Harbour Island: Visit The Most Romantic Pink Sands Beach In The World

Travelling around Bahamas Island, tourists will be immediately drawn into the gorgeous and beautiful sight Pink sands beach, where the sand has a lovely shade of pink, and is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
November 07, 2021 | 08:12
Photo:  World Map
Photo: World Map

Harbour Island is most renowned for its Pink Sand Beach, located on the Atlantic Ocean side, and considered one of the very best beaches in The Islands of The Bahamas. Its pale pink sand stretches for some three plus miles and is 50 to 100 feet wide.

The island's beach was featured in The Travel Channel's World's Best Beaches segment in March 2005. Named Best Sand Beach, Harbour Island was one of 10 beaches worldwide to be included in this program.

Found on the one of the smaller islands of the Bahamas, the beach provides a perfect place to sunbathe and swim in the warm crystal clear water. But the most impressive thing about it is a 5 km (3 mi) long stretch of soft pink sand! It makes it one of the most unusual beaches in the world.

Why is the sands pink?

Photo: Pando Trip
Photo: Pando Trip

The pink color of the sand comes from microscopic coral insects, known as Foraminifera, which have a bright pink or red shell full of holes through which it extends a footing, called pseudopodia, that it uses to attach itself and feed. Foraminifera are among the most abundant single cell organisms in the ocean and play a significant role in the environment. These animals live on the underside of reefs, like the nearby Devil's Backbone, on the sea floors, beneath rocks and in caves. After the insect dies, the wave action crushes the bodies and washes the remains ashore and mixes it in with the sand and bits of coral. The pink stands out more in the wet sand at the water's edge. Unlike other parts of the world, the sand here is always cool, so you can walk about freely with bare feet, according to Bahamas Geotourism.

What to do in Pink Islands Beach

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

The vibe is laid-back, and around the island you will find tourists mingling with the locals in a relaxed and friendly small-town manner. However, don't mistake laid-back for rustic: the unique resorts and hotels offer privacy in tropical hideaways, ranging from the luxurious to the simply charming. Here, the perfect day starts stretched out on a chaise lounge on the coral sands and ends on the turquoise bay, where you'll want to snag a table at one of the bayside restaurants early to celebrate the sunset. How you fill the hours in between the sunrise and the glorious sunset is up to you! Go for a snorkel; navigate your own walking tour around town; visit a straw market; test your fishing skills catching bonefish; or keep the day's main event island-appropriate, i.e., slather on more sunscreen and settle back in your chaise lounge until it's time for another sunset and a steamy plate of cracked conch, according to Travel Channel.

Photo:  The Bahamas
Photo: The Bahamas

The Bahamas is blessed with good weather most of the year, and for the most part, water sports and activities abound on Harbour Island year-round. The best time of year to visit is from December to May when the temperature hovers around 70-75 degrees F. Tropical storms are a possibility during the rest of the year, when the weather is warmer and the climate more humid.

Harbour Island serves as the perfect outpost for a SCUBA diver's paradise. From Eleuthera, divers can explore wrecks along the Devil's Backbone, and even the rare underwater remains of a train wreck. Also, check out Seagrapes on Colebrook Street for some live Bahamian music, or venture into the local dive, the Vic-Hum Club. Though the club's appearance may be intimidating, the locals' friendliness and a tasty rum punch are more than welcoming.

Photo:  Harbour Island
Photo: Harbour Island

Cuisine of Harbour Island

Harbour Island’s cuisine combines diverse cooking traditions of African countries and Caribbean countries as well as of Great Britain, France, and the USA. If you’re not excited about trying local dishes, you find common European, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants. As the island is extremely popular around tourist, here you can find all the cafes and restaurants you are used to. However, if you want to immerse yourself in the culture, then you definitely must try the local cuisine too. But be attentive in case if you decide to go to a touristic place as you might pay extra money for a course you didn’t order or a restaurant could serve modern versions instead of traditional ones using imported products. And remember that 10-15 per cent tips are obligatory, according to Orange Smile.

Photo: Travel Triangle
Photo: Travel Triangle

Lobster is a unique creature of the local waters and the main ingredient of Bahamian Lobster. Bahamian Lobster is also cooked with coconut meat, curry sauce, and spices. Redfish with mushroom sauce is extremely delicious as well. The fish can also be served with original criolla sauce. If you’re looking for something more exotic, try a turtle soup, cited by Orange Smiles.

Do not forget to try a traditional local dish is baked fish with porridge. Red grouper cutlet and filet of red snapper baked in tomato sauce taste so good too. Sometimes the filet can be just boiled and served with anchovy sauce. Or you can try, for instance, a local shrimp salad. Fried or baked fish is commonly served with peas or rice. Sometimes it can be served with these both groats together, what can be a quite peculiar mix. Peas and rice can also be a base for fish and meat soups. Onion soup with lime juice, celery, pepper, and meat is special because of its cooking technique: all the ingredients are mixed carefully and then they cook the soup but much less than all the traditional soups.

