Eleuthera is an island in Bahamas. The long, thin island has wide rolling pink sand beaches and large outcrops of ancient coral reefs. Its population was approximately 11,000 in 2017. The principal industry of the island is tourism.
"Eleuthera" derives from the feminine form of the Greek adjective ἐλεύθερος (eleútheros), meaning "free". It was known in the 17th century as Cigateo. It lies 80 km (50 miles) east of Nassau. It is 180 km (110 miles) long and in places little more than 1.6 km (1.0 mile) wide. Its eastern side faces the Atlantic Ocean, and its western side faces the Great Bahama Bank.
Eleuthera has 3 airports: North Eleuthera (ELH), Governors Harbour (GHB), and Rock Sound (RSD). All airports are small, open-air and convenient. ELH and GHB have onsite bars and ELH has an onsite restaurant.
ELH has the most flights arriving and departing. ELH is a short taxi ride and water taxi ride to Harbour Island. Most car rental places on the island will gladly pick you up at ELH and drive to another town on the island. ELH is 15 to 20 minutes north of Gregory Town.
GHB is the centrally-located airport, located just south of the town of James Cistern and a 10 to 15 minute drive to Governor's Harbour, the largest town on Eleuthera.
Continental flies into ELH from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) and Miami (MIA). Twin Air flies from Ft. Lauderdale into all 3 airports on Eleuthera. It's about an hour's flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Eleuthera. You can fly from Nassau to Eleuthera on Southern Air, Pineapple Air, or Bahamas Air; the flight is less than 30 minutes from Nassau.
Bahamas Ferries. The ferry docks on Eleuthera at Governor's Harbour, Spanish Wells and neighboring Harbour Island. To get to and from Eleuthera and Harbour Island or Spanish Wells, you take a water taxi and a cab ride to reach your destination.
Harbour Island To reach Harbour Island, one can take a water taxi (~$5) from the main island of Eleuthera. Harbour Island has the highest concentration of hotels; many of them upscale. Harbour Island is more densely populated than Eleuthera. The 3 mile beach on Harbour Island features pink sand and clear waters and has often been cited by various travel magazines as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Eleuthera has no public transport system. There are taxis and car rentals. It's generally best to rent a car to explore Eleuthera. Hitchhiking is popular and locals are generally helpful and friendly. Bicycling is increasingly popular, but see notes below.
In 2010, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, a lush, 25-acre sanctuary, opened as Eleuthera’s first National Park. Created jointly by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Bahamas National Trust, the Preserve is home to more than 171 species of indigenous plants and has become a popular destination for local teachers and schoolchildren, as well as tourists.
Eleuthera is 110 miles long, and delightful to explore. Be prepared: Eleuthera's gas prices are $1-2 higher than the U.S. Car rental costs are based on a per day basis and never involve extra fees. In most cases, you don't sign papers. No car rental chain companies exist on Eleuthera -- you rent from locals who may keep a fleet of rental cars in their yards. Some entrepreneurs combine their car rental companies with a gas station or with a taxi company. As you drive around (on the LEFT-HAND side of the road), you will need a good map or good local knowledge.
Eleuthera with its rolling hills (and three killers around Gregory Town) is the most challenging island of the Bahamas. The main road, Queen's Highway, the only option for road bikes) should not be ridden by beginners. For more casual riders, mountain bikes are fine; a hybrid is an ideal compromise. There are no bike shops and serious riders usually bring their own, but several resorts and individuals rent mountain bikes or hybrids. Refer to other pages on Eleuthera for details.
Bicycling is a growing sport and Eleuthera hosts the Cancer Society "Ride for Hope," with 50-75-100 mile competitions, every April. The Queen's Highway is well paved (watch out for road repairs north of Governor's Harbour airport). Drivers are generally courteous, giving bikes a wide berth, but use a rearview mirror and wear a helmet. The greater danger lies ahead: cars pulling out to pass who may not see you coming at them. Be alert when you see an oncoming car closely following another. Another problem: being chased local dogs ("pot-cakes"). Lately there haven't been many, but be on the lookout south of Tarpum Bay and around Gregory Town.
