A Sunning Cave Complex
Crystal & Fantasy Caves

 
 

Crystal Cave

 
Bermuda is a treasure trove of gems- some out in the open in plain view of everyone, while others hidden deep down. Besides its amazing beaches, turquoise waters, bounteous marine life and ample sunshine, the island is also blessed with breathtaking beauty snuck far below the surface of the earth. Located in Hamilton Parish Bermuda, Crystal Cave, considered to be millions of years old is one of the largest and famous caves in the island. It is about 36 meters (120 feet) below the ground level. 
 
 
 
With its dramatic formations of stalactites and stalagmites which are crystal-like pointed structures naturally formed out of limestone rocks, the view of the sight is just awesome. There is a lake called the Cahow Lake within the caves complex and it has crystal clear water. You can walk over a pontoon bridge that goes across the lake. Walking across this floating bridge can be quite fascinating as it can rise or descend with the tides from the sea. You can see beautiful clear water on both sides that reflects all the formations. The lake has a depth of 17 meters (55 feet). 
 
Crystal Cave & Cahow Lake, Bermuda 
Crystal Cave Bermuda 
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
 
The deep clear waters of the lake is spectacular and interspersed with stunning colors like marine blues and aquatic deep greens and submerged rock formations. What makes it especially unique is the fact that these waters are directly fed by the ocean, that is, these caves have a subterranean connection with the Atlantic Ocean and the water that flows through it is actually salt water. It is actually a combination of sea water and rain water, and the level of water also rises at high tide. 
 
As you walk over the bridge and look up, you will see stalactites dripping from the ceiling. If you look down through the perfectly clear water, you see stalagmites rising from the cave floor. The unimaginable complexity of these calcium carbonate structures is mind boggling. 
 
Limestone formations in Crystal cave 
 
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
 

An Interesting History

 
It is believed that Crystal Cave was formed sometime during the Ice Age, almost around the time of the human evolution. The geological changes that were taking place in the levels of sea water and ice formations and subsequent seepage of precipitation into the islands limestone led to the formation of several reclusive caves here, which sat pristine and untouched for more than a million year till they were incidentally discovered. 
 
Crystal cave was discovered in 1907 when two young boys were attempting to retrieve a lost ball. They saw the ball dropping into a large hole. As one of them went deeper and deeper into the hole to fetch the ball, he realized that it wasn't an ordinary hole. It was leading to some wondrous cave. 
 
 
 
The owner of the property Mr. Wilkinson was immediately informed. He then used a rope and lowered his 14-year old son through the hole. At a depth of about 120-ft and using a bicycle lamp, his son for the first time saw the wonder of the caves. The hole through which the boys entered is still visible. But you don’t need to now squeeze yourself through the hole to enter the Crystal Caves. A separate entrance has been created. 
 
Further adding to the glory of this subterranean marvel, is the fact that the first tourist to ever descend into its hallowed interiors was the world renowned author- Mark Twain in the year 1908. He described it as "a wonderful cave" in one of his letters referring to thousands of stalactites "as white as sugar". Over the next hundred years the caves opened up as a popular tourist attraction for Bermuda's visitors offering a mysterious angle to the island's charms. 
 

Fantasy Cave

 
Close to the Crystal Cave and located within the same cave complex is Fantasy Cave which is another natural wonder. The two caves are quite different in terms of depth, descent, water content, landscape and formations. Fantasy Cave was initially opened as a show cave in 1914 and was closed down during the World War-II. It was later re-opened. The climb down here is quite steep and therefore climbing up can be a little tiring for the elderly. 
 
Fantasy Cave, Bermuda 
Fantasy Caves Bermuda 
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
 
Fantasy Cave is a virtual jewel box filled with formations from top to bottom. You can see the rare chandelier like cluster of soda straw formations at the ceilings. Entire walls are covered with calcite mineral deposits that look like frozen waterfalls. 
 
