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Our Guide to Harbour Island, Bahamas

Our Guide to Harbour Island, Bahamas
Our Travel Guides:
We are equipping you with what you need to make a Bahamas run well worth it — helping you to soak up every ounce of inspiration & relaxation from your time away. Any hot travel destination is bound to tell you what and how you should experience it -- and which spot is the most Instagram-able. Not us. We're out to find the edge of a place, the soul, the grit, and the beauty -- even if it's in the most unexpected places. All making way to experience something you'll never forget. It takes a bit of plundering, so we've done it for you. 



STAY 
Vacation Rentals - You'll shell out some cash and need to book early, but experiencing the Island in a home setting is magical. You can escape the resorts and have a chance to embrace Island LIfe. We stayed in King's Treat in Dunmore Town this trip and have stayed at The Cricket Pavilion near the beach in the past. Both are vacation properties by designers David Flint Wood and India Hicks. David & India have meticulously embraced the Bahamian culture and design style from the early days of the Island's settlement. Dark woods, natural tones, vibrant pinks and reds, heavy paint, and moody traditional art adorn the walls. Louvered fencing, garden walls, towering palms, and bougainvillea provide privacy. www.hibiscushillharbourisland.com
Pink Sands Resort - classic, original resort with endless charm. Rooms and villa rentals are available — a lovely hideaway to spend some downtime with every need at your fingertips.
Ocean View Club - Exquisite. A family-run inn of sorts laid out like a beachfront home. The OVC boasts an intimate setting with individually-designed rooms, retreats, porches, and a small but mighty dining service.


SHOP
A&A Hidden Treasures by Alice - Classic straw bags and accessories with personalization. Stop by earlier in your trip so you can order & pick it up before you leave -- handmaking these bags takes a couple of days. 
Shine on Bay Street - Teeny store with endless charm. Meet the designer, Stephanie, who makes 22k jewelry (her rings are dreamy!), silk caftans, and much more.
Sugar Mill - Our friends India Hicks and Linda Griffin's waterfront shop. Drool-worthy and lush. It is closed during the off-season.
Pink Sands Resort Gift Shop - If you love a good merch spot. This resort gift shop with a cheeky sign hanging outside reading, "Pink Sands - The Brand," is the place. Conch shell pink on everything – we took home a beach towel and a cap.)
Shell Craft Shops - These dot the Island, & I promise you'll find something good to take home -- or you may have to ship a chunky shell mirror! Ha.
Harbour Island Canvas Sailbags - A small shop off the main drag. You'll find a twist on the classic Mainer SailBags we've all grown to love – durable and hearty. These have flair and sewn-on patches that take you back to Harbour Island. 
Blue Rooster on Kings Street - Ladies Apparel and Accessories. I love to see what Blue Rooster has going on. I consider this the "BECASA" of Harbour Island. Good stuff and a sweet spot.



EATS 
Dress Up
Aquapazza at Romaro Bay - sunset views and rich pasta dishes, fried calamari, and an extensive, yummy wine list
Da Vine Wine Merchants & Sushi - an excellent martini menu, fresh catch sushi, and rolls, stone crab when in season. Sit at the sushi bar if you don't make a reservation. We went here several times during our trip. 
Blue Bar & Kitchen - Perched above Pink Sands Beach, the view is out of this world. For a lovely morning, enjoy their filling British-style brunch and go for a walk on the beach after.
Malcolm 51 - Enjoy this West Indies-inspired restaurant within the Pink Sands Resort -- moody, dimly lit, and killer bar. Unfortunately, the ambiance outweighs the menu here. But the atmosphere is still worth it. 

Dress Down 
Wade's Take Away - Fried chicken and mac n' cheese spot. Omg. Also, try their rice & peas and "crack chicken" – an island spices masterpiece. 
Queen Conch - Sit on their back patio that overlooks the bay. Best conch salad on the Island – their fried conch and coleslaw are delicious. 
Cocoa Coffee House - Across the street from Valentine's Marina, it's the place for smoothies, coffee, and banana bread. Great people-watching to bring on the day. Cute to sit on the porch and play backgammon, too. 
Arthur's Bakery & BluWater Bakery - One stand-by and one a new business venture. Both are delightful bakeries for a morning coffee and treat run. 
Brian's Barbeque - Served on the side porch at Brian's home -- Brians's BBQ has to be my favorite grub on the Island. Run by a local legend who honed his craft as a cook while doing time in the big house in Nassau -- the BBQ Chicken is out of this world. Open Thurs - Sunday only.
Ma Ruby's at Tingum Village - Best cheeseburger and key lime pie on the Island. Cute outdoor patio seating.
Valentine's Marina Dockside - If you *need to watch a sports game, go here. Have a beer and a bite: nothing to write home about but a good view and vibes.