- The many beautiful beaches
- The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
- Current Cut in North Eleuthera
- Preachers' Cave in North Eleuthera
- Glass Window Bridge in North-Eleuthera
- Queen's Bath south of Glass Window Bridge
- Surfer's Beach south of Gregory Town
- Hatchet Bay Caves south of Gregory Town
- Ocean Hole in Rock Sound, South Eleuthera
- Lighthouse Beach / Bannerman Lighthouse south of Bannerman Town
- Cathedral Cave
Enjoy (walk, swim, snorkel, get a tan, or whatever you like to do on beaches) the many great beaches. The water is usually rougher (bigger waves) on the Atlantic side of the island.
Surfing near Gregory Town in North-Central Eleuthera ("Surfer's Beach").
Swim, snorkel or dive the tidal current at Current Cut (North Eleuthera). Thrilling!
Fishing is one of the biggest sports in Eleuthera. Several people have recommended Paul Petty as a good local fishing guide.
Explore the Hatchet Bay Cave... bring a friend and at least one flashlight (preferably one each - or a back-up candle and matches - you don't want to get stuck without light down there!). Bring swimming gear if you want to explore the lowest level, which is half-filled with water. There are some friendly bats in the cave, but not many.
Explore some of the other caves on the island (there are several)! A) There is one just north of Ten Bay Beach (South of South Palmetto Point) - look out for the "Bahamas Heritage" sign on Queen's Highway. This one has a huge colony of bats, you can't miss them, and you will need a flashlight here! B) There is a nice system of caves just south of Rock Sound - look out for the "Bahamas Heritage" sign opposite to a church. You don't need any flashlight here. There is a small colony of bats in one of the caves. Also, look out for the turtle in the nearby "bottomless" pond. C) Preacher's Cave, close to a nice beach at the northern end of Eleuthera, is of historic interest as "The first Bahamian settlement". No flashlights needed here. The unpaved road, taking you the 2 miles or so from Queen's Highway to the cave, is a tough drive for a normal car (although possible).
Watch the Junkanoo parade in Tarpum Bay (this is a must if you happen to be on the island during Christmas time)! Check with the locals for the exact schedule.
Feed the fishes (or swim with them) in the Ocean Hole in Rock Sound.
Take a bath in "Queen's Bath", a mile or so south of the Glass Window Bridge. But make sure to watch out for big waves!
Attend a "Friday Night's Fish Fry" in Governor's Harbour. A large percentage of all tourists on the island seems to gather here every Friday for some BBQ, drinks and loud music. Be prepared to wait for an hour or more to get your food once you have ordered.
Visit nearby Harbour Island accessible via water taxi, approximately 10 minutes from the boat dock just east of North Eleuthera Airport.
Go snorkelling at Kemps Creek, Twin Coves or the Current. Go to the Schooner Cays, off Cape Eleuthera; hire a local who takes you over to these islands for the day, and live like the former beatnik on Dobey Gillis, Gilligan, sans Skipper and MaryAnne; you might see movie stars though.
- Island Farm (Island Farm Eleuthera), Queen's Highway (.5 miles south of Palmetto Point Crossroads), ☏ . Island Farm sells sells nursery plants and landscaping materials. They are known for their fresh bread baked on the premises, fresh produce, greens and herbs, jams, jellies, dressings and pestos, honey, hot sauce, maps, postcards and souvenirs. Island Farm also offers free wi-fi service on the premises.
- Island Made Gift Shop, Queen's Highway (Downtown Gregory Town), ☏ . Nice souvenir shop. Large selection of hats, caps, T shirts, postcards, maps, and clothing.
- Rebecca's Straw Market, Queen's Highway (Downtown Gregory Town). Rebecca is an artist and local expert on flora and fauna. She has her own hot sauce: Pirate's Revenge. Pete is a character. Buy a cigar or beer and get a story.
- Mate & Jenny's (Mate & Jenny's Pizza Restaurant & Bar), South Palmetto Point (Turn towards South Palmetto Point from Queen's Highway and you will have Mate & Jenny's on the right very soon), ☏ . Reasonable prices and good pizzas. A good place for a laid back dinner. The owner seems to have run the place for many decades.
- Sammy's Place (Sammy's Restaurant & Bar), Rock Sound (Follow the signs or ask the locals when in Rock Sound), ☏ . Very reasonably priced and good local food.
