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A Guide to Horseshoe Bay Beach Bermuda
We have traveled extensively and been to many beaches all over the world, but Horseshoe Bay Beach in Southampton Bermuda clearly stands out from the rest. It's really special! With a curved stretch of sand against the backdrop of blue waters of the Atlantic, this beautiful pink sandy beach forms shape of a horseshoe. Horseshoe bay beach was rated as a favorite Valentine's day getaway for couples by the American daily USA Today. In our books, this beach is in the list of top ten of the world's best beaches. We usually spend long hours of our vacation in this beautiful beach. During high season (May to October), early morning is the best time to visit the beach if you want to avoid swimmers and sunbathers.
The main beach is about quarter of a mile but extends to other south shore beaches to the east. The sand here is pale pink in color and water clear blue. There are limestone rocks that surround the beach along its boundary line. Horseshoe Bay can provide great snorkeling experience if you are willing to go a little offshore towards the rocks.
Sometimes we rent beach chairs and spend hours relaxing and enjoying the turquoise waters and watching the waves pounding on the shores. Even during peak summer we found that the pink sand, which is quite soft in Horseshoe bay beach, does not become too hot. A local told us that the sand here has tiny bits of corals and shell dusts in it that keep the heat away. By the way, it's the same corals and shell dust that create a pink hue and makes the sand look pink in color.
You will see variety of colorful fish like parrot fish, angel fish, wrasse, sergeant majors, snappers and more. However the ocean can swell quite high at times. So try snorkeling here only if you are a good swimmer. Life guards are on duty during the high season.
I took the photo below during one of our visits to Bermuda. You can see the beach and it was quite empty. It was a morning time in early March. The cruise ships hadn't still started coming in and the beach was just like a piece of paradise.
Horseshoe Bay Beach in low season
But during the summer season when the cruise ships start offloading thousands of visitors, this beach can get very crowded, as almost everyone has this in the list of 'must go' places. See below what happens to the beach during the high season.
Horseshoe Bay Beach in high season
Trails from Horseshoe Bay Beach
Horseshoe Bay beach also offers a lovely walking trail to the South Shore Beaches. Whenever the beach got crowded, we would take the trail though the park that leads to beautiful secluded coves. Some of our favorite coves include Port Royal Cove to the west, Peel Rock cove and Wafer Rocks beach to the east.
Port Royal Cove is also locally known as the Baby Beach. Children would love to swim and snorkel in the shallow water here. There are reefs around this. One can hand feed the parrot and angelfish here. The place is really picturesque and a photographer's paradise. We also found a large wading pool close by surrounded by cliffs that provide lots of shades. Kids can walk along the shallow waters and have great fun here.
To the east the trail passes below the cliff and through dunes. You can also walk along the beach towards east to see the other great pink beaches. However you will then need to wade around some rock formations & water areas on the way.
There is a beach café at Horseshoe Bay called the Horseshoe bay beach café. The burgers are quite nice. It also sells hotdogs, chicken, fish, soda, water and juices. Right opposite to the entrance of the beach on South Road, there is a nice Italian restaurant Tio Pepe. You can plan to take your lunch here. They also offer take away lunch packs.
Horseshoe Bay Beach Cafe
There are changing facilities and showers available at the beach. You will also get different types of beach gears and snorkeling equipment here. There is a small shop selling T-shirts, towels etc. Note that the rentals at Horseshoe Bay Beach are quite expensive. For example a chair or an umbrella rents for $11 each and there is a $5 security deposit per item (as in June 2013).
Festivals & Activities in Horseshoe Bay Beach
Every year in August, there is a Sand Sculpture Competition held in the Horseshoe Bay beach. This is organized by the Architects Association. We were once lucky to see it in September. On Good Friday, an annual Bermuda Kite Festival is held at the Horseshoe Bay Beach where thousands with families and children gather and participate in kite competition. Locals and visitors come with lots of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes, and there are prizes given out for various categories.
Update July 2012: A Wi-Fi hotspot has been recently installed at the Horseshoe Bay Beach area. So you can now have high speed internet connection on your phone, tablet etc while at the beach. When you access the wi-fi, it will require a user-id ad password to login. You can buy the wi-fi service online with your credit card or from the concession at the beach. There are rates available for 1-hour, 3-hours, 24-hours, 1-week and 1-month.
Update February 2013: TripAdvisor readers have voted Horseshoe Bay Beach as the 8th most beautiful beach in the world and the 3rd best in the whole of Caribbean.
Update July 2013: Horseshoe Bay Beach now features in the list of "35 beaches you should visit in your lifetime" by Business Insider magazine.
How To Reach Horseshoe Bay Beach
The Horseshoe bay beach is located in Bermuda's Southampton Parish. It is on the Horseshoe Road, off South Road and on Bus route #7 (that runs between the Dockyard and Hamilton City along the South Shore Beaches). From the dockyard, it takes about 35 minutes to reach the beach by bus. From the bus stop, you will need to walk downhill for about 400 yards and then through compact sand to get to the beach.
While the downhill walk may not be difficult, but for some the way back up can be tiring. There is a shuttle service (known as 'To the Top') run by Dean Ming. For $2, the 15-passenger shuttle can bring you back up to the main road near the public bus stop. Children under 10 ride free. The shuttle is available from 11am onwards.
From the dockyard (at Kings Wharf), the approximate taxi fare to Horseshoe Bay Beach is $30 without tips and takes about 25 minutes to reach. Alternatively, there is also a private minibus service from the dockyard which makes several round trips during the day. While booking you can choose your return time. Round trip fare is $15 per person. See Bermuda Beach Map to view the location of Horseshoe Bay Beach.
Complete Bermuda Vacation Guide on eBooks!!
Want to design a perfect vacation in Bermuda?
2) Southampton Bermuda: All about the parish, its attractions, hotels, restaurants etc
3) Horseshoe Facility Upgrades: There are plans for renovation and upgrades of the facilities at the horseshoe Bay Beach.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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