Do you promise not to tell? One of the best kept secrets in the Bahamas is Harbor Island. This small romantic island, known as “Briland” by its inhabitants, is a stone’s throw from the United States. An hour-long flight from Florida to North Eleuthera followed by a short taxi and water taxi ride gets you to this gem of the Bahamas in a hurry.
Harbor Island is less than 4 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. Its long and wide beach is famous for its compacted pale pink sand. The likes of Fodors and Conde Nast rate it as one of the “best beaches in the Bahamas.” The beach, combined with excellent restaurants, hotels, and vacation home rentals, makes Harbor Island a destination of choice among Bahamian enthusiasts. It is no surprise to find a few “rich and famous” there; they know they won’t be chased.
The center of Harbor Island is Dunmore Town. This quaint and friendly community features old Victorian structures adorned with colorful Bahama pastel paint schemes. There are no high-rise hotels, fast food, or traffic jams on this island!
Golf cart rental is the preferred mode of transportation. Swimming, snorkelling, snorkeling, fishing, and just walking along the beach are some of the popular activities. Harbor Island is certainly not known for its shopping and nightlife, nor is there any gambling. If you are looking for large crowds, wild parties, or theme park rides, this is not your destination.
Harbor Island’s weather is delightful; especially during late winter and spring when there is little chance of rain. Ocean breezes take away any advantage of moderately warm temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s during the day and the late 60s at night. Air conditioning during the season is unnecessary; ceiling fans are adequate. Nothing better than falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean through an open window.
Dining out is informal. Top restaurants include Pink Sands Hotel, Coral Sands, The Landing, Rock House, Romora Bay Club, and Harbor Lounge. For local food, you shouldn’t miss Ma Ruby’s. And there’s more … Part of the pleasure of exploring the island is visiting the restaurants. Compared to other islands in the Bahamas, Harbor Island has one of the best restaurant selections, all in close proximity to wherever you stay.
On the ocean side, hotels include Pink Sands Hotel, Coral Sands Hotel, and Dunmore Beach Club. On the bay side, there is The Landing Inn and Rock House. Do we have a budget? There are other hotels to choose from. Visiting Harbor Island isn’t cheap, but if it was, everyone would be there, right?
Harbor Island vacation home and villa rentals are numerous. Location and size come at a price. If you want “beachfront,” the best locations are usually in the north and south along the east coast. If you want to save a bit, there are some nice rentals in Dunmore Town and others located inland on the island. The beach is always minutes away.
Search online for rental homes that feature more than a few photos to find out what to expect. A number of rentals are handled by real estate or rental agents who may not provide many details, descriptions, map locations, or photos. Landlords who are concerned with promoting their home rental often have separate websites and accept email inquiries directly.
The best Harbor Island home rentals are booked nearly a year before peak season. Those who want the best make advance reservations; many are regulars. You can also take a “hold” position on a series of rentals in the hope that someone will cancel. Ask for references and check deposit and refund policies.
If you are looking for a relaxing and memorable vacation in the Bahamas along with sun, sea, great food, and a romantic beach that will take your breath away, consider Harbor Island. See you at the beach!
Copyright © 2004 Perry Joseph