Eleuthera has everything we may need for a perfect sailing holiday: quiet beaches along the Caribbean Sea and wild, pulsating waters from the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also beautiful beaches covered with pink sand, as well as breathtaking rocky parts. It is both on Bing Travel’s list of the “Sexiest Beach Escapes” and Forbes Traveler’s “25 Sexiest Beaches in the World”.
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Things to do in Eleuthera: sandy beaches
- What to do in Eleuthera: nature activities
- Things to do in Eleuthera: other attractions
- Traditions and events in Eleuthera
- Gastronomy of Eleuthera
It won’t take long to find a real Bahamian beach on Eleuthera where we can spend a nice afternoon. There are so many amazing beaches here that we cannot consider any of them the best one. We are going to introduce you to some of these.
Pink Sand Beach
Pink Sand Beach is located on the eastern coast of Harbour Island. Natives call it “Briland”. The beach is famous for its beaches, covered with beautiful pink sand. Local legend has it that the sand became pink when God sprinkled candy floss on the beach to distinguish it from the other ones in the world. The scientific explanation, however, is far less romantic. In fact, this exciting phenomenon can be owned to the tiny sea creatures called Foraminifera. When these perish, their shells are crushed and washed up on the beach by the waves. There they dissolve and get mixed with the sand.
Pink Sand Beach is the most famous among them, and it is also regarded as one of the best beaches on the Bahamas. It is more than 5 kilometres long and 30 metres wide. The sand is almost always cool, so we can walk on it barefoot anytime. Thanks to the reef, the water is quiet, making it safe for swimming and scuba-diving. Pink Sand Beach received an award, “The Best Sand Beach”, from The Travel Channel in 2005.
French Leave Beach
French Leave Beach or Club Med Beach can be found in the central-eastern part of Eleuthera. It is a pink sandy beach with a length of 1.5 kilometres. The way that the bright-coloured beach encounters the turquoise water is a wonderful scene. Even though the sea is not always quiet in these parts, we might have a chance to explore the rich underwater wildlife provided that the conditions are suitable.
Gaulding Cay Beach
Gaulding Cay shares borders with the western shores of Eleuthera. During low tide, we can easily walk to this tiny sandbank, covered with casuarina trees. The beach itself is beautiful as well. We can spend a nice afternoon here with swimming, scuba-diving and also have a picnic.
Lighthouse Beach is one of the most beautiful gems of Eleuthera, located in the southernmost corner of the island. The beach got its name from an abandoned but still neat lighthouse. It is surrounded by breathtaking sand dunes and rocks; its entrance is a dirt road filled with depressions. Getting to the practically unspoiled beach is quite an adventure. There is a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean and Half Moon Cay, located barely 20 kilometres away from here. The spot is unique also because this is where Exuma Sound (Caribbean Sea) encounters the Atlantic Ocean.
Even though Eleuthera is most famous for its beaches, there are a lot of sights to see on the mainland. We can hike in beautiful, stranded places while exploring the breathtaking wonders of Mother Nature.
Caves in Eleuthera
There are many hidden caves on Eleuthera, including Hatchet Bay Cave, Smugglers Cave, Rum Bottle Cave or Spider Cave. All of them are very interesting, offering complex tunnel systems, unique natural formations and secret chambers. Preacher’s Cave is definitely the most popular and frequently visited cave here. The cave has historic significance, as it provided shelter for the first settlers of the island after their ship was wrecked in the Devil’s Backbone channel. It is recommended to bring along a torch, and we should also be careful not to harm the animals living in the cavities.
Blue Holes is a very exciting geological phenomenon. These fantastic abysmal sinkholes lead to the caves located deep down in the ocean. There are two such sinkholes on Eleuthera: we find Sapphire Hole in the north and Ocean Hole in the south, at Rock Sound. Taking a dip in these is an unforgettable experience, not to mention the fact that it is believed to have healing properties.
Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is the first national park established on Eleuthera. The reserve is a living part of Bahamian history. It is an environmentalist training centre and a shelter for preserving and propagation of indigenous plants. Visitors of the park can enjoy walking on nearly 30 hectares while exploring the gorgeous wildlife of the area. There are more than 300 types of plants and 30 species of birds living here; they also have a collection of a hundred herbs.
Glass Window Bridge
Glass Window Bridge can be found at the narrowest point of Eleuthera, a few kilometres from Gregory Town. The bridge connects the central and northern parts of the island. Originally, this was a stone arch created by nature; then the Bahamian sailors named is “window glass” as they could see the ocean through it. The original stone arch was destroyed by a storm in 1940, but it has been rebuilt from concrete several times since. The contrasting sight of the roaring dark blue ocean and the mostly peaceful Bahama Bank under the bridge is truly uplifting.
Gregory Town was named after governor John Gregory. The small town with its population of barely 400 people has several interesting sights to offer. Not many people know that they grew banana for a commercial purpose first on the Bahamas. We can best see how popular this fruit is on Eleuthera. Pineapple is such a significant part of life in Gregory Town that the locals have started to call the town “Pineapple City”. We can visit marvellous fruit fields and taste the sweetest pineapple in the world here.
The Pineapple Festival was first organised in 1988. They have been commemorating the tradition of Eleutheran pineapple production every year since. Visitors can take part in different activities, all related to the fruit in some way, such as a pineapple eating competition, a cooking competition, sports games, long nights of partying with live music, and they can of course try the local culinaries as well.
National Heroes Day
During National Heroes Day, formerly known as Discovery Day, locals pay tribute to the most important people in their history. As part of the event, they organise the annual regatta in Northern Eleuthera. The competition takes place on the waters between Eleuthera and Harbour Island, and there are different categories. The competition is free; anyone can participate who feels up for the challenge, but it’s also a great spectacle if we would prefer watching. The celebration usually begins on the second week of October, and it lasts for around a week.
The Bahamian – and as a result, the Eleutheran – cuisine offers locally produced food and drinks; mostly fish and clams, crabs, lobsters and different tropical fruits. They often use chili, lime, cinnamon, rum and coconut for spicing food. One of the most popular local specialties is the conch, a kind of sea-snail with an orange colour and soft, white flesh, prepared in several different ways. Another speciality is the souse, a dish halfway between a soup and a stew. If you have a sweet tooth, you should try the Bahamian rum cake and the guava duff, which is a dessert similar to a sponge cake, filled with gem. The most popular drink on the Bahamas is called Bahama Mama – it is a rum-based cocktail with coffee liqueur and freshly-squeezed pineapple and lemon juice, which goes perfect with a relaxing day on the beach.
Eleuthera is an incredibly charming place. The towns on the island are diverse and have a rich historical and cultural heritage. The charm of old times and the unspoilt beauty of the roaring ocean will practically absorb you, while you can pursue your passion for the sea. Read more if you plan Eleuthera sailing or boat charter in Eleuthera.