Formations at Fantasy cave 
 
Source: Wikimedia Commons 
 

Guided Tour

 
There is a guided tour and you will get to hear about some very interesting facts about the caves and even some of the formations and how they came to be, from the tour guides. In fact, the tour mostly depends on your tour guide and what they show you. Most of the tour guides here are not only very knowledgeable about the caves but also quite humorous and entertaining and make it a fun trip. 
 
Their storytelling about the history of the caves makes it fascinating and adds to the mystique around the caves. Sometimes they even turn off a few lights to spotlight things for you and also to give you an experience of what it must have looked like to the pair of intrepid boys who discovered it. 
 
 
 
Kids especially get very engaged in the intriguing story behind the formation and discovery of the caves and its progression to where it stands now. It is a great way to have them spend some informative quality time here. It would be apt to make a special mention about Ron James, the oldest working man on the island. He is one of the tour guides and a virtual encyclopaedia of the place. Do not miss out on him if you happen to get him as a tour guide. 
 
The guided tour for Crystal and Fantasy Cave begins with a walk through the park within the property. There is an assembly point (or common area in the park) from where the tour starts. As you walk through the park, you can see many indigenous plantations of Bermuda. The gardens around the caves are quite beautiful and children can do a lot of running around and even chase the local chickens ! 
 
It takes about 30 minutes to see one cave and 75 minutes if you plan to cover both Crystal and Fantasy caves. You can take a guided tour in the caves complex. The guides are quite knowledgeable and will give you lots of information about the caves, its history and the formations. 
 
There is one side of the Crystal Cave which the tourists never get to see. Far below the waters and under the boardwalk, there is a spectacular amphitheater that was discovered by divers in 2011. They found two giant pillars under the water and also a giant manta ray which is a rare sight in Bermuda's waters. They have also identified a deep cut on the reef face some 370 feet below the water surface indicating where the sea level was some thousands of years back during Ice age. 
 

Facilities

 
  • There is a small gift shop at the Crystal Caves location called Fiddlestix. It sells small souvenirs and gifts (most are collections from all over the world). 
  • There is also a nice cafe called Cafe Olé located at the entry having shaded tables as well as open air sitting on a patio. They serve breakfast, lunch, snacks and afternoon tea. They make daily lunch specials. Try out the Wahoo burger, fish sandwich, rib-eye sandwich or some salads. They also serve traditional Bermuda codfish breakfast. Cafe Ole is open daily. 
  • There is bathroom facility is cave complex. 
  •  

    Tips and things to note

     
  • You have to take the steps (approximately 80 in number in each cave), sometimes quite steep and slippery in places, to get to the bottom. Wear comfortable shoes/sneakers and avoid flip-flops to keep from slipping. There are however sturdy hand rails and a couple of stop point benches if you need them. Carry water with you too. 
  • If you have a walking difficulty and are not very mobile, or if you cannot handle small places and closed areas it is better not to venture on this tour. 
  • Sadly many of the formations have been hacked and ripped off by previous tourists which has made the place lose some of its allure. Visitors are now instructed not to touch the formations as they take a long time to form. 
  • There might be some waiting time (short to considerable) involved before you get to enter the caves. If you go early or on transition days for the cruise ships, you can cut the waiting time to a great extent. However if you do find yourself caught in the waiting, you can spend the time at the nearby Bailey's home made ice cream parlor savoring some of their unique flavors. 
  • It is quite warm and humid inside the caves. Air temperature inside the cave is around 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. 
  • While getting your tickets, be sure to mention clearly how many people and how many caves you wish to visit, to keep from getting charged incorrectly. 
  • There are lots of opportunities for photography as the lighting in the caves also are done quite nicely and you can get some really good pictures, so go prepared. 
  • It is a great idea to spend a rainy day touring these beautiful caves.  
  • The admission fee is a little steep and the duration of the tour quite short. However there are some lasting impressions that the caves can have on you, so it is worth a visit.  
  • You will find that many visitors have lost their mobile phones and other belongings in the water, so be careful with your sunglasses, phones etc.  
  • There are clean restrooms available here in the complex, should you feel the need to use them. 
  •  
     
     

    Admission Fee

     
    $22 for each cave for adults, $10 for children between 5-12, under 5 free. Combination ticket to both Crystal and Fantasy Caves is $30 for adults, and $12 for children between 5-12. Credit cards are accepted. Advance booking is not required. You can simply walk in. 
     

