Size: 100 miles long, 200 sq. miles total
Highest Point: 168 ft.
Location: Lat. N25 10' 00" - Long. W76 15' 00"
Distance from Nassau: 60 miles East
Distance from Miami: 240 miles Southeast
In 1647 a small band of English pilgrims left Bermuda in search of religious freedom. They became shipwrecked near Preachers Cave, and named their prize “Eleuthera“, the Greek word for freedom. These pilgrims were later known as the “Eleutheran Adventurers”, making Cupid’s Cay the first settlement in the Bahamas.
Eleuthera consists of 100 miles of pink sand beaches on the Atlantic coast and white sand beaches on the Caribbean side. You can enjoy both diving and snorkeling in the turquoise waters; our famous reefs are teeming with tropical fish and marine life! With Harbour Island and Spanish Wells close by, Eleuthera is a favorite destination among travelers seeking a truly authentic Bahamian experience.
In the 1960’s Eleuthera was a very popular destination: Arthur Vinning Davis (ARVIDA) founded the Rock Sound Club, and Juan Trippe, CEO of Pan American Airlines, once owned the Cotton Bay Club. For many years the British Royal Family also made Eleuthera their choice for family vacations.
Governor’s Harbour is the capital of Eleuthera; it sits on a hill that boasts one of the most breathtaking views in the Bahamas. Victorian homes near the water’s edge recall the settlement’s Loyalist heritage; some of them are more than 150 years old! Other historic landmarks include: the Methodist Church and St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, both believed to be at least 170 years old, the first Bahamian Parliament building from 1878, and the site of the first US Consulate General in July 1789. Be sure to visit Haynes Library, opened in 1897, and our 125 year old double jail cell!
North of Governor’s Harbour is the tranquil settlement of James Cistern. It is famous for excellent fishing off James Point and its unique species of four headed coconut trees. Above James Cistern is Hatchet Bay, well known for its caves. These caves are over a mile long, winding underground with stalagmites that gleam in the torchlight. Almost two miles north of James Cistern, be sure to visit “The Cliffs”. The rugged beauty of these rocks can take your breath away!
A little further north, you will drive over the Glass Window Bridge. Though the naturally formed bridge was destroyed by hurricanes, this man made version is a very popular tourist attraction. On one side you see the deep sapphire waters of the Atlantic Ocean slamming forcefully against the rocks. On the other side, you see the shallow turquoise waters of the Caribbean; the two bodies of water “kiss” under the narrow bridge.
Heading south of Governor’s Harbour, drive through the picturesque seaside settlements of Tarpum Bay & Rock Sound. Take time to explore one of Eleuthera’s best kept secrets: Lighthouse Beach near Bannerman Town. While in the south, be sure to visit Cape Eleuthera. It is considered one of the best dive sites in Eleuthera, complete with “the wall” and lots of sport fishing. Nearby you will also find the Island School of Princeton, New Jersey. This school is dedicated to tropical marine ecology, research and conservation.
Take a five minute water taxi ride from North Eleuthera to this charming settlement affectionately known as “Briland” among Bahamians. Dunmore Town on Harbour Island is reminiscent of Loyalist history with its colonial houses and white picket fences. Some of these 18th century buildings have been restored in a Bahamian Brigadoon setting. Visit Titus Hole, a cave with an open mouth that overlooks the harbour; it is said to be the first jail of Harbour Island. This three mile island and its settlements are best explored by golf cart rental or bikes.
Take a short ferry ride from Jean’s Bay, North Eleuthera to Spanish Wells. Named as a result of sailors coming ashore from galleons to fill their casks with fresh water, Spanish Wells is another quaint settlement with brightly painted houses and picket fences. It is known as the fishing capital of the Bahamas, and the locals are renowned for their seamanship.
In addition to fishing, great dive sites are available; divers can enjoy exploring a sunken train wreck! Another popular tourist attraction is Preacher’s Cave near Spanish Wells. The Eleutheran Adventurers took refuge in this subterranean cave and held religious services inside. The citizens of Spanish Wells are direct descendants of the original Eleutheran Adventurers and British Loyalists that shipwrecked at Preacher’s Cave!
Our restaurant, Captain Jack’s, is loved by locals and tourists alike! Dress up for a dinner date, or dress casual and enjoy one of Sammy’s specialties! With great food such as fresh fish, stone crabs, lobster and conch readily available, we have many mouth watering options for your palate! Don’t miss our Sunday Barbeque with live music and old fashioned camaraderie; it is quickly becoming “the” place to be on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. In addition to Captain Jack’s, there are other notable restaurants situated on picturesque Banks road.
The “Banks Road Deli” has a wide choice of sandwiches and fresh chocolate chip cookies, and Tippy’s is known for its great food and upscale dining. At the top of the hill, Cigatoo Resort serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner! In Governor’s Harbour, you will find the new Pina Café and the original Buccaneer’s Club, re-opened for breakfast & lunch with a brand new second floor deck. At the Sunset Inn on Queens Highway, Lionel Fernander is the owner behind the bar and always seems to greet his guest with a smile. It is great place not only to eat but also to catch the sunsets on the Caribbean.
Just South of Governor's Harbour in Palmetto Point, you will find Mate & Jenny's, where the conch pizza is king. Unique Village Resort also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and overlooks the ocean. Just south of Palmetto Point, visit Dolce Vita, a delightful Italian restaurant open for cocktails and dinner. They serve a variety of gourmet foods and will make you feel right at home.
Eleuthera has so much to offer: high cliffs, forgotten pineapple fields, century old churches, antique homes and colonial settlements, spectacular beaches, great surf, tranquil coves, and lush green vegetation. Our relaxed, carefree atmosphere is just what you need to “get away from it all”. You can choose to fill your days with activities, or curl up with a good book on any of our beautiful beaches. Whatever you choose, you will thoroughly enjoy your time here. If you decide to visit again for the fourth or fifth people of Eleuthera will greet you with a warm smile very much like the Bahamas sunshine! Enjoy your freedom!