Caribbean Vacation Sampler
Exclusive Eleuthera, Antigua's inexhaustible beaches
ELEUTHERA, A TRUE BAHAMAS FAMILY ISLAND
Although Freeport and Nassau get all the publicity and most of the tourists, Eleuthera is actually prettier as well as more historically significant. Eleuthera, 70 miles east of Nassau, was the first island in the Bahamas to be permanently settled and home of the first real democracy in the Western Hemisphere.
Today's visitors, usually unaware this is the Bahamas version of Plymouth Rock, are more interested in the fishing for grouper, snapper, bonefish and deep water species like wahoo and barracuda. Scuba diving is also excellent, with many beautiful shallow reefs on the north coast.
Despite its long history, Eleuthera is made up only of small settlements such as Rock Sound, the most exclusive area; Tarpum Bay with its many stately old homes; and Governor's Harbour, at 300 years the oldest settlement.
But 3-mile long Harbour Island contains the island's best beach. The stunning pink sand ribbon running the whole eastern side of Harbour Island is protected by a barrier reef, so even families with young children can bathe here safely.
Harbour Island also contains many good resorts--which charge considerably less than you'd pay in Nassau or Freeport . However, Eleuthera does lack casinos or any real night life. It's a true island getaway.
ANTIGUA'S 365 BEACHES
That's right, there truly is a different beach for every day of the year in Antigua, largest of the British Leewards. Incredibly, the beaches come in a wide variety of colors: pink, white and various shades of tan.
Not surprising1y, most activities center on the beaches, including swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling and sunning. Those who can manage to drag themselves off the sand will find numerous tennis courts and both an 18 and 9-hole golf course.
You should go exploring at least one day. The capital city of St. Johns holds its market days on Fridays and Saturdays, always a colorful event. The interior is a profusion of natural beauty with a rain forest, pineapple groves and banana trees.
Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbour is a fascinating restoration of the dockyard and 18th century homes. The Admiral Nelson House, where Lord Nelson supposedly lived, is filled with impressive memorabilia from his life.
Because so many hotels are located a considerable distance from town, you may find it advisable to book the MAP plan, or taxi fares could soon get out of hand.