Eleuthera Travelogue, Part 2

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My time in Eleuthera was intentional down time.  Time to relax, to explore, to do goal setting for my future and to have fun.  I only spent four full days on the island, arriving Tuesday afternoon, and leaving Sunday morning.  Here's a brief rundown of what I did:


Wednesday:  I drove down to the southern end of the island, about 60 miles away.  Though there were intermittent hills, the farther south I went, generally the lower the land got.  It's hard to generalize as to what parts of the island are the more touristy and inhabited and which ones are the less, but in general, I'd say that with two large exceptions, the south is less touristy.  I went through innumerable small villages, and the only town of any size south of Governor's Harbour was Rock Sound, the location of the southernmost airport on the island. Connected by a bridge to the island is a separate island called Windermere, the location of high end homes, some of which are owned by celebrities. At the very end of the island was Cape Eleuthera, a gated vacation community.  I didn't visit either of those two areas, instead, just meandering down the Queens Highway through the little villages until reaching the end, at Deep Creek.

Thursday:  I took a walking tour of Governor's Harbour.  Had I known what to be looking for, I would have gotten off of the main harborside street, and walked up some of the hills to the neighborhoods containing old colonial style architecture.  Instead I mainly walked around the harborside of town, looking at a few of the old buildings, but not seeing too much of any consequence.  One of the commonly referenced historical buildings is the old library.  Built in 1897, it's still an actual working library and open to the public, but frankly didn't seem too interesting.  Things were slow, I was one of only a handful of tourists milling about, and a store owner told me that most of the tourist restaurants were closed this time of year due to it being the low season.

Friday:  I toured the northern ends of the island.  I'd seen much of it the year before but had not quite made it all the way to the end.   This year I did, reaching the tiny village of Current.  Current didn't have much tourism infrastructure, but it appeared to have some of the nicer looking beachfront lots and houses I'd seen on the island.  At the north end of the island, there is the Northern Eleuthera Airport (international) as well as ferry access to Spanish Wells and Harbour Island.  In the evening, Matt Simon, the owner and developer of the condos where I was staying, came in to town for the weekend.  He invited me along for Governor's Harbour's Friday night fish fry, and wanted to take me around town along the way.  Matt is the primary rental agent on the island, and everywhere we went he ran into clients and homeowners.  The fish fry is one of the things the books all say you should do, and was actually lots of fun--a healthy mix of locals and tourists, all sorts of good grilled food (not just fried fish), and a nice relaxed atmosphere, all at the side of the harbor at the end of town.

Saturday:  Matt owns a 19-acre seafront tract in Gregory Town, north of Governor's Harbour.  He lists it periodically on Craigslist and we agreed to meet and see it.  Though he travels frequently to Eleuthera he had not actually walked the property in a few years.  His neighbor had cut in a road beside the land that we intended to utilize to get to the water frontage of his property.  He expected it would take 10-15 minutes.  We got there and parked on the side of the paved road, and looked for the dirt road cut in.  It was clear that nature had quickly overtaken it.  We found it, and walked--very slowly--through the overgrown bush and trees that had grown up over the last four years.  We had to proceed carefully, and almost lost the trail a few times, also being careful to avoid large spiders' webs (that is, large webs, of large spiders) that covered the path.  The day became hot and we were both soaked to the skin.  Our ten minute walk turned into closer to an hour's walk to get there.  We finally reached it.  The land fronts on the Caribbean, but it is not sandy beach--it is actually cliff frontage dozens of feet above sea level.  On the side of the cliff are ledges that could, with some work, become steps leading down to a great snorkeling area.  And on the land were some nice high points that would make great home sites.  In the distance along the cliff we could see a dirt road that had been carved into an adjacent property, so with Matt in the lead, we climbed down some of the ledges, and then climbed along the ledges until we reached the dirt road.  The road eventually led back to the Queens' Highway (the main road), and while it was actually quite steep, it was at least clear of overgrowth.  The only disadvantage of the lack of bush was that the sun beat down hot on us as we made our way back.

