anyway? Most prices of taxis are posted, but not to Compass Point, just 8 minutes from airport. Lunch was great, weather was great, until storms starting rolling in. Back to the airport, taxi only charge us $10 for all 3.

Flight down to North Eleuthera was eventful, plane went through squalls, tried to land, we were sent to Rock Sound (South Eleuthera) tried to land, then sent back to Nassau. Governor's Harbor plane(middle Eleuthera) was sent back to Nassau too-lighting all over, no vis. A 15 minute flight turned into 64 minutes. Airport was freezing. Watching the weather, a big giant rat (the size of a small dog) runs by-good thing I didn't have an appetite. 2 hours later, went back, uneventfully.

Compass Point was very colorful, just the way I like things. I would stay there.

Some pictures from lunch there:

http://s49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...t=83f7c8d6.pbr


(full size will be fuzzy, I think they do that so you can't print.)
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Old Aug 30th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Part 2: Harbor Island

This is a second trip to Harbor Island, so I wanted to see if I loved it as much as the first time. The first time, about 9 years ago, stayed at Pinks Sands Resort, which we loved. This time, we stayed at Valentine's Resort, which is fairly new and at the marina. I loved Valentine's, would highly recommend it, and would stay again. The resort was comfortable and gorgeous. We rented a golf cart to get to the beach, which my 5 year loved. The town I found more "weathered" than last time, but still charming. We ate at Valentine's twice for dinner, twice for breakfast, found the food to be excellent. (other well known restaurants were either closed on certain nights, or closed for the season as things were slowing down.) We had lunch at Blue Restaurant at Pink Sands. It was good, but expensive. The beach never dissapoints. Gorgeous as always. I actually dropped a compact flash card from my digital camera in the water in the sand, and the pictures actually survived! the weather was great for the 2 days. We went during Hurricane Dean, and at the time didn't know is if was going to move up to Bahamas, so a little leary, but just kept an eye on it. Valentine's had free high speed access, so we could stay up to date.

Harbor Island pictures:

http://s49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...t=IMG_9670.jpg




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Old Aug 30th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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Part 3: Eleuthera

this was my second time in Eleuthera, the first time only made it down as far as Governor's Harbor, so I wanted to explore the Southern end more. Plus first time was just a day trip, so I wanted a "feel" for the island. We stayed at Pineapple Fields, which I loved, and would recommend. We hired Royal Williams as a taxi from North Eleuthera (where the water taxi comes in from Harbor Island) and asked him to stop at all of his favorite beaches on the way down. Royal was the man who we hired the first time 9 years ago, he's great. Normally, he would charge around $70 for the trip, but with stops at EVERY beach, charged $100-and took about 3 hours. (with no stops, probably takes about 80 minutes.) He stopped at Glass Window Bridge, Gaulding Cay Beach, the beach at The Cove, Eleuthera (not to be confused with The Cove, Atlantis), Rainbow Inn Beach, and Alibaster Bay (where CocoDiMama is). Previously he also had stopped us at Airport Beach, and James Cestern Beach, and others I can't remember the name of.) the water was gorgeous as always, but I didn't like Rainbow Beach as much as the first time. I found Goulding Cay Beach to be as gorgeous though. Cocodimama was closed, for the season, but had also been sold, so "in transition" is what Royal told us. It was pretty much boarded up. Check in at PF, and went to a late lunch at Tippy's, where we must have gotten the same waitress as Caribtraveler, who so didn't want to be there. Told us the kitchen closed in 10 minutes (it was 2pm) so we had to hurry up and decide. Then it took her 25 to bring us lunch anyway. The other servers at dinner time were much better. We found the food to be very good, not quite excellent, but when it's your only choice for the most part, good to be good. We also at lunch twice at Joe's, which has a gorgeous setting on a gorgeous beach, and also has Singing Sands Resort-which is very colorful. I met Mike the owner who should me a room-very quiant. He told me he was really going to jazz it up with 600 count thread sheets, etc. This place is a bargain on any Caribbean island-at $125 a night. The server was super nice also. Ponpini Beach where it's located was gorgeous, even in storms.

