We made our first trip to Eleuthera and had a great time. We've been to many Caribbean islands, some of our favorites are St. John, Anguilla and Virgin Gorda because of their beautiful beaches. This islands stands out, not only because there are many truly spectacular beaches, but they can be so extremely different from one another. The colors of the water, the waves, the depth of the pink colored sand, all change as you venture from beach to beach. That being said here are my suggestions!
You must rent a car because this island is 110 miles long and there are great beaches in all directions. Get the Beach Book through Amazon or another site before you go because it gives you specific directions to every beach. We would have been lost without it because beaches are not marked and many times you are traveling on paths with no signs. The book will likely fall apart because the binding is not good, but it's worth every penny. Walking and getting around on a golf cart isn't going to work unless you want to stay in Governor's Harbor and not see many beaches! Even then, I didn't see anybody on a golf cart.
We stayed at Buttonwood Reserve, a condo development about 15 minutes north of Governor's Harbor. It's location is superb because it's a quick drive to great restaurants and beaches north and south. The pool is heated, the condos new, and our unit was on the second floor and we had ocean views from all windows/balconies. There are golf carts to get to the Atlantic beach on the property which has a high surf. Extras like kayaks, bikes, coolers come with the condo. The rental agent Matthew Simon is phenomenal.
Our meals were all good to great. I read a lot of negative things about service, but we really couldn't complain. Tippy's, The Beach House, The Rainbow Inn, Da Perk, the Fish Fry, Sip Sip on Harbour Island were all super. I posted some separate reviews.
Rental cars are the worst part of the island. We went through 3 different cars. I wouldn't rent from this particular person again as other people at our condo seemed to have a lot better vehicles. Our first car died and was literally falling apart (240K miles), the second vehicle wasn't a 4x4 and we were going to Lighthouse so got rid of that in a day too. The third one made some funny noises and had various warning lights on, but it ended up being okay. We paid $65/day cash.
Bugs............we were okay for a few days and then we did get bit by the Noseeums even using baby oil etc. I think we got bit when we were sitting at outdoor restaurants, but it's hard to tell. My youngest son didn't get a single bite the entire trip, go figure. I think he needs to be sent to a lab and tested so we can bottle whatever it is that repels them!
Some of the beaches we really liked, again using directions from that Beach Book, aka the Bible for beaches, were Ten Bay, Between Two Rocks, Ji-Kan, Lighthouse Beach North (different than the Caribbean one), French Leave, Next 2 Rocks, and Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island. Don't miss going over to Harbour Island for a day, it's fantastic. If you are afraid to drive to Lighthouse beach, you can always do one of the boat trips that are offered that usually includes lunch.
This island is very undeveloped, more so than any other island we have been to. I hated seeing garbage thrown on some of the beach areas and wished I could have set up trash cans every where. Still, it doesn't take away from the beauty of the beaches, the color of the water and the quality of the pink sand. If you like mega resorts and crowded beaches, this isn't the place for you, but if you enjoy having privacy on a spectacular beach then book your trip now.