Note: I’m temporarily jumping out of my chronological Central America trip coverage to tell you about my very last stop en route back to New York: Bermuda! We’ll jump back into Guatemala after this post.
With just one full day left in Bermuda, we knew there was only one way we were going to make a dent in everything we wanted to see — getting our own set of wheels. Of course, it would in fact only be a dent, because I think I could have easily filled a two week vacation with all there is to do on this tiny little island.
Surprise #9: Tourists in Bermuda can’t rent cars — but they can get mopeds.
We didn’t have to go far to hop on a bike — Smatt’s Cycle Livery is right next door to the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and quickly had us on our way. Though I’m very familiar with driving a scooter, I was pretty happy to hand the keys to London Lawyer — not only is he accustomed to driving on the left, but it also left me with two free hands for photo taking.
Our first stop was one I found on Trover, the Crystal Caves of Bermuda. There are actually two different caves at play here — the Crystal Caves and the Fantasy Caves. While I would have loved to have compared both, we decided we only had time for one, and I was content to save the other for my next trip to Bermuda.
The caves were gorgeous and beautifully lit — a photographer’s dream! There’s also a great history behind them, which was relayed to us by a funny and charming tour guide. I don’t care how many times a day they get repeated — cheesy tour guide jokes get me every time.
Right next door is Bermuda’s famed Swizzle Inn, the original home of Bermuda’s national drink the Rum Swizzle. Though we’d originally planned to grab lunch here, the line was long and so we decided to make like seven-year-olds having an unsupervised play date and do ice cream for lunch instead.
It was a fairly warm day out, after all.
After fueling up on a scoop of coconut cream, we pointed the bike West. We pulled over often for photos, my favorite scenic point being in colorful Flatt’s village.
Eventually we pulled along the South Shore, again stopping often to admire the various beaches dotting the stunning coast. We were excited to find the future site for the Hamilton Princess’ Beach Club, which unfortunately wasn’t yet opened at the time of our visit (though it’s up and running now!)
It was hard to imagine anything that would make me love that hotel more… but I suppose a private beach club might do the trick.
Just look at those hues of blue!
Surprise #10: Bermuda is tourist-tension free.
With water like that, I could easily see how Bermuda is lumped in with the Caribbean in guidebooks and the collective consciousness of potential travelers there (that’s where I put it on my destinations page, knowing that that’s where people would expect to see it!). However, while I could see many similarities, there were a few things that really starkly set Bermuda apart from that region of the world for me. The biggest one that jumped out on our big day out exploring was that we were in fact so comfortable out exploring.
Unlike many tropical getaways, tourists aren’t being herded into all-inclusive resorts to shield their eyes from terrible crime and crushing poverty. Bermuda has a low unemployment rate and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. With the vast majority of the population living in comfort, from what I could see there was little cause for tension between tourists and locals. From bankers in bars to attendants at gas stations, the people of this pristine island couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming, striking up conversations about everything from football teams (that would be soccer for us North Americans) to favorite beaches.
Our next stop was Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, one of the tallest points on the island. The views were spectacular, and the walk to the top was quite literally breathtaking. As in, I had to stop to catch my breath a few times. But I think we can all agree it was worth it, no?
Finally, we decided it was time for one more beach stop. We knew it would be hard to top Elbow Beach, and it was. We stopped first at Horseshoe Bay, arguably the island’s most famous beach, but found it a bit too crowded for our liking. Next, we decided to try Warwick Long Bay on a recommendation from the man who rented us our moped.
The longest stretch of pink sand in Bermuda, Warwick Long Bay was deliciously uncrowded. We visited on a Monday in May and more or less had the entire beach to ourselves!
Out of the two, I’d recommend Elbow Beach if you’re looking for amenities like restaurants and bathrooms. Warwick Bay was a bit more wild — there’s no one sweeping up seaweed here, as far as I could tell — but much more private and expansive.
I don’t know if I could pick a favorite.
Eventually, though, we raced back to the hotel for one last sunset. And wow, did it deliver.
As much as we’d enjoyed going on out on the town, we spent our last night right at home at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. She was just too pretty to leave.
The next morning, I couldn’t quite believe it was time to leave Bermuda already. I love when a destination manages to catch me by surprise, and that’s exactly what this little island nation did. This is no interchangeable, palm-lined bland beach destination. This is a sleek island getaway with a trendy food scene, interesting cultural quirks, and colorful charm to spare.
And I’ve been itching to return to since my departing flight left the runway.