We set off the next morning to explore south beaches. We had rented a car from Hilton Johnson, he was great. Except we tried to rent a jeep, he brought a car. I had to follow him to airport to pick up a small Geo Tracker , with no A/C-in 105 degree weather! Oh well, it's not a vacation without an adventure. We had to wait for another guy to bring the keys=he had gone into Governor's Harbor to put air in tires. Of course, such is Bahamian life, which I find charming. So we're off to find Whiteland Beach. My husband was driving super slow, so I'm like, we'll never make it to Lighthouse Beach! It took 90 minutes to get to Tarpum Bay, should have only taken 30. I guess he was on island time. So after getting lost a couple of times, and asking directions (of course I did, males never do ;-) )we finally found the dirt path to Whiteland Beach. For the effort, I didn't find it worth it. My hubby nicknamed it "drug running beach" because he though all the signs of this going on were there. The water was pretty, but without the effort are far superior beaches, such as French Leave, Ponpini, and the one at Tippy's. As we were leaving Whiteland, the storms started coming in. We were suppose to go to Cotton Bay Beach and Lighthouse Beach, it was already 1pm, and getting dark outside. So my hubby was happy to hear we returning to hotel.

That evening I posted on here asking Caribtraveler if Lighthouse Beach was worth it-thanks for answering, but it was dark and overcast the next day. We tried French Leave Beach, the sun came out 10 minutes (when I took pictures, naturely) and water was choppy. So we went back to Joes. Sun came out another 10 minutes (of course for pictures) and then overcast. I drove by myself to Ten Bay in evening, (around 4pm) to check out, cause the sun came out again. I found this beach to just be okay. I also drove around Governor's Harbor, which i find pretty.

Early in the morning (8am) we flew back to Nassau, and the flight was uneventfull.

Pictures:

http://s49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...t=IMG_9857.jpg



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Old Aug 30th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Part 4 (last part) The Cove/Atlantis:

The room at the Cove was gorgeous, and had a incredible view from the 20th floor. the first room they gave us was on the 12th floor, but there were still people in it!!! :-0

We arrived at 9, but since the first room was occupied, we had to wait until about 1 pm for another room. We had our suits on anyway, and just went to play. The weather was gorgeous, bright blue skies, but 30mph winds. We were suppose to go to Exumas on a fast boat for the day, but the 3 days we were there had small craft advisories, so cancelled. We tried the dolphin cay excursion too, and they were fully booked. Come to find out, since Dean was headed to Cancun, all the cruise ships were diverted to Nassau. Each day had at least 10 ships at port. All were touring the Atlantis. To walk through from one end to another you had to dodge tons of people. (I mean no offense, but when you pay $400-$600 a night to stay, it's a little hard to navigate!) The Cove doesn't allow the cruise ships to go through, so a little less crowded there. Still felt like a cruise ship on land-with piles of lounge chairs practically on top of each other. The food was downright awful, and ultra expensive. The first time we tried breakfast at The Cove was $100 for the 3 of us. (come on, eggs? They don't have to be imported, they're running around the streets on the Out Islands ;-) )

We ended up eating dinner at The Poop Deck. It was expensive for what is is, and just okay. The taxis again, told us $14 to there, and when we got there tried to charge $20. We reported it to The Cove, and they said it shouldn't happen, but the driver denied it, and The Cove did nothing about it. (not that we expected anything, but we always ask before getting in the taxi, but that doesn't seem to work anymore.) Service overall was pleasant though, and everyone was friendly. The adult only section is very nice. My 5 year old had a blast. Overall though, Atlantis is not my usual style, so take that into account when reading this. The room was gorgeous. The shuttles, the drivers complained about not getting tips each time. I went to Ocean Club to check it out, found it nice, but reception not overly helpful. We ended up eating most of our meals at Anthony's Grill, which tasted better than any restaurant at Atlantis, and alot cheaper!

Overall, I liked the Cove, but I'm a bigger fan of the Out Islands. Along with the above, we have also been through the Abacos, and The Exumas-so ask away if you want.

