The Island Of Freedom – Eleuthera Island

Posted On November 30, 2009 

The longest Island of Bahamas stretching to about 113 kilometers, Eleuthera is also called “the Island of Freedom”. It was about 300 years ago that the Eleutheran adventurers in search of religious freedom travelled to Eleuthera, to find what was probably the first democracy in the western world.

Since the maximum breadth of the island does not go beyond 3 kilometers, you are always near the sea.


One of the Bahaman Islands, Eleuthera, is at a distance of about 80 kilometers from Nassau. The word Eleuthera comes from the Greek word eleutheros, which means “free”.  The local name for Eleuthera is Cigatoo.

On the eastern sides of the Island is the Atlantic Ocean and on its western sides is the Great Bahama Bank, one of the two Bahamas Banks of the Caribbean Sea. To the north are the breaths taking clips.

Eleuthera Island

Best time to Visit

The climate of Eleuthera is comfortable all through the year. The temperatures in winters here is about 70 degree Fahrenheit during the day and around 68 – 70 degree Fahrenheit at night. The average temperature during the summer months is about 88 degree Fahrenheit and at night it’s about 70 degree Fahrenheit. There are cool easterly winds during the summer months.

How to reach

There are three airports on the Island. The North Eleuthera Airport, the Governor Harbour Airport and the Rock Sound Airport here are all well connected to most of the national and international destinations. From the airports, there are taxis as well as water taxis that take you the Harbour Island. You can rent a car as well. The airport is 15 to 20 minutes north of Gregory Town.

Flight from Nassau to Eleuthera takes about half an hour.

There are plenty of ferries that come to Eleuthera from the Governor’s Harbour, Spanish Wells and the neigbhouring Harbour Island.

Eleuthera Island has no public transport system, though hitchhiking, biking and cycling are the common ways to explore this Island.  Bicycling in fact is an upcoming sport here and there is 50-75-100 miles competitions held in April by the Cancer Society “Ride for Life”, annually.

Attractions in Eleuthera Island

Rifts and beaches, coves and villages, hills and sea, there is everything here in the Eleuthera Island. It was the first island in the Bahamans where the Europeans settled in.

There are some pretty towns that you should explore when on this Island. The Governor’s harbour is one of them, dating back to 300 years.  It is the oldest settlement here. It was known for its black pineapples. The elegant clap board sided houses and the harbour fronts are reminders of the colonial eras. To its north of the airport here is the James Cistern, a little hamlet.  The other island here is the centrally located GBH, south of James Cistern and about 15-20 minutes drive away from The Governor’s Harbour.

Buccaneer Public BeachesIn the centre of the town are two pristine beaches – the Buccaneer Public Beaches, good for snorkeling and the Harbour Island, locally known as the Front Leave Beach, about 1 kilometer from the Governor’s Harbour. It is apt for surfing.

Affectionately Harbour Island is called ‘Briland’ and has number of good resorts.  The Pink Sand Beach is particularly good here.

The Current Cut Dive is the highlight of this place and is world’s fastest drift dives. There are many centers around the Harbour Island that can arrange your water sports.

Set against the hills in the center of Eleuthera is the Gregory Town, a village of clapboard cottages. It was once known for its pineapples. You must visit the Gregory Town Plantation and Distillery, were you can get to sample the rum made out of pineapple.

The Island made gift shop is an interesting souvenir shop. Paintings on drift woods or those crafted on discarded shoes, Abaco Ceramics, handmade quilts from Androsian Fabric and jewellery made of glass pieces found on the beach are some of the eccentric items you will find here.

The town is home to Surfer’s Beach, 4 kilometers south of it on to the Atlantic side, a haven for dedicated surfers from across the world.  The winter and spring bring the highest of the waves and even if you are not surfing, it’s fun to watch.

To the south if the town is the Hatchet Bay with a number of caverns, the largest of which is interestingly and simply Hatchet Bay Cavecalled The Cave. There is a tree outside the cave and as the story goes, pirates planted it to hide the cave at it had treasures in it.  There are guided tours to the cave and it ends at a cliff’s edge, 27 meters above the sea.

Out of the Gregory town, to the north, is the famous Glass Window, Eleuthera’s narrowest point, 21 meters high.  The town has scope for fishing trips and other adventures like surfing, kayaking, trekking and bird-watching tours.

The Dunmore Town is on the harbour side of the Island.  It has tow of Bahamas first churches, the St John’s Anglican Church established in 1768 and the Wesley Methodist Church built in 1846. Wandering on the streets, observing the horses grazing in small fields and roosters doing their jerky matches is a good way to known this town.

In South Eleuthera is the village of Rock Sound, about 200 years old, with some really good beaches you shouldn’t be missing. Bay clubs like that Cotton Bay Club come ahead while you move further south to Green Castle and Deep Creek, the Cape Eleuthera and then the Exuma Sound.

The Ocean Hole, about 2 kilometers east of the centre of Rock Sound is said to be bottom less as the depth here measures to be about 100 fathoms which approximately 600 feet.  It is an ecologically rich spot with a variety of fishes and birds.

Tarpum Bay is a nice waterfront village, about 15 kilometers north of Rock Sound. It has the lovely Gaulding Bay, greatTarpum Bay for snorkeling and plenty of galleries and studios. Between Rock Sound and Governor’s Harbour is the tiny Windermere Island, attracting tourists for its snorkeling opportunities and beautiful secluded beaches.

The village of Palmetto Point is to the south of Governor’s Harbour with the Ten Bay Beach just 10 minutes drive to the south from here. It is apt for a laid back vacation.

The Spanish Wells, one kilometer off the coast of northwest Eleuthera has bays and beaches, lagoons, diving points and a fishing colony as well.

It is a cluster of colourful houses on St George’s Cay. There are home made quilts on displayed in front of these homes, up for sale.

The Current is an isolated backwater settlement in North Eleuthera where sea is the only source of attraction amidst a beautiful landscape.

The boiling hole, on the shallow bank on the Atlantic side of the Island of Eleuthera is an attraction for ecologists, marine scientists and tourists alike. This part seems to boil and churn along with the changes in the tides.

On the northern parts of the Island of Eleuthera is the Preachers Cave. This is the cave where the history of Eleuthera Island and that of the Bahamas too began. Work is on to make a museum here. The beach here has soft sand and if you are up for swimming about a quarter of miles away from the beach, you can have some great time while snorkeling deep inside the azure sea water.

Laid back and casual, with warm and friendly people, the mood and ambience of this town is as tourist friendly as its weather. The quaint villages, the calm cliffs over the roaring sea, the long beaches, the unspoiled serene beaches, the adventurous snorkeling and diving points and the satellite islands, all of this make Eleuthera Island a place that’s a must to visit.

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