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.
We often rent beach chairs, 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.
If you snorkel here, you can 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 picture below during one of our visits to Bermuda. You can see the beach 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 (May to October) when the cruise ships start offloading thousands of visitors, this beach gets very crowded, as almost everyone has it the list of 'must go' places. You can hardly find space to navigate through the numerous sun bathers. And there are some who want to still come with their own shade tents or umbrellas.
Trails from Horseshoe Bay Beach
There are beautiful secluded coves within easy walking distance from Horseshoe Bay Beach. If you find the main beach crowded, just walk a bit and you will find these little gems that are hardly visited by tourists. Some of our favorite coves include Port Royal Cove to the west (i.e. right as you face water), 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.
Port Royal Cove, just west of Horseshoe Bay Beach
There is a lovely walking trail to several other lovely South Shore Beaches from Horseshoe Bay beach. 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. It's located near the beach entrance. The burgers are quite nice. It also sells hotdogs, chicken, fish, soda, water and juices. Right opposite to the entrance of the access road leading to the beach and on South road is a mid-range restaurant Gulfstream which opened in Feb 2014 (in place of earlier Tio Pepe). It serves Pizza, Panini, fresh seafood preparations and other select International dishes.
There are free toilets, changing facilities and showers available at the beach near the entrance. 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.
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: Location, Transport, Fares
The Horseshoe bay beach is located in Southampton Parish. It is on the Horseshoe Road, off South Road and on Bus route #7 (that runs between the Dockyard and Hamilton City). From the dockyard, it takes about 35 minutes to reach the beach by bus. From the bus stop, you will need to walk downhill along an access road for about 400 yards and then through compact sand to get to the beach. Bus fare is $4.50 by token and $5.00 by cash.
While the downhill walk may not be difficult, but for many 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 the hill 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 (4 passenger taxi) to Horseshoe Bay Beach is $38 without tips and takes about 25 minutes to reach. Recently WEDCO (West End Development Corp) has introduced a minibus shuttle service from dockyard to Horseshoe and other south shore beaches. Return fare is $16 per person. The service starts at 8am at dockyard and the last return minibus from the beach is at 6pm.
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.
Horseshoe Bay Beach Reviewed by Raj Bhattacharya Rating: 5.0
By Raj Bhattacharya
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