Published: November/December 2009DESTINATION SCORECARD
133 Places Rated: Caribbean
Photo: Granada
A small boat sits on the calm waters of the Port of St. George's in Grenada.
Text by Jay Walljasper
Photo by Lidian Neeleman/iStockphoto.com

Bahamas: Eleuthera
Score: 71

"A laid-back paradise" for scuba divers and anyone else in search of a "real place" in the islands. Pollution problems are growing, along with the feeling that it is becoming "a pleasant ghetto of the privileged."

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Protected by limited flights and a relative isolation, Eleuthera and its upmarket Harbour Island give visitors a feeling of discovery. However, those who have been going there for 20 years see the changes that new development has brought. Much of this new construction has benefited the local economy, but attention is not being paid to the environmental impacts."

"One of the undiscovered crown jewels of the Out Islands. With the closure of some hotels it appears as if tourism development will remain low key."

"A new, very green and innovative resort—Star Island—is being built [just off Eleuthera] by American David Sklar, with government support and much media attention. In addition, there is a fine environmental research station on Eleuthera."

"With Club Med closing shop on this narrow, 100-mile-long island, Eleuthera is again truly an Out Island, away from the masses that hobnob on Nassau and Grand Bahama. Great place to bonefish and scuba dive. On the northern tip, one takes a ferry to neighboring Harbour Island, which has a New England-colonial feel, like Nantucket plopped in the middle of the Caribbean."

Bahamas: Grand Bahama
Score: 35

"True tourism folly—unfinished shells of hotels, tacky shopping areas.""Cruise ship hell," says another panelist. Wealthy outsiders have bought up all the beachfront, leaving nothing for anyone else. "As a result, the locals are extremely bitter."

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Something has gone terribly wrong in the Bahamas. Immensely wealthy tourists (mainly Americans) have bought up all the beachfront; developers have built huge, tacky resorts, and there is nothing left for anyone else."

"Overdeveloped, with the consequent pressures on the environment and social fabric of the community."

"The selling off of 'protected' islands is unconscionable. An unbelievable amount of garbage has washed up on the beaches. 'Locally produced' products in the straw markets are a joke; there should be a quality artisan market."

"A destination dominated by cruise tourism that brings minimum benefits to the local population."

Continue »
email a friend iconprinter friendly icon   |