Frequently Asked Questions
Over the last eight years, my husband and I have answered lots of questions about Seaglass Cottage and Eleuthera. As more questions are asked, they are added to the list, in fact, there is a book that answers just about every question imaginable on the coffee table at Seaglass Cottage. Questions and answers are presented, here, in no particular order. If you have a question that is not on this list, please don't hesitate to ask!
Will I need a rental car?
Most guests rent a car for the week. We recommend Naaman Rolle. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can click here to send him an email.
What's the weather like in Eleuthera?
Eleuthera is not tropical. It is semi-arid, so you can expect to see some of the same plants that grow in desert regions in the world. There are not lush palm trees; yet, small and plentiful stands of palmetto trees and century plants. Winter is typically windy with warm days (upper 70's to low 90's) and cooler at night - upper fifties to low seventies. Summertime is hot! Rainy season is October and June, although it doesn't always happen that way. Winter months can be quite windy. Follow this link for a Bahamas weather chart.
Where can I find an Eleuthera tide table?
Follow this link for an
Eleuthera tide table.
What is the total amount I will owe for Seaglass Cottage?
In addition to rent, there is a $60.00 clean-up fee which guests are asked to leave on the kitchen counter for the caretaker. The Bahamian Government now charges 6% hospitality tax on rental homes. Guests are also asked to purchase a new 5-gallon bottle of water for the next renters. Please see our reservations link for rental rates.
How far away from the house is the beach?
The beach is about 200 steps from the house. The path to the beach is right beside the picnic table at Hidden Beach.
Is the beach an Atlantic beach and what are the advantages of staying on the Atlantic side of the island?
Our house is located on the Atlantic Ocean and is in the part of the island where the land bends, forming somewhat of an elbow. The house faces northeast. Therefore, there is usually a spectacular breeze which keeps noseeums and mosquitoes away. During winter months, the Atlantic can be quite wavy and rough, making it dangerous to swim. The simple solution is to cross over to the other side of the island (about a one minute drive or a five minute walk) and swim at Rainbow Beach. If the 'Caribbean' happens to be rough, swim in the Atlantic! Because the island is so skinny in our neck of the woods, it's very easy to hop from one side to the other. In the southern part the island, the width is about 4.5 miles.
Are there other beaches in the area?
Yes, there are four beaches in Rainbow Bay. They are Smuggler's Beach, Hidden Beach, Come and Go or Junk Beach, and Rainbow Bay. You can walk to all of them.
Can you fish near the house?
Yes, you can fish right across the street or down at the beach. Walk south on Ocean Drive, past Hidden Beach. Look for the trench on the left. When you reach the spot where you can cross the trench, do so and walk back towards the house. You'll be able to get out to the point on the rocks. Fish away!! There are some fish charts in the house that you can use to identify what you catch. For fishing charters, Google Eleuthera fishing charters to see rates, etc. You can purchase bait (squid) at East and Final Grocery and at Big Rock. Take lots of hooks and sinkers with you. You will lose a lot of them since you'll be more or less bottom fishing on coral.
How is the shelling in Eleuthera?
Beach combing is great in Eleuthera. You can find seaglass, sea shells, driftwood, and unfortunately, some man-made debris. However, if you're the artistic type, everything that washes up has some kind of artistic potential. You can take seashells home with you.
Is the house/island safe?
Eleuthera is one of the safest destinations in the world. There is an occasional robbery on the island, but it doesn't happen often. We have installed a safe in the house in which you can secure your valuables.
Are there other houses in the neighborhood?
There are a few houses in the neighborhood, the closest visible house being about 1/8 mile away. You cannot see its occupants - just the rooftop. The area is quite desolate and very beautiful.
What does Ocean Drive look like?
Ocean Drive is absolutely gorgeous. You can walk/run/bicycle the entire distance (about 5 miles). The road is seldom used. You might see four or five cars pass in the entire day. There are several steep hills, and flat areas in between that offer stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. The south end of Ocean Drive is closer to the water, so on blustery days, waves crash into the cliffs, creating phenomenal 'plumes' of spray. There are three beaches off Ocean Drive, and a park area at the entrance to Smuggler's Beach. From here (and many parts of Ocean Drive) the view of the ocean is unbelievable. Ocean Drive is one of the most scenic areas in all of Eleuthera.