 
PLACES
Pink Sands Beach - find one or two public accesses, or walk down behind Blue Bar to experience the official Pink Sands beach. Gorgeous for a swim. 
Docks along the Bayfront – Fisherman's Dock, Sitting Docks, picnic tables, and benches.
Ministry of Tourism office - above Sugar Mill on Bay St – best for booking boat charters 
Historic Dunmore Town - cruise through the old streets of Dunmore town, cottages galore 
Girl's Bank Sandbar – a shallow bluff that makes its way to shore near Harbour Island; see the famous driftwood trees and walk out to explore on low tides. 
Pigly Wigly - Tourists' favorite supermarket. 
Kay Markets - Locals' favorite supermarket. 
Captain Bob's - Transplants and ex-pats' favorite supermarket. 



HACKS
Ms. V's at Pink Sand Beach, arrive early to get front row chairs 
Go to several supermarkets to round up your essentials -- best produce at Pigly Wigly, more selection at Kay's Markets, Capt Bob's is most affordable. Find fresh Banana Bread at Pigly Wigly. 
Pack an insulated cooler or insulated bag to use while there
Find an ATM at Royal Bank to withdraw cash for charters, etc 
When to go? Going at the end or the start of their busy season for fewer crowds and a more authentic Island feel. 
Book a Golf Cart with Major's Rentals, which has an online ability to pre-book before you arrive. Drive on the left-hand side of the road like a good Brit. 
Capt. Aldon Barry for boat charters, cell (242) 224-8370. Consider reserving boat charters months early if you go during the busy season. 
Pack a mask and snorkel for the beach and bayside reefs etc. 
There are no street addresses on Harbour Island. Don't mind asking locals where something is – after all, Harbour Island -- known to locals as 'Briland, "Home of the Friendly People"
Make Good, Simple Drinks – no mixers or convenience items for drinks. Instead, decide on something you'll enjoy all week and buy the best quality. 
Sunday Church – a great day to golf cart tour the city and enjoy the scene 
Check out the homemade ice creams from the supermarket. Usually, mango, passionfruit, or something local. 
Buy sunscreen when you get there - don't risk a luggage blow-up. 
Enjoy the people-watching on the Island. It's an international tourist destination with exciting dynamics at every turn. 
Getting there. Boat taxi from Eleuthera dock to Harbour Island Govt. The fee is $10 per person. The car taxi from Eleuthera dock to the North Eleuthera airport is $5 per person. (Have a drink at the Bar at Eleuthra Dock while you wait on the Water Taxi)
Don't overpack. Use the washer and dryer at your rental – If anything, pack extra swimsuits and cover-ups. 
Don't feel pressure to "Harbour-Island" like IG bloggers. It can be a very casual place, or it can be very dressy. It's up to you – but make the trip what you want to make it. & don't compare your experience to anyone else's. 
Bring cash for tips – a very tip-centric place where a little goes a long way. 
Going home. Water and Car Taxi Pt II. FYI - There is a Gift Shop and Snack Shop across from Airport — Coffee & a BEC on a croissant if you have an early flight.


 
FOR THE SPIRIT
Take a Shower Outside -- soap, water hose, beach towel 
Spend days in your swimsuit – pajamas, swimsuit, pajamas - repeat. 
Meet an Old Timer on Bay St. You know the groups of men and sisters and aunts that hang out under the pavilion in any good coastal town. Say hello & hear a story or two. 
Swim every day — crystal clear water and pink sand. Swim everyday. 
Watch the sunset on the Bayside, and walk out to a quiet dock. Namaste.
When golf carting, always take the bayfront scenic route to get home. A view that never grows old. 
Golf cart around town once the sun goes down. See the city come to life with vibrancy and lit windows beyond colorful paint. 
Read the names of the boats and houses. Words tell another story. 
Interact with the locals and hear what matters to them. You'll find we all have a lot in common. 


RULES
- Be respectful of speeding and maneuvering golf carts.
- Island time is a real thing. Be patient and kind when you're there. Islanders don't like to be rushed. Amen. 
- 20% Gratuity & VAT is included on all checks. Tip above directly to the waiter but not required. 
- Power is bound to go out while on the Island. Usually comes back within 30 mins. 
- Don't drink the water; if your hair is fine, don't wash your hair with facuet water. Instead, get a 5-gal bottle and go from there. Trust. 
- Don't mix anything with the Rum Punch. Proceed with caution if you drink the Rum Punch. 
- The Island is tiny. You'll see the same faces at least twice. Behave and be nice. 
- June Grass may be on the beach and in the water. Don't act weird about it.