A Weekend in Eleuthera
I never thought the Bahamas would be one of my favorite destinations. Never.
The Bahamas always conjured up old 90s commercials for Sandals or Club Med resorts — and in my 20s and 30s, I always imagined my taste for travel transcended that. But the day after the 2016 election, I couldn’t bear the thought of being in DC for inauguration weekend, so Emily and I did a quick flight search for planes departing DC that Thursday, and lo and behold — the Bahamas was the cheapest international option. So… we booked it.
We also booked domestic flights from Nassau separately, and while I desperately wanted to swim with pigs in Exuma, the flights to Eleuthera were shorter and cheaper — $60 each way for a 20 minute flight. So we did some research, found a great Airbnb, and decided to hit up Eleuthera instead.
Interestingly enough, most of the online resources we found for Eleuthera looked like they were built on Geocities, so we knew we were getting into something worthwhile. We printed out directions to all of the beaches, and knew that we needed to rent a car. The challenge, however, was in the fact that there were no websites for rental cars on Eleuthera — at all. Our Airbnb host gave us a list of phone numbers (which went directly to car owners who happened to let travelers borrow their cars for a daily fee). Many of them did not own phones that could receive international calls, so we went with the one that answered.
Wallace, about age 95, picked us up at the airport in a ’96 Honda Accord. It was missing a side view mirror and a headlight, and the rear view mirror was duct taped into place. We had to give Wallace a ride home. And then, the car kept overheating.
Wallace then brought us his wife’s car — that one ended up feeling quite luxurious, as it had AC and two side view mirrors.
This. This is the Bahamas. And given the inauguration weekend happening back home, we were more than happy for rental cars to be our biggest problem.
We spent the three days we had in our favorite way: marveling at the warm weather in January, slowly ambling over rocky roads in our rentals to find beaches we knew nothing about, and eating homemade sandwiches without another human in sight. It was magical.
For dinners, we found some of the few restaurants on the island — and while expensive, we found it worth it. It was better than being in the cold, Trumpy vibes back in DC.
I still dream of going back to Eleuthera, though I fear that it’s more discovered than it was 18 months ago. So if you visit, leave your cell phone plan at home and hop on a flight to the southern, quieter half of a very long, skinny island. You won’t regret it.
Lighthouse Beach — the very, very southernmost point of Eleuthera. You’ll adventure by car on the rockiest of roads, but we ended up going to this beach two days in a row, because why mess with a good thing? It has the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Hike to the top of the rocks, and look south.
Twin Cove Beach — as described, there are two identical coves, with a sandy straight between. The chances of seeing another human here are slim.
Ten Bay Beach — an easier road to take than most. This beach is on the Caribbean side, and wispy pine trees line the shore. The water is calm and about two feet deep for a mile, so we planted ourselves into the water for lunch. Highly recommend.
Surfer’s Beach — on the northern half of the island, and walking distance from our Airbnb. It reminded me of the beaches on Hawaii: perfect water, bigger waves, and the silkiest sand around.
The Cove Eleuthera — one of the few resorts outside of Harbor Island (which, to be completely honest, we skipped). Brunch was lovely, and we watched a wedding party. It would make a great spot for a friends’ trip to Eleuthera.
Tippy’s — If and when I come back to Eleuthera, I’d love to stay in this neighborhood — having access to the bar at Tippy’s at any given moment would be ideal.
Laughing Lizard — great little sandwich and wrap spot in Gregory Town (and run by the daughter of our Airbnb host. It’s all in the family.)
1648 — an incredible spot on a deck over the Caribbean Sea. Highly recommend making a reservation and having a sunset dinner outside — bring a sweater!