Hidden Gems Of Bermuda: Our Epic Eco-Adventure

Exploring the hidden gems of Bermuda.

Sometimes tours can be hit or miss. You get crammed into a tour bus with dozens of other tourists, carted around from place to place without enough time to explore the sights completely. Thankfully, this was not the case at all with Hidden Gems of Bermuda. In fact, I can confidently state that it was the best tour that we’ve ever taken. The concept of the Hidden Gems tour completely peaked our interests: an all-inclusive, fully interactive, island eco-tour where we would explore many off the beaten path destinations. Sounds good to me! Join us as we take you around Bermuda on a virtual eco-tour of the island.

Our tour guide, Ashley, picked us up at our hotel for our full-day tour. We spent seven hours in total with Ashley – an entire day discovering Bermuda’s beautiful natural spots, including jungles, caves, and nature preserves. We were fortunate because we were the only couple on the tour, making it very much a private excursion for the two of us. Typically, a small group will travel around the island with Ashley, so it would still be an intimate experience. Our first stop on our journey was Tom Moore’s Jungle.

Tom Moore’s Jungle

Tom Moore’s Jungle – Blue Lagoon

Tom Moore’s Jungle, also known as the Walsingham Nature Reserve is located in Hamilton Parish. The jungle is named after the Irish poet, Tom Moore, who wrote many of his famous works in Bermuda. Here you will discover a forest, trails, caves, grottoes, mangroves, and many varieties of flora and fauna. The first place that Ashley showed us a crystal clear pool called the Blue Lagoon. Much of the water that flows into the caverns and ponds of the jungle comes from the nearby Castle Harbour. To our surprise, this pond was home to many kinds of fish! We could see many species of fish as we looked down on the pond, though the amount of fish became even more apparent to us after we viewed our GoPro footage later that evening. The largest resident of the Blue Lagoon is the Rainbow Parrotfish, although we kept seeing this gorgeous beauty called the Princess Parrotfish.

Blue Lagoon

We continued our walk along the nature trails of Tom Moore’s Jungle. Bermuda had recently experienced an intense hurricane, which damaged many trees and paths in the jungle. Thankfully, most of the island remained unscathed and a full clean-up was underway as we visited. Ashley would typically take guests to the Blue Hole, but the path was blocked while we were there. No worries, there were plenty of other areas to explore in the jungle and we were thoroughly impressed by all of them. Our next stop was the Subway Cave.

We were each provided with a backpack complete with appropriate gear while venturing through the caves. Justin and I put on our helmets that had head lamps on them. These were very handy while exploring the caves as we were able to easily see in extremely dark places. Ashley also brought a higher-powered flashlight that could even be used underwater. The caves are not marked with signs in Tom Moore’s Jungle. It was very handy to travel along with a local guide who knew exactly where all of the best spots were located. As you can see from the photo above, the cave was quite concealed. I wouldn’t have even known there was such an impressive cave buried beneath the greenery and sprawling tree roots here.

The Subway Cave was a fascinating dry cave beneath the forest floor. Many stalactites hung down from the ceiling. On the outside, they look like regular rock formations, though the inside of the rocks shimmer and sparkle like crystals. Unfortunately, some of the stalactites are covered with a black soot as early cave explorers, lacking the technology of flashlights, would bring torches and open flames into the caves. Thankfully, the stalactites are growing back (though at a very slow rate) and are recovering from being burned.

We really had to watch our heads as we crawled through some of the narrow passageways in the cave. Some of the thicker stalactites of various lengths could actually be “played” as a natural pipe organ. When striking the sides of the stalactite with your hand, various tones would sound. Don’t worry, this didn’t harm the rocks in any way – they were incredibly sturdy and weren’t going anywhere.

Our next stop was the Walsingham Cave, a partially drowned cavern that we were able to swim inside to view the interesting rock formations. Justin and I had both packed our water shoes for the occasion, and it wasn’t a bad idea as the rocks can be a little bit sharp as you enter or leave the pool. The cave was fairly dark, but plenty of natural light flowed in and we were able to see fairly clearly. Ashley also gave us her underwater flashlight so we could shine light to the farthest rock walls and beneath the water. As we swam inside the cave, we saw one huge rock that looked exactly like a bear! The cave water was a little bit chilly, but we got used to the temperature once we started swimming around.

As we walked around Tom Moore’s Jungle, Ashley talked about some of the plants that grew there and how Bermudians would use them as natural remedies. For instance, it is highly recommended that you do not use bug spray in the jungle itself due to all of the chemicals in the product (if you’re going to use it, please spray it on well in advance before you enter!). While you won’t encounter many mosquitoes in the jungle, you could always use the leaves of the Surinam Cherry to keep them away. It also treats bug bites if you take a few of the leaves and rub them vigorously on your skin. The Warwick Spice Tree also grows in the jungle, which smells strongly of cloves if you scrunch up its leaves and rub them in your hands. We also scrunched up the leaves of the Shell Ginger plant, which smelled like a calming eucalyptus scent from the spa. The root of this plant is used to make the island’s famous Ginger Beer!

