Frequently Asked Questions

What is your property manager's contact info?

 

Here is a link to our property manager's contact info.

Is there internet access at the house?

 

Yes. There is a wireless network at the house (Amberjack). The password is house123. The internet download speed is usually very good, similar to most residential US download speeds (15-25 Mbps).  We recntly added Eero range extenders so you can now get a good wireless signal on the beach.

How do you get to Spanish Wells?

 

Here is a link with directions to Spanish Wells and our house.

How far from the North Eleuthera (ELH) airport is the house?

 

It takes about 30 minutes to get from ELH to the house.  Here is a link with details. Pinder Taxi charges $15 per person to get from the airport to Spanish Wells.

What is the ferry schedule?

 

The ferry / water taxi from Eleuthera to Spanish Wells runs every 15-30 minutes all day long.  You'll have no problem getting the ferry when traveling to/from the airport.  

 

Here is a link to the Bahamas ferry schedule that goes between Nassau, Habour Island, and Spanish Wells.

Are there any good restaurants in Spanish Wells?

 

Yes, our favorite restaurant is the Shipyard.  It's located about 11 blocks east of the house at the end of the island. It has a nice bar, outdoor patio, and the food is excellent. Don't miss their 2 for 1 happy hour drink special! They are open for lunch and dinner and are closed on Tuesdays.

 

The Anchor Snack Bar in the marina around 4th St is great for lunch and carryout. They are open Monday - Thursday 9-2 and Friday and Saturday 9-2 and 5-10 PM. Sunday 5-10 PM. Everything on their menu is excellent. They have the best fish fingers and rice on the island.

 

There are also several other great places to eat, all within walking distance of the house: the Gap, Budda's, and Eagle's Landing. We really like Budda's on 12th for take out. Budda's also has a liquor store and full bar so you can have a beer or drink with your meal. Gap has great deserts.

 

If you are up for a long golf cart ride, then check out the Sandbar on Russell Island. It's at the far end of Russell Island and is about a 15-20 minute golf cart ride from the house. It's open air dining right on the beach with a relaxing vibe. It's a good place to take kids. They can play on the beach while you eat and enjoy a few drinks. It can get a little buggy out there, though, so you might want to bring bug spray or head out there on windy days.

 

Wreckers opened at the Spanish Wells Yacht Haven in 2016. It's one of the few places on the island where you can get pasta and pizza. They also have a full bar and they serve breakfast several days per week.  Their service is pretty slow so make sure you're not in a hurry.

 

And if you are looking for desert, try the ice cream at Papa's Scoops.  It's usually open in the evenings and is right off Main Street down by the grocery store.

 

There are several other tiny restaurants and snack bars on the island and there always seems to be a new one popping up. They are probably good too. We just haven't tried them yet.

 

Also, the restaurants that serve alcohool on the island are Shipyard, Wreckers, Budda's, and Sand Bar.

Where is the house located on Spanish Wells?

 

It's on the northside beach at 11th Street. From the water taxi, go west on the island's main street (Pinder) and turn right on 11th. It's the lime green house at the end of 11th on the left. It's a two minute golf cart ride from the water taxi drop off, about 1/4 mile.

 

Note that there is a cemetary on Pinder St from 10th to 11th.  The cemetary is behind the house opposite the beach. It's a very pretty, very old little cemetary. It's quiet and provides extra privacy for the house.  The shrubs in the back of our house completely block the view of the cemetary from our house.

 

The island is about 30 blocks long (2 miles) so the house is fairly close to just about everything on the island.

How close to the beach is the house?

 

Our house is a beach front house that is right on the beach.  It is one of about 30 beach houses on Northside Beach.  The house itself sits about 90' from the edge of the beach. We have a beach deck that is literally right on the edge of the beach with a private boardwalk that goes from our house deck down to our beach deck.  To access the beach, you'll use our private boardwalk.

Is the beach kid friendly?

 

Yes, it's really, really kid friendly.  The most kid friendly beach we've ever been on.  We have young children and they are able to play on the beach with minimal supervision. The bay our house sits on is well protected by reefs about a mile offshore so we usually get very little surf (the pictures on this website of the water is what it's like most of the time).  And the bay is very shallow.  At low tide, it's knee deep for several hundred yards off shore.  At high tide, it rarely gets above waste deep.  Also, we have never seen a shark from our beach.

 

If you are looking for body surfing and big waves, our beach will definitely disappoint you.