Pictures of Paradise Island:

http://s49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...t=IMG_7689.jpg

again, this was my second trip to Atlantis. We'll have to return, because my 5 year old wasn't high enough to ride everything (have to be 48 inches-sometimes enforced, sometimes not)so when we go back-day trip to Exumas, and I'll fly into Rock Sound so I can finally see LightHouse Beach. 8-)

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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Thanks for the great trip report! We have been to Atlantis and to Harbour Island but not in one trip. Can't imagine what a dramatic change that was in the middle of your trip! Have to say that, like you, I'm not an Atlantis type of person even without all of those cruise ships. Loved Harbour Island but Valentines wasn't open when we went. Looks great--would try that next.

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Great report and awesome photos! I will visit the out islands at some point and will be coming to you for advice to plan our trip
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 05:12 AM
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Hi Blamona,
Thanks for posting! Your pictures are AMAZING! They all look like magazine covers. I love the pictures from harbor island-especially the one with your daughter and the dog, and the one with her on the dock. Those will be such great memories for her to have! We were torn between Anguilla and Eleuthera for our next trip, but more and more itís looking like harbor island/eleuthera. Do you know if there are any villa rentals on those islands? I havenít been able to find any online that arenít extremely expensive (Iím talking around 15k for the week). Our price range would be more like 3k for the week. Valentines looked nice, but weíve kind of have gotten into the groove of renting a villa-we like our privacy Of course, I guess Iíd better hold off on getting too excited-weíre headed to St. John tomorrow morning! Itís always fun to plan the next trip though
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 05:15 AM
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great trip report, blamona! does Singing Sands Resort have a website? It sounds great even without the thread counts--your recommendation raises any place in my esteem.
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 07:38 AM
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Hey Blamona. Love the pics! What a bummer about Lighthouse Beach. You definitely must try to go there at some point. Knowing how much you love beautiful beaches, I have no doubt you'd love it. I should have mentioned the waiter at Joe's on my report too. You're right. He is super nice. Valentine's on HI looks very nice. OMG re: $100 for breakfast for 3, the crowds from the cruise ships in Nassau and your flight to Eleuthera!

ejcrowe: www.singingsandsresort.com
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 08:37 AM
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Blamona, Loved your report! Beautiful photos from you. =)
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Hi blamona, enjoyed reading your trip report. Lovely pictures. We heard about Gaulding Cay but did not make it there. How does Eleu compare to Exumas in your opinion?
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Old Aug 31st, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Amazing photos blamona as always!
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Old Sep 1st, 2007, 05:22 AM
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kellybeaches: you are probably on your way to St. John-I love it there too! I'm like you, even if I'm going to a gorgeous paradise, my mind is thinking of the next trips to take. (I still enjoy the current one I'm on too) As for house rentals-Pineapple Fields is like a condo-full kitchen, living and dining areas. One really nice looking villa from the road was Kari's Cottage at www.capricornhousebahamas.com
it's on a gorgeous beach (French Leave/old Club Med Beach) and looked very nice. It's hard to check out too many houses there, as they are behind dunes and all have "beware of dogs" signs. Hopefully you'll see this when you get back from your great trip to St. John.

ejcrowe: caribtraveler already gave you the website-it trully is colorful, and the landscaping is very nice.

caribtraveler: we should coordinate our travels-you always get perfect weather-and we always seem to follow each other. You'll love the Exumas.

mnag: thanks also for your help during my trip. My husband loves the Exumas-so far his favorite Out Island. I love the Exumas too-love being on a boat exploring gorgeous cays. To me the biggest differences are you have to travel by car for most beaches in Eleuthera, by boat in Exumas. The sand on the Atlantic side of Eleuthera has that pink sand, in Exumas it's blinding white. Eleuthera's beaches seem to have more seaweeds and pine needles and palm trees on the beach-so seem to be very "natural". and from twice that I visited, have calm beaches on Caribbean side, more waves on Atlantic side. Exumas seems drier, and the beaches are in "cleaner" state, with no rocks, seaweeds, pine needle. Exumas seem flatter, and the water seems to always be calmer-probably because it's alot more shallow, and the cays form a protection around the beaches. Both have stunning , gorgeous beaches.