We were both quite tired by the time we returned to his car.  Though my mileage tracker indicated we'd walked a bit less than two miles, I was far more tired than I'd usually have been walking twice as many miles.  Matt was having a little social event at his condo that evening, and went home to prepare for that.  I relaxed at the pool, and then went down to spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach relaxing.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 September 2016 16:34

Eleuthera Trip Report, Part 1

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I wanted to pass along a brief travelogue of a week’s trip I’ve taken to Eleuthera, in the Bahamas. I’d never been particularly interested in traveling to the Bahamas. I knew it was a popular cruise stop-off point, and everything I’d heard about it seemed to indicate that it was primarily geared toward a North American package tourist market. That likely is true for the main islands, but as I read more about the Bahamas there were a stunning number of islands away from the main centers (the “Out Islands”) that appeared to offer a more relaxed tourist experience.

This trip marks my second to Eleuthera, having taken one at the same time last year. I’d inquired about a development on the island and the developer, offered a reduced rental package to come and visit. I never purchased but the developer would still contact me from time to time and offer repeat visits, so I came again.

Eleuthera is one of the northernmost islands in the Bahamas; it is categorized as subtropical and has approximately the same latitude as Miami. It’s a fairly narrow island, but is approximately 100 miles long. From my reading it had a burgeoning tourist industry until Bahamas’ independence, when restrictive anti-foreign-ownership rules were put into place for a time. Eleuthera is not too far from Harbour Island and the Atlantis luxury resort, but is a world away in type. There are a few smaller resorts on the island, as well as some hotels, but most of the rentable accommodations were houses, villas or condos. There’s still lots of undeveloped land, and though when driving you’ll encounter some hills on the island, much of the land is fairly low-lying. Palmettos are more prevalent than palm trees, and pines (or pine-like trees) outnumber them both, and tend to fringe the beaches.

There is a tourist industry here: there are fishing charters, massage and yoga therapists, coffee shops, etc., but not a lot of them. The majority of the locals appear to earn a living outside of the tourist industry. Because there’s not such a large influx of tourists, I didn’t feel like I was walking around with a big dollar sign on my back, which is how I feel when I’ve been in, say, Belize or Costa Rica. The local folks barely paid me any attention, other than to throw up a friendly hand to waive if we passed each other on the road, like rural folks might’ve done back home a few decades back.

A lot of the island reminds me of a more rural America two or three decades back. The island folks are friendly, not too uptight, but at the same time of a more sober disposition than a lot of Caribbean islands I’ve visited. Small evangelical and Protestant churches dotted through all of the little villages and settlements, while older Anglican churches appeared in some of the larger towns and in Governor’s Harbour.

The people I’ve met are one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Eleuthera, but there are other reasons that make this a fine little playground, or a place to just get away and relax.

At least for Americans on the east coast, Eleuthera is very easily accessible. I flew directly to Nassau in barely over two hours, had a relaxing layover while I ate some food in the airport lounge, then had a quick 20 minute flight from Nassau to Governors Harbour Airport—one of three airports on the island. There are also a few direct flights from the U.S. to Eleuthera (Fort Lauderdale, and maybe Miami), though they were not as convenient for me. For a vacation/playground location, ease of access is a definite plus.

I stayed at a small condo complex called Buttonwood Resort: www.buttonwoodresort.com. You can view it online to better understand it, but basically, it is, for now, an eight-unit, two-building condo complex located on 50 acres of land that stretches from the Caribbean out front (separated by a road) and the Atlantic on the back.




Grenada: an affordable citizenship by investment option for families

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One of the factors that can affect the costs of applying for citizenship by investment is who all the primary applicant intends to make part of the application. Many citizenship by investment programs charge large fees for additional family members (such as spouse and children) to be included into the citizenship package. The island nation of Grenada, however, offers a citizenship by investment package that may just be the least expensive high-grade program for families.

Specifically, the Grenada program offers a one-price package for families of up to four people. The two primary options are either one-time contributions or purchasing qualifying real estate. The contribution option for an applicant is $200,000 paid to Grenada’s National Transformation Fund, and will cover the applicant, his spouse and two children. Grenada also offers a $350,000 investment option for real estate that would cover the applicant and four family members.

