If you’re never happier on holiday than setting off in the morning with a walking pole and a pair of binoculars, then you will love the laid-back island of Bermuda. Where better to hike, picnic and spot the local wildlife – whether the bobbing fins of whales and dolphins in an endless blue ocean, or the flashing wings of the yellow-billed cuckoo in one of the island’s nature reserves.
Our animal-enthusiast clients love that Bermuda is small enough that you can find a whole plethora of wildlife within easy travelling distance, wherever you are staying on the island. Here are a few of our top recommendations to visit during your holiday.
Magical Marine Life
As a small archipelago enveloped by the Atlantic Ocean, it is no wonder that the sea and its aquatic inhabitants are the stars of the show in Bermuda. Whatever your age, there is a certain thrill to spotting one of the wild sea creatures that call the Bermudan shores their home; whales, dolphins and turtles can all be admired from dry land as well as on boat trips out to sea. I have to admit to jumping up and down and crowing with delight like a child when I saw my first whale cresting in the ocean!
If you’re the seafaring type, you can’t miss the opportunity to witness the majesty of the earth’s largest mammal out in its natural environment. The appropriately named West Whale Beach in Southhampton Parish is an excellent spot for whale watching.
Between March and April every year, the island sees up to 15,000 humpback whales migrate past the South Shore as they journey to their North Atlantic feeding grounds. The anticipation of watching the surface of the water dance with the movement of countless whales is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Pompano Beach Club is a secluded luxury retreat just up the coast from West Whale Beach with an enviable position overlooking the stunning ocean. Past clients have commented on the beauty of its private beach, along with access to coral reefs 250 yards out at low tide. Birdwatchers will love that the 32 unspoiled acres of Hog Bay Park are just a half-hour walk from the hotel: its marshland, forest and coastline are home to a panoply of avian life.
Dolphin Quest, which can be found at the Royal Naval Dockyard on the westernmost hooked end of the island, offers you the opportunity to get face to face (or nose to bottlenose) with everyone’s favourite marine mammal. The organisation is not just a tourist trap – their educational programme aims to raise awareness about preserving our oceans, while their scientific research is vital to understanding dolphins and crucial factors in their conservation.
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
To learn more about the island’s abundant aquatic life, the Bermuda Aquarium in Flatts village provides a gateway to an underwater world. More than 200 fish species swim within the walls of one of the world’s oldest aquariums, founded in 1926, which also houses sharks, marine turtles and harbour seals. I would highly recommend the experience for adults and children alike.
The same seven-acre site is home to the Bermuda Zoo – which displays over 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles that make up an island ecosystem – and the Bermuda Natural History Museum, which offers an amazing insight into the island’s geological past. If you’re interested in the natural world around you, it is well worth dedicating a day of your time on Bermuda exploring this fascinating facility.
The luxurious Rosewood Tucker’s Point sits in 200 acres of the Tucker’s Point Club, just a 7-minute drive from the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. Clients love that its cottage-style rooms are spread out through lush, meandering gardens. As well as pampering and fine dining, the hotel boasts a Yoga and Tai Chi lawn – the perfect place to begin your morning feeling relaxed and refreshed for the day ahead.
The Birds and the Bees
You will want to take a walk along Bermuda’s spectacular coastline during your stay to see which creatures you can spot in the sea and the sky, but there are also a number of nature reserves on the island that are perfect for picnicking.
Cooper’s Island was occupied by NASA and the US military until 2011, at which point it was opened to the public as an idyllic twelve-acre nature reserve. Now it is a peaceful spot to sit among the towering Bermuda cedar trees and watch kingfishers and herons as they fish for their dinner.
Top tip: a Wildlife Observation Tower in the reserve is the perfect place to soak up the stunning ocean vistas and spot migratory birds.
On the Wing
With over 350 avian species swooping through the Bermudan skies throughout the year, at least 17 of which are permanent resident species, there are a plenty of opportunities for bird lovers to raise their binoculars in awe. The Butterfly House at Brighton Nurseries is a treat for the visitor to Devonshire Parish: the lush environment is the perfect reflection of the Bermuda Buckeye Butterfly’s habitat, the island’s only endemic species. I have it on good authority that it’s a popular attraction, so it’s worth booking ahead if you’re in a large group.
Bermuda’s Croaking Chorus
You may not be lucky enough to see a Whistling Frog, but you will certainly hear it during your stay – these tree frogs are small in stature but not in voice! Between April and November their bell-like chorus provides the soundtrack to Bermuda as the males use their powerful pipes to attract a mate.
If you’re looking for the ultimate adults-only escape in Bermuda, Cambridge Beaches Resort is the perfect place for you. Located on its own 30-acre peninsula in Sandys Parish, the hotel has exclusive access to four beaches and a number of coves – you could take advantage of nearby snorkelling equipment rental and explore the marine landscape without interruption.