Thanks to all for the compliments.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 01:05 AM
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Hi blamona. GREAT report and very cool pictures. My favorite was probably the pink sand beach seen past the seashell. ALL really good though - a hobby or more? It was nice to read about your stay - you had actually responded to a couple of my posts while you were on HI. Believe it or not - I'm back to thinking we'll spend (4) nights on Eleuthera and (4) at Atlantis. Just seems that we'll be able to get more for our money on Eleuthera as well as more area to explore ( with kayaks and bicycles and jeep )and be able to do a day trip to HI and explore the island via golf cart. Are you still glad that you split your time between HI and Eleuthera? As far as lodging, I'm currently checking on Pineapple Fields, Singing Sands, The Cove and Unique Village. Your post tells me why I have not heard back from Cocodimama. So, were you really happy with Pineapple Fields? I think the units look very nice, I only wish they were on the beach. I'm looking at a 2 Bdrm unit ( our girls now 11 & 17 find the sleeper sofas to be so uncomfortable which is the way we'd need to go with a 1 Bdrm that is a bit closer to the beach). The only 2 Bdrms are in Bldg. 5 and I think set back quite a bit from the beach. Singing Sands looks like the bungalows are closer to the beach. Unique Village strikes me as being a bit "older" in feel? The Cove looks great but I'm concerned it's a bit TOO removed from everything? I get the sense that there's just a little bit more happening around Governor's Harbour? I wonder how many teens we'll run into anywhere? The Cove, Pineapple and Unique all have pools - don't know that it matters much. Have also read that Tippy's has the best food but sounds like you really liked Joe's? Is Tippy's kind of a "gathering Place"?
We too will end our trip at Atlantis to let the girls experience that whole scene. I would love to stay at the Cove but initially have thought that it's more adult oriented? I'm really hoping it's not as overrun with visitors from cruise ships end of June next year. It's still to early to be able to book. I was thinking the Beach Tower too because of the proximity to the beach and the rooms have full balconies but they are also small and since we'll just be coming from Eleuthera, maybe that's not as important. Did it seem like the water features/activities were far from The Cove?
Lastly ( and I apologize for so many questions ), do you need/want a car while on Paradise Island? We'll be spending (4) nights there. If so, I imagine you pick up at the airport? If not, just take a taxi to Atlantis ( those taxis sound like they are pretty shady )? Thanks again for such a great report and for your time in responding to the above.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 05:17 PM
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Ljyoung:

Ask away!

the Cove(Eleuthera), in my opinion, was more isolated, and the beach wasn't the greatest=it seemed more adult to me. To me with kids, my choice would be Pineapple Fields. When I say it's across the street, I mean a 1 lane road lined with palm trees, not a street in the sense we are used too. Even the other choices have about the same walk to the beach. From the second floors of PF, you can see the ocean from certain units. Even at Singing Sands, you can't really see the ocean from the bungalows. Tippy's seems to be a main "hub" for people eating dinner-and the best chance for the kids to meet other kids. Warning though: all the kids we saw in Eleuthera were on the young side-maybe 9 and under for the most part. Eleuthera is extremely laid back and quiet. I feel with your kids, Pineapple Fields is the best choice with kids. PF also has satelite TV and wireless internet=so have them bring the wireless laptop. PF is new, comfortable, trully recommended. Joe's is great for lunch-incredible setting-but for now seem to have basically sandwiches on the menus. Singing Sands is colorful and fun, but just rooms, no kitchens, no tv (may change by next year) PF my opinion better set up with kids. More teens at Harbour Island, and actually tons of teens at The Cove and Atlantis.

I wouldn't rent a car at Atlantis-they have free shuttles between them all (including One & Only Ocean Club). Personally, my opinion again, I would choose Comfort Suites over Beach Towers-still get wrist bands for all the access to slides and pools. Plus CS is next to Anthony's Grill, a very reasonable and tasty place to eat.