    Open Hours

     
    Both Crystal caves and Fantasy caves are open daily from 9am - 5pm. Last combination guided tour is at 4:30pm. The guided tour takes place every 20 minutes (tour cost included in admission fee). 
     

    Location & Contacts

     
    8, Crystal Caves Road, off Wilkinson Avenue, Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. 
    Go to Bermuda Tourist Map to view the location of the caves and other attractions nearby. 
    Phone (Crystal Caves Information Center):  441/293-0640; Email: [email protected] 
     
    Bus Routes: Buses #1, 3 (between Hamilton City and St George's) go via Crystal & Fantasy caves (actually the bus stop is on Wilkinson Avenue. Tree shaded Crystal Caves road starts next to the bus stop, and leads to the caves complex. Caves are also accessible from bus routes 10 and 11 (you need to get off at Blue Hole Hill circle next to Bailey's Bay Ice cream parlor across Swizzle Inn and walk for 2 minutes to the Wilkinson Avenue bus stop). 
     
    Note that it requires 3-4 minute walk from Wilkinson Avenue bus stop to reach up to the caves complex. There is also some walk involved within the complex. There are scooter and car parking inside. 
     
    To reach the caves from the dockyard (Kings Wharf), take the Blue Route ferry to Hamilton City (20 minutes), and take bus #1 or 3 for the caves (25-30 minutes). This is the easiest way to reach the caves from the dockyard. The bus stop an approach road leads to the caves through a parkland. Alternatively you can also take bus #7 or 8 to Hamilton (takes nearly one hour from dockyard ) and then transfer to #1 or 3. You can also get taxis from Dockyard taxi stand. Takes about 45 minutes by taxi to reach the caves from dockyard. On your return, you may not get a taxi unless you see one getting released by other visitors. 
     
    Road Map 
     

    Transport fare to reach the caves

     
    If you have a transport pass then you won't need to pay any separate public bus or ferry fares. Otherwise, from dockyard up to Hamilton City, fare by token is $4.50 and by cash $5.00 per adult in both bus and ferry. From Hamilton, the bus fare up to caves is $4.50 by token and $5.00 by cash. However if you come by bus up to Hamilton and take the next bus connection for the caves, then no additional fare is required for the second part of the travel (collect the transfer slip from the first bus). 
     

    Nearby Attractions & Eateries

     
    You can walk down to Blue Hole Park from here (10-12 minutes) to explore the wonderful forested area & nature on a walking trail, get great views of water and mangroves, do bird watching and visit blue holes and caves. Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo is only a short bus ride (take bus #10 or 11 from Blue Hole Hill Circle bus stop) and so is Shelly Bay Beach (on the same bus route and before the Aquarium). Many tourists plan to visit both the Aquarium and Caves on the same day. If you like to know how to best cover both these places together, check out Visiting Aquarium & Caves
     
    Swizzle Inn Pub and Restaurant too is within a short walking distance where you can try out island cocktails and nice pub fares. On the opposite side of Swizzle Inn is Bailey's Bay Ice Cream Parlor- the most well known ice maker in the island. You can stop by here for a sandwich and then ice cream or have lunch at Swizzle Inn and then on your way back stop here for ice cream. They make all their ice creams on the premises and you can try out some new and unique flavors like rum and ginger, Bermuda banana etc. 
     
     
    Raj is an avid traveler and a full-time travel blogger. He has traveled to numerous countries across the world and loves to keep travelling. His mission here is to help viewers like you visiting Bermuda or seeking insights into related matters with the most comprehensive content compared to any other online resources. Since years now he has been helping countless viewers by posting quality articles on this website, answering questions and sharing experiences. Launched in 2008, this website is Bermuda's leading source of online information since many years. 
     