We also saw a few cats wandering around while visiting various spots around Bermuda. This little guy was friendly enough to come over for some scratches.

Black Horse Tavern

After our cave and jungle explorations, it was time for lunch. Ashley drove us over to the Black Horse Tavern, a restaurant on St. David’s Island where you will find the most authentic Bermudian cuisine. Many of the locals frequent this restaurant, and it comes along with a gorgeous view while you dine there.

It appears that their sign was knocked down in the hurricane!

Ashley called and ordered our food while we were back in Tom Moore’s Jungle, as to not waste any time waiting for it being prepared. While we waited for only a short period of time, we strolled around the restaurant’s property and down to their small dock for some amazing views.

They had a vegetarian/vegan option at the Black Horse Tavern: a delicious chickpea burger with a side salad and fries. If you’re vegetarian, you can consider eating the coleslaw instead of the side salad. The restaurant even has gluten-free options if you require them. The chickpea burger was crispy and incredibly flavorful. It was very filling and gave us the energy that we needed to keep going for the rest of the day. Alongside the meal, we were served Bermuda’s original beverage that is produced there – a Ginger Beer! It was very refreshing, sweet, and tasty.

I always manage to take a picture of Justin while he’s in the middle of eating.

St. David’s Lighthouse

After lunch, Ashley drove us to St. David’s Lighthouse for a panoramic view of the island. St. David’s Lighthouse was originally built in 1879. It is the most authentic lighthouse on the island, with its walls constructed using Bermuda Limestone, and an interior staircase built from the island’s endemic Bermuda Cedar. You must walk up the 85 steps to the top of the lighthouse for the brilliant 360 degree views. From here, you will be at one of the highest points in Bermuda, and can view many brightly painted homes and the sparkling blue ocean all around.

Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve

From St. David’s Lighthouse, we traveled to Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, near the site of the NASA station in Bermuda. Until 1995, the site of Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve was occupied fully by the United States Military. Nowadays, members of the public can enjoy its twelve acres of unspoiled beauty. We visited a beautiful sandy beach called Long Beach, Cooper’s Island. This beach was quite secluded, and we may have seen maybe one other person there. We had this pretty beach entirely to ourselves. It proved to be quite the amazing snorkeling site, as we saw several species of fish including large schools of parrotfish. Ashley provided us with all of the snorkel gear, as well as pool noodles if we needed them (we didn’t end up using them). We had plenty of free time to swim around with the fish on our own.

Long Beach

Ashley drew this design in the sand for us!

Admiralty House Park

For our final adventure, we went to Admiralty House Park to go cliff jumping! Admiralty House Park is located just outside of the city of Hamilton, at Spanish Point off the North Shore. We walked down the park’s main path towards an underground passageway to the Admiral’s Cave. There were tunnels and passageways that we navigated through to reach the edge of the cliff. This is a popular spot with the locals for cliff jumping, especially the island’s daring teenagers.  We jumped several times from the rocky ledges and felt pretty courageous for having attempted this! After each jump, we swam towards the cove and back inside the cave. From there, we walked through the cave and back up to the top for another jump.

A HUGE thank you to Ashley for showing us all of the amazing places that Bermuda has to offer! We had the experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend that you take a tour with Hidden Gems the next time that you’re in Bermuda.

Looking for more? Check out the 15 best things to do in Bermuda!

 

Disclaimer: We were guests of Hidden Gems via Fairmont Hotels as we were winners of the #MyDestinationStory contest. Our thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely our own.

36 Responses

  1. Hannah
    | Reply

    I’m pretty wary with tours, as you said they tend to be very hit or miss. This one looks great though! Those caves in the jungle look very Indiana Jones (which is totally awesome in my books!) and I love all the fish in the Blue Lagoon and at Clearwater Beach. Sounds like you guys had a fabulous day!
    Hannah recently posted…Off the Beaten Path in AmsterdamMy Profile

  2. Alli
    | Reply

    Your water shots are gorgeous. I love the shot from inside the cave so it is dark around the edges but the centre is that bright blue stunning water! The tour group seems like a great one, too! I’m really nervous myself when it comes to jumping off jagged rocks like that, good job! It does take a lot of courage šŸ™‚
    Alli recently posted…Weighing Numbers More Than Words: How Social Media Can Be Fake and InvasiveMy Profile

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much! It did take some courage to jump off those rocks. I stood there for a few moments before doing it for the first time. But then…it was like….okay now or never…just go! šŸ™‚ And I jumped! And then I did it a few more times. Lots of fun!
      Lauren recently posted…Surfing in Bermuda: Learning to Surf with Isolated SurfboardsMy Profile

