I had heard the absolute best things about Harbour Island in the Bahamas. Everyone that I knew who had gone absolutely love it. Now that we’ve been, I totally understand the love. It’s almost hard to describe, but it certainly is a special little island!
Mike and I have been talking about taking a beach vacation for months and months. My friend Chassity and her husband own a house called Coral House on Harbour Island, which they also rent out. She posted that they had a last minute cancellation and I quickly texted Mike, “should we do it?” And we did. Please note, it was the most disorganized, spontaneous trip I’ve ever done. For context, I had no idea how soon the trip actually was (I thought May was months away… not weeks #mombrain), I didn’t look at flights, and we didn’t even have Jack’s passport. It all workout in the end, but I will say it was a little stressful leading up!
The trip though!!!! Oh, the trip! It was just what the doctor ordered. Mike and I both cannot wait to return.
GETTING THERE: It was surprisingly easy to get to Harbour Island. On paper, it seems complicated because there are a ton of steps involved. It’s all very, very straightforward to. You fly to North Eleuthera Airport (we connected in Miami on the way there and Charlotte on the way home), hop in a taxi for a quick drive (less than five minutes and they’re all waiting to usher you from the airport to the taxi line), and then a very quick water taxi to the docks of Harbour Island and you’re there! If you’re staying at a hotel, I’m sure they arrange to pick you up via golf cart, or you can have a golf cart rental waiting for you (what we did).
Covid Restrictions: I’m writing this in May 2022. I’m sure protocols will change over time, but for us we had to have a negative test within three days of our flight to be granted a health visa to travel to the Bahamas. And to return we needed a negative test one business day before returning to the US. There are multiple tents set up right by the docks and it was very easy to get tested to return home.
GETTING AROUND: The island is super tiny– only about three miles long and 1/2 mile wide– so while I’m sure you could easily spend the whole trip walking, the preferred mode of transportation is golf cart. We rented from Conch and Coconut!
TIPS: While researching for the trip, it was noted that the going rate for tips is $5 cash. I went to the bank and got a bunch of five dollar bills. It made tipping so much easier. I have to say, the people of Harbour Island are SO NICE. Genuinely, genuinely nice and friendly. Because the island is so small, you really get to know the people and start to recognize faces as you bop around!! (I can see why people go back year after year.) We had so many people help us along the way, between the airport, taxi, the water taxi, etc, etc. Having $5 ready to go to show our appreciation was the easiest thing.
WHERE TO STAY: So, obviously, it was our first time there! We stayed at The Coral House and cannot recommend it enough. Since we traveled with Jack, it was nice having a house. He had his own room, we had plenty of space to spread out, and we could safely hang out downstairs/by the pool while Jack was napping. Mike and I agreed that we’d love to come back and stay at The Coral House with a few more friends (sans kids, ha). And if we came back just the two of us, we’d want to stay at The Dunmore. We went back to The Dunmore three times for lunch, dinner, and drinks it was so good and even more beautiful in person!
IS IT BABY FRIENDLY?: Yes, but. Harbour Island is definitely someplace you can take babies and we obviously did. Everyone was so happy to see Jack (truly, the kid was a hit with tourists and locals alike) and since the island is pretty casual, it’s not like having Jack was ever a problem. With that said, I think we would have been able to more fully enjoy the island had we not been back at the house at 7pm every night 😉 I rented a bunch of baby gear from Baby Steps so we didn’t have to travel with everything, which was helpful!
WHAT TO DO: One thing I really loved about Harbour Island is that there isn’t a ton to do on the island. That sounds like a negative, but it is my ideal kind of relaxation vacation. We spent the week eating, lounging by the beach, and swimming in the pool!!! What more could you really need? There are a bunch of excursions you can sign up for. Companies like Conch and Coconut can set up half day or full day boating activities. I’ve done a few of the more popular Bahamas boating excursions before and I think we were a little skeptical about taking an infant out for hours under a hot sun and trying to navigate naps…. so we stayed on the island and loved our time relaxing.
THE BEACHES: I feel like it’s important to note how clear the water is and how pink the sand is! The sand is actually pink! It’s hard to pick up in photos, but it’s gorgeous! Every morning, we’d head down to Ms V’s to rent two chairs and an umbrella. She is also serving delicious food now, too, so you can really just camp out there and not have to move all day.
SHOPPING: There are a few cute little boutiques around the island if you want to shop. The only boutique I went into was Blue Rooster (cute resort, beachy clothing). The most unique shop, in my opinion, and the one most worth stopping by is A&A Hidden Treasures. It’s a mother and daughter duo who add monograms and custom designs to straw bags. Highly recommend going early during your trip as there is a bit of a turnaround time, but it’s definitely worth a visit!
WHERE WE ATE: Another fun thing about such a small island is that there aren’t a ton of restaurants. Again, I love that there is no pressure to ~do all the things~ and ~eat all the things~. We went back to our favorites multiple times, without feeling like we were missing out elsewhere. The Dunmore was definitely my favorite followed closely by The Landing. Other places we went: COCOA, breakfast sandwiches from Arthur’s Restaurant, Rock House, Coral Sands, Valentines, Ms V’s, The Shack, and The Dunmore Deli.