I am practically an albino; this means my skin is whiter than the fresh cotton sheets on my hotel bed. My skin does not like the sun. I literally burn when there is no shade. Imagine one of those old vampire movies, where the creature of the night stays out too late and bursts into flames the second it has contact with sunlight. That's me, the big exception being, I drink Bloody Marys instead of what vampires usually go for.
I have been sent to Bermuda to review the best beaches on one of the world’s finest and most sun kissed islands. The editor for Enter Bermuda has a sense of humor. She sent a fellow writer who is a bronzed "surfer dude" to experience Iceland's northern lights and sent me to burn on the beach. I had to book extra luggage to accommodate my large case of 50 SPF sun screen. This very pale travel writer is on his way to one of the most captivating islands on the planet.
Bermuda is described as a romantic, tropical paradise with pink sand beaches and crystal blue waters. The Bermudan people are known throughout the world for being kind and friendly. Many people describe Bermuda as heaven on earth and they are absolutely right. As my guide said when greeting me at the airport. "Welcome to Paradise."
I have five days to visit seven beaches. I have a suitcase full of the most powerful sunscreen known to man and a hat the size of a satellite dish. My first stop is Elbow Beach. As I walk along Elbow Beach, all I can see are smiling faces on bronzed bodies. It has only been a few hours and I am loving this assignment. The Bermudian people are incredibly friendly and this, of course, rubs off on the tourists. I have a sun lounger, a large cocktail and a water skiing lesson booked. I am starting to think I’m a natural when it comes to beach life. I’m also starting to understand this paradise thing.
I am on Elbow Beach but I could be in what many people imagine Heaven to be. There is an Elbow Beach resort that owns a small part of the beach that is made private for its guests. It looks fancy and is probably full of luxury and VIP treatment, however, the public part of the beach is just as much of a paradise and some of the other hotels on the beach offer their amenities for purchase to non-guests. I am on assignment, I had to take advantage of this fact. It’s a tough job.
The emphasis at Elbow Beach is firmly placed on relaxation and fun. I am a little excited to be here. Perhaps it's the cocktails, maybe it's all of the happy smiling faces. My excitement is leading me to get a little carried away with the extensive menu of water-sports on offer. I am agreeing to everything, even paragliding. After a day of activities, relaxation, and cocktails I can honestly say I have discovered Heaven on earth. I have fallen in love with Elbow Beach.
Tobacco Bay Beach
I will let you in on a little secret, I try to stay away because it’s very bad for you but, psst, I love smoking and today I am very excited. I am on my way to Tobacco Bay Beach. I am dreaming that I get to visit Jack Daniels island afterward. I am in paradise, so you never know. Everything is possible in paradise. Tobacco Bay Beach is in the Saint George’s parish of the island. Bermudian legend has it that tobacco was found growing next to the beach, hence its name. To say I approve is an understatement.
This is one of the most popular beaches on the island. My guide tells me the snorkeling at Tobacco Bay has to be experienced. I do love snorkeling but I have never seen anything quite like this. My guide is excitedly pointing at the colorful ocean life. If I did not have a snorkel in my mouth, my jaw would be on the ocean floor in amazement. Parrot Fish, Blue Walrus and Angel Fish all pass me by. I think I’m in love. Did I mention my guide was a beautiful Bermudian lady?
Unfortunately, there was no tobacco or Jack Daniels Island at Tobacco Bay. But that's fine, I found a beach side cocktail bar. Everything you could wish for can be found at this remarkable beach. The marine life is spectacular and should be experienced by every visitor to Bermuda.
Somerset Long Bay
Today I am being taken to the western side of Bermuda where you’ll find Somerset Long Bay. This beach is different to the others I have visited. There is a nature reserve behind the beach. The stretch of coast is lush and unspoiled. I feel like I am stranded in paradise a million miles from civilization. This beach is special. What am I talking about? Everything about Bermuda is special but this beach is really something.
