Although Eleuthera, one of the family islands of the Bahamas, doesn't have a very large population (11,165 according to the 2000 census), it's a fairly large island. It stretches out, North to South, for almost 110 miles. So, if you want to get around to the many beaches and other attractions, a rental car is an essential part of your vacation.
The Many Beaches of Eleuthera
With well over 200 miles of coastline, it goes without saying that Eleuthera has plentiful supply of beaches. If you'd like to visit several of these beaches, you're going to need a vehicle.
For example, if you plan to visit Lighthouse Beach, and your accommodations are near Governor's Harbour, that's at least a 45-mile drive. And it's a drive well worth making.
Many fabulous beaches are strewn across the length of Eleuthera's coast. And there are many of them that you're going to want to spend time at.
Ben Bay, at the northern end of the island, is a tropical cove like you see in the movies. Once again we'll assume a starting point of Governor's Harbour. The distance to Ben Bay is also about 45 miles - in the opposite direction.
Other Things to See and Do in Eleuthera
There are other attractions worthy of your attention that you can visit as well.
If you're at Ben Bay, it's an easy side trip to Preacher's Cave.
The Ocean Hole in Rock Sound is a good place to stop while driving south to Lighthouse Beach. Take along a picnic lunch and plan to feed the fish that live at Ocean Hole.
Distances in Eleuthera
Because of the length of Eleuthera, a long and skinny out-island in the Bahamas chain of islands, the distances between settlements can be significant.
Traveling from one settlement to another can be quite challenging without a vehicle. You'll often see people hitchhiking along the Queen's Highway.
If you plan to take cabs from place to place, you can be sure that those fares will add up pretty quickly. If all you want to do is get from the airport to your hotel and back again, then a cab is a good idea. But if you plan to explore Eleuthera then you're going to need a rental car.
From Governor's Harbour Airport (GHB) to the settlement of Governor's Harbour is no more than ten miles. So if you don't plan to go anywhere from there, it makes sense to take a cab.
However, if you'd like to do some shopping on historic Harbour Island, the water taxi dock is almost 35 miles from Governor's Harbour. That would be an expensive cab fare - each way.
Such distances are just a fact of life in Eleuthera. Most things are pretty far apart.
You need to decide if you need to book a rental car for all or part of your vacation. If you want to just chill out at your hotel or vacation rental, you might not require a vehicle. If you're going to do any exploring at all then there is no doubt that you will need one.
Renting a Car in Eleuthera
Renting a car in Eleuthera is a bit different. There are no national chains or regular rental offices here. If most circumstances you'll be dealing directly with the owner.
Some of these renters have formal rental agreements, some don't. Your car may come with a full tank of gas or you may need to fill it up right away.
Prices are dependent on a couple of factors - how long you plan to rent the car and the type of vehicle you want. You should be able to negotiate a better daily rate if you want the car for a week or more.
Eleuthera is a wonderful place to explore Be sure not to miss out on all it has to offer.
Geoff and Vicky Wells, authors of the popular guide book The Elusive Beaches of Eleuthera, spend as much time as they can on this tropical island and have a lot of experience with Eleuthera car rental.