Have a Bermudaful day
Updated: Dec 28, 2018
We haven’t had a vacation in well over a year, which is extremely odd for us. So, when we decided to book a last-minute beach vacation, I was pumped. Living the last ten years – and all of my adult life – in Texas, a last-minute beach vacation was almost always to Mexico and sometimes the Caribbean. But usually Mexico to Riviera Maya and on the rare occasion the Pacific Coast to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta. Being on the East Coast now, we needed to get our bearings on what actually is doable: where is easily accessible, what is affordable and what can be done quickly and easily. (I learned my lesson the hard way that Vegas is no longer a two-hour flight – it’s five and there are not many nonstop flights, except one that leaves at the crack of dawn!)
We narrowed down our search to The Bahamas and Bermuda, based on proximity, cost and what we were looking for: beautiful beaches and warm weather. We discovered that The Bahamas was out this time due to costs on the last-minute bookings. So, we homed in on Bermuda, and with the help of some Chase Reserve points, we were on our way!
The beaches and pink sand
What everyone wants to know in Bermuda and looking into booking trips to Bermuda is where is the pink sand. And every beach shop, magazine and sign in Bermuda explains why their sand is pink. However, I feel like their sand is only pink in certain lights, times of day, phases of the moon or with specific Instagram filters… But, one day, it was very pink. I guess the lighting was right. If you want to see pink sand, go to Warwick Long Bay and Jobson’s Cove just down from Horseshoe Bay. That’s the pinkest sand and the bluest water. It’s also a pretty beautiful beach to spend any day even if the sand doesn’t look that pink!
Speaking of Horseshoe Bay. That is my favorite beach in Bermuda. It’s spectacular. I fell in love and we went back three times. There are full-service bathrooms and showers, a beach bar and café, named Rum Bum (Mark loved that), and chair and umbrella service. It gets very crowded, when the cruise ships come in, so try to get there early in the day to get a spot and go down farther away from the café to avoid some of the crowds.
When the tide goes out later in the day, you can walk down the beach and walk along to some of the other beaches through the coves. There’s a walking trail behind as well, just bring shoes, that’s a quick walk down to Warwick Long Bay. We made the walk in maybe seven minutes or so when we went directly there on the trails.
If you know us, you know Mark loves activities – lots of activities. So, we were not sitting around and reading on the beach all week, unfortunately. We explored the cute little town center of Hamilton. We found tons of shopping, restaurants, and bars. While they have a lot of your standard Vineyard Vines and such, we found a few shops to add to your list:
Tabs is the place to get your authentic Bermuda shorts. They are supposed to be worn with tall black socks, a dress shirt, and tie! I think it’s quite peculiar. Mark was super into the look. Thankfully for me, he didn’t wear it. He did purchase some of the shorts. Here’s hoping he decides to wear them with a t-shirt!
The Island Shop reminds me of going into Pottery Barn for island-style items. You can pick up some great swag. Our host recommended it. I think most items that have been imported, unfortunately, but it’s still a great little boutique. You can ask Mark that, but I hate tourist crap. I won’t go into those shitty stores and refuse to buy or own trinkets. So, when she offered this spot, I was quite impressed with the thought! (Take note: Do not buy Courtney random crap with a location screen-printed on it!)
Urban Cottage is a women’s store with the cutest and most stylish outfits. I literally wanted to buy everything in sight! They don’t ship internationally and don’t have stores anywhere else. I guess I’ll have to go back to Bermuda!
In Hamilton, they also have the ferry to go out to the Royal Naval Dockyards and St. George’s. We took the ferry up to the Dockyards. It was neat to explore the Commissioner’s House and get up close to the Dolphins at the Dolphin Quest. You can swim with them for a pretty penny. I’m sure this is a great experience, but we’ve done this before. However, if you pay to explore the museum for just $15, you can go and sit outside of their habitat and watch them for as long as you like. We wound up being there right in time to watch them with their trainers. We stayed for almost an hour. It was amazing! I loved every second!
@DCDiet does vacation right!
We actually didn’t eat out much in Bermuda. We live in D.C. – the land of amazing restaurants. And Mark is one hell of a cook! But we did find a few places that you can’t miss!
Devil’s Isle Café is a fabulous spot right in Hamilton. Go there for breakfast – you can walk up and grab coffee to go or sit down – and go back for lunch! We did both. Heck go there for dinner. It’s such an awesome little spot! It’s the best place we found. I want to go back to Bermuda just to eat there again!
The Pickled Onion has a great balcony with water views in the middle of Hamilton. They say it has the best fish sandwich in all of Bermuda and Mark would agree. He had every other fish sandwich to compare!
Sea Breeze Lounge is a beach lounge right on Elbow Beach with sushi and live music most nights. They had steel drums playing and good drinks flowing the night we were there. The sushi was very good and they have some other tapas options on the menu. The ambiance was awesome!
Where we stayed
We found a wonderful Airbnb in Paget that was walking distance from Elbow Beach with access to its own private beach. It also had a private pool and was completely suited for us, if we had traveled with another couple, which we didn’t have this time to coordinate with this time.
I think in Bermuda Airbnb and B&Bs in general are a big thing. They also have some great hotels (If you must stay in hotels, check out The Reefs. Great locations and they look amazing). We noted immediately that the entire island is clean and upscale, unlike many islands we’ve traveled to where I’m not sure I would want to stay somewhere other than a large resort property. So, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of this and stay in a house for privacy and cook dinners. We loved it! (Well, Mr. Activity missed having an entertainment director at the kiddie pool during nap time! Kidding!)
If you aren’t sure where to stay on the island, I would look near Horseshoe Bay. There are some nice hotels right on the beach as well. There are a lot of homes around the island with private beaches, but they are not very close to this area or to the Hamilton area. I would angle to be nearer this beach or the Hamilton area for restaurants and bars, if possible! And that leads me to…
In Bermuda, you can’t rent a car unless you own property, so getting places isn’t that easy. A lot of folks will rent scooters. Taxis rule the day and are terribly expensive. They take forever to get there and sometimes don’t show up at all. To save yourself the headaches, plan to call ahead an hour or two or even the night before and schedule your taxi through the system on the phone. Be prepared with a 20-minute window – and be ready to be on island time! They have an app “like uber.” However, we never found that it worked, but everyone says to “use the app.” Also, many taxi drivers will give you their cards and offer other services such as picking up groceries and tell you they will come get you. But when you call, they don’t pick up, or are not working. So keep that in mind that it isn’t a good “fall back.”
The bus system works fairly well, but one day the bus drivers decided to go on strike. It was the day we planned to go up to St George’s. So, that was kind of a massive flop! We used buses and taxis for most of our moving around. I wasn’t comfortable on the scooters. You may feel differently. I don’t do motorcycles or anything like that or that is slightly risky at all. Lol.
Also, you may want to know that U.S. Customs is in the airport in Bermuda, and they have it down to a science. They have one of these in Aruba, and it was more of a hindrance. We sailed through in Bermuda faster than any international terminal and didn’t have to do customs in the U.S. since we had already been cleared. Another check mark for Bermuda!
You should 100% go check out this amazing island. I was delightfully surprised by how amazing it is. I will go back and break my rule of never going to the same place twice! I highly recommend.