Where does your gardener live?
Our gardener lives in a little apartment which we created from our old attached garage. He lives in the little apartment and oversees the property. His entrance is completely separate from renter's and he does not intrude in the least. He works for other people in Rainbow Bay and is usually off the property during his working hours. Many guests report that they never saw him. Our gardener is very quiet and will not disturb you at all. However, he is available should something happen that needs attention. There is an extension phone in his apartment, so he may receive a phone call from during the week which will also ring in the house.
Can guests sunbathe nude at the house and on the beaches?
Nudity is considered offensive in Eleuthera. It's best to wear a bathing suit if other people are on the beach. Our deck is not the right place for sunbathing in the buff.
Where can I get information about restaurants, places to visit, etc.?
The guest journal in the house has a wealth of information about where to visit, restaurants for dining, etc. There is also a journal in the house about what to do in cases of emergency, etc. It also contains information about such matters as water conservation, electricity, and so forth. Also, you can research Eleuthera at www.eleu.net.
Is the king size bed a real king size mattress, or is it two single beds pushed together?
The king size bed is a full king. It is not two twins pushed together.
How much spending money should I take with me to the island?
That is completely up to you, depending on how you want to spend your vacation. Dining out is very expensive. An evening meal for two can cost anywhere from $50 to well over $100. A lunchtime meal from a take-away is $8 to $15. The bakery in Governor's Harbour sells wonderful meat pies, hotdogs, bread, etc. It's a good place to pick up an inexpensive lunch, especially if you are traveling with children. Groceries are about twice the price of groceries here in SC. Liquor is less expensive, but beer is around $35 per case. You should take cash with you, as debit cards are a relatively new thing on the island.
Is there an ATM machine on the island?
There are two ATM machines in Governor's Harbour, and one in North Eleuthera. If your card doesn't work at one machine, try the other.
Sould I take cashier's checks with me or is cash better? What about debit cards?
Cash is best. Some establishments now take debit cards, but don't depend on it. Some businesses take checks drawn on US banks. There are two banks in Governor's Harbour and one in North Eleuthera.
If I don't want to rent a car, can I take a taxi to shop, etc.
Taxi cabs are expensive. Guests are better off renting a car. The price of a taxi from the house to the GHB airport is about $25, not including a tip.
Is it customary to tip for services?
Yes, it is customary to tip for services on the island. The amount that you tip is up to you. 15% is the standard amount to leave in restaurants.
Do you have a caretaker?
Yes, Merci Thompson is the caretaker. She lives in Palmetto Point and you will find her phone number in the house.
What will I find in your house?
The kitchen is well stocked with all manner of cooking devices. The kitchen has a gas cook-top stove, a wall oven, toaster oven, microwave, and other small appliances. The living room is furnished with a sofa and 2 chairs; a dining table with 3 chairs; end tables, lamps, and a television set. There is also a chest of drawers for additional storage. The bedroom has a king size bed, chest of drawers, book case, end tables and lamps, sofa, and small open-style closet. There is a good stereo system in the living room.
Are there any first aid supplies in the house?
There is a first aid kit which we keep stocked with bandaids, etc. There is also a thermometer in the kit.
Do you allow pets?
No, pets are not allowed.
How many windows are in the house?
There are six windows, an eight-foot slider, and exit door in the LR/Kitchen; two windows and a six-foot slider in the bedroom, and one window in the bathroom.
Is there a tub and shower?
The bathroom is equipped with a tub, shower, commode, and sink. To conserve water, there is a pull chain to operate the shower. It is essential to conserve water on the island. There is no outdoor shower, but if you want to use the hose, ask Lucles to hook it up for you. The bathroom fixtures are original. Since the house was built in the early '70's, expect to find vintage, but perfectly workable fixtures.
What additional things are in the house?
Plenty of pots and pans; bowl sets; plenty of glasses, plates, flatware; casserole dishes; baking pans; electric mixer; George Forman grill; toaster; electric ice cream machine; two-burner electric cooktop; rolling pin; cheese grater; garlic press; plenty of knives, spatulas, etc.; electric drip pot; other manual-type coffee pots; blenders; ice crusher; plastic storage containers; thermos; flower vases; wine glasses; coffee mugs, etc. For entertainment, there are some movie videos, lots of cds for music, a Scrabble game, deck of cards, paperback books and magazines.
