Though several areas of the Bahamas are still being rebuilt, the best way to support the islands is easy: visit. Many areas of the Bahamas remain unaffected, including Nassau–all of which rely on travel (it’s estimated 60 percent of the country’s revenue is anchored in tourism) for their livelihood. After donating to the Bahamas Red Cross, Sentient has quickly become aware that in addition to financial support, visitors are equally important. With 30 islands stretching from Florida to almost Cuba, the southernmost islands are in great shape, including Harbour Island and Exuma, where it’s business as usual. As such, here’s our Top 5 Harbour Island Hot Spots, in addition to Hurricane Dorian Relief funds.
Travel, when most impactful, is often defined by juxtaposition. On Harbour Island, authentic Brilander culture anchors a unique high-low Caribbean island vibe. Located 55 miles from Nassau and just three miles long by half a mile wide, the island’s St. John’s Anglican church, built in 1768, is a short golf-cart ride from Billionaires Row–exemplifying how past meets present here.
Boutique-hopping through Dunmore Town reveals eclectic high-low foraging: Score funky coasters from the casual Dilly Dally souvenir shop, then stroll to Dake’s for Bahamian-chic fashion finds. The pulse of Brilander culture, however, is the famous pink sand beaches and surrounding waters–a how-you-like-me-now aqua and turquoise landscape that constantly demands visual attention. Snorkel, fish, and scuba dive with private guides or horseback ride along the storied sands. Cap the day at The Landing with a Ginger Fro–handcrafted with ginger-infused vodka. Island roosters will become your daily wake up call to this Top 5 Harbour Island Hit List.
STAY: Harbour Island’s casual chic lifestyle is what drew founder of luxury adventure brand Eleven Experience, Chad Pike, to the island. Continually on the hunt for off-the-grid hideaways, Pike and his local Harbour Island team bring island juxtaposition to life at the Bahama House. Expect exquisite, vintage-meets-modern design by No. 12 Interiors (helmed by Chad’s wife, designer Blake Pike), with artwork culled from the Pikes’ personal collection. With just 11 guest rooms, high-tech touches include sound systems that beat to Eleven’s groovy playlists.
1. Sugar Mill Trading Co. Talk of Harbour Island, and there’s talk of model-turned designer and Harbour Island local India Hicks. Godchild to Princess Diana and daughter of 1960s British design star David Hicks, her eponymous label is best shopped at this island basecamp, co-owned with Linda Griffin. Find posh cover-ups, Hicks’ signature tassel key chains, beachwear, and island-inspired gems.
2. Ocean Tally. A one-room restaurant located in a lighthouse on neighboring Eleuthera Island, this seaside bed and breakfast, owned by Nassau native Annette Young–wife to famous artist Scott Young–is a tucked away treasure. Ocean views inspire sea-to-table cuisine (the stone crab claws are divine) and a carefully vetted wine list.
3. The Blue Hole. The Bahamas are known for its underground cave systems and surreal ocean holes. This gem is off the grid, so ask local guides to take you to this remote natural playground. Located on neighboring Eleuthera on Rock Sound, the 20-foot jump is worth the jitters and gives visitors local street cred.
4. Sip Sip. This local seaside outpost lives up to its reputation–the most touted lunch spot on the island. The can’t miss, neon green exterior houses an inspired margarita menu and a playful staff (“sip sip” is island slang for “gossip”). Book a patio table and stay a while–the people watching is as good as the lobster quesadilla.
5. Man Island. After a morning snorkel around Cistern Rock, channel your inner Tom Hanks–Cast Away style–for a gourmet island picnic on Man Island. Unplugged, rugged, and unforgettable, this is Brilander culture, fine-tuned.
We’ll leave it to rock star Lenny Kravitz to best explain why this part of the Bahamas is truly magical. Read here about is affinity for Eleuthera, which he considers home. As an official ambassador for the Bahamas tourism, Kravitz is planning a new junkanoo album, and if you want to immerse yourself in Bahamian tradition, plan a trip around Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, when the junkanoo festivals and parades are in full swing.
Sentient Jet is passionate about supporting those impacted by Hurricane Dorian and encourages others to join in the extensive relief efforts in place to support our Bahamian friends. We’ll be making a $1,000 for every Cardholder trip to the Bahamas until November 1. For additional ways to support, visit www.bahamas.com/relief