The Island of Eleuthera

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The Island of Eleuthera
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Welcome to Rainbow Bay, Eleuthera, Bahamas. Eleuthera is the Greek word for freedom and you will have the freedom to enjoy a truly stress free vacation.  Eleuthera lies at the northeast corner of the Great Bahama Bank and is an unusual island at 110 miles long and a maximum of 3 miles wide. Eleuthera was the first settlement in the Bahamas and was founded in 1648. 

   Only one and a half hours by plane from Florida, Eleuthera is a very different experience from the mainland.  The island supports as much variety in landscape and seascape as you can possibly get in the Bahamas.   There is the tranquil aqua Caribbean Sea and the raging blue waters of the Atlantic.  There are rugged cliffs towering 100 feet high, and not far away, peaceful  pink and white sand beaches.  There are caves for exploration, coral reefs for snorkeling, and great waves for surfing.  There are flats for bone fishing and underwater mountain ranges for deep sea fishing.  And the best of all, are the people.  You can, and should, stop and talk to anyone along the roads.  You will always get a smile, good conversation, invaluable information and, occasionally,  you will be invited in for a visit or a meal.  You will notice that everybody waves hello when you drive by.

Hopefully, you will fall in love with Eleuthera as we have.

Rainbow Bay is located just north of the settlement of James Cistern.   The Pink House Bahamas is directly on the water on the Caribbean side of the island.  Take it easy by relaxing on your deck and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea off of your dock.   Generally the water is calm and clear with a variety of fish and corals, so be sure to bring your snorkel gear.

For the more active traveler, read on about ...


Diving and Snorkeling


Glass Window Bridge and Cliffs

Governor's Harbour Friday Night Fish Fry

Hatchet Bay Caves

James Cistern Barbeque

Local Bars and Restaurants

Pink Sand Beaches

Rainbow Bay

Surfers' Beach

Sightseeing, Fresh Bread, and Local Artists


Local Interest 

[click on any of the pictures to enlarge]

Diving and Snorkeling - You can snorkel right off of The Pink House and explore the rock walls alive with sea fans, corals, fish, and an occasional lobster or crab.  For more abundant coral heads, drive over to the Atlantic side of Eleuthera - most of the pink sand beaches have great "shallow water" reefs within 50 feet of the shore.  For the more serious diver, there are numerous places for a variety of dives.   

bulletDevils Backbone:  This area has numerous wrecks, both modern and ancient. In fact, there
is one place where three wrecks actually lay on top of each other. 
bulletPlateau:  There are rolling mounds of coral that are separated by deep fissures and loaded
with marine life. 
bulletThe Arch:  This is a 60 foot wide natural arch that slopes down from 65 to 110 feet. Many large
fish take up residence here. 
bulletCurrent Cut:  This is an "E" ticket ride. This dive is a drift dive between two islands. Currents
vary between 3 and 8 knots. Large fish and eagle rays are visible. 
bulletEleuthera Train Wreck:  An unusual wreck of a Civil War Train that slid off a ship in a
bulletBlue holes:  These seemingly bottomless "holes" in the ocean floor are often  connected underground to tiny lakes in the middle of the islands.  The Bahamas has the only known tidal blue holes in the world.   Blue holes are a phenomenon created during several ice ages, when sea levels were 400 feet lower and The Bahamas was a great exposed limestone platform.   Centuries of acidic rain water etched into the vast bank, creating circular depressions and other magnificent formations. 
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Sand Island that disappears with the tide.

Fishing - Experience the adrenalin rush of bone fishing or catch your own dinner while deep sea fishing with local guide and family friend, Paul Petty or one of the various other guides offering fishing services.  Paul was written up in Florida Sportsman, March 2001, as the "up and coming guide" in Eleuthera.  Call Paul at (242) 332-2963 to make reservations for a half or full day of fishing.  

Glass Window Bridge and Cliffs - Heading north from Rainbow Bay, just north of Gregory Town, you will come to the bridge and cliffs.  This is the narrowest point on Eleuthera - the bridge connects the north and south parts of the island.  When seen from a passing plane, the bridge creates the effect of a "Glass Window" looking from the aqua green waters of the Caribbean to the dark blue waters of the Atlantic.  Nowhere else on the island will you be able to contrast the two bodies of water so clearly.  The bridge has been knocked slightly off center by past hurricanes and rogue waves so drive over it cautiously.  Park the car and climb the rough rock to get an awesome view of the 100 foot tall cliffs towering above the Atlantic.  Make sure you wear good shoes as the climbing is slightly treacherous.

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Glass Window Bridge - fly by Glass Window Cliffs Glass Window Bridge from land - note the contrasting water colors Glass Window Cliffs

Governor's Harbour Friday Night Fish Fry - Each Friday night (or sometimes on Saturday if there is no fish to be found on Friday), Governor's Harbour is host to a fish fry.  Taste fresh conch prepared a variety of ways, such as fried or marinated in a salad,  sample barbeque ribs and chicken, and of course try the fried fish.   The brave souls can drink some "Rum Bubba" - a local punch whose ingredients are a mystery!   But most of all, get out in the street, let loose and dance!

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Teddy Petty - your host for the night! Yum!  Yum! Dance, Dance, Dance!

Hatchet Bay Caves - these caves are quite dark - so bring a bright light or lantern for exploring.  It's probably about a half mile from one end to the other.  The various chambers are dripping with stalactites and stalagmites.  There are several large caverns with rickety old ladders taking you down to other levels.  Just south of Hatchet Bay, there is a sign on the Caribbean side of Queen's Highway marking the road to the caves.