Do you provide outdoor equipment?
We do not provide bicycles but we do have some snorkeling equipment - fins, masks, and snorkels.
Is your house equipped with linens?
There are plenty of linens for the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen, and several large towels which can be used for beach towels.
Is there a washing machine?
Yes, but due to water conservation measures it is locked. There is a laundromat in Alice Town which you can use if you need to have clothes washed. There is a clothesline and pins for hand washing.
Are bugs a problem?
Our house is sprayed twice a year and we have never seen roaches, etc. Some guests are very sensitive to noseeums and mosquitoes which are on the island. There are recommendations in the house journal for dealing with those. If you anticipate being bug bitten, take medicine with you. You probably will not be able to find much of a selection on the island.
Is there a land line telephone/internet?
There is a land line telephone for local calls only. We do have internet service at the house.
Will my cell phone work in Eleuthera?
Some cell phones work on the island, but check w/your provider for an international plan prior to your trip. Otherwise, you may have a huge bill when you return.
Do you provide beach or deck chairs?
We do not provide beach chairs but we have 4 Adirondack style deck chairs. There is also a Pawley's Island Hammock on the west deck.
What about grilling out?
There is a grill and barbecue pit on the east patio for you to use. There is a sturdy patio table with four chairs for dining out. You can purchase charcoal on the island.
Do you give refunds in case of hurricanes?
If you cannot take your trip due to a hurricane, or have to leave the island early due to a storm, we will give you comparable time at a later date, free of charge. If you are concerned about this, you can purchase travel insurance which covers such situations.
How many people does Seaglass Cottage accommodate?
Maximum occupancy is two adults. We do not permit inflatable beds for extra guests.
How many square feet of living space will I find?
Close to 700 interior square feet. There is an additional patio, and decks on the north and west sides.
Is your spa available for guests to use?
No, it is covered with benches, and is not available for rent. There simply is not enough water on the island to continually refill the spa.
Should I take food to the island?
We always take a cooler of frozen chicken, beef, and pork (pork chops, sausage, and bacon). While some of the markets in Governor's Harbour have a better selection of meat than stores in the Rainbow Area, gas is expensive and running up and down the island can cost you some $$! You must check with the airlines you will be using to find out what is accepted regarding coolers, ice, and dry ice. Most airlines allow coolers as checked luggage. Do not take rice, flour, etc., as those staples are available in all of the grocery stores. Take any kind of gourmet foods you like, or coffee, as selections of fancy food is very limited on the island. You cannot take any fresh fruits or vegetables. They will be confiscated by Customs. If you are flying on the small airlines, you will probably be allowed 40-50 lbs. of luggage per person. You can pay for additional weight, but it's rather expensive - around $1.00 per lb. Plan and pack carefully. You do not need fancy clothes in Eleuthera!
What documentation should I take to enter the island and return to the U.S.?
You must have a valid passport. Also, you will be charged an exit fee when you depart of $15, depending on which airline you take. Some airlines include it in the fare, but not all. DO have a ballpoint pen with you when you travel as you will have to complete Customs Declaration Forms before you are allowed to enter the Bahamas.
If I fly from FLL or Miami, how long is the flight to the island?
A little over an hour.
What kind of decor will I find at Seaglass Cottage?
Seaglass Cottage is an authentic beach house. The owners are both artists so you will find watercolor paintings, handmade furniture, and decorations made from things found on the beaches. The house is not fancy, but is very comfortable and a fun place to stay. Do not expect to find Pier One and trendy furnishings. There are plenty of reading lamps and other comforts. The bookshelf has a good selection of novels and other books. The outdoor furniture is practical and comfortable. This beach house is for people who want to enjoy the island for all its beauty, serenity, and color. Seaglass Cottage is the kind of beach house for people want to really feel like they're at the beach - not in an extended stay suite.
Is there air conditioning at Seaglass Cottage?
There is one bedroom air conditioner which cools the master bedroom. There are ceiling fans in every room as well as floor fans.
What night clubs are on the island?
