Monday, November 11, 2013

Eleuthera - An Authentic Bahamas Experience

Eleuthera is NOT for everyone
I read somewhere it's the island you dream about on Monday morning,
and that's absolutely true . . . 

Eleuthera (pronounced e-loo-thra) is 100 miles wide - and in some places less than a mile wide - so you are never far from miles of fabulous pink or white sand beaches.

I love Eleuthera because of its lack of commercialism. This is an island which offers an "authentic" Caribbean vacation experience. The island has stayed true to its origins - a natural tropical island wilderness.  

You won't find crowds, glitzy nightclubs, shopping centers, casinos, mega resorts, amusement parks or even a stop light on the Queen's Highway - and I might add it's the only highway.  

So what does Eleuthera offer? Beach lovers take note!

60 miles of expansive pink and white sand beaches, massive white rock cliffs and bluffs, pristine coral reefs, blue holes, unique caves, historical sites, preserved wetlands, authentic Bahamian cuisine, small nightclubs, and locals who are genuinely friendly and helpful.

Normally you will not find another person on any of the beaches - in fact, if you see another person on the beach, you find yourself wondering where did they came from . . . 

One of the most unusual spots on the island is The Ocean Hole. It's a natural "blue hole" the locals say is bottomless. This large inland saltwater lake is about a mile from the ocean, connected to the sea by subterranean tunnels, and the water rises with the ocean tides. The lake is filled with salt water fish - grey snappers are used to being fed by visitors, and they come to the surface whenever anyone stops by.

In 1647 Preachers Cave is where the first permanent European settlement in The Bahamas was founded. A group of Puritans, known as the Eleutheran Adventurers, set sail from Bermuda in search of religious freedom, and crashed  at Devil's Backbone off the shores of Eleuthera. The island was named from the Greek word "eleutheros" which means freedom. Religious services and meetings were held in the cave - hence the name. 

The Glass Window Bridge is the narrowest point on the island. Looking from left to right on the bridge you view the dark blue waters of the Atlantic on one side, and the calm turquoise waters of the Exuma Sound in the Caribbean Sea on the other. Photo below is view from the bottom of the bridge.

Stunning sand carved white cliffs at Lighthouse Beach - located at the bottom tip of Eleuthera.

It's not easy to find, and once you get on the narrow road, the adventure is still not over. Definitely worth a days visit for snorkeling, hiking and cave exploring. You need to bring your own food and drinks.  

The Queens Bath (below) is located on the Atlantic side of the island. Here is where you can sun bathe in the collection of small pools carved out of the rock by ocean waves. The locals call them “moon pools" and visitors often refer to the many tidal pools as natural hot tubs. 

Get out of the way fast when the tides start coming in! You will get washed out to sea or thrown against the rocks! In less than an hour after arrival the tide came rushing in - time to move on!

Leon Levy Preserve & National Park 
First national park on the island showcasing native flowers, plants, trees and research into traditional bush medicine.

Governor’s Harbour is one of the oldest settlements, 
administrative capital and main hub of Eleuthera. 

Rent a car, drive up and down the 100 mile island, pull off and trek around - there's always another beautiful beach to discover.

Pastel colors reflect from the sky and pink sands as the sun starts setting

More photos and info on things to do in Eleuthera later this week. 

Happy Travels,

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