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James Cistern Barbeque - If you're passing through James Cistern on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, make sure to stop by the local barbeque set up along Queen's Highway across from the beach.  You can experience some local cuisine at very reasonable prices.  Taste the deep fried fish or barbequed chicken and ribs.  Savor the peas and rice, Bahamian macaroni and cheese (watch out - it's spicy!) or the jonnie cakes.

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Friday barbeque in James Cistern

Relax and enjoy some food!

Local Bars and Restaurants - This is a new section, and we will add pictures and information as we accumulate them.

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Elvina's Restaurant and Bar- Located in Gregory Town on the west side of Queen's Highway.

Pink Sand Beaches - on the Atlantic side of the Island are miles and miles of deserted beaches - many of which have pink sand.  The pink coloration is probably due to ground up red corals and rocks.  Often there is lots of "treasure" covering the beach - debris from hurricanes and cruise ships.  In this wonderful trash you can find crab traps, buoys, driftwood ..  It's a tradition to collect an old bottle and fill it with pink sand to take home to remember your visit.  To get to the beaches... Governor's Harbour Airport is on the Caribbean side, take any road on the opposite side of the road just north or south of the airport - most of these shell roads climb the hill and deposit you at a foot path down to the beaches.

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View down to one of the many pink sand beaches. The pink sand beach by Club Med. Beach treasures

Rainbow Bay - Just north of The Pink House Bahamas is Rainbow Bay Beach.  This beach is in walking/bicycling distance of the house.  This is your picture perfect tropical beach.  The sand is gleaming white and the shore is lined with palm trees.  The water is shallow for a long way out, the color graduating from the white of the beach to aqua to teal.  Go north on Wandering Shores Drive, cross over the island at Rainbow Bridge Drive, and you will find another phenomenal beach with rocks and coral just off shore.  There is a small parking area at the top of the "cliff".  Descend down a narrow pathway to the beach.

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Entrance to Rainbow Bay Beach Crystal clear shallows at Rainbow Bay Beach. Rainbow Bay Beach Rainbow Bay's Atlantic Beach

Surfers' Beach - you'll find this beach just south of Gregory Town on the Atlantic side.  This beach is a popular spot for surfers - when there are waves.  Most of the time you will have the whole beach to yourself.  The charm of this beach comes from the various "surf shacks" that have been assembled with flotsam and jetsam that has washed up on the beach.  To get there, look for a rustic sign indicating "Beach" on Queen's Highway.   Expect to drive your rental car through some rough terrain and then have to get out and hike the last half mile.  

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View to Surfers' Beach Surf shack with personality! Home sweet home? The newest surf shack

Sightseeing, Fresh Bread, and Local Artists - The island is a fascinating place to simply sightsee.  At the north end is Harbor Island and Spanish Wells.  Both of these islands are reachable by water taxi.  Each is home to colorful hundred year old buildings, more pink sand beaches and tourist shopping.  Venture out to Preacher's Cave while at the north end of the island.  
Shipwrecked settlers, the Eleutherian Adventurers, sought shelter in this cave in northern Eleuthera.  A rocky pulpit formation gives a churchlike feeling, which generated the cave's name.  Gregory Town is a myriad of colorful homes set on a hill overlooking a gorgeous turquoise bay.  Up on the hill you will find Thompson's Bakery - where you can buy freshly made bread, pastries and marmalades.   Back south to James Cistern you'll find Mr. and Mrs. White's house where you put your bread or pastry order in one day and she'll have it ready for you the next (make sure to try her coconut macaroons and her cinnamon raison bread).  Governor's Harbour has several tourist shops where you can purchase local artisans' works.  Stop at Pammy's Takeaway and try her cracked conch, boiled fish, or minced lobster - yummy!  Further down at Palmetto Point stop is the new Runaway Bay Marina - the view from the restaurant is phenomenal - not to mention Harriet's conch chowder, conch fritters and grouper fingers.  Say 'hi' to Pat, the bar tender, waitress and bus boy - she's a hoot!  Heading further south, stop at Savannah Sound to see this quaint bay littered with rustic boats, coconuts and conch shells.   In Tarpum Bay you can watch the local fisherman prepare their days catch and purchase your fresh seafood to take home to cook yourself.  Another interesting visit would be to stop by Lord MacMillan's castle.  If you keep going south, you'll come to Rock Sound.  There is a blue hole in the center of this settlement that is teeming with tropical salt water fish.  Jump in and cool off!   Further south is Cape Eleuthera, with access to great snorkeling.  Contact Eleuthera Tours at to spend a day fishing, diving conch and snorkeling, or do a day trip to lighthouse beach.

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Typical street in Spanish Wells

Preacher's Cave

Breezy Day at James Cistern

Savannah Sound

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Picturesque Caribbean view.

Local artist Mal Flanders shows his work

Walter's Native Art in Palmetto Point Tarpum Bay

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Tarpum Bay gazebo.

Gregory Town from the hill by Thompson's Bakery.

Exploring with George Major - local writer and poet- around Winding Beach.

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Sign post in Tarpum Bay.

If you're lucky you can catch someone making fresh conch seviche in Governor's or Tarpum Bay.

Sign post in Gregory Town.

Note:  If you can't find what you're looking for, stop and ask anyone.  The most precious thing about the people of Eleuthera is that they are always willing to talk to you and to help you.  And if you see someone hitching a ride, pick them up and help them along their way.  Hitching is a standard form of transportation on the island....

For more info or to check availability call:


 James Granberry at (407) 314-0661