Have I surprised YOU about Bermuda? I’d love to hear how in the comments!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club via Rhythm One. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Wow Alex! Bermuda looks like an absolute dream, especially with those beaches and sand. Why are sunsets on tropical islands always 10x better than any other sunsets? Haha. Happy to see you had a great trip!
I think it’s the palm trees 🙂
Phenomenal pictures per usual! I just wrote a post about the Padirac Caves in France but I think the Crystal Caves definitely blow them out of the water! Definitely have to check that out!
Already looking forward to going back and checkout out the Fantasy Caves…
Bermuda has definitely surprised me! I have yet to go in person, but your posts about it are putting it pretty high on my list! Now I’m dreaming of a week-long getaway trip there.
Me too, Marni! Four days was definitely not enough…
I really feel like jumping in the ocean now! We are a big fan of renting scooters abroad! It’s a nice way to see the surrounding.
I love it too! I was a little nervous about driving on the left… thankfully I had an escort this time!
Oh wow that cave looks absolute stunning. We went to the ATM Cave in Belize a few months ago and we can highly recommend going there if you ever in the area.
I’ve actually been to Belize twice and missed it both times 🙂 I did have lots of other adventures!
I second the ATM Caves. We loved them! My parents did them with us and they are in their 60’s so it’s a great adventure for all ages and families.
I really like that it’s a place where tourists can roam around freely and that it’s actually possible (and easy) to experience things outside of the resort. It sounds like a really great mix of tourists and locals. And I’m always down to visit islands that are easily explorable on a scooter! I’m pretty much ready to pack my bags and move there after reading these posts 😉
Haha, that’s what I love to hear Justine! I agree, I don’t have much interest in beach resorts where you’re basically “locked in” from the outside world. Love that Bermuda is such an open and friendly destination.
these pictures are amazing! I really have to get myself to Bermuda.
And life is so much better on a scooter! I bought one last year and am still excited about getting up in the morning if I can drive it that day
Oh Sarah, I’m so jealous! I dream of having one again someday… maybe a cute vintage Vespa instead of a crappy old falling apart scooter (as in, what I’ve had on Koh Tao 🙂 )
Oh my lord, these photos and those colors are just too much. Absolutely stunning!
Thank you Naomi! The hues were insane. My travels this year have been so colorful!
I’m such a huge fan of renting scooters on holiday – it’s such a great way to see a place on your own time. Bermuda looks absolutely incredible, it’s surprised me because it wasn’t a place that’s been very high up on my list of places to visit when we leave to travel, but it’s definitely making it’s way up there! xo
Yup, I love being on a bike! It’s funny because I think many travelers are intimidated by renting them, but I’m actually panicked by renting cars! I’d take a scooter any day!
Love those cave photos! Whenever I try to take pictures in caves they are horribly dark and orange from the weird lighting they use. Yours are gorgeous!
They made it really easy in this one, Sonja! The lighting was gorgeous — it was all set up for photography.
Everything on this island is pink! The beaches, the houses, the resorts…super cute!
And the hotel too 🙂 Its nickname is the Pink Princess!
Aww, you are bringing it back for me, Alex! I totally remember the Crystal Caves, the friendliest people I’d ever met and zipping around with my dad on a scooter. In fact you just inspired me to dig out my old Bermuda album in which I am posed on said scooter in a neon orange skirt with attached white biker shorts and a t-shirt with rainbow pom poms ON TOP of puffy paint. Ah, sweet memories…
Ah, now that sounds like some TRUE vacation fashion. Maybe you need to do a Throwback Thursday post sometime? 😀
I’d honestly never really though about visiting Bermuda before, but now it’s definitely on my radar!! Everything about it looks charming and good to know the people are welcoming and friendly! The caves looked positively other-worldly. Amazing captures!
It is an awesome travel destination, Shelly. I drank the kool-aid! Can’t wait to go back…
So I just immediately sent this post to a friend who I am planning a someday-world-tour with and asked if we could add this to the itinerary. Preferably with a super cute guy in tow.
Also, tickets from CA to Bermuda are surprisingly affordable, I just learned (thanks Kayak)! …like, $600 affordable, but still.
Considering how far it is from California, that IS fairly affordable. Add it to the itinerary 🙂
This looks seriously amazing–so colourful! I need to see those caves for myself some day!
I need to go back and see the other one 🙂 They were gorgeous!
Oh my days, the colours in your photos! It’s like a cotton candy land or something. It doesn’t look ‘real’, more like a section of Disneyland!
