Bermuda Aquarium & Crystal Caves
If you are visiting Bermuda for the first time, you are likely thinking of visiting both Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) and the Crystal caves. Undoubtedly these are two of the top attractions the island offers to the tourist and you won't like to give it a miss.
There are several operators and even most cruise lines offer excursions to the Aquarium and Caves at hefty price. But you don't need to pay a heavy price to visit the two places just because you don't know how to reach them easily. You can actually do it yourself easily and save a lot on cost.
So what is the best way to reach both the Aquarium and Caves and take a combined tour yourself? There are several options really and I'll come to that soon.
Both the Aquarium and Crystal Caves are located in Hamilton Parish. Crystal Cave is further east and nearer to St. George while Aquarium is nearer to Hamilton City. So depending on the location (i.e. Hamilton City or St. George) you are arriving from or will be heading to after visiting the attractions, you will need to sequence your visits to the two places. Refer to this Tourist Map to see the location of Aquarium and Crystal Caves.
It will take about 1 hour 15 minutes to take a tour of both Crystal and Fantasy caves which are located in the same complex. The entry fee includes guided tour of the caves. Budget about 1 hour for the Aquarium which also has a Museum and a Zoo at the same complex. Add your travel time which will depend on your location of stay and also any stopovers you may like along the way.
Option1: By Public Bus
Both the Aquarium and Crystal Caves are well connected by bus routes. Buses in these routes ply quite frequently during the day time. Plus buses are all air-conditioned and comfortable, and of course the cheapest form of transport in the island. So unless you are planning to avail a bus during the rush hour (which is usually between 8am to 9am and 5pm to 6pm), you should be fine.
If you are a cruise visitor docked at Royal Naval Dockyard, best is to take the Blue Route ferry to Hamilton City and then approach the two attractions by bus. You can alternatively take the Orange Route ferry to St. George and get to the attractions from there and return via Hamilton City - this will give you an opportunity to additionally visit St. George's Town - the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For Aquarium, the bus routes are #10 and #11 which operate between Hamilton City and St. George. The end to end journey from Hamilton to St. George takes little less than an hour in normal traffic conditions. The Aquarium is about 20minutes from Hamilton City by bus.
For Crystal Caves, the primary bus routes are #1 and #3 that also operate between Hamilton City and St. George taking about 1 hour end to end. Crystal Cave is about 30 minutes from Hamilton City.
So no common bus routes between Aquarium and the Caves? Then how do you go from one place to the other by bus? Well there is an easy solution.
Although the buses #10 and #11 do not have stops at the entrance to the caves, they do stop only about 2-3 minute walk away from the caves entrance and near the Blue Hole Hill Circle next to island's oldest & famous pub Swizzle Inn
and the well known Baliley's Ice Cream
. So does that also ring a bell? Yeah... you have couple of great dining & wining options within easy reach as well!
So if you reach Aquarium first, then continue on the same bus route(s) towards St. George and get off at Blue Hole Hill circle stop near Swizzle Inn, and then walk for about 2-3 minutes to reach the main entrance of the Caves at Wilkinson's Avenue. If you reach the caves first, do the reverse.... easy!
If you have a transport pass, then you can avail ferries as well as buses any number of times. Otherwise you will need to pay for each hop by token, cash or ticket. Refer to this Guide to Public Buses
to know about bus service in Bermuda including routes, schedule, fares etc.
Option2: Take a taxi tour
If you are in a small group of up to four or even seven, you can hire a small or a larger taxi for few hours. Taxi hiring rate by the hour is regulated by the government and can turn out to be a good deal for a small group who can share the cost. In such a case, you don't need to bother about the route, just sit back, relax and enjoy the drive as the driver takes you to the two places.
In fact there are Blue Flag Taxis where drivers are Government certified tour guides themselves. The hourly rates are no different from normal taxis. An advantage here is the driver can give you a lot of information about the island, its history and people as he drives along. He will tell you interesting stories and also make stopovers at several other attractions along the way if you so want.
If this looks like a good option for you, then go through Taxi Tours in Bermuda
to get further details about what to expect out of such taxi tours, rates, operators etc.
Option3: Take a Minibus or Van Tour
There are many private minibus and van operators in Bermuda. They offer both private as well as group tours. In group tours the fare is on a per person basis. Many start the tour from the cruise port Royal Naval Dockyard or Hamilton City, but also pick up tourists from hotels along the way.
Some of them offer tours to Aquarium and/or Crystal Caves (the admission fees to the attractions may not be included in their group tour prices). However such visits to the Aquarium and Caves are often part of a half day or full day island tour. So you get to see lot more than just the two. It also works out quite economical and time optimized when you compare to visiting all such attractions across the island yourself. If this is of interest to you, then refer to Minibus & Van Tours
to get details about the operators, the kind of tours they offer, their contact information etc.
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