Welcome to paradise lost. Located at the southern terminus of Queen’s Highway, on the quiet shoestring-shaped island of Eleuthera, lie the ruins of a decadent era. Opened in 1972, the Cape Eleuthera Resort hosted well-heeled jet-setters during the island’s tourism heyday.
Built in conjunction with former Pan Am founder Juan Trippe, who set up a small, now derelict airport nearby, the former resort was an excuse to day-trip from Florida for a round of golf and business luncheons. Described in an advertisement as a “world of beauty on the island of Eleuthera,” the short-lived opulence of the resort ended in 1983 with bankruptcy, followed by a fire and repeated pummeling by hurricanes that pushed the property to disrepair allowing nature to begin reclamation.
Included at this site of prime exploration are the ruins of old villas and the former clubhouse, with its palm tree-lined circular driveway and valet parking. Long gone are the tennis courts, manicured beaches, tiled pool, and 18-hole golf course—all of which have been swallowed up by the hungry Bahamian flora.
The once manicured network of golf cart roads still exists, albeit pockmarked with potholes and overgrown with vines and invasive Casuarina pines. This jungled landscape is prime for exploration, made up of concentric paths known as the “Outer Loop” and the “Inner Loop,” which houses a ghostly and colossal banyan tree.
Today the site lies adjacent to a quaint modern marina with a handful of pastel houses, a milder glimpse into the lavish extravagance of tropical holidays past. Those adventuring to the verdant site can navigate to the predominantly intact “4th Hole,” a fairway that lies adjacent to a secluded beach kissed by azure waves, just one of many natural nooks that make this area prime for fishing, running, and snorkeling.
Know Before You Go
This site lies at the end of Queen's Highway, past The Island School and adjacent to the rebuilt Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina. Open to the public, this location is prime for nature exploration, therefore, travelers should dress accordingly.