Harbour Island, Bahamas
Written by Missy Johnston
The home of pink sand beaches, visit Harbour Island where the beaches are rated some of the “Best Beaches in the Bahamas” by many travel advisors. There are over 3.5 miles of a beautiful pink sand beach, where on a Harbour Island yacht charter, you may have, in certain locations, all to yourself. This beach, aptly named Pink Sands Beach is found along the east side of the island. The sand is colored by foraminifera: a small sea creature with reddish-pink shells giving the sand a noticeable soft pink hue. Harbour Island was one of the first stops in the colonization of the Bahamas by the Europeans, and has always been prized as a vacation location. In the late 1700’s, Harbour Island was the location of the summer residence of John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, Governor of the Bahamas from 1786 to 1798. Harbour Island has always rated as a top location in the Bahamas to stop while on a crewed yacht charter in the Bahamian Out Islands
Because Pink Sand Beach is protected by a unique reef system, the water between the reef and the beach is calm, sparkling blue, clear and ideal for snorkeling, right from your charter yacht. For scuba divers, there are shipwrecks, and underwater caves.
Known as Briland by the locals, life on Harbour Island is slow and easy, with only 2000 year around residents. It is around the one main town, Dunmore, named after Governor Dunmore, where most of the activity on the island is focused. A small island, the beaches can be reached on foot from virtually any point on the island; however, locals and visitors alike usually prefer to cruise around the island on golf carts, which are the local mode of transportation and available for visitors to rent.
The island is mainly settled with homes, hotels, restaurants and shops on the southern end of the island with great open areas on the northern end of the island. And Harbour Island is only a stone’s throw to the east of the much larger and more heavily inhabited island of Eleuthera, from where water taxis regularly run to Harbour Island. Wander “downtown” on Harbour Island where the architecture of the buildings is felt to be reflective of New England, with many homes and shops draped in bougainvillea, or pop into the local shops, or maybe stop at the Straw Market for straw hats, baskets and shell art. Enjoy local seafood, especially the fresh local conch prepared in many different ways including fritters, fingers, chowder and conch burgers. Jump in a golf cart and tour the rest of the island, and be sure to visit Pink Sand Beach on the eastern shore by land or by charter yacht.
In the surrounding waters, top level bone fishing is available along with snorkeling and scuba diving. And of course, swimming is always available in the beautiful clear warm waters, in lovely shades of blue, green, and turquoise, along with shelling, especially along Pink Sand Beach, on the Atlantic side of the island. At the end of the day, no matter what you are doing, be sure to stop to watch the glorious sunset while enjoying a Goombay Smash, as this island is the place to try one. The official drink of the Bahamas, a Goombay Smash is a combination of several rums and tropical fruit juices and is a popular cocktail with locals and visitors alike. You can even enjoy a Goombay Smash made by your yacht charter crew, on the top deck of your charter yacht, watching the sunset at the end of a fabulous day of fun in the sun.
What to See and Do on Harbour Island, Bahamas
Pink Sands Beach: Running along the eastern side of the island, the soft powdery sand on this beach is truly a lovely shade of pink. Parts of the beach are busy, but quiet spots can always be found where your charter yacht can anchor for private beach time.
Dunmore Town: With many one of a kind boutiques and shops, some people call Harbour Island the Nantucket of the Bahamas given the upscale shops, many of which have specialty items, such as Barbara Hulanicki’s silk scarves, or a monogrammed jute woven tote. Stop in a local bar or restaurant for a conch burger and a Goombay Smash.
Rent a Golf Cart: Explore the quaint little streets of Dunmore Town and the island at large, being sure to visit Pink Sand Beach. Cruise around the island just like a local.
Horseback riding: Enjoy Pink Sands Beach in style on the back of a horse. Check in with Marty at his stables located between the Coral Sands Hotel and Pink Sands Resort.
Nightlife: Gusty’s Bar is the preferred choice for those who like to get started early. After, for dancing, Daddy D’s is the place to be where you might find Daddy D himself spinning music under flashing disco lights creating a sound that can be heard in the streets. If worn out from dancing, head to the Vic Hum Club, the oldest bar on the island, where the late night crowd gathers for inebriated ping-pong tournaments and basketball games.
Restaurants: Two restaurants are in contention for the best restaurant on the island. The Rock House is favored by locals and has a clean simple colonial style interior. While The Landing, a favorite of visitors has a sleek plantation style design created by India Hicks, one of Princess Diana’s bridesmaids.
Cruise the Colonial Bahamas Out Islands on a crewed yacht charter to visit Harbour Island and see for yourself, the beautiful pink sand beaches.