How to get to Harbour Island
One of the best things about Harbour Island is that it is SO easy to get to, especially if you are on the East Coast of the U.S. We flew from Atlanta directly to North Eleuthera airport (a ~2 hour flight). The airport is basically a little beach shack with a runway - small and easy. Even the immigration process makes you feel relaxed....which said no one EVER about an immigration process. Once you are through immigration, you can grab a taxi, which are readily available once you exit, and take a two-minute drive to the dock, where a water taxi will be waiting for you. The water taxi is a 5-10 minute, breathtaking, ride to Harbour Island and costs $5 per person. With two shakes of a lamb's tail, you are in HEAVEN. The whole thing was so easy that it made me question why the hell we don't go there every weekend.
You can also easily fly into Nassau, which is just a one-hour ride away by ferry. Or, if you are feeling fancy schmancy, you can charter a private boat or yacht to Harbour Island (just don't forget to invite me).
Once you arrive on Harbour Island, or "Briland," as the locals call it, you can take a taxi or golf cart to your hotel, or do as we did and just walk!
What to pack for Harbour Island
Caftans, caftans, and more caftans! Seriously though, I wore a caftan (either as a cover-up during the day or with some fun statement jewels at night) every single day I was there. This place was made for caftan lovers. I wore our Casa Danu Gigi Caftan in both the Dolce Vita Print and the Emerald and got so many compliments wherever I went. If caftans aren't your thing (no judgment), all you really need are a few bathing suits, a cover-up, a pair of white jeans/shorts, some of your favorite tops, and a few dresses. You of course can bring your favorite sunhat, but I instead recommend you head over to A&A Treasures on the island and pick up a hand-woven beauty, which you can even have monogrammed!
Although there is a certain refinement about the island, it is also incredibly laid back and welcoming. You can easily get away with traveling with just a carry-on. Just keep it easy, breezy, and fun!
Where to stay on Habour Island
Although the island is small, it has some really fabulous hotels and resorts for you to choose from. If you love smaller, unique properties that are relaxed, but still luxurious, Harbour Island is for you. If you need a big, all-inclusive resort with a ton of amenities, I advise you go elsewhere :)
We decided to stay at one of the most well-known and beloved hotels on the island, The Landing, and I couldn't recommend it more. The Landing is in Dunmore Town, the main town, but is only a 5-minute walk to the pristine, pink sand beach. The hotel is Bahamian owned and is located in a beautiful, incredibly preserved historic building from 1800. The thirteen guest rooms were designed and inspired by India Hicks (Princess Di's goddaughter, who has famously made Harbour Island her home), and are immaculately decorated in a way that just is pure understated luxury.
On top of the great location and lovely rooms, what we loved most about The Landing were the incredible people and just how intimate and cozy it felt. Tina and her team at the front desk are not only amazing at making sure you are totally taken care of, but they are also absolutely hilarious. We would stop in a few times a day and just end up chatting and laughing. When we checked in, Tina gave us the lay of the land, but then told us we just needed to explore and "find our flow." I could not think of better advice. We will definitely be returning.
The Landing was perfect for us as it was just my husband and myself, but if we bring our son and/or a group of family and friends to Harbour Island, I would definitely consider checking out one of the slightly larger, beachfront hotels. The Dunmore Beach Hotel and the Pink Sands Resort, with their cottages and villas, would be absolutely ideal for a family or larger group. Both offer the perfect combo of luxury and comfort, with the extra room and amenities that would be nice for a family.
How to Get Around on Harbour Island
What to do on harbour Island
NOTHING! I'm kidding....kind of :) My ideal vacay includes sleeping in, having a leisurely coffee and breakfast, posting myself up at the beach with easy access to tropical cocktails, coming back to the hotel for a quick power nap and refresh, having a fabulous dinner, and maybe some after-dinner drinks and then rinse and repeat the next day. Harbour Island fit my vacation needs to a T. The famous 3-mile stretch of pink sand beach is not only stunning but is also refreshingly uncrowded (just don't go during Spring Break). Each hotel has its own setup at the beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas and there are some great oceanfront bars & restaurants that you can pop into. It's just heaven - enough said.
Where to eat and Drink on harbour island
For such a tiny island, there are a number of insanely delicious restaurants. Food and cocktails are two of my main love languages, so I promise not to steer you wrong here.
First, you MUST go to Arthur's Bakery for coffee and breakfast. It's this cute little corner bakery, where everything is made fresh every morning and the pastries are out of this world. Arthur's is an awesome gathering spot for the local community, and everyone makes you feel welcome when you are there. Robert Arthur, the owner, personally welcomes customers and has an uncanny ability to remember everyone who comes in. During our stay, we tried many of their pastries, their breakfast plate, and their breakfast sandwich. All were fantastic. If you are looking for something a little more upscale, The Restaurant at The Landing has an outstanding breakfast. If you go, please, for the love of god, get the ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and banana. Don't ask questions, just do it. You will thank me.
For lunch and beachside drinks, Ms V's Beach Shack is one of Harbour Island's true gems. It is exactly what it sounds like - a cute little beach shack that serves up conch fritters, fish burgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. and, in my opinion, some of the best drinks on the island. Ms. V's Goombay Smash (the unofficial drink of the Bahamas, which is similar to a Rum Punch) is near perfection. However, the real dark horse is Ms V's Ginger Margarita. Ms V uses fresh pressed ginger juice and lets it steep with the tequila and margarita mix until it is perfectly tart, refreshing, and incredibly potent. I give you a fair warning - more than 1.5 of these will likely have you passed out on the beach for hours.
No Harbour Island Travel Guide would be complete without mentioning Queen Conch, one of the most popular restaurants on the island. This laid-back eatery offers some of the best conch fritters around, but also offers a wide variety of other seafood dishes, including cracked conch, conch chowder, lobster, and fish. Wash it all down with a Kalik beer and I promise you will be a happy camper!
For pre-dinner drinks, the bar at The Landing is my absolute favorite. It is a snug little bar with the best atmosphere and incredible cocktails. The whole bar is no bigger than a postage stamp and is a deep, rich pink from floor to ceiling, making you feel like you are in a little jewel box. I want to move into this bar and live in it forever. If you are looking for a sunset cocktail, then head to the aptly named Sunsets Restaurant & Bar at the Romora Bay Resort and Marina, where they have live music every night.
We loved every dinner we had during our stay on Harbour Island. Each meal felt special and like such a treat - everything you want while on a vacation. The Clubhouse at the Dunmore had this super-chic, 60's vibe and the food was absolutely delicious. We did the Ricotta & Beets, the special Shrimp Pasta, the Coconut Cheesecake, and, of course, some yummy champagne. It was tre- romantic. The Rock House was equally as tasty, but what made it unique is that it has a hidden little courtyard where they do live music every Friday and Saturday evening. Next time we visit, we will definitely be checking out Davine Wine & Sushi, which was repeatedly recommended to us by both locals and long-time visitors to the island.
Finally, if you are up for some late-night shenanigans, Gusty's and Daddy D's are well known Harbour Island establishments - quirky little holes in the wall where you can dance into the night! Don't expect anything fancy - just some strong drinks, great people, and a killer dancefloor! What more do you need?