Harbour & Tingum: An Island Guide
The Bahamas have a global reputation as one of the most beautiful and idyllic island archipelagos anywhere on earth.
For those that don’t know, the Bahamas is in fact comprised of over seven hundred separate landmasses, ranging from tiny islets to sizeable islands. Nassau, situated on New Providence, is a bustling Caribbean city home to approximately 275,000 residents.
The archipelago to which the Bahamas belongs is known as the Lucayan Archipelago. The group of islands in the southeastern Lucayan Archipelago is collectively known as the Turks and Caicos Islands, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
However, the Bahamas has a land area some eighteen times larger than the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as a population roughly nine times greater.
Harbour Island is often referred to as ‘Briland’ among locals, a contraction of the full phonetic pronunciation of the island’s name.
It is a relatively small island with a population of under 2,000. It is, however, only a five-minute journey by ferry from its substantially larger and better-known neighbor Eleuthera (approx. 176 sq miles).
Harbour Island is a hidden gem and finds itself somewhat off-the-beaten-track as far as tourist interest extends. This makes it an excellent choice for those seeking to avoid the bustling reality of cruise ship passengers and mega-hotels on better-known islands.
Hotels and guesthouses on Harbour Island are generally of modest size and attract a clientele that values privacy and peacefulness above all else in their time spent away. Perhaps the island’s most recognizable feature is its famed “pink sand” beaches.
Average room rates vary on Harbour Island according to the season, as with the rest of the Bahamas. Peak season suites at the Pink Sands resort can run as much as $1,000 / night, whereas family-run guesthouses like Tingum Village offer greater affordability.
Without question, travel habits continue to change and evolve. The events of 2020 aside, ecologically and economically responsible travel are major trends as we move forward into a new decade.
Tingum Village is locally owned and operated. The whole team endeavors to treat valued guests as though they too are part of the extended Tingum family. Staff love to help celebrate birthdays and special occasions and go to great lengths to make sure each visitor finds their own portion of paradise on the island.
Ma Ruby, the beloved family matriarch, sadly passed away relatively recently. Her daughter Juanita and the wider family of children and grandchildren continue to uphold the standards that have made Tingum Village a much loved Harbour Island institution.
Compared to many internationally owned and operated resorts, Tingum Village is also moderately priced, even in peak season.
That doesn’t mean you have to skimp on luxury! Tingum suites have beautiful high ceilings, tasteful furnishings and king-size beds, private whirlpool baths, and elegant corner windows.
For comfort, rooms are equipped with air conditioning and ceiling fans. Individual cottages also have terraces, perfect for unwinding after a busy day.
Home-cooked Bahamian comfort food is available from Ma Ruby’s at all times of the day. Meals are served on a comfortable outdoor patio.
Tingum is famous for its cheeseburger and its delicious range of sweets, including mouth-watering key lime pie and pound cake.
Pink sand beaches are a short walk from the guesthouse on the south end of the island. It is a lush Caribbean getaway oozing with charm and character.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of visiting a hidden gem like Harbour Island is the peace and tranquility of avoiding the crowds. At times, the beaches are so quiet they can feel as though they were reserved especially for you.
Watersports and diving are both available on the island. However, there is also a bustling and active yachting scene.
As if you needed more reasons..!
- Harbour Island was awarded the prestigious “Best Island” (in the whole Caribbean) title by Travel + Leisure.
- Forbes describes the island as the crown jewel of the Caribbean and the “best place for a tropical getaway.”
- Did you know? Percentie family matriarch Ma Ruby was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth for her services to the community.
How to reach us
Most Harbour Island visitors fly into Nassau airport before taking a short onward flight to North Eleuthera. This airport is just a short car ride from the dock, from which water taxis are available to tourists looking for a quick way to the guesthouse.
As an alternative, some guests choose to take the longer scenic ferry ride from Nassau. This service runs daily at 8 am and takes approximately two hours to arrive.
Once on the island, most visitors opt to walk or cycle to get around. Golf carts are also available to rent.