We went for 8 nights also=2 at Valentine's Harbour Island, 3 at Pineapple Fields, and 3 at The Cove Atlantis. The Cove is actually closest to the best slides and pools, and had tons of teenages, so no worries there. I found 3 nights at Cove to be more than enough though-4 might be too much! (not for the kids though)

The only reason I would have liked more nights at PF, is the weather didn't really cooporate-so I still have to get LightHouse Reef out of my system. It was my second trip too-so I could skip some beaches. Keep in mind Eleuthera has long distances between anything-towns, beaches, etc. It takes about 90 minutes to get from water taxi to Pineapple Fields-without stopping at other beaches. It takes about 2 hours to get from PineApple Fields to Light House Beach.

taxis to Atlantis prices are posted by the taxis-we only got "taken" when going somewhere not posted. If you pick Atlantis/Cove-keep in mind they charge you transfers in a lincoln town car=tell them you'll make your own arrangements-they should deduct about $140 from your quote. you can actually walk over Paradise Bridge to go to Downtown Nassau-or a taxi probably about $15 for the 4 of you?

thanks for the compliments on the pictures-it's just a hobby. 8-)

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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Great pictures. I am going to have my friends look at them. Maybe we can go next year.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Wow, thanks for all of the info. blamona - just what I needed! A few other questions - sounds like you flew in and out. Any interest in the Fast Ferry on the way to Nassau? Bahamas Air or Southern Air, would you recommend one over the other? We're going in June. Sounds like it WAS pretty warm in August? I guess you get what you get. Also, I think I'm going to add a night and do (4) nights on Eleuthera, (2) on HI - I've contacted Valentines ( any tips on rooms ) - and (4) at Atlantis. My guess is that you are happy that you did both HI and Eleuthera? Lastly, did I understand you correctly that the Cove does welcome kids? Sounds like you would stay away from the Beach Tower. I could look into the Royal Tower, I just like having a full balcony. Thanks again blamona. I'll be taking your info with me!!!
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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hi again blamona. I'm trying to decide - I will actually have 9 nights. I'm thinking possibly 3 on Eleuthera and 3 on HI and 3 at Atlantis. Would you put 4 on Eleuthera and 2 on HI as I'm guessing there's more to explore on HI? Thanks for your opinion.
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Ljyoung:

We used Bahamas Air-was fine. We flew into North Eleuthera and went straight to Harbour Island, then returned to Nassau via Governor's Harbour. The flights are about 15-20 minutes. They cost the same weither round trip or land in one, leave in another. We rented Royal (Who we had used before, and highly recommended) and paid him $100 from North Eleuthera (from water taxi) to Pineapple Fields, with stops at every beach on the way (about 2 1/2 hours) Good way to see all the Northern Beaches, and he know how to go directly to them! He'll also make arranges for the water taxi to pick you up at Harbour Island at whatever time you decide to leave Harbour Island-they really make it wasy for you! The fast ferry does seem interesting-but takes 2 hours, and costs almost as much. I love ferries, but my husband tends to get motion sickness easy-so he tries to skip that part.

Harbour Island is only 3 miles long, and about 5 blocks wide-you could walk around most of it, so 3 nights may or may not be too much for you. Are you always on the go type person, or likes to relax on a beach type person?

You really need a full day to explore the "middle" Eleuthera Beaches, and Lighthouse Beach requires, trully it's on day.

My opinion, but 3 nights is plenty at Cove. While it's fun, and kids love it, it's like staying at an amusment park for 4 days-and ULTRA expensive to eat-so money goes! (Not that anywhere else is cheap by any means, but Atlantis that much more!) The Cove does allow children. Our room had 2 plasma tvs-one for us grownups, and one so my daughter could watch High School Musical 2. ;-) I've also stayed previously at Royal Towers and had a full balcony there too.

Overall, I think kids will like HI more than Eleuthera, parents will like Eluthera, and kids will love Atlantis.

I'm glad I split between HI and Eleuthera. The first time we visited, we stayed the whole time at Harbour Island, and just day tripped to Eleuthera. We got as far as Govenor's Harbour, and didn't see French Leave or Popini beach, which are stunning. So Eleuthera never got out of my system, and therefore the repeat visit.

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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 09:43 PM
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Appreciate all of the added ino. blamona. I would like to spend 2 nights on HI and (4) on Eleuthera. The 2 nights on HI would preferrably be spent at Coral Sands on the beach but they have a 3 night min. I'm considering Valentine's Resort ( based upon your recommendation ) but just wonder if I'll be wishing that we could have stayed on the beach. Also, were you on Eleuthera to experience the Friday night Fish Fry I've read about? THX!
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