Are you intending to spend more than a few weeks in The Bahamas? If yes...
The Bahamas Handbook
will answer most of your questions. Click the link to view and order it. (Clicking will open a new window. You'll be right back here when you close it.)
This is one of the most frequently asked questions visitors have. And here is an honest answer:
By the way, another interesting island for the above is Spanish speaking Vieques, east of Puerto Rico and south-east of the Bahamas. Take a look at this Vieques Travel Guide.
Well, this is one of the FAQs that is difficult to answer for it depends on your individuality. But in a nutshell it's this...
An island where the highest elevation is approximately 100 feet. Very quiet, has power disruptions and bad lateral roads and a poor economy. The standards for service are not as they are in the U.S. or Canada.
And most of the Bahamas greatest beaches are on Eleuthera.
Friendly folks in the settlements will greet you with a "Good afternoon" when they pass by. People wave or give a short honk from their vehicle to say "Welcome!" Pretty much crime-free and quite charming in it's own way.
Here is an interesting page with Bahamas weather and climate info. We have measured the water temperatures ourselves, so they are pretty accurate. For month-to-month weather click here and scroll down.
Another of the FAQs that are not easy to answer. Personally I prefer the Atlantic side. Why? That side nearly always has a gentle breeze. No wonder most of the big successful resorts in Eleuthera were and are on the Atlantic side.
The Caribbean side normally has only a few sandy beaches, no coral heads, not much breeze, and nothing interesting to see apart from incredibly beautiful sunsets.
During Winters when the Atlantic side sometimes is too rough, we like to go to the sandy Caribbean beaches for swimming. In Central Eleuthera there are only three of importance, i.e. Rainbow Bay, Alabaster Bay and Ten Bay.
Yes there is a Robert Trent Jones golf course at the old Cotton Bay Club south of Rock Sound. The club is closed, but the golf course is normally open. However, maintenance is not the best.
Yes, there is a medical doctor in Governors Harbour. Read an interesting and funny interview with Dr. Bacchus by clicking here.
He has a clinic attached to his home. And there is also a Government run clinic in Governor's Harbour with several nurses.
The water looks and smells good but bottled water is the only type that's guaranteed safe to drink without being boiled first. However, we have been using BRITA filtered tap water for quite a while and are happy with it.
Yes, there are numerous grocery stores... 2 in Palmetto Point, 2 better ones in Governors Harbour and an excellent one in Rock Sound.
You can't quite get as many different products as you would find in the US. But the choice is remarkably good for a small island like Eleuthera. However it is sometimes difficult to find fruit and vegetables in the stores. Therefore ask for the day the boat comes in with fresh produce.
There is also a local vegetable farm, run by Clide Bethel and his wife Ann, just south of Palmetto Point. Join us on our weekly grocery shopping tour and see photos of all the stores we usually buy from. That includes a Deli near North Palmetto Point pictured on our above grocery shopping tour.
U.S. currency is on par with the currency in the Bahamas. U.S. dollars are accepted anywhere on the island. Travelers checks will only be accepted at a discount.
Credit cards are generally not accepted with the exception of a few places like...
Lakaia's Variety Store in North Palmetto Point, North Eleuthera Shopping Center in Bluff and the large Rock Sound Market Place in South Eleuthera.
Restaurants like Tippy's, Cocodimama and Sky Beach Club's Bistro will accept credit cards, as does the liquor store on Cupid's Key adjacent to Governor's Harbour.
Unless you have a Capital One card, your credit card company will likely add a 3% international surcharge to any transactions. Depending on your bank, it may also incur an international surcharge if you make ATM withdrawals. Best to check with your bank before you travel.
It is possible to go to a local bank in an emergency and get money from your Visa card. There are ATMs at the Royal Bank of Canada and the First Caribbean Bank in Governors Harbour. But things like ATMs and phone booths are often out of order. Make sure you have a good supply of U.S. cash on hand.
In Rock Sound, near the shopping center Market Place, there's Scotiabank (Bahamas) Ltd. Phone: 242-334-2620.
In Eleuthera you're driving on the left side just like in England. It's easy and not a problem to get used to.
And yes, you are fine with your existing driver’s license, but I would be shocked if anyone here even cared...
Because there is no public transportation, I recommend renting a car for one day (grocery shopping) or for a week (to explore Eleuthera).
Call friendly Arthur Nixon for a rental car. He will have it ready for you at the airport.
His mobile phone is 1-242-359-7879.
Arthur's e-mail address is...
Call Arthur rather than e-mailing him.
Arthur's rates are about: US$60/day for a 1-5 day rental and $50/day for a full week; small SUV $70/day for 1-5 days, and $60/day for a full week.
There are no mileage charges in Eleuthera and no red tape like filling in lengthy car rental form.
You may have rental car insurance on your existing policy. Most policies contain this, at no extra charge to you. Please bring a copy, just in case it should be required.
You can get a long ways with a carefree attitude.
And here are the essentials...
There's a small dive shop in Governor's Harbour near the SHELL station. It's name?... Clear Water Dive Shop & Fishing supplies. Scuba tank refills are $ 7. Before you come to Eleuthera, call them to ask what they have. Phone: (242)-332-2146. Ask for the owner Marilyn Sands.
On Eleuthera's Atlantic side, between Governor's Harbour and Palmetto Point, there is a condo resort named Pineapple Fields...
Call them at (242)-332-2221 and ask for bicycles, kayaks and surfboards from Fourty's next door. Yes, this Eleutheran's nickname is Fourty! His rental shop is next to the Deli, which also belongs to the Pineapple Fields Resort.
In Gregory Town, northern Eleuthera, you can rent kayaks from Morgan's Bonefish Harbour. Phone: (242)-335-5077. Ask for captain Sean Morgan.
There are no "private" beaches in the Bahamas. Anyone who claims to have a private beach is guilty of misleading you.
You can walk a beach for miles and not meet anyone. The better beaches like Club Med beach, Ten Bay, Double Bay and Winding Bay have foreigner's homes in the area. Because no beaches are private in the Bahamas you can go to any beach in Eleuthera to picnic for the day.
Yes, pets are allowed. There is not quarantine in the Bahamas. Call The Department of Agriculture (Phone: (242) 325-7502/9; Fax: (242) 325-3960). They will fax the application for the animal import permit. Fedex (do not send by regular mail) your application along with a return Fedex so you get the required permit without any problems.
Yes, you should bring your ATT, MCI, or Sprint Long Distance card. Find out from those companies what the access number is from the Bahamas, and you can use this it from any phone in Eleuthera to make your long distance calls.
Many cell phones from the U.S. and other countries will work in Eleuthera and other islands of The Bahamas. Consult your carrier for confirmation. But expect to pay large roaming fees.
If you plan to be on your cell phone a lot, you may find it more economical to rent a cell phone for your stay. Cell phone rentals are available from friendly car renter Arthur Nixon in Governor's Harbour...
Yes, all islands in the Bahamas have 110/120 Volt AC. Wall plugs are the same as in the U.S.
Yes, you can use the computers at the Haynes Public Library in Governor's Harbor. Their hours are Monday-Friday 9 to 5, and Saturday 10 to 4.
Ros, the English head librarian is very friendly. She will help you check your e-mail, send e-mail, or simply browse the Internet. Call the library from your country 1-242-332-2877 or dial 332-2877 locally.