Bermuda has been one of those places that I've always wanted to visit. From the elusive Bermuda Triangle to the pink sand beaches, something about the island has always fascinated me. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for the island — and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! It was truly everything I had hoped for and more. The beaches were even more beautiful than I'd imagined, the pink sand is unlike anything I've ever seen or felt (it's buttery! can you believe it? I couldn't) and the turquoise water is downright dazzling.
I was in Bermuda for a quick five day trip (two were mostly travel) to visit a dear friend and could have definitely used more time to explore the island completely, but not seeing everything always gives me an excuse to go back! Since I had a limited amount of time my friend made a list of priorities that covered all the places I had to see and all the activities I had to do while I was there. With her as my guide I was lucky enough to experience the best of the island and am excited to share the experience.
Getting there: You will need a passport and will fly into L.F. Wade International Airport using code BDA. While several major airlines offer flights to the island, there are very limited options and it was tough to find a non-stop flight without paying a fortune (at least from Charlotte, NC).
Getting around: I can't say enough great things about the Bermuda, but when it comes to transportation and getting around it was a bit of a culture shock. Only residents are allowed to drive on the island — which keeps visitors from renting cars. So you'll have to stick to using either the public bus, renting a scooter/moped (which is expensive), taking a taxi (also expensive), ferry or a bicycle (locals call them pedal bikes). If you're considering a pedal bike, I'll go ahead and warn you, the roads are very narrow and curvy, the hills can also be extremely intimidating — even if you're an avid rider. I personally wasn't comfortable on a pedal bike or scooter, so we stuck to the bus and taxis, which were very time consuming and usually cut a huge chunk out of the time we had to explore.
Click here for the bus and ferry schedule.
Tip: Throughout my visit we learned that getting a taxi can be difficult depending on your location and the time of day, so it's a good idea to find a taxi service and call ahead to schedule a ride. And carry small bills if you plan to take a taxi, they don't always have change.
Currency: Bermudian dollar, but most places accept the American dollar.
Water: The water is safe to drink.
Cell phone use: You'll need an international calling plan (I have Verizon and it's $10 a day) or I suggest using the Whats App that lets you text and call for free while using WiFi.
Electronics: You won't need to take a converter if you're traveling from the U.S.
Cruises: Check the island's port schedule to avoid crowds from cruise ships at popular tourist destinations.
Tip: I made the mistake of visiting during August and would HIGHLY recommend you avoid visiting during the hottest month of the year. Lesson learned.
Oh, the beaches of Bermuda — each and every one is breathtakingly beautiful, but there are definitely a few that stand out above the rest:
Cooper's Island Nature Reserve is somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to the beaches of Bermuda. Located on the southeastern tip of the island in St. David's Parish, the reserve is tucked away behind Clearwater Beach — a popular beach among locals, that is definitely worth checking out, but not as remarkable as Cooper's Island, because it doesn't offer the same relaxing atmosphere that you get from having an entire beach all to yourself!
Cooper's Island may be off-the-beaten-path, but it is absolutely worth taking a detour to explore.
Well-maintained walking trails lead into the 12-acre wooded reserve and wind past several secluded coves, where you can roll out your towel and relax on a beach that you have all to yourself. The coves are not only absolutely gorgeous, but they also offer a peaceful stillness that's typically hard to find on a crowded beach. I found the tranquility of the area a welcome relief from life's everyday busyness. It was truly a treat to have the whole place all to ourselves.
Not a soul on the beach! You won't find that many places that are this picturesque and empty.
On the reserve's trails you'll pass by lots of vibrant flowers and even a few cactuses!
Located in St. George's Parish, St. Catherine's Beach is another great option for a quiet, lazy day in the sun. The water is perfectly clear and shallow, the sand is soft and you can typically find colorful sea glass along the shore! The beach's namesake, Fort St. Catherine overlooks the shoreline and is open every Monday through Friday for tours. Find out more about the fort, here.
The water is unbelievably clear at St. Catherine's Beach. If this picture doesn't make you want to visit Bermuda, I don't know what will.
I especially loved that the beach was surrounded by towering palm trees.
A look at Fort St. Catherine from the water.
Click here for info on visiting the fort.
Overlooking Fort St. Catherine.
There are no restrooms or facilities at St. Catherine's Beach, but the Beach House Restaurant and Bar is conveniently located across the street, in case you need a snack to eat or a refreshing drink. I'd suggest planning to have dinner at the Beach House to take advantage of a sunset.
The spectacular view from the Beach House deck. It's ideal for watching a sunset with a drink (or two) in your hand.
Tobacco Bay is also located in St. George's Parish and is an easy walk from St. Catherine's Beach. You can easily visit both beaches in one day if you have a limited amount of time. And while the beaches are close to each other, they are the complete opposite when it comes to atmosphere. What St. Catherine's offers in peacefulness, Tobacco Bay offers in activities. It's the perfect destination for beach-goers who want to spend the day being active and social. The water in the bay is calm making it ideal for snorkelers who want to explore the surrounding coral reefs and limestone formations. The beach bar provides plenty of entertainment with live music, snorkel gear to rent, volleyball nets and plenty of bar food and tropical drinks. (Order a Dark and Stormy or a Swizzle — Bermuda is known for both of them.) There's even a pool table on the shoreline! Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent, as well as complimentary WiFi, showers and lockers to hold your stuff — what more could you want? One thing to note — the beach area of Tobacco Bay is small and can get crowded, I suggest getting there early to make sure you get a chair rental or prime spot in the sand.
Tip: I suggest bringing your own snorkle gear to explore the coral reefs and limestone formations around Tobacco Bay. It's cheaper than the $20 rentals. I bought my gear at one of the grocery stores in Hamilton for less than $10.
Tobacco Bay. Notice the floating yellow volley ball net in the water?!
Behind the beach there's a green hillside that visitors can hike for incredible views the overlook both Tobacco Bay and Fort St. Catherine. I highly recommend checking it out and taking a moment to take in the surrounding beauty from above. It's a short, easy hike even with flip flops on.
The sweeping views from the top of Tobacco Bay's hillside.
The impressive limestone formations that flank the bay from the hillside.
To see the famous pink sand of Bermuda head to either Elbow Beach or Horseshoe Bay — both are equally as picturesque, but I only had time to visit one on this trip and opted for Horseshoe Bay. And boy, am I glad that I did! Horseshoe Bay was by far my favorite beach in Bermuda. Between the pink sandy shores, colorful waves and natural limestone cliffs, the scenery is bar none.
It would be almost impossible to take a bad picture here.
The sand is pink because of a combination of crushed shells, coral and calcium carbonate.
Horseshoe is an extremely popular destination for beach-goers and can get a bit crowded, but if you walk further down the expansive shoreline away from the beach's entrance you'll find plenty of space to spread out and enjoy catching sun rays.
Unlike the other beaches we visited, Horseshoe Bay had a lot of seaweed that washed ashore.
There are also several hidden coves and caves to find and explore around Horseshoe Bay, which only adds to the spectacular scenery. There was such a rush of excitement to find one and brave going in. I could have spent hours searching for caves and exploring where they led.
Looking out of one of the caves I found during low tide. During high tide you can't see the cave.
Several people climbed the rock formations to cliff jump.
For more ideas of what to do in Bermuda beyond the beaches, click here. Flip through the slideshow below to experience the beauty of the island for yourself.
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