Hidden Gems Of Bermuda
Exploring Best Kept Secrets
You think I am going to list all the best kept secretes of Bermuda in this section? Well that's partially true. Actually Hidden Gems of Bermuda is a company that offers specialized and guided tours to explore some of the best kept secrets of the island. And I'll be describing their offerings in this section.
I personally like the fact that the title of the company is perfectly aligned to its theme of operation. Another thing which lends credibility to it is the profile of the person (Ashley Harris) who runs the operation. She is a 4th generation Bermudian herself and has a deep knowledge in horticulture.
Through my several interactions with her, I realized that she is not only enthusiastic but also very passionate about her tours. She is herself the guide in most tours and an avid explorer of the nature. The tours are conducted in small groups (of up to 10) so that there is enough personal attention and guidance.
She offers different tours depending on the season. In summer, she will take you to a jungle (the only one in Bermuda) and explore the flora & fauna, and a number of amazing caves and grottos. The tour also includes visits to a park and a fort at the eastern end and followed by swimming and snorkeling at a pristine beach and reef.
The Winter tour excludes the water based activities because the water temperature by then drops to below comfortable level. She substitutes that part with a visit to a hill top fort at the outskirts of Hamilton to enjoy the great views of the city. This is followed by a visit to a beautiful secluded estate which has best of all the worlds including forested land, garden pools, lovely beach, historic house, quarry gardens etc.
Tours info updated: January 2016
The tour bus makes a west to east trip across the island and takes you to the only jungle in the island - The Tom Moore's Jungle
. This 12 acre forest and reserve area is also known as the Tom Moore's Jungle because this is where the poet Thomas Moore wrote several of his verses sitting under a calabas tree in 1800s. The pathway through the dense forest leads to several unmarked caves, grottos and pools. One of the highlights here is the Blue Hole which is a pool so named for its beautiful blue water.
It's surrounded by forests and rocks. Ashley will guide you through the forest and help explore the caves while showing you and explaining the many flora, fauna and bird life in the jungle. Activities that you can choose to participate here includes Cliff Jumping, dryca cave exploration, cave swimming etc.
Next is a visit to the St David's Lighthouse
located close by. Climb the 85 stairs to the balcony at the top of this 55-ft structure and soak in the views of the Atlantic and St George's landscape.
Next is Cooper's Island
which is also part of St. David's. This unspoiled area has a beautiful nature reserve and is full of pristine beaches and offshore reefs that are great for swimming and snorkeling. You will be taken to one such beach and then to a reef for snorkeling. Of course you can decide to stay back at the beach and lounge in the sun.
Finally she will take you to the nearby Bailey's Ice Cream Parlor
- this is the most famous ice cream parlor in the island that makes around 30 different flavors of ice cream. You will savor one of your choice. Some of our personal favorite flavors here are the rum, ginger and white chocolate cherries.
1) This is an all-inclusive tour which includes a backpack filled with lunch pack, snacks, 2 water bottles, flashlight, safety helmet, umbrella, snorkel gears, etc. You should be physically fit to take this tour. In lunch, there are options for regular, Vegetarian/Vegan and Gluten free meals.
2) The total tour duration is about 7 hours and it operates in the summer season (May to October, 7 days a week)
3) Indicative Tour Cost: $175/- per person
4) Pick up & Drop-off locations: Royal Naval Dockyard (Kings Wharf), Fairmont Princess Hotel in Southampton, Botanical Garden in Paget.
The first part of the tour is similar to the Summer Excursion where you will be visiting the forestland of The Walsingham Reserve and Blue Hole Park (i.e. the Tom Moore's Jungle) and explore the caves & grottos, and the plants & bird life. However there won't be any cave swimming or cliff jumping as the water is cold around this time.
Bailey's Bay Ice Cream Parlor usually remains closed during winter as the ice cream demand comes down during this time. So you will miss out tasting some great ice creams. But the tour will more than make up for that.
From here the tour proceeds to Fort Hamilton
, a historic fort located at the Hamilton City outskirts on a hill top. While the fort still retains many of its historic exhibits of fortifications since 1870s, from the top you will also get a wonderful view of the city and the harbor area.
Next you will visit the Southlands Estate
in Warwick parish locally known as 'The Vines'. This a wonderful secluded area spanning across some 27 acres and offering forested land, garden pools, quarry gardens, a historic main house and the beautiful Marley beach. This area known for its natural beauty and solitude, is hardly known to the tourists. In the first part of the estate, you will find overhead rubber trees that are ideal to hold on to and enjoy a swing. As you go through the woodland area, you will find plantations like yellow wood trees and the endemic wild Bermuda pepper trees.
1) This is an all-inclusive tour which includes a backpack filled with lunch pack, snacks, 2 water bottles, flashlight, safety helmet, umbrella. You should be physically fit to take this tour.
2) The total tour duration is about 5 hours and it operates only in winter season (November to April)
3) Tour Timing: 10am-3pm. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
4) Indicative Tour Cost: $100/- per person
5) Pick up & Drop-off locations: Royal Naval Dockyard (Kings Wharf), Fairmont Princess Hotel in Southampton, Botanical Garden in Paget.
More Winter Tours
Several other land based excursions are conducted in winter (November to April) on different days of the week.
Explore several historical forts
in the island that were built in 17th century. Tour duration - 5 hour.
If one of your goals is to take photographs of the beautiful landscapes and landmarks of Bermuda, this is the excursion you should take. They will take you across the island and offer complete introduction to the island and the places you visit. You will be taken to a beautiful beach, fortress, nature reserve, a section of railway trail, and a vantage point at island's highest peak to get panoramic views - and all these locations are photographer's paradise. Duration - 5 hour.
Enjoy a guided island tour, an hour long massage and dine at Bermuda's famous pub Swizzle Inn. Duration: 5 hours.
Tour operated by Ashley Harris (Sandys, Bermuda)
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