Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Bermuda's famous pink-sand beaches are considered some of the loveliest seaside retreats in the world, and the shores of Horseshoe Bay are no exception. Wide stretches of the pastel pink-hued sand -- the result of crushed shells, coral and calcium carbonate -- offset by clear blue waves lapping at the shore, create an enticing lure for the scores of visiting beachgoers who descend each year upon the 21-mile-long island.
Horseshoe Bay Beach's facilities, lifeguards and equipment rental shops have helped secure its ranking as Bermuda's most popular shore. But romance-seeking couples, or folks just hoping for a secluded stretch of sand, might venture to crescent-shaped Somerset Long Bay, sheltered Longwood Cove or the remote Astwood Cove, which lies wedged within a tall cliff.
The island's surrounding turquoise waters give snorkelers and divers reason to rejoice: The calm waters and preserved reefs of beaches like Church Bay and Daniel's Head Beach Park feature regular sightings of sergeant majors and parrot and angel fish.
Beyond its beaches, the island's appeal is tangible; Bermuda teems with quaint towns, pastel houses, and interesting museums and historic sites. Perhaps a lingering remnant of its British culture -- the island is a British Territory -- a sense of propriety and wealth pervades the island. Casual dress is frowned upon in many establishments, and luxurious accommodations, dining and shopping abound.
Bermuda International Airport is serviced by eight airlines: American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, USA 3000 Airlines, U.S. Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Air Canada and British Airways.
Because visitors aren't allowed to rent cars in Bermuda, taxis are always available at the airport, and arrangements can be made prior to your trip with airport coaches (25- and 26-passenger vans). Fares vary by destination and increase after midnight, on Sundays and public holidays.
Mild weather and sunshine fill Bermuda's forecast; the island rarely sees uncomfortably hot or cold days. Temperatures remain in the mid-70s F during the winter (Dec.-March), and average 75 F to 85 F from May through mid-October. Summer months are a bit drier than others, but rainfall is pretty evenly dispersed throughout the year.
Bermuda's lodging options cater to a variety of travelers' needs. From full-service luxury resorts to efficiency suites, most preferences can be accommodated. Many hotels are located in proximity to the beaches along the South Shore in Paget, Warwick and Southampton. The island features bed-and-breakfasts, inns, apartments, resorts and cottage colonies, a popular option that includes a main clubhouse, cottage units with kitchenettes, and private beaches and pools. For more information on where to stay, visit the Bermuda Department of Tourism.
A delectable smorgasbord of island delights awaits Bermuda's hungry visitors. The island's food features extensive seafood offerings, most notably rockfish, red snapper, wahoo, lobster and tuna steak. Fish chowder and anything made with Bermuda onions are island favorites, and adventurous eaters might indulge in a real Bermuda breakfast: boiled salt codfish with boiled potatoes, tomato and onion sauce, a hard-boiled egg and a banana. Fruit lovers can indulge in the island's sumptuous strawberries, guava, grapefruit and cherries. Restaurants range from elegant to casual, with prices to match. For a listing of dining options, check out DiningBermuda.com.
Visitor Service Bureaus can be found in Hamilton, the Royal Naval Dockyard, St. George's and Bermuda International Airport. Hamilton and St. George's bureaus are open April to October, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The Royal Naval Dockyard bureau opens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. From November to March the hours decrease at all bureaus.
Bermuda officials prefer American and Canadian visitors use a passport for citizenship identification, but original birth certificates with a raised seal issued or certified copies in addition to a photo I.D. will be accepted. Citizens of other countries must have a passport, and possibly a visa.
Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops. The Bank of Bermuda and the Bank of Butterfield provide ATMs located island-wide for withdrawals; most are available 24 hours a day. The Bermuda dollar is equal to the U.S. dollar, and U.S. currency is accepted at many hotels, restaurants and shops.
While You're There
With hundreds of magnificent pink sand beaches, it comes as no surprise that visitors to Bermuda spend much of their time sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming. But Bermuda's plentiful inland charms make a trip into town worthwhile.
To really see and feel the pulse of the island, consider renting a scooter or bicycle and touring Bermuda's streets and towns. If you're the passenger type, plenty of taxis offer tour guide services for an extra fee. Visit Gibb's Hill Lighthouse for spectacular views, the town of St. George's for a historical perspective, catch a ferry to the Royal Naval Dockyard or Hamilton and hit the fantastic shops, discover Bermuda's fascinating naval history at the Maritime Museum, and be sure to catch a romantic sunset at Albuoy's Point.
To Fake That You've Been There
Brag about your trip across the Great Sound to Hawkins Island. Accessible only by boat, this private island is a true hangout for the locals.