Elvina's, in Gregorytown is a very popular night spot. There is local entertainment on Tuesday and Friday nights. Rainbow Inn, close to the house, has a nice bar and live music on Wednesday nights.
Is there a pizza restaurant?
Mate and Jenny's in Palmetto Point serves pizza.
What restaurants are nearby?
Rainbow Inn; the restaurant at the Big Rock Store; the Cove in Gregory Town, and the take-aways in Alice Town.
Can I buy fresh vegetables?
You can usually find onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and hearts of Romaine lettuce. During certain seasons, you can purchase home grown bananas, pineapples, and tomatoes.
Where can I buy seafood?
Seafood, in Eleuthera, consists of fish, conch, and lobster (during lobster season). You can purchase it at the docks in James Cistern and Governor's Harbour. It is quite expensive.
Are sharks a problem?
Sharks appear where there is blood. Do not swim in an area where someone is fishing and cleaning fish on the water's edge. Do not swim at dawn or dusk and do not swim alone.
Is the fishing good?
Yes, fly fishing is popular in Eleuthera, as is shore fishing. You can purchase frozen squid at Big Rock and East and Final in Eleuthera. To save money, take your own hooks and sinkers. There are boat charters which will take fishermen offshore for half or full day excursions. Google Eleuthera Fishing Charters for more information.
What are the closest grocery stores?
Big Rock on the Queen's Hwy.; East and Final in James Cistern, and the Triple TLC in Alice Town.
Where can I buy gas?
The two closest gas stations are in Alice Town, right off the Queen's Highway and at Lee's in James Cistern. You can also purchase gas in Gregory Town and Governor's Harbour. Gas prices are always higher than in the U.S. so when you rent a car, you might request a fuel-efficient vehicle. Gas and fuel is shipped to the island so when gas stations run out, the station owners have to wait for the next shipment. If your rental car is low on gas, fill it up immediately. Otherwise, you may not have enough gas to get from the house to the gas station. Always keep some extra in the tank in case you have to drive to more than one gas station to find fuel.
What do the beaches look like?
The beaches in Eleuthera DO NOT look like the beaches on the eastern seaboard of the US. There is a lot of coral rock in Eleuthera, with beaches interspersed along the shoreline. Some of the beaches in mid and south Eleuthera are long and sandy. The Airport beach, just south of James Cistern is a wonderful walking beach. Our beach, Hidden Beach, has soft deep sand and a good swimming trench at the north end. Snorkeling is wonderful on calm days. Snorkeling is good, also, at Rainbow Beach. Snorkel on the south side, where the rocks protrude into the water. Usually, the fish are larger on the Atlantic side, but there are beautiful tropical fish and anchovies to see on the south side.
Does Seaglass Cottage have cable/satellite?
No. Satellite and cable service is dubious at best in Eleuthera. Cable is not even available in Rainbow Bay. There is a small TV set in the house and a VCR with some movies. Take your laptop if you want to watch your own movies.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Purchase drinking water in five gallon bottles at the grocery stores for drinking. If the electricity goes off, you'll be without water for a while, as the pump from the cistern is electric. Keep some extra water in the refrigerator just in case. If you drink the tap water, you should boil it first.
What do guests do with garbage?
There is a dumpster in Rainbow Bay. Directions are in the house.
Why don't you provide bicycles?
Rust, rust, rust! Also, you cannot purchase new bicycle tire tubes on the island. Maintenance is very difficult.
Is Eleuthera a good place for bar hopping?
No, it is not. There are not scattered bars along the beaches like in Cancun, etc. Furthermore, driving at night is dangerous. The Queen's Highway is dark and narrow. There are traffic accidents in Eleuthera, usually at night, and almost always involving a drunk driver.
What do I need to be able to drive in Eleuthera?
You need a driver's license, issued by your country of origin and you must wear a seat belt. The Bahamian police department issues steep fines for people caught driving w/o a seatbealt.
Is it safe to pick up hitch-hikers or to hitch-hike, myself?
Many people hitch-hike and give rides. Never pick up children, as they may be going off w/o their parents' permission. Hitch-hiking is a personal decision to make.
Is Seaglass Cottage handicapped equipped?
No, there is no special equipment for handicapped guests. Furthermore, there are steps leading up to the house.
