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Thread: Harbor Island

  1. #1

    Harbor Island

    I just got home from a visit to Harbor Island last night. We've been regular visitors to St Barth for years, but this trip was a pleasant change of pace, if only for its convenient access.
    Our flight from Atlanta to Eleuthera was under 2 hours, and from there you have about a 5 minute boat ride to Harbor Island. Lots of things seem to cost $5/person (taxis, boats, luggage handlers). It was simply very easy.
    There are a variety of similarities and distinct differences in the two destinations. The similarities would include the series of wonderful restaurant options you have on the island. Similar to SBH, you find yourself making day to day decisions about where to go, though the need for a reservation at Harbor Island during this time of year seemed even higher than our high season trips to SBH. The convenience of the island to Florida has it loaded up with the finest yachts and fishing boats; many that were there dwarf the ones you'll see in Gustavia.
    As for the differences, some were good, some not. As for the good, the fishing on Harbor Island is vastly superior to SBH. The option to go bone fishing is a treat for many anglers, and the top guides get booked up up like rock stars during the spring and Christmas seasons. In addition, while only going 2-3 miles off shore, you hit the deep water of the Atlantic. Off the Gulf coast, you must travel 30+ miles to hit 300+ feet of water depth. At Harbor Island, you hit 660 at about 2 miles and 2,000 just a bit out from that. This creates very convenient opportunities for families that are looking for some sort of adventure to add to a beach getaway. And speaking of beaches, the sand is much softer than SBH, and the pink tint it has creates quite a show.
    A big difference on the downside vs SBH remains the permanent underclass of locals that you see throughout the bulk of the Caribbean. Of course that underclass is largely missing at SBH, but it is pervasive throughout the Bahamas and elsewhere in the Caribbean. You do not have to endure the pan handlers and such that you hear about in Jamaica, but the difference vs SBH is there.
    Getting around is easy and we had 2 golf carts for our family. The island is smaller than SBH and you figure it all out fast.
    On balance, we loved our trip to Harbor Island, enjoyed renting a villa similar to what we get at SBH, had some good fishing and great meals (which included a chef coming to our house to cook the fish we had caught that day), enjoyed time on the beach, and got back in the States post haste.
    Overall, a great destination.
    Vic

  2. #2
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,632

    Re: Harbor Island

    Hi Vic-Happy to read that you and the family got to have another fun vacation.

    For me, it is still SBH for getting my best sun and surf, and food, and meet ups with wonderful locals and terrific fellow travelers.

    Glad your venture to a new destination worked for you all.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3

    Re: Harbor Island

    You're right, Amy, in that it can't take the place of St Barth, but I only went down there for 4 days, something you know better than anyone wouldn't quite work when SBH is in your plans! Actually my son and his wife are still down there, but I needed to get back.
    That said, Amy, here's something you don't regularly see on Gouverneur Beach..... :)

    image_zpssiecgjrn.jpeg
    Vic

  4. #4
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,632

    Re: Harbor Island

    True. Last time we ran into horses on the beach was on St Martin! And we thought we had our very own private beach until the posse showed up!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  5. #5
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,720

    Re: Harbor Island

    Did you happen to see my post about Harbour Island in the thread below.


    Andy

  6. #6

    Re: Harbor Island

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    Did you happen to see my post about Harbor Island in the thread below.
    I did, Andy, and it was a very good report, though a bit of a stretch to call it a "new" St Barth! As I mentioned, though, the place does have a lot of similarities, and with the new flights directly from Atlanta to Eleuthera, the comment in that article implying it is difficult to get to is no longer true. The steady flow of private jets bringing visitors in and out is also a unique factor that no doubt appeals to some and creates envy for the rest of us.
    The restaurants mentioned in that article are all great ones, and it was a treat to find several others that were also special. Harbor Island is indeed a fun alternative for trips that have an interest in fishing and travel convenience that you can't get at St Barth.
    Vic

  7. #7
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,460

    Re: Harbor Island

    A very nice trip report for sure! Thanks for sharing you get-away with us all! Loved the horseback riding shot too. You're so close to Harbor Island also, so makes for a perfect get-away for your family. We do enjoy the lovely beaches and waters of the Bahamas having been several times over the years. But to echo what Amy said, it's St. Barth or bust for us now. :)

  8. #8
    stbartshopper is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 8,373

    Re: Harbor Island

    How do the prices compare to SBH- Villa rental, restaurants and things in general?

  9. #9

    Re: Harbor Island

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    How do the prices compare to SBH- Villa rental, restaurants and things in general?
    Prices for a home rental right on the beach start approaching some in the St Barth range, but in general you won't see anything that is near the level of the higher-end of villa options at SBH. By the time we booked our villa, available options were limited as the spring break period is one of their busiest. Our house was one back of those directly on the beach, which means we only had a very short walk to the sand. High up on our widow's walk, however, we had all the beach view you could want. We had 4 BRs in the house and an extra studio apartment on the site that we could have rented.
    As for restaurant prices, you could spend what you'd like once you pulled out the wine list. In general though, it was less than St Barth.

    http://www.dunmorerealty.com/rentals/0-10-10

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    Vic

  10. #10
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,822

    Re: Harbor Island

    Vic nice report did any of your group get over to Spanish Wells?
    The last of the famous international playboys

  11. #11

    Re: Harbor Island

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter NJ View Post
    Vic nice report did any of your group get over to Spanish Wells?
    No we didn't, Peter, but I heard good things about it. Our fishing guide one day was from there (http://www.spanishwellsfishing.com/), and later at the airport we met the most charming 91 year-old woman from California that had been visiting Spanish Wells for the past 2 months. Her sister lives there and has for about 40 years.
    Vic

  12. #12

    Re: Harbor Island

    We just spent a mini vacation on Eleuthera , stayed at The Cove. It was beautiful and relaxing. We aren't resort folk, but we needed to just relax for a few days. We took a very quick jaunt to HI, had lunch at the Sands. I don't see any similarities between HI and St Barth. Sorry, but I thought it was crowded, and a bit run down, and a fair amount of trash on the streets. However I would likely return to Eleuthera for a short trip. Quicker for us to get to if you only have a few days. The Cove was fab. And the beaches (the cove, old club med, ten bay beach, and surfers beach) were beautiful. Of course it's not SBH, but great for a quickie!

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