     
     
     

    Related Articles

     
     
     
    2) Check out Bermuda Caves to know about the other great caves in Bermuda. 
     
    3) Check out Bermuda Sightseeing for the top places to visit in Bermuda 
     
    4) Check out Hamilton Parish to know about other great attractions in the parish. 
     

    Visitors' Reviews & Comments

     
     
    Adriann (July 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I am looking to travel from Tobacco Bay Beach to the Crystal Caves. What bus number should I be looking to take and is there a bus stop near the Beach? Thank you for your help! I love your website. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) July 2018 
    Hi, there is only a private minibus service at Tobacco bay which can get you up to Kings Square in St. George. You can then take bus #1 or 3 for Crystal cave. 
     
    Margie (June 2018)  
    Hi Raj, I was hoping you could let me know which beach is closest to crystal cave as we would like to fit in as much as possible into one day. Also can you suggest a mode of transportation from shipyard. Thank you. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) June 2018 
    Hi, John Smith's Bay in Smith's Parish (2.8 miles, bus #1 and 3 from Crystal Cave) and Shelly Bay Beach at Hamilton Parish (2.7 miles, bus #10, 11 from Crystal cave) would be the nearest ones to the caves. From the dockyard you can get to the caves by first taking a ferry to Hamilton City and then bus #1 or 3 (note that John Smiths bay beach will be along the way, so you may like to visit the beach first an then get to the caves).   
     
    Dawn (May 2018) 
    I am hoping you can help provide me some information regarding visiting your crystal caves. In August I will be visiting the island via a cruise to Kings Wharf. Can you please help provide me the quickest way to the caves from the port. What would the cost for the transportation there be? I am extremely nervous in timing and missing the cruise departure time, we are supposed to arrive at the pier at 8am and depart at 4pm. Will there enough travel time to and from the pier and time at the caves? Thank you for any help you can provide me. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) May 2018 
    Take a ferry from the dockyard to Hamilton and then a bus (#1 or 3) to the caves and same way back. Yes there will be enough time to visit. If you pay the transport fares in cash, then for each journey by ferry or bus, it will cost $5 per person ($4.50 if you pay by token). So in cash... it will cost a total of $20 per person to go and come back. 
     
    Ari (September 2017) 
    I am so looking forward to seeing the caves in just 2 weeks! One more question for you all- how often do buses come by for the return trip from the caves? We hope to take the bus back as well, but I am concerned if we will be waiting a long while on a Monday afternoon for a bus to come by. Read lots of info on how to get there, but not much on how to get back! How frequently do these public buses go by? 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, September 2017) 
    Both bus #1 and 3 operate every 30 minutes on weekdays. With about 10-minute gap between their schedules, you can expect a bus every 20 minutes to get back to Hamilton from Crystal caves. However to get to St. George from Caves, the gap would be more (30 minute+) because some of these bus services terminate at Grotto Bay and do not go all the way up to St. George. It's better to take a short walk to Blue Hole Hill bus stop and take bus #10 or 11 ... you can expect to get a bus every 15 minutes to St. George or Hamilton. 
     
    Jenn (July 2017) 
    Hi, If I rent a scooter at the dockyard how long will it take to get to the caves? Also which road would be the quickest way to get there south road or middle road? Thank you! 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, July 2017) 
    Hi, dockyard to Crystal Caves is about 20 miles and will take around 1 hour 10 minutes to reach by scooter in normal traffic. Take the Middle road which will eventually meet with South Road, then Knapton Hill, then to Harrington Sound Road and finally to Wilkinson Avenue.  
     
    Kris (July 2017) 
    My family will be visiting Bermuda in a few weeks  and taking a mini van guided tour of the island.  We want to take the kids to visit Crystal Caves but I am concerned my elderly parents will not be able to make it  down and up the stairs for the caves. You mentioned a cafe and gift shop. Can they wait inside for us and do we have to pay a $22 entrance fee for them as well? Thank you. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, July 2017) 
    Hi, your parents can wait at Cafe Ole. The cafe is right at the car park before the entrance to the cave complex and there are plenty of seating area there... both outdoor and under shades. They don't need to but the entrance tickets to the caves. 
     
