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The island of Eleuthera is an island in the northeastern Bahamas, located about 80 km east of the capital Nassau. The island stretches long and narrow from northwest to southeast. Its length reaches 180 km while the width is often less than 3 km and rarely exceeds 5 km. Eleuthera covers a total area of 518 sq km. The geography of the island – which faces the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Caribbean Sea to the west – is characterized by large outcrops of ancient coral reefs, rocky coasts and wide white sandy beaches.
The island is crossed for almost its entire length by a single road, the Queen Highway, which connects the main population centers. The most important of which are those of Gregory Town, Alice Town, Governor’s Harbor, North and South Palmetto Point, Tarpum Bay and Rock Sound. In the northern part of Eleuthera there are some islets including those of St. George’s Cay – where the important town of Spanish Wells is located – and of Harbor Island – known for its pink sandy beaches that stretch along the entire eastern side of the island – where the colonial-style village of Dunmore Town is located. The island’s inhabitants are just over eleven thousand, for the vast majority, as in the rest of the Bahamas, descendants of slaves imported from Africa in past centuries.
THE ISLAND OF PINEAPPLE
Eleuthera was so called by Puritan pilgrims from Bermuda who settled here in 1648. The island is one of the main agricultural centers of the Bahamas, the fertile red soil that partly composes it is ideal for the production of pineapples, tomatoes and vegetables. Eleuthera is famous for its pineapples, there are hectares of plantations of this sweet tropical fruit. The Pineapple Festival takes place every year – usually in early June – in the town of Gregory Town.
Today, however, the main source of income for the islanders is tourism. The island offers spectacular views and numerous natural attractions. These include the Glass Window Bridge – located north of Gregory Town – a bridge that offers spectacular views of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the turquoise Caribbean sea on the other. Less than a kilometer south of the Glass Window Bridge are the Queens Baths: these are natural stone pools carved by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean where you can swim. Just south of Queens Bath, on the Caribbean Sea side, is Gaulding’s Cay Beach.
Beaches are the strong point of the island. In the central part of the island near Governor’s Harbor on the Atlantic Ocean side there is one of the most beautiful beaches of Eleuthera, the French Leave Beach: kilometers of pale pink sand and crystal clear water. Just north on the Atlantic side is Twin Cove Beach. Much further south in the central section of the island but on the Caribbean Sea side another beautiful beach is Ten Bay Beach with fine sand and shallow water ideal also for families with children.
Winding Bay near the village of Tarpum Bay is a half moon shaped bay. In the southern part of the island in the village of Rock Sound there is the Ocean Hole, a circular lake full of fish which you can feed if you have bread. At the extreme southern tip of Eleuthera there is another spectacular beach: Lighthouse Beach. To reach it you have to travel a last stretch of road rather poorly placed, but it is really worth it. Climb up to the lighthouse for spectacular views.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Who likes horse riding and horseback riding should not miss – in the center of the island, near Governor’s Harbor – a stop at the Oceanview Farm. Here you can go horseback riding through the bush of the island and then along the beaches of the Atlantic ocean. The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is also located in the same area. This is a nature reserve created to preserve the medicinal plants and flora of the island. Here you can take paths that lead you to discover the typical flora of the Bahamas and observe the birds and other animals that live on the island – a great experience for children. Also in the central part of Eleuthera, along the Queen’s Highway near the village of South Palmetto Point it is worth making a stop at the Island Farm here you will find homemade jams and sauces, vegetables, fruit and freshly baked bread.
Eleuthera also has caves and caverns. Among them the Preacher’s Cave, the cave where the first British colonists of the island lived as shipwrecked in 1648. The cave is located at the northern end of the island, in its vicinity there is also a beautiful beach.
HOW TO GET TO ELEUTHERA
The island is connected by air via three airports. At the northern end is the North Eleuthera Airport, in the center of the island is the Governor’s Harbor Airport and in the southern section is the Rock Sound Airport. The island’s airports are all connected with flights to the Bahamas capital, Nassau. North Eleuthera and Governor’s Harbor airports also have direct flights to Florida.
The island of Eleuthera is connected to the capital Nassau also by the ferries (catamarans) of the Bahamas Fast Ferries. There are ferries from Nassau to Harbor Island and Spanish Wells, and from Nassau to Governor’s Harbor and Current.
ACCOMMODATIONS, APARTMENTS, B&B AND HOTELS
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