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The Ultimate Caribbean Island Finder

Courtesy of Harbour Island Landing

Harbour Island

Best for Shopping

One of the oldest settlements in the Bahamas, this 3½;-mile-long spit of land is a five-minute water taxi ride from North Eleuthera. Colorful cottages line the harbor; beyond them are palatial houses owned by monied locals and the fashion crowd that "discovered" the island’s pink beaches in the 1980’s.

Worth the Splurge

Though Island Records founder Chris Blackwell sold Pink Sands (800/407-4776; pinksandsresort.com; doubles from $600) this year to the neighboring Coral Sands resort, little has changed at this sophisticated yet funky enclave, with its 25 bohemian Morocco-meets-Bali cottages.

Best Value

On this rarefied island, there are no budget options, but the seven rooms at the Landing (242/333-2707; harbourislandlanding.com; doubles from $250) are a good deal, considering the level of style at this India Hicks–owned hotel.

Hot Spot

The 10-room Rock House Hotel (242/333-2053; rockhousebahamas.com; doubles from $380) was carved out of a former B&B and a converted Catholic schoolhouse. It now has a sleek South Beach décor and an equally attractive crowd.

Favorite Restaurant

In a bright-green clapboard house atop Pink Sands Beach’s dunes, Sip Sip (Court Street; 242/333-3316; dinner for two $65) takes its name from the local patois for "gossip." Check the board for specials like spicy conch chili, lobster quesadillas, and rum-spiked carrot cake, then head to the patio and eavesdrop on the sip-sip.

Local Flavor

Around lunchtime, Lavaughn Percentie (also known as Queen Conch) and her daughter Chanella set up their stand on an old dock off Bay Street, expertly chopping conchs and combining them with sour orange and spices, including Scotch bonnet peppers. The check for your salad and a Kalik beer may be the best $10 you spend in the Bahamas.

Top Beach

Pink Sands Beach stretches nearly the length of the island. Protected by the third-longest barrier reef in the world, it has some of the gentlest surf in the Bahamas.

Where to Shop

In Dunmore town, start at the Blue Rooster (King St. at Dunmore St.; 242/333-2240), an 1840 gingerbread cottage, where Gabrielle Kenedy and John Fondas stock the shelves with Graham Kandiah tunics and delicate pashmina shawls made by Flying Fig. Close by at Miss Mae’s (Dunmore St.; 242/333-2002), Pip Simmons sells items like Le Monta Society linen sheets and shell-encrusted mirrors. The Sugar Mill Trading Company (Bay St.; 242/333-3558), also owned by India Hicks, is filled with eclectic merchandise, including beachwear by her friend Elizabeth Hurley.

—Andrea Bennett

» Complete destination guide to the Bahamas

Map of Harbour Island
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