Travel advice on Bermuda, please

I’ll be taking a cruise to Bermuda with my mother and sister in a couple of weeks. I’ve bought the Lonely Planet guide book, and am looking it over. But I’d love to hear from Dopers who have suggestions about what to see or do while there.

We’ll have about half a day in St. Georges, then about two days in Hamilton. The ship offers some excursions (snorkeling and tours, etc.) and we may consider them. But I’d like to get away from the more touristy things and find the real Bermuda, as much as possible. I want to go snorkeling, and of course we have to spend some time on a pink sand beach. But which one(s)?

Background. I’m a 50-year-old male, my sister is two years younger, and mom is 75. We’re none of us triathletes or anything, so don’t bother recommending a day on bicycles, but we’re up for walking tours and the like.

What do you recommend?

My comments in this earlier thread sum up a lot of what I have to say. The fact that you’re on a cruise ship means you’ll be in the midst of all the crowds. This will mean that St George will probably seem chaotic, so if there’s an excursion option for that morning then take it.

Hamilton will also be heaving, but that’s the case throughout the cruise season. For the day on a pink sand beach, the most popular option is Horseshoe Bay, but my preference (not least because it’s more of a ‘local’ beach than a tourist one) is John Smith’s Bay. I’m presuming your mother won’t be wanting to hire a scooter, so you’ll be travelling by taxi or bus (no hire cars). If the latter, route 1 takes you past John Smith’s Bay, and route 7 past Horseshoe Bay (and the other South Shore beaches). The bus station is tucked away in Hamilton a couple of block back from the shore, and it works out much cheaper to buy a block of (I think) fifteen pre-purchased tickets, even if you only use half of them.

I spent a couple of days there probably 10 years ago or so. Just flew in from Washington DC and flew out again, having nothing better to do. Boring place.

Quite expensive. The locals are pretty strange. Some of the whites are so inbred they are educationally subnormal - very big foreheads, etc. Mostly, it’s tourists and more tourists. Try and get away from the tourst areas and you’ll see some very pretty villages and towns out of the main spot, Hamilton.

My main memory is of being in a bar on the Hamilton waterfront and trying to buy an unopened bottle of beer to take out. “Not allowed at this time of night - this is a British colony.” I thought that was funny, coming from a (then) British colony (Hong Kong) where you can do anything you want, any hour of the day.

Beautiful sea, etc.

My wife and I went to Bermuda last year. We went to the zoo/aquarium in Hamilton parish (not the city of Hamilton). It was pretty cool, if you’re into that whole oceanographic stuff. We also took a walking tour of St. George which was very nice. You must snorkel, the coral is amazing, get on one of the cruise excursions for that.

Fort St Catherine has a lot of historical information, and is right next to a beach. Fort Hamilton is cool too, but was more of a DIY tour, when I went there I was completely alone in the underground passageways, just my own footsteps to accompany me, totally creepy but fun. Great views from Ft Hamilton of the city. I never got around to seeing Gibbs Lighthouse, but I wish I had.

Tobacco Bay, near St George, is not the best beach around, it gets very crowded, St Catherine bay is nicer. Horseshoe Bay is very nice, even though it is touristy.

Foodwise, you need to grab a bowl of fish chowder, with sherry peppers added at the table. Buy a bottle or two of sherry peppers for yourself, it’s a great addition to soups and stews.

Thanks folks. Does anyone else have any suggestions?

Use the local bus system - it’s reliable and inexpensive. Taxis are expensive. The bus schedule is here

If you are in Bermuda on September 24th, go to the annual Animal Fair. We went one year and loved it.

Horseshoe Bay Beach is beautiful. Check out the tide pools on either side of the beach.

Another vote here for the Aquarium. We’ve been there about five times.

The food in Bermuda is definitely just OK. The nightlife is almost non-existent. That works out just fine for me.

Here is a guide to some of Bermuda’s events - fairs, sail boat races, and concerts.

There is also a hiking trail that runs through the center of the island. It runs over the old Bermuda Railroad tracks. Not an easy hike at all, in some places, but pretty cool.

Bermuda is very small. Most of its food and water are brought into the island. A great portion of the island’s revenue comes from tourism. There’s not that much difference between the ‘real’ Bermuda and the tourist Bermuda.

My husband and I have been there with our children about six times. One reason we chose to go there so many times is because the per capita income in Bermuda is, at $35,000, the 7th highest in the world - larger than that of Hong Kong and Switzerland. We didn’t want to go to a place where the tourists are rich and the locals are poor, and you have to stay in a walled compound. Bermuda is expensive, and because it is expensive, the locals live pretty well, and they treat tourists well. So I had no problem letting my son take the bus by himself into Hamilton. Would I do that in Jamaica? No way.

That’s a long way of restating there isn’t that much difference between the tourist and the real Bermuda.

Have fun and enjoy the beautiful pink beaches!

My god, I’d like to see what you’d say when you hiked a real hill! :stuck_out_tongue: Seriously, the railway trail is a good suggestion.

I’d dispute about half of these statements…there’s a real Bermuda there, with a real identity and that has little to do with tourism. But it’s not easy to see! (FWIW little of the water is imported - the reason for the glistening white rooftops is that the water is collected and used. There’s no natural source on the island.)

I’d also point out that the average price of a house is well over a million dollars. If measured for equality rather than gross wealth, Bermuda doesn’t fare so well. There’s real povery to be found, as there is anywhere. And the idea that rich=safe just doesn’t wash with me…I can jump on a train and be in ninety minutes a lil’place called ‘London’, which has far greater wealth than where I am now, but is far far less safe, in every possible way.