Harbour Island, Bahamas
Dont be afraid of the roosters.
- More about your oliver guide: Peter Wooster
- Trip type: Family, Beach
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: YOU HAVE TO GO FOR A WEEK (MOST HOUSES WILL NOT LET YOU BOOK FOR LESS TIME).
to & from
From the West Coast, fly direct to Ft Lauderdale and grab a flight to Eleuthera (under an hour long). You can fly American, or a few other major carriers. If you have enough people (two families) believe it or not, chartering a plane for the Ft Lauderdale to Eleuthera leg is cost effective. Don’t expect a G5, these are prop planes. I like Air Flight Charters. Ask for Heather. Once in Eleuthera. take a taxi to the boat which takes you to Harbour Island. Don’t worry, it only takes 30 minutes in total. Bring cash for this part. For a family of 4 it will cost $100 or so each way. Once on the island, you need a Golf Cart. Michael’s Cycle is a good option. He takes credit cards.
Where to Stay
Rent a house and share it will another family. The range of options and price points is wide. The real decision, is Ocean or Bayside. The “Narrows” is the most isolated part of the island and also the most exclusive. You can very easily break the bank on a house there, but it’s also cool to stay next to the King of Spain. I don’t like staying in town, it can be very noisy and the island is so small, everything is a 5 minute golf cart ride so you don’t need to stay in “town”. Vrbo or Island Real Estate are good bets.
If you want a hotel or want to come for less than a week here are the best:
- The Dunmore- Right on the beach, has a small gym (if you care). Feels like a private club.
- The Pink Sand-Beachside
- The Landing-Is on the harbor, India Hicks and Ralph Lauren are loosely involved, can be loud so I would not recommend with kids or for light sleepers.
- The Bahama House Inn- This has been taken over by Eleven Experience and once finished will most likely become the new hot spot.
- Ocean View Club- On Harbour Island, would be a great place to take over with a few families.
- The Other Side- Across the bay in Eleuthera (7 minute boat ride) and offers 24 hour boat service. Owned by the same people as Ocean View Club.
Where to Eat and Drink
Please know this going in, Harbour Island is not a place that you are going to find kids menus, so be prepared to spend $40 on a lobster quesadilla and then have you kids tell you they are still hungry. Deep breath, it is only a week, but be prepared.
- Friday and Saturday night, is BBQ in town, trust me you will find it, there is no sign, but you can smell it. Bring cash.
- Start the night at The Landing Bar for drinks and/or dinner and end the night at Gusty's--the one place that stays open late. You will see everything from locals with no shoes, to NYC socialites.
- Arthur's Bakery for breakfast
- Rock House is great for adults or families with older kids
- Lunch at Sip Sip (everyday)
- Casual family meal at Valentines, for Sunset
What to Do
Harbour Island is not for people that are looking for all the amenities and services that normally come with staying in resorts.
- If you want to go Bone Fishing, you knock on "Bonefish Joes" door (no kidding).
- Want to take the kids snorkeling? Walk down to the town dock and ask someone to take you out in their boat. (You can rent equipment from Valentines, but grabbing one of the guys is a lot less expensive and provides good locals view of the island.)
- Take your golf cart (no cars except for locals) on a tour of the island, at three miles long and one mile wide you can't get lost.
- The entire day centers around hanging on the famous Pink Sand Beach and making your way to Sip Sip for a boozy lunch.
- Also, the island does have some good shopping (hence the boozy lunch) according to my wife. India Hicks has a store as well as a few others in town.
- Bring Cash.
- You actually need to dress for dinner, no coat and ties, but this is not a cargo shorts and backwards baseball hat crowd. Think Nantucket.
- Try your hand at Bonefishing, it is a great place for a beginner.
Don’t go for Christmas Week, It can be cold that time of year and the rate of crazy.
Harbour Island, Bahamas - Suggestions from the Oliver Community
Fly to Fort Lauderdale and then jump on Aztec Airways charter https://www.aztecairways.com. Inexpensive, quick and makes customs super easy.
Rent a golf cart ahead of time because they can sell out. Rentals from Dunmore Golf Cart Rentals: 1 242-333-2372, Major Golf Cart Rentals: 1 242-470-5065, Johnson Golf Cart Rentals 1 242 333-2376
Best bet for a family dinner is Acquapazza at Romora Bay. All hotel restaurants are pretty amazing but my favorite for adults are The Landing and The Rock House. Advance reservations are definitely required during spring break.
Lunch is family friendly everywhere. Best spots are right off the beach are Sip Sip, Blue Bar at Pink Sands and Dunmore. Go early (11am) to Sip Sip if you want to avoid a wait.
Shopping : Blue Rooster is my favorite. Sugar Mill (India Hicks shop) also very cute but $$. Great straw bags and hats available from street vendors by boat ferry.
Renting a home is a great option, however, it can be slippery as things you have already secured can tend to come and go depending on the owners moods! We rented 3 homes this year before we were able to secure one. Island Real Estate is good but I have found better luck with Dunmore Realty 242-333-3100. Ask for Lisa Carroll!
Anytime December through July is a great time to visit. However, if you want guaranteed warm beach weather I would say book March through June.
Rent a charter boat for the day to Island Hop from Lil Shaun’s http://www.lswatersports.com.
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