    Kathy (June 2016) 
    How long does it take by bus/ferry from Royal Dockyard to Crystal Caves thank you. We are so excited to visit this beautiful island,  I have not been there since 1980! 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2016) 
    Take ferry from dockyard to Hamilton (20 minutes), then bus (#1, 3) to Crystal Caves (about 30 minutes), add transfer time in between. 
     
    Amy (May 2016) 
    I will be in Bermuda with my family for three days next week. Since our time is limited, I had not included a visit to the caves in our plans, but am now thinking it would be really great to try and fit in a tour on our way to the airport on our final morning.  I am wondering what you recommend for the minimum amount of time to spend at the caves and whether we would be able to "store" our luggage/suitcases while on the tour. Thank you! 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2016) 
    Hi, you need to plan a minimum of about 45 minutes to 1 hour in the caves complex (to see both Crystal and Fantasy). You can keep your luggage at the airport, take a bus (#1 or 3) for the caves... it's a short ride, about 10 minutes. But don't try to carry any bags in the bus... it won't be allowed. 
     
    There is a caveat in my suggested plan though. I assumed that you may be able to check in your baggage early and get help from the airline to store your carry-on bags. There is no short term left-luggage facility or storeroom at Bermuda airport. Here are some alternative plans... 
     
    1) there is a luggage storage facility at the Visitors Information Center at St. George. That would mean taking your taxi further beyond airport for about 8-10 minutes, and then taking a bus or the same taxi to the caves. 
     
    2) better hire the taxi for 3 hours and keep the luggage in the boot. It would cost about $150 for 3 hours (@$50 an hour). However considering the airport transfer cost (which you would incur anyway) and the tour of the caves, it can be a nice package, and you can also be more efficient with timings. You can even add some more places to visit if time permits. 
     
    Anne Niblock (May 2016) 
    Hi, will be in Bermuda in a week. I would like to take the bus from Hamilton to the aquarium and zoo . then from there to crystal caves, then on to st George. Can I do this on the one bus  route. What buses would I take. I want too make sure I can get from the zoo to the caves. Thanks 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2016) 
    Hi, Take bus #10 or 11 from Hamilton to Aquarium/zoo. Continue on the same route (#10 or 11) and get off at Blue Hole Hill circle (next to Bailey's Bay Ice Cream and near Swizzle Inn Pub). From there walk for 2 minutes to the entry of Crystal Caves road (where the caves bus stop is on Wilkinson Avenue. Note that it requires 3-4 minute walk from the Caves bus stop to reach the entry to caves). Come back to the Caves bus stop and take bus #1 or 3 to St. George. Alternatively walk back to Blue Hole Circle and take earlier bus route (#10 or 11) to St. George. 
     
    Cyndi Ortiz (September 2015) 
    I am planning my itinerary for my vacation to Bermuda. I am a cruise passenger and planning to go to Crystal and Fantasy Cove then St George afterwards. Our ship will dock ETA 1:00 PM. I am planning to take the blue ferry route from King's Wharf to Hamilton (1:30 PM - 1:50 PM), then catch Bus #1 around 2:15 PM. So will bus #1 drop me close to Crystal and Fantasy Cove, and if not, how far do I need to walk going to the Cove? Also, after the tour, can I catch bus #1 or #3 going to St. George? Hope you can help me. Thanks in advance. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, September 2015) 
    Yes, bus #1 and 3 will drop you at Crystal & Fantasy Caves, and you can catch the same buses for St. George. 
     
    Julie Bateman (August 2015) 
    I have tried to contact the management for the caves to make a booking but the email [email protected] keeps bouncing back. How can I make a reservation? I am cruising into Bermuda on celebrity Eclipse in November. The cruise ship appears to only offer a combination of the caves and the zoo. Don't want to go to the zoo. Look forward to hearing from you. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, August 2015) 
    You don't need to make a booking in advance to visit the caves. Just buy the entry ticket and get in. They offer a local guided tour of the caves. 
     