Is there a grocery store on Spanish Wells?

 

Yes.  The Food Fair grocery store is on 19th St and Main, eight blocks west from the house.  They are open from 9-5 Monday through Saturday.  It's a full blown, average sized grocery store and has an excellent pharmacy.

 

A piece of advice: the Food Fair gets low on certain items like milk and fresh produce by Tuesday.  The grocery boat gets into Spanish Wells on Wednesday and the shelves get restocked by Thurday evening. Friday and Saturday are the best days to do your heavy duty grocery shopping.

 

And a heads up: groveries in the Bahamas are very expensive. They are typically 50-100% more than US grocery prices.

 

Here is a photo of the product section of the Food Fair grocery store:

Should we bring our own meat?

 

We get this question a lot (I think this is a popular thread on TripAdvisor). We've never brought any of our own groceries to Spanish Wells. We haven't heard of any of our neighbors doing that either. The grocery store is expensive, but it's probably a much better option that transporting a cooler through the airport, customs, a taxi, a water taxi, and a golf cart to the house.

 

If you want a really good steak or pork tenderloin while you are here, we recommend the Shipyard restaurant and Wreckers restaurant.

Are there places to shop on the island?

 

The Food Fair on 19th is the best for groceries. Kathy's Bakery is across the street from the Food Fair and is nice. For fresh seafood, try Ronald's Seafood in the marina on 3rd. Pinder's Grocery is in the marina near 6th. Harbourside Rentals has a really good gift shop and a great selection of t-shirts. There is a good hardware store around 3rd and Main by the lumberyard.

 

For fishing and diving, try Island Tackle around 26th and Manuel's Dive Station around 8th.

 

For anything electronic, there's Electric City on 13th. If you encounter computer or cell phone problems, you might also check with Darrin Sands at Sotheby's Realty. He has a side business called Computers and Tings.

 

And there are little shops up and down Main Street for beach supplies and gifts.

Do we need to bring towels?

 

No.  There are dozens of bath towels and beach towels at the house.

Do you provide kayaks?

 

Yes. We provide two Hobie Lanai kayaks. We also provide a paddleboard for guests. The paddleboard has been a big hit with everyone, especially our kids and my 60 year old uncle.

Do you provide a golf cart or boat or bikes?

 

No. But they are easy to rent from Harbourside Rentals which is located right at the water taxi drop off. You can also rent boats from them.  They have a 22' Sea Hunt, 21' Wellcraft, and 17' Boston Whaler for rent. They also have paddle boards, snorkeling gear, bikes, and fishing poles for rent. We have a mooring line right in front of the house where you can keep a boat if you rent one.

 

Golf carts are usually around $250 per week and boats are around $200 to $250 per day.

 

Also, we have two Huffy cruiser bikes at the house, but they are getting older and we can't guarantee that they'll be in good working condition.

 

Our house manager Andre Sands is the owner of Harbourside Rentals.  

Should we rent a car?

 

No. You definitely do not want to rent a car and the airport doesn't have a rental car agency anyway.  A golf cart is the preferred way to get around the island.

Where can we buy alcohol?

 

Buddha's Liquor Store on 12th Street and Value Liquor Store on Pinder St and 12th are the two liquor stores on the island. They sell liquor, wine, and beer. Buddha's also has a restaurant and full bar. 

 

The Shipyard, Sandbar, Budda's, and Wreckers are the restaurants on the island that serve alcohol. 

Is there a bank on the island?  Should we bring cash?

 

There was a Royal Bank of Canada.  As of June 2017, there is no longer a bank or ATM on the island.

 

Almost all of the restaurants (except Budda's) on the island take credit cards.  The grocery store also takes credit cards and most of the shops do too.  The taxi services and fishing and snorkeling guides are cash only.  We always bring a decent amount of cash with us on vacation.

 

So yes, bring some cash with you.

How is the fishing in Spanish Wells?

 

Really good. Some of the best in the world. There are a number of fishing guides on the island. We've had great luck with Bruno Underwood.  You can reach him at 242-470-8671 and brunounderwood@msn.com. We've also had good luck with Ryan Neilly.  You can reach him at 242-359-7894. Besides fishing, they can also take you out snorkeling, diving, and sightseeing. 

 

If you are really into fishing, here is a good link to a Bahamas fishing calendar and here is a link to Bahamas fishing regulations.