  3. Laura
    | Reply

    Great photos showcasing a beautiful island. I love all the colour, the perfect turquoise water, and gorgeous beaches. Good for you guys for enjoying the caves. I went deep down into Cuba’s Bellamar Caves where the humidity was 100%. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and ended up having a major panic attack šŸ™‚
    Laura recently posted…The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and MenMy Profile

  4. […] the #WeekendWanderlust series hosted by these amazing travel bloggers.Ā  Today I am linking up with Justin Plus Lauren.Ā  Check them out for great […]

  5. Evanne @ Poplar Travels
    | Reply

    I can’t believe you got to swim in a cave, how cool is that? I feel like I missed everything awesome when I visited Bermuda, haha. I’ll have to go back!
    Evanne @ Poplar Travels recently posted…Two Days In Singapore With City PassMy Profile

  6. kami
    | Reply

    I must say I didn’t know much about Bermuda (ok, I knew nothing at all!) but after reading this I’m so adding the place to my bucket list! It sounds and looks so interesting!!
    kami recently posted…Subotica – the art nouveau pearl of EuropeMy Profile

  7. Richelle
    | Reply

    You have me convinced! The beaches look incredible and the town is so cute! It looks like you had an amazing time.
    Richelle recently posted…Iā€™m Going to Thailand!My Profile

  8. Tiny Traveller
    | Reply

    Wow! Cliff jumping always reminds me of growing up on the coast in the south of England šŸ™‚
    Tiny Traveller recently posted…Two Weeks in Penzance: Lost in a FieldMy Profile

  9. Sandra @ Tripper
    | Reply

    Wow this is a great tour. Usually I’m skeptical too with tours and I understand what you mean: all the tourists cramped inside a bus, being rushed around. But this one truly sounds like a full experience and all in one day? It’s also nice that they take the tour anyway even if it was just you guys. Great pictures by the way. Really really nice post šŸ˜‰
    Sandra @ Tripper recently posted…9 Suggestions To Eat Out In LisbonMy Profile

  10. Great photos Lauren! Going to add this to my bucket list
    Paula Through the Looking Glass recently posted…6 Month Itinerary for Travelling Southeast AsiaMy Profile

  11. Erin | No Ordinary Nomad
    | Reply

    Loving your posts on Bermuda – it’s making me really want to go! The tour looks heaps of fun, although I’m not too sure how I’d go in some of those caves, they look a little cramped!
    Erin | No Ordinary Nomad recently posted…Everest Base Camp Trek Day 2 ā€“ Phakding to Namche BazaarMy Profile

  12. Esther
    | Reply

    This looks like an amazing place.I especially love the blue, blue waters! If you don’t go swimming and snorkling there, where would you??

  13. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
    | Reply

    This does look like a really good tour! And those caves look awesome – especially the one you could swim in. It looked pretty deep too from those photos!
    Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted…I Don’t Think I Want To Be A Travel Blogger AnymoreMy Profile

  14. Dana
    | Reply

    Swimming in a cave… AWESOME. Super cool. Would love to do that one day. Finally got to swim in a waterfall for the first time this past October (and it was all I’d hoped and dreamed it would be!); would love to tackle cave next šŸ˜‰ Also really like that photo from the window of the light house. Great shot!

  15. […] the island to many off the beaten path nature sites. An eco-tour and island adventure! Read more: justinpluslauren…. Share on TumblrjQuery(document).load(function(){ […]

  16. Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    | Reply

    I really need to get myself to Bermuda it seems. šŸ™‚
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted…101 Stocking Stuffers for Men Who Love TravelMy Profile

  17. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    | Reply

    All of these hidden gems are amazing guys! Looking forward to visiting Bermuda this spring! šŸ˜€
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted…Exploring Cinque Terre: RiomaggioreMy Profile

  18. Sarah
    | Reply

    Lauren this looks like a fantastic tour. How streneous was the hiking or climbing in and out of the caves? We’d love to take our children with us on this tour when we go to Bermuda this summer so I’m just wondering if it would be to intense/streneous for them. Thanks again so much for this detailed review

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Hi Sarah! The hiking was not very strenuous at all anywhere. I feel like this would be a really fun tour for kids to go on! If you have any doubts, please feel free to email Ashley of Hidden Gems – her contact info should be on the website. She might be able to even cater the tour for kids! Hope you have a great time and please let me know how it went!
      Lauren recently posted…24 Stunning Photos of St Thomas From The OceanMy Profile

      • Sarah
        | Reply

        Thanks Lauren! I emailed her and hopefully we can get something set up šŸ™‚ I’ll let you know when we get back!

  19. […] almost every step you take! You can explore the commercial caves on a tour, or take a tour with Hidden Gems to discover those off the beaten path places that only the locals know about. You can even swim […]

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