- The Laughing Lizzard Café, Gregory Town (on a hillside next to the main road just north of Gregory Town). Closes at 4PM. Good place for lunch. Tasty wraps and smoothies.
- Buccaneer Club Restaurant, Governor's Harbour. OK and reasonably priced food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
- Pascal's at Sky Beach Club, Queen's Highway, Governors Harbour (4 miles south of the Governors Harbour airport), ☏ . Beachside and poolside restaurant with excellent seafood and international cuisine. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Tippy's Restaurant, Banks Road (Banks road between Governor's Harbour and North Palmetto across from Pineapple Fields.), ☏ . Lunch 12:30-2:30PM, dinner 6-10PM. Open air dining and a breathtaking view of Club Med beach and the Atlantic ocean. New York Times said "This is not some down-at-the-heels fish fry, but the epicenter of the island's emerging social whirl." Reservations should be made for dinner.
- Bank's Road Deli (part of the Pineapple Fields compound just a short stroll south of Tippy's).  Stop by in the morning for cappuccino and croissants on the deck. Then pick up fresh bread (baked on the premises throughout the day), cured meats, cheese, olive oil and other essentials for a picnic on the beach.
- Tippy's, on a very nice pink sand beach between Governor's Harbour and Palmetto Point.
- Elvina's, rustic night spot in Gregory Town where Lenny Kravitz performs occasionally. Open mike jam sessions with local musicians on Tuesday and Friday nights.
- Fish Fry, Governor's Harbour, next to Haynes Library, fish-fry every Friday night where locals and tourists meet on the water front. The food and drinks are good -- the music very loud.
- Governor's Harbour Bakery. Local bakery with Bahamian bread, donuts and meat pies. You can ask at the grocery or liquor store for directions.
- Kel-D's Bar & Grill, Queen's Highway (across from pier in heart of James Cistern), ☏ . Basic local bar, cold beer and good Bahamian food.
On Eleuthera there are only about 3 hotels on the waterfront even though the island is 100 miles long. Many foreigners rent their homes.
- 1 Pineapple Fields Hotel, Banks Road (Banks Road south of Governor's Harbour), ☏ . Pineapple fields is a residential Island resort development with spectacular ocean views, just a step away from our breath-taking beach on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
- The Rainbow Inn, Queen's Highway, P.O. Box EL25053, Governor's Harbour (2.6 miles south of Hatchet Bay), ☏ .
- Quality Inn Cigatoo, Haynes Avenue PO Box 86, Governors Harbour, ☏ . The beautiful pink Bahamas beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are all within walking distance of this Governors Harbour hotel.
- 2 Hut Pointe Inn, Queens Highway, north of Governors Harbour (3 miles north of Governors Harbour and 4 miles south of the Governors Harbour airport.), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Hut Pointe Inn is a lovely, family owned, eco-friendly, inn featuring renovated 2 bedroom suites on lush grounds near the town of Governors Harbour. Each suite has two bedrooms, a large living room and dining area, fully equipped kitchen,bath, air conditioning, ceiling fans, satellite tv, dvd player, in-room safe and free wifi. Historic Hut Pointe was built in 1944 by the first Premier of the Bahamas and is included in the Historic Registry of the Bahamas. Hut Pointe Inn is a few minutes walk to the pink sand beach on the Atlantic and a 2-minute walk to the Caribbean Sea. The beaches of Eleuthera are all within a short drive of Hut Pointe and there are many great restaurants and bars all located within a few minutes of the property. From $210.
- Sky Beach Club, Queens Highway, Governors Harbour, Eleuthera (3 miles north of Governors Harbour, 4 miles south of Governors Harbour airport), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Bistro, with a full-service swim-up cocktail bar. Sky Beach Club blends modern amenities with the splendor of unmatched natural beauty and excellent service. From $300/night.
- Unique Village (Unique Village Resort), North Palmetto Point (Follow the road along the Atlantic side in Palmetto Point until you see the signs). Friendly budget hotel/resort on a gorgeous pink-sand beach. Has rooms, apartments, villas, a small pool and a restaurant. The second-floor "de-luxe" rooms and the restaurant have great ocean views. From $90/night.