A one-time contribution, or a purchase of qualifying real estate can be an integral part of a higher-net-worth individual’s estate, succession and asset protection plan. It provides an applicant with a high visa free travel, and an easier entree into places as far flung as the Schengen area and China.

Grenada’s program is a relative newcomer, having been launced in 2013, but it offers unique benefits, such as:

–A quick route to citizenship, with a processing time of 60 business days.
–A streamlined application process with no requirement to take part in an interview, show minimum education or language skills, or demonstrate previous business experience.

Citizens of Grenada can take advantage of not only the right to live and work in Grenada, and dual citizenship, but visa-free travel to more than 110 countries and territories, including the UK, Schengen Area, and China.

If you are interested in learning more about Grenada’s program, contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Dominica Citizenship by Investment costs remain as-is

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In the last few months, there had been rumors that the Dominica citizenship by investment program was going to raise its cost far above its current price of $100,000.  For now, however, the price will stay the same.


Hong Kong 2015 Report, Part 2

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In the middle of the week, we’d planned a day trip to China. Travel to China requires a Visa for US citizens which must be generally obtained ahead of time. However, we’d found a tour operator, Viator, that had a day trip to China; in this trip, the tour price included a group visa. We booked. We met our tour group at the Mandarin Oriental at 7:30 a.m., and were picked up by a van. The van took us to Pier 4, location of the particular water ferry we were taking to Shekhou, across the water, to the Shenzhen area. Our guide, Alex, was a native Hong Konger; our group of 13 was geographically diverse, with members coming from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and then my friend and me from the U.S. During the approximately hour long ferry ride, our guide went over our plans for the day.
Upon arrival to Shekhou, we quickly went through immigration and customs and were picked up by our tour bus for the day. We had a driver and a second tour guide, “Albert,” who lived in Shenzhen and spoke decent English. Shenzhen was a formerly lightly populated area of rice patties that had been transformed in the last three decades into a city of ten million people with multinational industries throughout. The city was modern, gleaming and well-kept. Along the way (and in fact, throughout the trip for the day), our guide told us stories of how China has transformed in the modern era, how many Chinese have bought phones, how many Chinese work jobs, how religion once again takes a role in China, etc. Our first stop was at what our guide said was a typical Chinese kindergarten for typical middle-class Chinese families. A hundred or so children were outside doing morning exercises on a playground, as we were allowed to walk through the area, peer inside classrooms, and meet teachers. The children weren’t distracted by our appearance, nor were the teachers. Previous reviews indicated that the visit to the kindergarten was part of the typical tour. On the way out, I noticed a metal sign placard with the communist hammer and sickle on it. As I left and back on the bus, our guide once again emphasized that this was a typical kindergarten for middle-class. For it to be a typical kindergarten, it occurred to me that the whole place had been a showpiece. The place was extremely clean, all sorts of photographs were placed throughout the halls of teachers and children. And all of the teachers were young and fairly attractive—probably only one or two older than their 30s. In no other part of our trip did we see the hammer and sickle, either. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like we’d been led to a sort of government showplace, and further, that our guide was sort of a government cheerleader.
Our next trip was to a museum. We were told that it was a museum with terra cotta warriors and jade. We went in, we perfunctorily shown two terra cotta warriors with a terra cotta horse, and told a few things about jade artifacts. Then we were taken into what was essentially a jewelry store for jade. Really, this place was a jewelry store that somehow had gotten hold of a couple of terra cotta artifacts.
Next, we were taken to see pandas in the local zoo. Though the local zoo had a number of animals, our tour bus took us up to the panda exhibit to see those animals. Though pandas were shown as the photographic highlights of the tours, the actual enclosure was underwhelming. They were in a glass enclosed structure, two of them, both asleep. The glass was dirty, and didn’t lend itself to good photographs.
We left and were then taking a two and a half hour ride by bus to Guanzhou.

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