This Best-kept Secret in the Bahamas Has Luxury Boutique Resorts, Stunning Blue Holes for Swimming, and Pink-sand Beaches

Eleuthera might just be the most beautiful island in the Bahamas.

<p>Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism</p>

Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

With 16 major islands cast across 100,000 square miles of sapphire sea, the Bahamas is a popular retreat for travelers. On the more remote island of Eleuthera, seclusion reigns supreme. A best-kept secret in the region, the island is home to luxury boutique resorts, welcoming family-owned restaurants, stretches of blush-colored sand, and a teal-colored ocean that’s home to sparkling blue holes and coral reefs. Popular miles of coastline include Preacher’s Cave, where grassy paths dotted with sea grapes set the scene for a perfect picnic, and Lighthouse Beach, where pink sand sits below a lighthouse perched above the ocean.

“The name Eleuthera is a Greek word that means freedom. Eleuthera is not for your average tourist. This is a place where you have to wander, explore, and adventure on your own. It’s an island that invites you to find your own piece of paradise,” said Kaché Knowles, content creator and Bahamian founder of lifestyle brand iisaBahamianBey. Eleuthera is also well-known for its pineapple farms (there's even an annual festival every June to celebrate its harvest) and its people, whose strong sense of community can be felt all around the island.

“What’s not in the textbook is that the Bahamas is more than the sun, sea, and sand. In order to experience what’s beyond that, you must be willing to speak to the people, learn from and listen to Bahamians, and be curious about our culture, heritage, and history” said Knowles. “The thing that makes the Bahamas is not the beaches; it’s the Bahamians — they are the true jewels of the Bahamas.”

Read on to learn more about what to do, where to eat, and when to visit Eleuthera.

Eleuthera, Bahamas

  • At Glass Window Bridge, you can witness the stunning contrast of blue ocean waters and a 30-foot-wide strip of rock, located on the narrowest part of Eleuthera.

  • A quiet retreat along 40 acres, The Cove, Eleuthera is a newly upgraded boutique hotel tucked between two coves.

  • Enjoy Bahamian cuisine with panoramic views of the town below at The Buccaneer Club, a 19th-century farmhouse restaurant.

  • Learn more about Eleuthera’s most common produce on Diane “Lady Di” Thompson’s pineapple farm, Lady Di’s Pineapple Farm.

  • An Eleuthera institution, Tippy’s Restaurant and Beachside Bar offers live music and great seafood and bar bites on the pink sands of Governor's Harbour.

<p>Courtesy of The Cove Eleuthera</p>

Courtesy of The Cove Eleuthera

Best Hotels and Resorts

The Cove, Eleuthera

Tucked between two white-sand coves located on the narrowest point of the island, The Cove is a 29-room boutique property best suited for travelers seeking a tranquil hideaway. Recent renovations include a complete transformation of the on-site dining space, Freedom Restaurant & Sushi Bar, and an array of ecological and culinary tours.

Pineapple Fields Resort

Located on one of the longest and most striking white-sand beaches on Eleuthera, this laid-back resort’s appeal lies in its welcoming staff and comfortable villa accommodations. Situated on five lush garden acres, Pineapple Fields Resort is just a 15-minute drive from Governor’s Harbour Airport — ideal for island hoppers flying in from Nassau.

French Leave Resort

At French Leave Resort, 20 villas situated on a 270-acre preserve provide splendid views of crystalline waters from a prime hillside location in Governor’s Harbour. Minimal crowds, an attentive staff, and spacious rooms with ocean-view balconies are just a few of the property's many perks.

<p>Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism</p>

Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

Best Things to Do

Visit Lady Di’s Pineapple Farm.

Eleuthera’s sweet-as-candy pineapple is a beloved produce around the island. Get a taste during a farm-to-table experience and guided tour with one of Eleuthera's finest pineapple farmers, Lady Di. You’ll learn more about the indigenous agricultural practices and may even be enticed to return for the annual Pineapple Festival held every June.

See the Glass Window Bridge.