    Grace (July 2015) 
    HI : we will be arriving to Bermuda via Celebrity cruise on July 19, 2015 do you think is doable to go to crystal cave with a baby of two years old ? We probably need to hold him in arms so is that too dangerous to go through the stairs ? Nowhere in the website say baby is allowed or not. Thanks 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, July 2015) 
    Hi, kids and babies are allowed in Crystal caves (no entry fee for kids under 5). You should hold your kid and not let him lose. It should be okay. 
     
    Pat Fleming (April 2015) 
    Can we get a tour to see the crystal caves after we get off of the ship. Everything on the ships tour doesn't say anything about the caves. Only about beaches, snorkeling, and things like that  
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, April 2015) 
    Hi, You don't need to book a tour of Crystal caves through your cruise line or through any local operator. Just take the ferry to Hamilton and then take bus #1 or 3 to Crystal Caves. Once you buy the entry tickets, there is a guided tour available at the caves itself or you can be on your own. 
     
    Virginia Albanese (April 2014) 
    We will be taking bus #1 from Hamilton main terminal to visit Crystal Caves. Do I take the same number to return and do the busses run frequently? I must be back to the Ferry Terminal to get a ferry to the Dockside no later than 6:00 p.m, 
    Thank you for your reply. Your site has been very helpful. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, April 2014) 
    You can take bus #1 or #3 from Hamilton City for the caves and return by the same buses. Both run every 30 minutes. 
     
    Andre Choiniere (September 2013) 
    Can we dive in the Crystal cave. If yes do I need a special course and what is the price. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, September 2013) 
    Diving is not allowed in Crystal caves. It requires special permission from the authorities for scientific exploration etc. 
     
    Dan O'Brien (May 2013) 
    I am visiting shortly and plan on going to the CRYSTAL CAVES with my elderly father. How many steps from top to the bottom of the caves. Thank you 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2013) 
    The complex has two caves - Crystal and Fantasy. Both caves have 80+ steps plus a ramp. Fantasy is deeper and has 88 steps. However the steps in Crystal cave is more gradual while fantasy steps are steeper. Both caves have handrails and places to sit on the way down or up. So one can take it easy and negotiate the stairs at slow pace. You will need to climb back up the same way. However if one has serious knee problems, or other difficulties like claustrophobia or heart problems, then I would suggest not to take the caves tour. It does get a bit humid inside as you climb down. But otherwise, it's a great place to visit. 
     
    Debby 
    Hello, I'm currently on a cruise ship in Kings Wharf (today and tomorrow) and only just learned about the Crystal/Fantasy Caves. I'd love to visit them during my time here and will try the ferry and buses you mentioned. What is the cost for the ferry and the bus? Can you also give me an approximate travel time to/from the caves by ferry and bus? Also, what would be a great but not too costly place to have lunch while I'm at the Caves and Kings Wharf? Any cultural foods I should try? I'm hoping to have as close to the 'native' experience as possible. Many thanks for your time and guidance. 
     
    Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) 
    Hi Debby, Check out this link for Bus & Ferry Fares. From Kings wharf take a direct ferry to Hamilton City (20 minutes) or to St. George (35 minutes). From there take a bus to Crystal caves (around 25-30 minutes). There are several restaurants around. From the Crystal caves you can try the Swizzle Inn (Bermuda's oldest and famous pub. You will get standard pub fares though). Here are all the other Restaurants in Hamilton parish where Crystal Caves is located. I have discussed the restaurants at Kings Wharf in the following link: Kings Wharf Dockyard. Bermuda fish chowder, wahoo steaks, pawpaw casserole, Hoppin' John peas & rice are some of our favorites and will give you some local flavor in food. Have a great time in Bermuda!! 
     
    Celia Wickham 
    Very interesting and awesome viewing... especially seeing Manhattan, the Empire State building and the World Trade towers AND... to learn upon my return to NYC that the two boys were boys of color who originally found the cave...one of them the grandfather of a friend... 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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