Bermuda offers an array of exquisite beaches of pink sand and turquoise water. The sand contains pink flecks that are the remains of a tiny organism known as red foam. This combined with tiny particles of broken shells and bits of coral create the pink hue of Bermuda’s beautiful beaches.
Bermuda’s pink sand beaches and clear, cerulean blue ocean waters are very popular with tourists. Lifeguards are stationed on some of the beaches during the summer; however, many are not and being aware of the undercurrents and never swimming alone are two good tips. There are some water activities with fabulous snorkeling and diving offered on the reefs off South Shore at the larger beaches.
A private picnic lunch or dinner at the beach is a popular option. The less private beaches often offer food and alcohol concessions.
John Smith’s Bay: Off the beaten track in Smith’s parish, this popular locals’ beach is a little less crowded than the South Shore destinations but still boasts soft sand and great swimming and snorkelling. The Harrington Hundreds grocery store is just a few minutes away by moped if you want to make your own picnic.
Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve: A tiny peninsula on the eastern edge of the island, only recently opened to the public, Cooper’s Island is actually a series of small coves connected by almost a mile of walking trails. The larger, but less picturesque (it’s all relative) Clearwater Beach is right next door.
West Whale Bay: Named for the humpback whales that migrate past Bermuda in April and May each year, this is as good a place for whale watching as anywhere on the island. The grassy cliff-top that borders this Southampton beach is a great spot for a picnic.
Snorkel Park: A great beach for families, out west in vibrant Dockyard. There are inflatables for the kids to rent, great snorkelling for dad and beach loungers for mum.
Warwick Long Bay: To truly grasp the beauty of Bermuda’s South Shore, walk the length of Warwick Long Bay and clamber across the rocks, or take a detour over the sand dunes to Jobson Cove and Chaplin Bay. On a quiet day you will see more Longtails than fellow tourists. B, R (seasonal)
Shelly Bay: A parents’ dream beach, Shelly Bay boasts warm, shallow water, a soft sandy bottom and backs on to a playground and sports field. A favourite for kids and novice swimmers – and close to the bus stop.
Church Bay: Swim with shoals of brightly coloured parrot fish among the pristine coral reef that pierces the water just yards from shore at this small South Shore bay, widely revered as Bermuda’s best beach for snorkellers.
Elbow Beach: A half-mile of white sand boasting stunning views of the Atlantic, Elbow Beach, in Warwick, is a playground for joggers, kiteboarders, beach volleyball players and SCUBA divers. There’s even a shipwreck within swimming distance of shore. You can join in the fun or just hire a deckchair and sit back and watch.
Tobacco Bay: Famous for its stunning volcanic rock formations – natural sculptures that emerge from the glassy water, this picturesque, sheltered cove is also a snorkellers’ dream. The short walk from the old town of St. George is well worth it.
Horseshoe Bay: A crescent of soft, pink sand, lapped by clear blue water, fringed by sand dunes and bordered with sandstone cliffs, garnished with swaying palms – Horseshoe, in Southampton Parish, is the Mecca of the island’s beaches and a must for every Bermuda visitor.
Many of Bermuda’s hotels are located along the south shore of the island. In addition to its beaches, there are a number of sightseeing attractions. Historic St George’s is a designated World Heritage Site. Scuba divers can explore numerous wrecks and coral reefs in relatively shallow water (typically 30-40 ft or 9-12 m in depth), with virtually unlimited visibility. Many nearby reefs are readily accessible from shore by snorkellers, especially at Church Bay.
Bermuda’s most popular visitor attraction is the Royal Naval Dockyard, which includes the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Other attractions include the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, the Botanical Gardens and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, lighthouses, and the Crystal Caves with stalactites and underground saltwater pools.
History of Bermuda:
The first European to discover Bermuda was Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermúdez in 1503, after whom the islands are named. He claimed the apparently uninhabited islands for the Spanish Empire. Although he paid two visits to the archipelago, Bermúdez never landed on the islands, because he did not want to risk crossing over the dangerous reef surrounding them. Subsequent Spanish or other European parties are believed to have released pigs there, which had become feral and abundant on the island by the time European settlement began. In 1609, the English Virginia Company, which had established Virginia and Jamestown on the North American continent two years earlier, established a settlement. It was founded in the aftermath of a hurricane, when the crew of the sinking Sea Venture steered the ship onto the reef so they could get ashore.
The island was administered as an extension of Virginia by the Company until 1614, when its successor, the Somers Isles Company, took over and managed it until 1684. At that time, the company’s charter was revoked, and the English Crown took over administration. The islands became a British colony following the 1707 unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. After 1949, when Newfoundland became part of Canada, Bermuda automatically was ranked as the oldest remaining British Overseas Territory. Since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, it is the most populous Territory. Its first capital, St. George’s, was established in 1612 and is the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the New World.
Today the United States is critical to Bermuda’s economy. As the island’s closest geographical neighbor, the U.S. is also its principal trading partner and the source of more than 80% of its visitors. With the decline of tourism in recent years, the economy is based primarily on international business, and the island is an important regional and global offshore financial center. Insurance and reinsurance firms based in Bermuda write significant volumes of business in the United States, and a large number of American-owned businesses are incorporated in Bermuda. An estimated 8,000 U.S. citizens live in Bermuda, many of them employed in the international business community.
Bermuda’s currency, the Bermuda dollar, is pegged one-to-one to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recognizes the Bermuda Stock Exchange as a “Designated Offshore Securities Market.” Areas of opportunity for U.S. investment, in addition to the insurance, reinsurance, and financial services industries, include the government sector.
At 21 square miles, the entire UK overseas territory of Bermuda is smaller than some of the world’s larger airports. Located 560 miles east of Cape Hattaras, Bermuda depends on its airport (BDA/TXKF) for much of its contact with the outside world.
The airport can support aircraft of all sizes up to and including the A380. It is a NASA Space Shuttle launch-abort site that could be used during low- and mid-inclination launches. Facilities include both a passenger and a cargo terminal as well as an airport hangar constructed in 1995.
The first facility on the site now occupied by L.F. Wade International Airport was built between 1941 and 1943 as a joint US Army Air Forces (USAAF)/Royal Air Force (RAF) base named Kindley Field. At the end of World War II, the RAF left Bermuda. The field, by then hosting civil as well as military aircraft, was operated by the United States Air Force as Kindley Air Force Base until 1970, when it was transferred to the United States Navy. The Navy operated it as US Naval Air Station, Bermuda until 1995, when it was transferred to the Bermuda Government’s Ministry of Tourism and Transport.
Today, L.F. Wade International Airport offers service to fourteen destinations in Europe, Canada and the U.S., including travel hubs such as London, New York, Miami and Toronto. The airport is served by Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, United, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, AirTran, Westjet and US Airways.