Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 kilometres off the east coast of the United States, Bermuda is a nearby slice of paradise. This charming British Overseas Territory has a strong British influence, which is reflected in its traditional food, its colonial architecture and in the accents of its inhabitants. There are 34 fabulous beaches and coves around the island, but there’s so much more to see, including lush tropical forests, massive underground caves and vibrant cities. What’s more, it’s easy to get around Bermuda thanks to its reliable public transportation. Base yourself in centrally located Hamilton, the island’s capital, to experience the best of this beautiful destination.
Fuel up on bacon and eggs at Village Pantry, a family-run eatery located outside Hamilton in Flatts Village. Then continue north to Blue Hole Park, a tropical paradise known locally as Tom Moore’s Jungle. Follow the trails through lush vegetation, fairytale-like grottos and caves until you reach Blue Hole, a deep turquoise lagoon fringed by mangroves.
Stroll over to Bermuda’s oldest pub, the Swizzle Inn, and order the pan-fried rockfish, along with a potent Rum Swizzle—Bermuda’s unofficial national drink. After lunch, cross the street for a guided tour of the Crystal Caves, huge underground caverns filled with eerie-looking stalactites and stalagmites.
Back in Hamilton, dine at the Port O’ Call Restaurant and Bar and order the blackened grouper with bubble and squeak cake (a fried mashed potato and cabbage patty). End the evening with a sunset sail around the Great Sound ocean inlet aboard the Rising Son II catamaran.
Start your day in the town of St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was first settled in 1612. Wander its brick streets and admire the British colonial architecture and centuries-old forts. Buy a cinnamon bun from family-run Sweet Saak Bakery, then mix your own signature fragrance at The Bermuda Perfumery.
Settle in for lunch on the huge waterfront deck at Wahoos Bistro & Patio in St. George’s and order up a plate of wahoo (a local fish) tacos. Following your meal, walk over to the popular Tobacco Bay public beach to do some swimming or snorkelling, then linger over a cold beer at the beach bar.
Head to the luxurious Rosewood Tucker’s Point resort (about 20 minutes from Hamilton) to dine on classic Italian fare at Sul Verde restaurant. Feast on house-made charcuterie, marinated vegetables and burrata from the decadent antipasto buffet as you look out over the rolling greens of the resort’s golf course.
Spend the morning at the historic Royal Naval Dockyard, a former British naval base whose stone buildings and forts now house a large retail complex as well as galleries and museums. Explore the National Museum of Bermuda to learn more about local shipwrecks and the island’s military history, then pick up a swizzle cake at the Bermuda Rum Cake Company or sample a brew or two at the Frog and Onion Pub mircobrewery.
Take the scenic route back to Hamilton via the high-speed ferry and grab lunch at Devil’s Isle Bermuda Coffee Company—order a Grateful Veg sandwich (avocado, pickled beets, tomato and arugula) and the best latte around. Afterwards, get a sweet view of Hamilton and the surrounding area by climbing the 155 steps of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.
End your Bermuda adventure with a night of dancing. Begin at Rum Bum Beach Bar at Horseshoe Bay Beach, where you can buy cocktails by the bucket. Want to keep going? The Dog House on Front Street in Hamilton is a new bar with nightly entertainment that has fast become a local favourite.
Hotels in Hamilton, Bermuda
A former private residence, this boutique hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens, and each of the guest rooms is decorated with European fabrics and beautiful hardwood furniture. There’s a big pool to cool off in and the hotel restaurant, Huckleberry, serves Bermudian, Mediterranean and Southern-inspired cuisine.
Recently refurbished, this iconic “pink palace” (a Fairmont-managed resort) has a whole host of sports facilities, a private beach club, a swanky marina and an infinity pool. The property also boasts three on-site restaurants including Marcus’, a fine-dining eatery by world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson.
[This story appears in the December 2017 issue of WestJet Magazine]
Living Like a Local in Barbados
Barbados celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence on November 30, 2016. To toast the occasion, we asked Bajan Darrio Prescod, the Barbados and Caribbean brand ambassador for Mount Gay Rum (one of the country’s most famous exports), to share his favourite island spots.