Are paper goods provided upon arrival?
One roll of toilet paper is provided. Also, the garbage can will be lined with a fresh bag. There is a small selection of spices and previous guests usually leave salt, pepper, etc.
How many people have rented this house before?
This has been a rental house since 2001. Over 500 guests have stayed here. Lots have been honeymooners.
Is smoking permitted?
Please smoke very carefully outside, using an empty can for an ashtray. There is no fire truck available should a fire occur. The wind will carry embers into the bush and could start a fire. Never throw cigarette butts on the ground! Do not smoke in the bedroom or on the vinyl covered furniture.
Where can I find medical Information?
There is a great deal of information regarding doctors, emergencies, medicine, etc. in the guide book which you will find in the cottage.
Where can I purchase souvenirs?
Pam's, in Gregory Town, has a very nice selection of souvenirs. Many of the items in her store are made by local artisans. She also has a nice selection of attractive and inexpensive t-shirts.
Where can I purchase beer and liquor?
There is a liquor store in Gregorytown. You can purchase beer (by the case) and liquor in Governor's Harbour. You can purchase individual bottles of beer at the Big Rock Restaurant.
Can I take beer and cigarettes to the island?
You are allowed to take one case of beer and one carton of cigarettes (duty-free) to the island.
Will I find fast food restaurants, Dollar General, and Walmart on the island?
If something breaks in the house, will it be repaired immediately?
If something breaks, please alert the caretaker and the gardener. If whatever breaks involves purchasing 'parts', it will probably be impossible to fix it right away. We cannot guarantee that everything in the house will be in perfect working order during your trip. That is simply the nature of Eleuthera and the Bahama out-islands. The caretaker will do everything she can to repair or replace especially if it involves hotwater, electricity, and plumbing.
Are there electrical outages?
Yes, electrical outages are frequent. There are times when the generating plants simply cannot handle the demand. There are kerosene lanterns in the house that you can use should the power go out at night. The gas cook-top is a real advantage when there is no electricity. Due to the unstable nature of electricity, we ask that you please unplug the stereo, microwave, toaster oven, and other small appliances when you are not using them. If you arrive and believe there is no electricity, check the lamp plugs. They are most likely unplugged.
What should I do if the propane runs out?
Call the caretaker immediately. Also, tell the gardener. There is a portable electric cooktop stove under the kitchen counter that you can use in such situations.
Does it make sense to ship items to the island prior to a visit?
Not really unless you are a homeowner and are taking goods to the island.
Is it true that Eleuthera is not for everybody?
Absolutely. Please research the island before taking a trip to Eleuthera. DO NOT expect to find beach resorts such as those in the US and on other larger tropical island. Eleuthera's economy is based on tourism. There is a very low tax base, hence, little in the way of services or infrastructure. Again, our house is not fancy! It's a real beach house!
What is the procedure for renting a car?
Contact Naaman Rolle. His email is email@example.com. Ask any questions that you have about a car rental. Generally, all rentals are paid for with cash. Please do not return the car to the airport on empty. You should return it with the same amount of gas that was in the tank when you received it. If you want a special kind of car, ask Naaman if he can get one for you. If you have any problems with the rental car, contact Naaman or whomever you rented from. The caretaker cannot help you with rental car issues. Questions regarding insurance should be directed to the rental car company.
Can you give me advice about purchasing property in Eleuthera?
There are several real estate agents on the island who can assist you. Check with H. G. Christie and Damianos Realty Companies.
Where can I surf and can I rent a surfboard in Eleuthera?
You can rent boards from Pete in Gregorytown. Surfers Beach is a very popular spot for surfing. Also, surfers seem to enjoy the beach at Hatchet Bay. Most surfers go to the island in March to enjoy the waves.
I would like to take something to the caretaker and gardener. What do you recommend?
The caretaker and gardener greatly appreciate anything you'd like to take. Choose something light and easy to pack.
Do you own any other vacation rental homes?
Yes, we own a treehouse near Camden, SC. It is currently listed for the long-term but as soon as the present renter moves, it will again be listed on www.vrbo.com. The listing number is 273075. Please take a look. It's a beautiful and unusual place - very private - in the middle of a pine/hardwood forest.