Grab a drink and settle in, because this is going to be a long one! This post reads more like a journal entry than a travel itinerary, but I did list my favourite places to eat, drink and shop right here at the beginning for easy referencing. You can keep scrolling down the page to read some more. I hope this post inspires you to make a trip to Harbour Island, because I think it is one of the most special places on earth. xx
At the end of January I travelled to Harbour Island, Bahamas and spent 6 wonderful weeks on the island. Travel right now is difficult to say the least, but I was more than happy to follow all the regulations that my country of residence (Germany) and Bahamas have in place to allow it. This meant multiple covid tests both before the trip and once I arrived on the island, and wearing my mask when out at restaurants, bars, shops, etc. I stayed at a private residence on the island as opposed to a hotel, although hotels are open. Luckily, Harbour Island has largely been spared from the coronavirus as far as cases go (though their economy and people’s livelihoods greatly suffered), there are very few cases (if any at all), everyone respects the mask mandate and testing is both mandatory and easily available on the island.
Having the opportunity to go to Harbour Island for such a long stay was an extreme privilege and I am so, so grateful for it. I have been visiting the island since 2016 and while it goes without saying, I absolutely adore it. Harbour Island is such a unique gem in the Bahamas and just bursting with charm. I have so loved getting to know more of and participate in the vibrant community and local culture. It’s really been an honour to get to know the island and the residents so well over the years, and even more over my 6 weeks there. I have many friends there now and it is really becoming a home away from home for me. I’ve mentioned that I was there for 6 weeks, but I was actually only supposed to be there for 3! But how do you leave a place as beautiful as Harbour Island when you don’t really have to? I couldn’t!
The first thing I do each time I arrive is head straight to the beach. Pink Sands Beach stretches 5 km from one end of the island to the other. Every single day during low tide I would walk down to the end of the beach and back, which takes about 1 hour. Often I would see friends on my walk and stop to talk or hang out on the beach. Sometimes I couldn’t resist a swim in the clear turquoise water when I got down to the Narrows (local name for the northern end, where the island narrows), where the reef stops more of the surf and the water is calm. Other times I would see sting rays floating in the waves.
There are so many great small hotel restaurants and bars along the beach, and I would often meet friends for lunch or drinks at one of them. Walking back home one evening along the beach from sundowner drinks at The Dunmore was a really great way to end the work week and start the weekend.
I love all the attention to detail in this house. Every little corner is special, no matter where you are. The indoor-outdoor flow is perfect, the transition between outdoor and indoor spaces is seamless and you never feel like the two areas are separate. It’s the same reason why I love the cottage, I always feel like I’m outside and I love the constant feeling of fresh air on my face.
Every morning I would start my day with fresh coconut water and lime juice. There is an abundance of coconut trees on the property and the coconut water comes directly from them. It is sooo delicious!
One day there was a quick afternoon shower, and afterwards the most perfect full rainbow over the ocean! I could see it right from the porch. It really felt like paradise in that moment.
There is so much to explore both on the island and on neighbouring Eleuthera. Of course the tried-and-true favourite is the sandbar with Daddy D, which we do pretty much every single time we visit! It’s a favourite for good reason. It feels almost magical when the boat pulls up to this sandbar in the middle of the ocean. In the past we have dove off the front of the boat and swam to the sandbar, which is really fun. This time as we were walking across the long stretch of sand, we found so many starfish! This was a first for me and I thought it was so cool. I also love how some parts of the sandbar are in shallow water, so you can just sit and relax in the middle of the ocean! It really is the perfect place to either set up a chair and umbrella on the sand, or lounge in the shallow water and sip some cool rose. I can’t wait to take my girlfriends here in November for my bachelorette.
After we hung out at the sandbar for a bit, we headed over to a deserted beach on Eleuthera for a picnic lunch and more swimming is the most beautiful, crystal clear water.
Another weekend we went back to Eleuthera to jump into the Blue Hole, which is like a large saltwater basin in the middle of the island. I did this with Zane back in 2016 and loved it, and was so happy to go back and do it again! I forgot how long the fall was haha, but it’s nothing too crazy and didn’t hurt or anything. The water is the most beautiful colour blue and really just invites you in – it’s hard not to want to jump into that jewel water. Once I was in I really enjoyed just floating around and watching others take the leap. There is no ladder to get out, just a rope thrown over the cliffside, which adds to the adventure!
