The Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour was our favorite thing to do on the island. The concept of the Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour is just our style: an all-inclusive, fully interactive, island eco-tour where we’d explore many off the beaten path destinations. It was one of the best things we did throughout our four days in Bermuda. We went hiking in Bermuda through Tom Moore’s Jungle, explored caves (even went swimming in one!), snorkeled on a deserted beach, challenged ourselves to cliff jumping, and more. Here’s what you can expect on a Bermuda Hidden Gems tour.
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Our tour guide, Ashley, picked us up at our hotel for our full-day tour. We spent seven hours in total with Ashley. It was one glorious day discovering Bermuda’s beautiful natural spots, including jungles, caves, and nature preserves. We lucked out because we were the only couple taking the tour that day, so it was a private excursion for the two of us. Typically, a small group will travel around the island with Ashley, so it’s still an intimate experience. Our first stop on our Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour was Tom Moore’s Jungle.
Hidden Gems of Bermuda: Tom Moore’s Jungle
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 Blue Lagoon
The first place that Ashley showed us a crystal clear pool in Tom Moore’s Jungle 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. The largest resident of Bermuda’s Blue Lagoon is the Rainbow Parrotfish, although we kept seeing this gorgeous beauty called the Princess Parrotfish.
We continued our walk along the nature trails of Tom Moore’s Jungle. It’s a great place to go hiking in Bermuda. Unfortunately, when we visited Bermuda, a hurricane passed through only days earlier. The hurricane damaged many trees and paths in the jungle. Thankfully, the hurricane didn’t damage too much of the island. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the Blue Hole because the path was temporarily blocked from the hurricane damage. Instead, we explored some other amazing natural spaces. Our next stop was the Subway Cave.
Ashley provided each of us with a backpack filled with the appropriate gear for this caving experience. Hidden Gems of Bermuda has thought of everything! Justin and I put on helmets equipped with head lamps. These are very handy while exploring the caves as it gets very dark in there. Ashley also brought a higher powered flashlight that could even be used underwater.
These are public caves in Tom Moore’s Jungle that are very natural and untouched. Therefore, there aren’t any signs, paths, or lights in Subway Cave. It’s handy to travel with a local guide who knows exactly where to find the best spots. These caves can be very concealed and you might not even know that they exist otherwise. I wouldn’t have even known there was such an impressive cave buried beneath the greenery and sprawling tree roots.
Subway Cave is a fascinating dry cave beneath the forest floor. Many stalactites hang 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, brought 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 doesn’t harm the rocks in any way. They are incredibly sturdy and aren’t going anywhere.
Our next stop was Walsingham Cave, a partially drowned cavern where you can go swimming to view interesting rock formations all around. Justin and I packed our water shoes for the occasion because the rocks can be a little bit sharp as you enter or leave the pool.
The cave is fairly dark, but there’s enough natural light to see 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.
Learning About Native Plants
As we went hiking in Bermuda at Tom Moore’s Jungle, Ashley shows us some natural plants and how Bermudians use them for natural remedies. For instance, you shouldn’t use bug spray in the jungle due to all of the chemicals (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. Bermudians use the root of this plant to make the island’s famous Ginger Beer!
Lunch Break on This Bermuda Tour
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. Unfortunately, this restaurant has since closed.
Nowadays, lunch on the tour is prepared by Eliana’s Fine Dining. There’s always a vegetarian or vegan option on the tour, and every meal comes with a Bermuda ginger beer soda. At the Black Horse Tavern, we enjoyed chickpea burgers with a beautiful view. If you’re looking for more vegan options in Bermuda, check out our Bermuda vegan dining guide.
St. David’s Lighthouse
After lunch, we visited 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. Its walls were constructed using Bermuda Limestone, and an interior staircase was made 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, one of the best beaches in Bermuda.
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 wanted to float around on them. We had plenty of free time to swim around with the fish on our own.
Admiralty House Park
For our final adventure, we went to Admiralty House Park to go cliff jumping in Bermuda. Admiralty House Park is 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 are tunnels and passageways to navigate through in order 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 something that we’d never done before. 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. We highly recommend that you take a Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour when you travel to Bermuda. It was great to spend the day with a local who taught us about the island and showed us so many wonderful, eco-friendly places.