Harbour Island is a quick getaway go-to for East Coasters. And we can see why. Once you step out of the water taxi that takes you from neighbouring Eleuthera to the remote, three-and-a-half-mile-long island in the Bahamas you’re effectively in paradise (or certainly very close to it).
Greeted by crystalline beaches with pink-hued sand and pastel-toned cottages at every turn, island living is – in a word – blissful. Here, daily escapades revolve around the sea: swimming in it, eating by it, drinking by it…
Showing us around the best spots in town is former model and British aristocrat India Hicks, who settled down in Harbour Island over two decades ago.
Essential items to pack?
Passport – sometimes USA visitors forget this is NOT part of America. Although fiercely independent the Bahamas is part of the British Commonwealth. Sunglasses, lots of lovely sunblock, Bluetooth speaker, and that book you keep meaning to read but don’t because Instagram gets in the way.
The best time to visit Harbour Island is…
Depends of what you are looking for. If you prefer a really quiet time come out of season, the weather is a bit more unpredictable, but the island slows down to a gentler pace and it feels as though you have stepped back in time. Thanksgiving and Spring break tend to be a little busier, although the three miles of pink sand beach never feel full.
Our first pitstop should be…
To rent a little golf cart – it’s the most acceptable form of getting around.
Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…
Impossible to answer, each hotel has its own distinctive flavour, I like as small and intimate as possible. If you were able to fill Ocean View Club with all your friends and family it feels like a privately run home with sensational food, views and overflowing with lots of local personality.
For an early morning workout head to…
The beach for a beautiful run and swim. Alternatively, book a personal training session with the infamous Tamara who’ll work those conch fritters and fries right off your butt.
Where should we go for breakfast?
Cocoa Café – they make an amazing avocado on toast, great coffee and really good smoothies. If you want a really local breakfast head to Links on Bay street for boiled fish and grits.
How about for a long, lazy lunch?
Sip Sip restaurant. (Sip sip is the Bahamian word for gossip.) The Lobster quesadilla is unforgettable.
And for dinner with friends?
The Dunmore. Excellent service is guaranteed. The beautifully decorated dining room is filled with historical photographs. Interiors lovers – be sure to use the loo, the walls are lined with straw matting, very chic indeed.
A must-try spot for date night?
A table for two on the Landing Terrace.
Your favourite restaurant in town?
Budget: Queen Conch.
Blow Out: Da Vine Sushi Bar.
Where should we head post-dinner?
The Elbow Room Bar, for a local Kalik beer and imaginative cocktails.
The drink to order at the bar…
Goombay Smash or Bahama Mumma – these are the local cocktails. But be careful when you get off your bar stool!
The best place for people watching…
Sitting with a coffee at Coffee Roasters.
For the best views head to…
Romora Bay Sunset Bar to watch the sunset.
The best place to treat yourself is…
The Sugar Mill. A treasure trove of goodies that will remind you of your visit to Harbour Island.
For great shopping head to…
After The Sugar Mill, check out Shine – the owner Stephanie designs and makes her own beautiful jewellery. Also, Dilly Dally for that all-important T-shirt or mug that lets everyone know you went to Harbour Island.
For a change of pace try…
Daddy D’s night club after the bars close – you can dance your socks off.
Great day trips include…
A boat trip to see the turtles and keep an eye out for the dolphins. You can rent your own boat with or without a captain and explore the other neighbouring islands. Another great way to see the amazing underwater wildlife we have is to take a trip with Valentine’s Dive Centre – you can do a tank dive with them or just snorkel around.
A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?
An Entertaining Story by India Hicks. Many images are captured on the island and set the mood.
How should we spend the final day of our trip?
Taking a little trip across the Bay to THE OTHER SIDE for lunch beside the ocean under a canvas tented roof.
What’s your Harbour Island secret?
It wouldn’t be a secret if I told you. The best thing is to come and find your own – BUT please do consider donating to the Food Bank. The Bahamas has suffered these past few months and needs support and love after tourism came to such an abrupt stop.
In a word, Harbour Island is…