Afterwards we boated to The Other Side to enjoy their beach, bar and have some lunch. This is where my bachelorette will be in November and where we will be having our wedding ceremony, and I couldn’t love it more. The Other Side if obviously beautiful, but they also have the best bar! You just tell the bartender what kind of drink you feel like (I wanted a gin based cocktail, nothing sweet, but light and herbaceous with maybe some cucumber) and he will whip you up the most delicious drink based on your preferences! The food is equally as good. If it’s not grown on the property (they have a large farm) then its locally sourced and tastes amazing!
The last big outing we did was another trip to Eleuthera, but this time we took lunch into our own hands. We went out on a boat and got dropped off at a deserted beach on Eleuthera. I opted to get out and spend some time on the beach with just my father-in-law, while the other half of our group stayed on the boat and went out to catch us some lunch! I kayaked around the little cove and and swame in the pristine and calm water, with not a soul in sight other than my father-in-law. It was soo perfect. About an hour later the rest of the group returned with some really beautiful fish. We built a small fire with logs from the forest and cooked the fish over it with some sweet potatoes, plantains, tomatoes and onions. It was the most delicious meal and one I will never forget.
While I was kayaking around I spotted these conch shells piled up on one of the coral cliffs, and I couldn’t stop wondering who put them there? It’s not an easily accessible spot, and I only saw them because I was in my kayak. I also found the most perfect sand dollar on the beach that day, so it was a really good day for shell finding. And look how beautiful those fish look. They tasted even better!
I need to send out a huge thanks to Ryan for taking us out on his boat, knowing where the fish were biting, where this deserted beach was, and cooking us the delicious meal! He doesn’t have a website I can link but if you are heading to Harbour Island and want this experience, please reach out to me and I will share his number with you!
When I was on the island last June, my husband taught me how to drive the Moke. I loved buzzing around town in that thing. I also really enjoy looking at all the houses on the island, which have names instead of numbers. I thought this one, “Up Yonder”, was particularly great (and funny enough, I posted it on my Instagram and turns out it’s an old friends house – small world!). And then there is the beautiful old pink house with the pineapple picket fence – too cute! I also really love the big flowering tree growing out of the porch of this old house in town.
I have already listed my favourite places to eat and drink, but I have to say I absolutely love the bar at The Landing. It’s small and intimate and feels more like someone’s living room than a bar. It’s a really special place, and I had a great time on one of my last nights there when I met up with some new friends and we got cozy in the couches with cocktails and chatted for hours about all the things, but kept coming back to our mutual love for Harbour Island. And how beautiful is the pool at The Landing? I love how it’s so perfectly tucked away and shaded by the palm trees.
Another spot I was really loving this trip was the The Dunmore, I even took myself out for a solo lunch one day because I couldn’t get enough. Their outdoor patio is my favourite during the day, with a little outdoor bar you can pull up a stool to, or you can sit on one of their elevated patios with a view of the ocean. They are right on the beach too so I could walk there instead of taking the moke or golf carts.
A really fun thing to do on the island, if you have a big enough crew (or meet enough people there and you’re sure to be invited to one!) is have a bonfire on the beach. There are of course logistics to doing this, including a special permit, but if you contact The Ocean View Club, they have someone who can organize it all for you! This isn’t your typical bonfire either (at least not where I grew up!) – they will dig a deep pit in the sand and build a huge fire, with comfy couches and pillows surrounding it, and set up a full bar with tiki torches! Some wonderful new friends I made organized it this time on the full moon and it was such a treat. I loved getting to socialize with more people on the island, and walking back home along the beach in the full moon light was magical.
My time on Harbour Island was sooo good for my soul, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time there. I cannot wait to have all of my friends and family there with us in November to celebrate our wedding and to reunite with all of the friends I made this trip! If you have any questions about the island that I haven’t covered, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me via Instagram! I love to promote this gem and they can really use the tourism right now, so I hope you consider this incredibly special place for your next vacation! xx