Things to do on Harbour Island

Located in the Bahamas, just northwest of Eleuthera Island, Harbour Island is home to some of the most breathtaking views in the Atlantic. Called "Briland" by locals, it’s a destination just as famous for its pink-sand beaches as the stylish jetsetters who frequent the resort destination, including Uma Thurman and Elle Macpherson.

Shopping on Harbour Island is another popular activity for travelers. Known to many as the Nantucket of the Caribbean, tourists can wander in and out of colorful, sophisticated boutiques filled with one-of-a-kind finds. Make your way to Dunmore Town to explore the curated shops along charming streets, according to Travel + Leisure.

Because it wouldn’t be right to leave Harbour Island without an old-fashioned souvenir, don’t return home without stopping into A&A Hidden Treasures for a timeless piece, like a silver palm plait bag. Other must-buy gifts include Barbara Hulanicki’s silk scarves, available at the Siren Song gift shop at the Coral Sands Hotel.

1. Glass Window Bridge

Photo: Bahamas
Photo: Bahamas

At a narrow point of the island a few miles north of Gregory Town, a slender concrete bridge links two sea-battered bluffs that separate the island's Central and North districts. Sailors going south in the waters between New Providence and Eleuthera supposedly named this area the Glass Window because they could see through the natural limestone arch to the Atlantic on the other side.

Stop to watch the northeasterly deep-azure Atlantic swirl together under the bridge with the southwesterly turquoise Bight of Eleuthera, producing a brilliant aquamarine froth. Artist Winslow Homer found the site stunning, and painted Glass Window in 1885. The original stone arch, created by Mother Nature, was destroyed by a combination of storms in the 1940s. Subsequent concrete bridges were destroyed by hurricanes in 1992 and 1999. Drive carefully, because there is frequent maintenance work going on, according to Fordors.

2. Preacher's Cave

In 1646, a cohort of approximately 70 Puritans fled Bermuda to avoid persecution from the island’s Episcopal-Royalists. This group of religious refugees, led by Bermuda’s former governor and Oliver Cromwell loyalist, William Sayle, would eventually become known as the “Eleutheran Adventurers.”

At some point during the voyage, the Adventurers’ ship encountered severe weather, causing it to hit the Devil’s Backbone Reef off of the Bahamian island now known as Eleuthera. William was able to lead survivors of the shipwreck to shelter in a nearby cave, where the Adventurers created a permanent settlement. Still visible to visitors today, the settlers hewed a pulpit from a rock formation within the cave, giving the area its name, Preacher’s Cave.

The Preacher’s Cave colony was able to survive due to the support of New England Puritan communities in the American colonies, who after hearing about the plight of the Adventurers, sent provisions to Eleuthera. Grateful for their assistance, the Preacher’s Cave community sent 10 tons of valuable Brazilwood back to their patrons, stipulating that the proceeds from the selling of the wood be donated to Harvard University. As for Sayle, he would eventually move to South Carolina in 1669, found the city of Charleston, and become the first governor of South Carolina the following year, according to Atlas Obscura.

Preacher’s Cave was the first British settlement of the Bahamas, but the island of Eleuthera and the cave itself were inhabited long before the arrival of William Sayle and the Puritans. Several recent archaeological excavations at Preacher’s Cave yielded not only the skeletal remains of some of the Eleutheran Adventurers, but also those of the indigenous Lucayan-Taíno Indians. In some cases, the remains of the Lucayan individuals predate the Preacher’s Cave settlement by several centuries.

3. Lone Tree

Photo:  harbour island bahamas
Photo: harbour island bahamas

If you stroll to the end of Bay Street and follow the curve to the western edge of the island, you'll find the Lone Tree, one of the most photographed icons of Harbour Island. This enormous piece of driftwood is said to have washed up on shore after a bad storm and anchored itself on the shallow sandbar in a picturesque upright position, providing the perfect photo op for countless tourists, cited by Fordors.

No matter how many different ways it’s approached, nobody can quite seem to understand just how Lone Tree came to be where it is today. It’s the unknown that makes this destination captivating and there are several theories as to its origins. Some claim this unique piece of drift wood was the direct result of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew that tore through the Bahamas in 1992. Some adamantly believe it is an almond tree that drifted over from a neighboring island while others proclaim it to be a lost pine. While its beginnings are still up for debate, those that observe this marvel during high tide enjoy another moment of mystery as the drift wood bobs around in the water but refuses to budge from its newfound home.

Wherever it came from and no matter where it’s eventually going, for now, guests to Harbour Island enjoy it’s artistic and mysterious touch to the beach. Beautiful in its own way and shrouded in questions, Lone Tree is worth adding to the itinerary, if only to questions the way things are for a moment in time, according to Bahamas Real Estate.

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