Sunset at Balara Manor

I've wanted to go to some tropical island with friends for a while. Last fall the Meeks decided they also wanted a similar trip. C-- wanted to go to Costa Rica. I wanted an island off of Belize. We compromised on the Bahamas. We chose the out islands for their peacefulness. We didn't need nightlife and casinos when we were planning a family trip.

Eleuthera is a small island in the Bahamas. It is 110 miles long but only about 1-2 miles wide. I won't say it is an undiscovered paradise since it was once a playground of the rich and famous, but in recent years has been out of favor. Now the beaches are empty and there are very few remaining resorts on the island. Many of the old resorts have shut their doors. This was fine with us. We wanted to rent a house.

I searched for the perfect place on the internet, but every time I found a great place it turned out to be already rented. This worried me a bit since I was looking over 6 months in advance. It turns out many of the houses there have a following that rent the same place year after year. I contacted Judy McGinty and she gave me a list of available homes that met our requirements. It had to be big enough for the seven of us, it had to be on the water and had to have a beach so the kids could play in the sand. Balara Manor fit this perfectly. It was more expensive then most of the houses, but none of the others that were left were really what we wanted.

Island Info

Water mostly comes from a desalination plant so is drinkable, but we bought 5 gallon water bottles because they taste better, $4.25 at Burrows. Note that some water comes from wells and tastes terrible.
Money, Bahamians peg their dollar to the US dollar and will take our money just as they would theirs.
Cost, food is very expensive on the island expect to pay a little under twice as much as you do in the US and you will be fine. Some things are not so expensive, for instance the bakery seemed to have comparable prices.
Availability, you can get most things that you need but the only really big grocery store is in Rock Sound a good ways away from Governor's Harbor where we stayed. We never got that far south. If your kids like particular brands of food bring them with you. You are allowed to bring in food as long as it is not fresh fruits and vegetables.
Electricity is 120 volts, the same as in the US.
Gnats are very annoying and after a little while we called our bites the Eleuthran Measles, because we looked like we had the measles. And they itch like heck. We brought Off Skintastic and it was only a little effective. Bring high concentration deet and benadryl or some other anti-allergy medication. Wear long pants in the evening if you plan to be outside, since they seem to go for the ankles and legs the most.
Restaurants, most seem to have the same menu. Grouper, conch, crayfish (Caribbean lobster), steak, and chicken. The island doesn't have kid's menus so be warned if your kid will only eat hotdogs or hamburgers. You can get these items from the smaller take out places but most places don't have them. Don't worry about bringing anything fancy. All the restaurants we went to don't care what you wore. You will look out of place in a jacket and tie or an evening dress and pearls. And expect to wait. The service is slow.

The text on this website comes directly from the journal that Daphne Gould kept during the vacation. In addition to the journal text, there are over 300 pictures mostly taken by Joel Gould, which you can access from the photo index. Click the right-pointing arrow (below) to move on to the journal.

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Text and images © Copyright 2000 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.