 

Just a heads up: the beach fishing isn't very good.  You won't see many people fishing from the beach anywhere on the island.  If you really want to fish from the beach, one of the best places to fish is actually very close to our house.  At low tide, there is a spit of sand that extends out into the bay just east of our house towards the Shipyard.  Walk out to the end of that and cast towards the south into the deeper water.

Should we visit Harbour Island?

 

Harbour Island is about 45 minutes from Spanish Wells via ferry. It has restaurants, shops, several resorts, and some really expensive, high end beach homes. We've been there once and don't plan to go back. If you aren't staying at one of its resorts, there's not much reason to visit.

What activities can you recommend?

 

When we stay at the house, we typically hang out on the beach, sleep, read, fish, snorkel, and go out to eat. Here are some activities we can recommend:

 

  • Boating.  There's a mooring line in front of the house, just off the beach.  You can rent golf carts and boats from Harbourside Rentals.
  • Inshore and offshore fishing.  See the above section.
  • Kayaking.  The bay in the front of the house is great for kayaking.  There are two Hobie Lanai kayaks at the house for guests to use.
  • Snorkeling.  There is great snorkling and diving around the island. Bruno Underwood can help you with that too. Or stop by Manuel's Dive Center on Main Street.
  • Parasailing.  Contact Chris Forsythe at 242-333-4638.
  • Windsurfing.  The northside beach is a really great place to windsurf when it's windy.
  • Paddle Boarding. We provide a paddle board for guests. The bay is ideal for paddle boarding, both for kids and adults.

Activities to keep young children occupied?

 

We have two young boys (5 and 6) so keeping them busy for a week can sometimes be a challenge while on vacation.  Here are some tips:

 

  • Beach Toys.  There is a crate full of beach toys at the house for playing in the sand.  This is our main go to.
  • Tide Pools.  At low tide, you'll see tide pools about 200 yards to the west of the house just off the beach.  They are great for searching for crabs, starfish, and shells.
  • Snorkeling from the Beach. If you have kids, definitely bring some snorkel masks along for snorkeling off the beach.  There are no reefs close to the beach, but kids should enjoy chasing small fish and crabs around.
  • Bridge Jumping from the Russell Island Bridge.  This is for older kids and adults.
  • Dock Fishing.  Harbourside Rentals has fishing poles if you'd like to do some fishing off the docks on the marina side.  The only fishing on the beach side of the island from the beach that is any good is out by the sand bar that extends from the beach at low tide (by the tide pools).  For good fishing, you really need to be on a boat with a guide. Same goes for snorkeling.
  • Kite Flying. Bring a kite down with you for those windy days.

Is there anywhere from the beach in Spanish Wells or Russell Island where we can find great snorkeling?

 

Not really.  You pretty much need to use a boat to get to the good snorkeling and diving spots around the island.  But the good news on that end is that the really good places are only a 10-30 minute boat ride from the island.

 

The one spot from the beach on Spanish Wells that you could try is by Pear Island.  Pear Island is the small island that is just north of Spanish Wells that you can see from our beach.  It's straight north from our house.  You can see it in some of the beach pictures posted on this website.  It's a 1.5 mile kayak ride from our house to Pear Island.  If you take the kayak down to 24th street, it's about a half mile kayak ride out to it.  There is a small dock on the island where you can tie off your kayak.

 

It is surrounded by coral heads and you'll see lots of fish.  If you are thinking of swimming out to it, definitely only do that only at low tide.  At high tide, boats will pass between Pear Island and Spanish Wells.  At really low tide, you can almost walk to Pear Island from the Spanish Wells beach and might not need a kayak.

Does the house have a fully furnished kitchen?

 

Yes, you should not have to bring any kitchen items to the house. There is a refrigerator/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, stove, and oven. There are full sets of utensils, plates, cups, etc. as well as pots and pans and knives. There is also a toaster, coffee maker, crock pot, and blender. The kitchen has pretty much everything you would expect in a fully furnished kitchen.

Is there a grill?

 

Yes, there is a Weber gas grill on the back deck. If it runs out of propane, give Andre our house manager a call and he can get it refilled for you.  Please make sure you clean it after you are done using it.

What kind of coffee maker is at the house?

 

It's a Zojirushi coffee maker. It's really simple to use and makes great coffee.  It takes standard cup filters and there are usually plenty at the house.  If not, the grocery store sells filters.  Also, the coffee selection at the grocery store is pretty good.