So true! We say the same thing about our neighborhood in Martha’s Vineyard! Like something in a theme park 🙂
Incredible pictures. Those caves! You have inspired me to put this on my list of must visit. Thanks!
I love that Jaime! I bet you’ll love it when you do 🙂
Wow! You never fail to surprise us with whichever place you visit. If you’d take a peek at my wanderlist (aka saved bookmarks), you’d see that it is (almost) all alex in wanderland! Can’t wait to see Bermuda for myself! :))
Aw, that makes me smile Laurene! Thank you! I have a feeling you’ll fall hard for Bermuda when you do make it there!
u look sooooo happy there, alex. 🙂 we can only imagine.
My joy levels were pretty maxed out in Bermuda! It was a great time.
Hi! It looks like you changed your blog design a bit, I love it! xx Anyways your trip looks fantastic and its true, you do look so happy! i mean those beaches are GORGEOUS! Thanks for all the beautiful photos
Back in November I did my massive new site launch, but nothing has changed since then! Looks like Bermuda brought out some big smiles in me — no surprise there 🙂
Can’t say I knew much about Bermuda at all but it sounds like a great destination – especially for the pink sand beaches and the fact that there isn’t crushing poverty
It really feels like an anomaly almost! I can see why it has so many loyal fans that return year after year.
It’s nice the way you managed to go around and get some wonderful pictures. It’s not always this bright. There have been stories of stolen scooters and visitors’ accidents caused because of less number of lights on the streets as well.
We definitely heard warnings about the dangers of driving a scooter. I’m sure plenty of people who rent them don’t have much experience — luckily we both had driven them before and had experience driving on the left. I’m not surprised to hear there is some level of crime. I haven’t heard of a place where it doesn’t exist at all! But overall, my experience was a safe and friendly one!
So blue, so green, so pink! I love me some scootering too. Wanderlust in full swing on this cloudy “summer” day in Berlin
Sounds like summer is having a late arrival everywhere! May was super gloomy in New York. Happy to be in sunny California!
Ah…Bermuda. I went to med school with someone from there and would love to go and see it one day. Looks beautiful – you’ve really brought it alive – thanks!
That would be a great way to see the island — with a local guide 🙂
Gorgeous pics!!! This post took us down memory lane to our trip to Bermuda. Loved the caves and walking along the pink sand beaches, although we didn’t do any handstands 😉
One of our favorite things to do there was looking at all the old graves in the cemetery – very historical with a “free blacks” section.
I didn’t get to any of the cemeteries, though we did pass a few on the scooter. I would love to return and dive into a few of the historical sites around the island.
I’ve never been anywhere in the Caribbean and now I have absolute wanderlust for Bermuda. My goodness … it is absolutely GORGEOUS. Just WOW.
You’ll never forget your first time in the islands 🙂 I warn you though, if Bermuda is your first one, you might be spoiled everywhere thereafter!
Bermuda looks like the best island ever! Take me with you next time, K? Cool.
I’ve always wanted to go to Bermuda, especially since it’s so easy to get there from the East Coast. My husband has been wanting to rent a scooter somewhere, too. Sounds like this might be the perfect opportunity!
Love your pictures! I’ve always been fascinated by caves. I’m currently living in Vietnam and we have Son Doong cave here. Have you heard of it?
You’ve totally sold me! It looks like the perfect beachy getaway – definitely considering Bermuda for a trip this fall!
Looks like a great adventure! I’m not too fond of two wheels (scooter, moterbike…) but I enjoy it when there’s no traffic. 🙂
This probably wouldn’t be the best place for you to ride then Juno 🙂 There were definitely plenty of other vehicles on the road! Luckily there are plenty of other ways to get around Bermuda…
I’ve always wanted to rent scooters on a vacation and just go adventure, looks like you had a blast! The crystal caves look unbelievable! So beautiful! The rest of the island does too don’t get me wrong, your photos make me want to book a one way ticket to Bermuda 🙂
You won’t hear me dissuading you from that plan Emily! Bermuda was one of my favorite destinations of the year.
Wow! Truly a magical place. It was great reading this post ?
Thanks Ratheesh! I dream of returning to Bermuda.
Love your pictures! I’ve always been fascinated by caves. Thanks for sharing.
Me too! Can’t resist them when I’m traveling!
I really enjoyed your blog post on Bermuda. I was born there and your really captured the essence of the island.
Wow, that’s a huge compliment Leticia! Thank you — I’m touched!