A 30-foot sliver of land that connects North and South Eleuthera, the Glass Window Bridge is a testimony to the depth of color the ocean holds. “The Glass Window Bridge is a must-visit attraction. The narrow strip of land that separates the dark blue churning waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the tranquil turquoise waters of the Bight of Eleuthera is one of the most photographed sites on the island,” said Prescott Young, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism general manager. For lunch, consider Glass Window Bar & Grill, located right next to the bridge.

Make a splash in Queen’s Bath.

Located about half a mile south of Glass Window Bridge, the Queen’s Bath is a large set of soaking pools bordered by natural rock formations. Filled daily with crashing waves from the Atlantic Ocean, the bath-like temperature is ideal for taking a dip. Note that it’s safest to visit during low and medium tide as the waves can be quite strong otherwise.

Explore the island’s blue holes.

Sparkling, water-filled cenotes abound in Eleuthera, with popular spots including Ocean Hole and Sapphire Blue Hole. The former is home to rich marine life. Both are accessible by boat and have platform ladders and ropes to go cliff jumping.

<p>Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism</p>

Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

Best Restaurants

Da Perk

Enjoy breakfast and lunch at this casual cafe, helmed by chef Horatio Smith, co-founder of Eleuthera-based Island Hospitality Group. Located on a waterfront in Governor’s Harbour, visitors can dine on the patio and people-watch. “I love to cook with the freshest ingredients found here in the Bahamas. Local fish is my favorite, like snapper for roasting, grouper for frying, or lionfish for ceviche,” said Smith.

Tippy's Restaurant and Beachside Bar

An open–air bistro with a loyal following, Tippy’s has been open for more than 20 years. It's located at Pineapple Fields Resort, and menu items include lobster salad, Bahamian stone crab, and a variety of pizzas. Expect crowds on the weekend and live music.

Unca Gene's Seafood Restaurant & Bar

For a taste of Bahamian cuisine and views of Gregory Town’s harbor, head to Unca Gene's. Favorites include conch salad and fried lobster. Order a cocktail at the bar and chat with a lively bartender.

The Buccaneer Club

Located in a 19th-century farmhouse, The Buccaneer Club serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a garden oasis draped in bougainvillea and coconut palms. Outdoor dining includes candlelit tables and live music on the weekends, with a menu that focuses on seafood dishes like grilled grouper and conch bites.

The Front Porch

This waterfront restaurant in Hatchet Bay offers some of the freshest stone crab on the island. Other menu items include curried lobster, asparagus ravioli, and a Chantilly cream lobster mousse for dessert. Reservations are recommended.

<p>Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism</p>

Courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

Best Time to Visit

The most popular time to visit Eleuthera is December through April. The summer months of July and August, in particular, can reach very high temperatures. Visitors should also be mindful of hurricane season, which falls between June and November.

How to Get There

There are three airports spread throughout the island: North Eleuthera Airport, Governor’s Harbour Airport, and Rock Sound International Airport.

Choosing an airport depends on your departure location, as well as where you'll be staying upon arrival. If traveling directly from the U.S., visitors will fly into North Eleuthera Airport. American and Delta offer routes from major cities, including Atlanta, Miami, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Many choose to island hop for a few days from the capital, Nassau, which is easy to plan thanks to several inter-island operators, like BahamasAir and Western Air, offering daily and weekly services. When possible, it’s best to coordinate your flights to arrive and depart from the airport closest to your accommodations.

How to Get Around

Eleuthera is a sprawling 110-mile island with a rural landscape. Travelers should consider arranging a car service and/or exploring tour operators to get between must-see attractions. Rental cars are also available for those familiar with maneuvering island roads. Two popular car rental companies are J R Car Rental and Butch Johnson's Car Rentals. Rates for taxi services vary depending on your departure and arrival points. Note that most vendors throughout the Bahamas only accept cash.

Taxis are available at ferry docks and airports. Bike, scooter, and golf cart rentals are affordable options as well. It’s most cost effective to rent a car when traveling to Eleuthera for a longer period because of the long distances between various towns.

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