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Eleuthera is all about the beach vibes. Yes, there are a few glitzy enclaves on this impossibly skinny island, but for the most part it remains a low-key place where the feeling of escape is still possible. This narrow ribbon of land in the Bahamas is traversed by just a single highway, which meanders past green hills, pineapple farms, and secluded coves. Its most remarkable feature is its wide pink-sand beaches, whose fantastical color is thanks to ground-up coral. Those reefs are a major draw for snorkelers and divers hoping to catch a glimpse of the abundant sea life, which includes rays and sharks. Mysterious shipwrecks also tempt the underwater explorer crowd.
There are calm beaches suited for a leisurely paddle here, as well as those celebrated for their surf breaks. Rock outcroppings along the shoreline form natural pools that fill with ocean water that warms in the sun, creating temporary and soothing baths. If it’s possible to overachieve at relaxing, this might be the place to do it.
There are three airports on little Eleuthera, and which one you choose likely depends on where you are coming from and where you are going. North Eleuthera Airport (ELH) is located, naturally, on the northern tip of the island; Governor’s Harbour Airport (GHB) is roughly in the middle; and Rock Sound Airport (RSD) is in the south. Once you’re on the ground, opt for a car rental, which is the easiest way to get around the island. Driving from tip to tip on scenic Queen’s Highway is as much an appeal of this island as its beaches.
The Bahamas enjoy idyllic tropical weather just about all year round. Even cooler winter days still make for decent beach weather. During the rainy season, thunderstorms roll though the island, especially in May and June. Make sure to monitor the weather forecast during hurricane season, which stretches from June to November. Starting on Christmas Day and continuing through early February, the island throws festive parties known as Junkanoo, which involve brightly colored costumes, parades, and whimsical masks. In June the island celebrates the pineapple harvest with Pineapple Fest, which features pineapple-themed cuisine and a pineapple-eating contest.
Sprawling more than 30 acres, this national park showcases the myriad flora of the island. More than 400 native species grow here, grouped in categories including medicinal, poisonous, and edible. There’s a mangrove forest and a waterfall here too, all navigable by a series of winding trails.
This remarkable natural phenomenon is so bold and startling, it seems like a trick of the eye. The dark blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the topaz waters of the Bight of Eleuthera (not the Caribbean Sea, as many assume) meet here, separated by only a 30-foot-wide ribbon of land. The result is a visual wonder that trumps any movie special effects.
There are beautiful beaches galore here, but peel yourself away from the shore to explore this unique place. This circular blue hole — a deep underwater cavern or sinkhole — is surrounded by trees and teeming with fish, and was once explored by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. You won’t get the same vantage point as that famed adventurer, but you can still splash around in waters believed by some to have healing properties.