Lying just Northwest of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas is Harbour Island, or Briland as the locals refer to their homeland. This 3 miles long by half a mile wide island, is best known for her pink sand beaches. Harbour Island is the quintessential Bahamian island with its pastel houses, white picket fences and brightly colored beach bars.
This is not the place you travel for nightclubs and nightlife, but rather a place that you visit to relax and explore. If you are someone who enjoys lounging in the sand at the shore break, but also loves to explore the town, eat the local flare, and shop the artisan markets, then this place is sure to impress.
I can’t take any credit for discovering this vacation spot. My sister in law planned this beautiful group vacation to celebrate her husband’s 40th birthday and set up all the details of our trip.
There is no direct flight to Harbour Island. From the United States, you will need to travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or Nassau. From there, you will need to take a connecting flight to North Eleuthera Airport (ELH). You will take a 10-minute taxi from the Eleuthera Airport to Jeans Bay where you will then board a 5-minute water taxi to Harbour Island.
We traveled the first week of February, just before the rush of high season. High season starts the middle of February and extends through April. With hurricane season starting in the fall, many of hotels and shops close during this time.
My sister in law found us a beautiful house, Seabreeze, that was located close to Dunmore Town. If you are renting a house, I recommend staying as close to Dunmore town, the downtown area, as this is the main marina and considered the central village.
On a golf cart, of course. If you are renting a house, make sure that your rental comes with a golf cart. If not, there are plenty of shops in town that rent carts and bikes. Cruise the entire island. There are a lot of beach access points and paths to park your cart and walk. The locals are friendly and the town is safe.
* Make dinner reservations! Some of the restaurants do not allow jeans and require men to wear closed toed shoes. Be sure to review their dress code online or ask if you are unsure.
We ate here for dinner, but I heard they are most known for their breakfast.
Good place to grab coffee, donuts, or breakfast burritos
Cocoa Coffee House
· Expensive, but so cute and really good breakfast bowls. The most Starbucks like coffee if you’re into that. They also have pressed juices here. Take it to go or eat out on the terrace overlooking the water.
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but I heard they are most known for their breakfast. We did not eat here.
Located on the main drag of Bay Street. It’s the first of the cute turquoise and white shacks. This place is a local favorite. They have a great conch salad. You order at the window and then go sit on the back covered dock behind the restaurant along the water. Be sure to check out where they farm some of the conchs on the right side of the deck. To the left side of the deck are all the leftover conch shells. It’s a conch burial ground. There are some cute local artisans who have trinkets you can pick up for the kids here.
This is a hotel, but you are able to go have lunch at their dockside bar. Great salads and grouper sandwich
DO NOT LEAVE THIS ISLAND WITHOUT GOING HERE. Get there before it opens at 11 and stand in line. It is Located on Court Street. Ask to sit out on the deck. I SWEAR the view and the food are worth the wait. They are known for their lobster quesadillas. There is the cutest shop located at the front of the restaurant with t-shirts, jewelry, and hard carved buoy characters.
This is located at the Valentine’s Marina. This place is good for Lunch or Afternoon/ Sunset cocktails.
Also located at the Valentine’s Marina. This place is good for Lunch or Afternoon/ Sunset cocktails. The service is painfully slow. But it’s pretty and it’s the main marina. Good place to just unwind a little. Just remind yourself you are on Bahamian time.
If you are on the sand you can walk up here from the beach. The view of the turquoise water from the deck is breath taking.
The Sugar Mill
This is India Hicks store. The store is located right across from the Queen Conch and is under the skull and cross bones sign. This was my favorite, and by far the most affordable store in town.
They have fun textiles, home accessories and beach cover ups.
Marina Village Shop
Adorable clutch bags and beautiful jewelry but it is pricey.
Local Artisan Shops
There are some gorgeous handmade jewelry shops in town but in my opinion, were very pricey for me, as I was someone who was simply ‘vacation shopping’.
Beautiful handmade Jewelry, but again, very pricey.
A and A Hidden Treasures
My favorite street vendor for hand woven artisan bowls was a little cottage on the outskirts of town. They have the best handwoven gifts for kids and keepsakes.
If you’re into getting some exercise on your vacations, there isn’t a more beautiful scenery than going for a morning run in this town. The smell of the ocean and roosters crowing, no seriously, there are roosters in the streets that crow, make you feel alive
This is where you will locate the iconic Lone tree. During Hurricane Andrew, in 1992, this tree was impaled into the sand. The water surrounding the tree is ankle deep for a half a mile out. Walking this far out into the perfectly calm water is something that I can’t describe. This is a great spot to take pictures and come to just relax and soak in God’s beautiful creations.
Charter a Boat
In the Valentine marina there is a storefront that will set up your charters. We took a 4-hour charter to Meeks Mill, a private island with pigs and toured the surrounding islands, such as Spanish wells. We did some snorkeling and toured the celebrity homes along the shorelines of Harbour Island. Our captain told us so many stories about the islands educating on not just the Bahamas but also how the islands came to be and what they are known for. It was as educational as it was fun.
* If you are prone to seasickness you will have to go through an area called the Devils Backbone. On a clear day, the water is choppy. If you take Dramamine, you should be fine. It is short lived and once you pass through, the waters are calm again.
Swimming with the Pigs
I LOVE PIGS! So, obviously this was the highlight of my excursion. The pigs are not wild. They are actually put on the island. If you decide that you want to travel to see the pigs, you will need to notify your booking agent as they need to arrange to have the pigs set loose. They were so friendly. The crew will give you a cup of hot dogs skewers to feed the pigs. They said the hot dogs were all beef, so lets hope that was the truth. There were a few adult pigs and some babies that were six months old. If I could have taken one of them home with me, I would have.
Our group saw Sea Turtles, sharks, starfish, and tropical fish.
This would be it's own half or full day charter
Pink Sands Beach
The sand is actually pink. It is hard to tell the true color in photos, but it is beautiful. The color comes from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells and calcium carbonate materials left behind from tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells.
If you are not staying at one of the 4 resorts on this stretch of beach, you can rent chairs and an umbrella for $25 each. There are some local food stands along the shoreline that serve waters, hot dogs and beer.
I hope that you find this travel guide to be helpful on your trip to Harbour Island. Please tag us in your photos on Instagram, using @seventhbixel and #7thBTravels . Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by me and are not authorized for use without proper tagging and credit.