How many beds are there and where are they located?

 

There are a total of seven beds in our three bedroom, two bath, 2100 square foot house.  

 

The master bedroom has a king bed. The two road side bedrooms each have twin and queen beds. There are also two fold up twin beds in the roadside bedroom closets that can be set up in the living room. So you could sleep up to ten people in the seven beds.

 

The house is perfect for a party of six. It gets a little crowded with a party of eight.  Ten people and it'll be really tight.   

Does the house have TV and cable?

 

We have a lot of renters who are at the house for extended periods of time, so having decent TV options is important.

 

There are three flatscreen TV's, one in the living room (48'), another in one of the back bedrooms, and a third in the master bedroom. The TV in the living room has local Bahamas cable and a DVD player. The DVD player can stream Netflix and YouTube videos, so if you have a Netflix account, you can access it through the living room DVD player. There is a also a Chromecast Streaming Media Player connected to the HDMI port of this TV, so you can stream content (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, etc.) from your smart phone or tablet to the TV.

 

The bedroom TV's do not have cable. They can play DVD's and they also have Chromecast Streaming Media Players.

 

If you plan to use Chromecast, make sure you are connected to the 'Amberjack' wireless network.

 

Note that our DVD selection is pretty slim and the local Bahamas cable has your standard cable stations.

Is it OK for us to turn off the beach cam?

 

Absolutely.  The easiest way to turn it off is to unplug the camera's power cable that plugs into the white, circular hub near the boardwalk railing. Please plug it back in before you leave.  Thanks!

 

Note that the beach cam is always on mute.

Are pets permitted in the house?

 

No. Pets are not permitted inside the house under any circumstances. Our children have pet allergies and asthma, so no exceptions will be made.

Is this a non-smoking house?

 

Yes.  You can smoke outside on the deck.

What are the check-in and check-out times?

 

Check-in is 3 PM EST. Check-out time is 11 AM EST. We realize that flight and ferry schedules don't always match up with these times, so if you need an early check-in or late check-out, let us know. If you are fine with leaving your bags on the deck while the cleaners take care of things and enjoying the beach and island, that works!

 

When checking out, if you could tidy up a bit and run a load of towels in the washer, that would be great.  Thank you!

 

And here is a document that summarizes some useful house info that you might want to print out and have with you before you arrive:

House Useful Info.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [35.4 KB]

Is there a security deposit?  Is damage insurance required?

 

No.  We use the honor system. There is no security deposit or damage insurance required. We’ve found these to be far more hassle for everyone than what they are worth. If you break something major during your stay, please just replace it or mail us a check for the damage.

What is your cancellation policy?

 

Once you confirm your reservation, you have a 10 day grace period to cancel your reservation where you will get 100% of your money back. Once the grace period is up, you will only get your money back if we re-rent the house for the same time period and rate. We'll try our best to re-rent the house, but sometimes we may need to lower the rate in order to make this happen, especially on short notice. If we re-rent the house at a lower rate, your refund will be based on this lower rate.

 

Please contact us immediately if you need to cancel your reservation. Note that HomeAway and VRBO provide travel insurance through Allianz. Here is a link to the travel insurance website where you can quickly get a quote.

What amenities are included?

 

Here is a list of amenities that are provided:

 

  • Linens and bath towels
  • Beach towels
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Hand Soap
  • Trash Bags

Are there beach chairs at the house?

 

Yes. There are four lightweight, plastic Adirondack chairs on the deck that you are welcome to take to the beach and work really well for lounging on the beach or in the water. There are also two blue folding nylon beach chairs.

Are there toys at the house?

 

Yes. We have two young boys. There is a plastic crate full of inside toys and a plastic crate full of beach toys that should keep kids ages 2 to 8 very occupied. They should be in one of the roadside bedroom closets. Please make sure you rinse off the beach toys at the end of your stay.

Do you have a high chair and crib at the house?

 

Yes. There is a portable high chair / booster seat at the house.  It's a Summer Infant Deluxe Comfort Booster.  And there is also Graco Pack 'n Play Playard.

What is your hurricane refund policy?

 

If there is a hurricane that threatens the Bahamas and causes you to either shorten or cancel your vacation, you will receive a refund prorated for the days of your trip that you miss.

How do we get the keys to the house?

 

There are no keys for the house. The house has one keyless entry door. Your key code will be emailed to you approximately two weeks before your arrival date.