The entire area surrounding Somerset Long Beach is teaming with exotic wildlife. There is lush plant life, exotic birds and a fresh water pond to laze next to.
My impression of Bermuda was one of organized tourism. My preconception was luxury resorts and construction. I never expected to find a peaceful nature reserve. The coast line along Somerset Long Beach is beautiful. I feel like I’m a million miles away from any form of tourism.
Somerset Long Bay is perfect for those who want to unplug and get away from it all, literally.
Horseshoe Bay Beach has been ranked among the top twenty beaches in the world. As the name suggests, the beach curves against the Atlantic Ocean to create the shape of a horseshoe. One thing I instantly noticed at Horseshoe Bay Beach was the sand. The sand still has the signature, beautiful pink color that Bermuda beaches boast but unlike the other beaches, the sand feels cool against my feet.
I am soon told this is due to small pieces of coral and shell dust that naturally mix with the sand. This helps to keep the heat away and keep the sand soft and cool. This is useful to know for those very hot days Bermuda can provide. Nature is a beautiful thing, just like Horseshoe Bay Beach.
To be considered as one of the top twenty beaches in the world, there has to be a special force of nature at work. This beach is pure bliss, the sand has a pink hue, the ocean is crystal blue and the marine life offers a variety of color and excitement. I think I have discovered layers of paradise that exists inside paradise.
South Shore Park & Warwick Long Bay
A little further along the coastline from Horseshoe Bay is South Shore Park and Warwick Long Bay Beach. This is a half mile stretch of pink sand set on a backdrop of cedar and grape trees. The landscape is lush and green. The ocean sparkles like it's filled with diamonds.
I am starting to think about what qualifies a beach as one of the best in the world. I love every beach I have visited and Warwick Long Bay is no exception. But this beach has something extra, something special. I am starting to think that Bermuda just might be the greatest place on earth.
The last few days of beach life are starting to show. My face has become more relaxed, my shoulders feel loose and I think I am ten years younger. My face and body have gained a light pink glow from that tiny bit of sun that always gets through my 50 SPF. As I lie on the beach dreaming of my beautiful Bermudan guide, I have to ask myself, what did I do to deserve this? Where did it all go wrong? Oh well, somebody has to do it.
West Whale Beach
West Whale Beach is in the Southampton Parish. Its name comes from its shallow waters. This is the shallowest part of the island. In the past, West Whale Beach was where the whaling industry came to capture its prey. The Whalers would wait for the whales to enter the shallow waters before striking and claiming their victims.
The vile industry of whaling did not last long on Bermuda. The Bermudian people would not stand for such a horrible past time. People with such kindness in their hearts could not allow such heartless blood lust to take place on their heavenly shores.
Instead of butchering whales, people now come to West Whale Beach to look at them and wonder at their majesty and mystery. I decide to take a taxi to the cliff top overlooking the beach. This is the best vantage point to look out to the ocean and enjoy a little whale spotting. The beach looks beautiful from the cliffs. I see a whale and smile. My day is complete.
Today is my final day on the island. I feel perfectly relaxed and a smile has not left my face since I arrived. My final beach is Jobson’s Cove. I think my guide has saved the most visually stunning beach until last.
Set in a small but perfectly sheltered cove, Jobson’s Cove Beach is surrounded by steep jagged rocks that create a natural shade and shallow pool of water. It’s a spectacular sight. This is a more natural beach. I do not have the feeling of organized tourism here. I have the feeling of being an explorer and discovering a secret and special place.
Jobson’s Cove is small, no it's tiny but all the best things come in small packages. This little heavenly lagoon is so stunning that I will refrain from making the obvious joke here. It’s tough to restrain myself but looking at the blue of the water and the formation of the rocks around the cove help.
The sun is setting over the ocean, another day in paradise has passed. My guide is driving me back to my hotel. She is excitedly chatting and pointing out areas of beauty. I am planning my final night in paradise. Tomorrow I will return to the airport and leave Bermuda but Bermuda will never leave my heart.