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.