Tobacco Bay Beach Bermuda
A Top Snorkeling Beach
Tobacco Bay beach is located in Bermuda's St. George's parish and is one of the most popular beaches in the island. Locals say that the beach was so named because tobacco was found growing here many years back. This beach is one of our all time favorites for snorkeling. The water here is quite shallow and you get a fascinating view of the colorful marine life along with corals. However, this is not a pink sandy beach like the ones in south shore. The sand here is normal pale yellow in color.
We usually rent snorkeling gears from a beachfront kiosk. You can even purchase the snorkeling gears from here and avoid renting every time you go to another beach. If you can time it right when the wind is from the south, you'll find some of the most sheltered spots in the beach with shallow waters, and ideal for snorkeling.
We often found huge blue parrotfish, groupers, angelfishes, blue walruses and variety of other colorful fish at the Tobacco bay. Under the water surface you will see many reef structures with plenty of hogfish and sergeant majors. One of the tourists from our cruise ship told us that he had once spotted lobsters and snapping turtles just a few feet down in the waters of Tobacco Bay. Well, we weren’t all that lucky.
Tobacco bay beach Bermuda
Columns of limestone rocks of 15 to 25 feet high separate the bay from the open ocean. Near the rocks the water depth averages about 10 feet. If you swim through the rocks out into the open ocean, the water depth increases very fast and the water becomes murky due to silt. I won't advise you to do that.
My son often climbed to the top of the limestone rocks (ones with shorter heights) that surround Tobacco bay. He says that the view from there is wonderful. Some of the other tourists with us had fun by diving off the rocks into the sea. You may sometimes find the Tobacco bay beach getting quite crowded. This happens whenever there is a cruise ship in St. George. The beach gets full with the cruise ship passengers. The beach is quite small and when it gets crowded, you won't have any space to move. So check out the cruise arrival schedule before visiting Tobacco Bay Beach.
Limestone Rocks at Tobacco Bay Beach
Here is a snorkeling option that we have tried and works out quite nicely if Tobacco bay beach gets crowded. Instead of going to Tobacco bay, take a plunge into the nearby Achilles Bay
and snorkel along the rocky shoreline, not towards the Fort St. Catherine
, but towards Tobacco bay. Once you reach Tobacco Bay beach, walk back to Achilles Bay.
Tobacco Bay is well equipped with public facilities. There are bathrooms, changing facilities and a beach bar. The Buzz cafe offers nice food & drinks. Once out of the water, we would take showers at the beach house. This would generally be a perfect time to relish our favorite tuna grilled sandwiches. I would of course accompany that with some beer :-)
Update June 2014: Tobacco Bay Beach is now managed by a private company called Beach Boys. They have introduced host of facilities here including many beach and water activities like Flyboarding, Paddleboarding, Jet ski tours and Snorkeling. Facilities include beach bar, lounge chairs & umbrellas, beach towels, water toys, food & drinks, bathrooms etc. Tourists can flyboard with an instructor. Flyboarding is a water sport where you stand on a platform (board) while jets of water through hose pipes would push you high above the water.
Location & how to reach
Tobacco Bay Beach is located at St. George's. If you are coming from the Dockyard (Kings Wharf), take the orange route ferry for St. George. It takes only 35 minutes to reach the ferry dock at St George. However the orange ferry route operates between April to mid November only, has limited runs and not available on week ends. So check out the ferry schedule. From the Ferry dock walk up to the town center Kings Square (less than five minutes). While coming from Hamilton City, bus routes #1, 3, 10, 11 will get you to Kings Square in about an hour.
From the town center (Kings Square), you have two options - take a minibus or walk. You can buy a day ticket for minibus at the Visitors Information Center at Kings Square. It costs $6 and will give you hop on & off access to the bus service to visit all attractions on its route. The minibus leaves almost every 30 minutes from the square and takes about 6-7 minutes to reach Tobacco Bay. It will go past the Unfinished Church along Government Hill road.
If you like to walk, it will take about 20 minutes to reach Tobacco Bay beach from Kings Square. The walk is uphill. The return walk is much easier. From Kings Square, after about 40 yards or so take a right to Kings street and then left to Bridge street. You will shortly come to York street crossing. Continue straight along Government Hill Road. You will soon see Somer's Garden
on your right and to your left will be Historical Society Museum
. Take a break and explore these two historical places. After all it's an uphill walk. And then on top of the hill you will find the Unfinished Church
. Go over the hill and keep following the road towards the ocean and you will find Tobacco Bay Beach.
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Minfei Leng (June 2014)
Raj, thank you for maintaining the site and responding. You are so helpful. I have read on your site that Tobacco Bay is one of the best snorkeling beach. But I recently read on other cruise forums that a new company took over the management of the beach and started introducing motorized water sports like jet ski and even those flying jet packs. People were worried that the quietness of the beach and the snorkeling environment would be destroyed by these motorized water sports. Have you been there recently or have you heard anything about it? We will be in Bermuda in 2 weeks (early July). Thanks.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) June 2014
Hi, Yes, this summer there has been a host of activities at Tobacco Bay Beach. Concessions at the beach are offering Jet Skiing and even flyboarding (flying jet packs), other than paddle boarding and snorkeling. Flyboarding seems like a major attraction here. The beach bar organizes live entertainment on the beach including DJs, Steel Pan, Bongos etc etc, and all this is attracting a lot of locals and tourists. So a Snorkeler's paradise is now a fun beach, at least for this summer.