What if someone needs medical attention?

 

The Spanish Wells health clinic is down the street from the house on 18th St and Main. It's a pink building across the street from the Eagles Landing restaurant. There is a nurse practitioner there and she is usually on call if you get sick on the weekend. She will leave a phone number posted on the front door if you need to see her.

 

We have young boys and have taken them there a few times. The nurse practioner is very good. There is also a full pharmacy at the Food Fair and the pharmacist there is very helpful.

 

If you are having serious medical problems, here is a link to emergency medical information for the Bahamas. The phone number for being airlifted to Miami is 305-232-7700. To Nassua, the phone number is 242-362-1606.

 

Also, our next door neighbor to the east is where the island police officer lives. Roker is his name and he's great and very helpful.  Definitely say hello to him while you are here.

Is there a telephone at the house?

 

Yes.  There are two phones at the house, one for local calls and another for calling the U.S. and Canada.  They are both labeled so you can tell which is which.

 

The local phone can only make local calls and it can receive local and international calls. The U.S. and Canada phone is a Magic Jack phone and can make and receive calls to/from the U.S. and Canada and can also make 800 calls.

 

Cell coverage by Bahamas Telecom is very good on the island. Call your mobile phone provider for temporary international coverage. Most provide a weekly or monthly plan for calls, text, and data. We use AT&T / iPhones and get great coverage on the island (dial 611 on your mobile to contact AT&T).

 

The internet connection is usually really fast so Skype and FaceTime are also good options.

 

Here is a house phone list of useful local numbers:

Amberjack House Phone List.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [33.8 KB]

What's the weather like in Spanish Wells?

 

Gorgeous. Here is a link to a bunch of weather resources.

How old is the house and how long have you owned it?

 

The house was built in 2008. We purchased it in June 2014.

What are some other good online resources for Spanish Wells?

 

Here are our favorites:

 

My Spanish Wells

Noonsite

 

There's also a great book on Spanish Wells that was published in 2010, Spanish Wells Bahamas: The Island, The People, The Allure. It was written by Chris Cirillo. If you are heading to Spanish Wells, you should pick up a copy.

 

And here is a very good link to emergency medical information about the Bahamas.  

 

This site has great information about boating in the Bahamas.

 

And here is the Spanish Wells TripAdvisor link.

Can you recommend a realtor?

 

Absolutely. We highly recommend Darrin Sands of Sotheby Realty. Darrin was born and rasied on Spanish Wells and was our realtor when we bought the house. You can reach him at 242-557-7071.

Can we drink the tap water?

 

Don't drink the tap water.  It's fine for doing dishes, laundry, and showers, but it's salty and will give you diarrhea if you drink it. We have a water cooler at the house that you'll want to use for drinking water and coffee. If it runs out, call 242-333-4704 and they will drop off a 5 gallon refill for $5. Just leave the empty jug by the back door with $5.

We have a really large group of people.  Are there other rental homes nearby?

 

Yes. The homes listed below are a short walk from our house (1-2 blocks). These two are not on the beach:

Tingum

Cozy Cay

 

These are all on the beach and are a 1-2 minute walk from our house on Northside Beach:

Palm 22

Cockleshell

Island Waves

Sail Beach

 

Pretty much every rental home on Spanish Wells is within a 5 minute golf cart ride from the house. Russell Island rentals are about 10 minutes away by golf cart.

What do we do if the city water goes down?

 

The city water stops working several times per year for a day or so.  We added a 600 gallon water storage tank behind the house that can be used when this happens.  To switch over to the water tank, give Andre our house manager a call and he can switch it over for you.

How wheelchair accessible is the house?

 

The entire house has a very open, single story floor plan and is naturally very wheelchair friendly. The rear entrance has a concrete ramp from the concrete driveway to the entrance doorway which is 35" wide. The doorway widths in the house range from 29.5" to 35".

 

There is a padded shower transfer bench on site for showers. Both showers have a detachable wand shower head. The outdoor shower is also wheelchair accessible. There is also a commode chair on site. Note that there are no grab bars installed in the bathrooms. Every room has wall-to-wall tile floors. 

 

The beach can be accessed using a golf cart and golf carts can be rented locally. Another option for beach access that is really nice for wheelchair users is our new boardwalk and beach deck.  You can easily get to the edge of the beach using the boardwalk.

 

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact us.