St. George’s, a little town on St. George’s island, sits at the northern tip of Bermuda. Since it was the first English settlement on the island it offers a look at the historic colonial buildings. All around the town are gorgeous beaches like Tobacco Bay, making it easy to explore town and hit the beaches all in one day.
I’ve spent plenty of time exploring the tropical islands of Thailand and visited Tulum last summer, but I’d never been to the Caribbean or any tropical islands easily accessible from the US! So when Dan’s family decided to do a cruise this summer I was so excited. And a little nervous because I’d never been on a cruise before and I tend to get motion sickness.
They picked a cruise to Bermuda because it departed right out of Baltimore. It was a five night cruise and we had two days in Bermuda. A short visit, but a fun vacation nonetheless.
The first day we arrived in Bermuda we all gathered on our balcony to watch the island drift by. All of a sudden (even without the steel drums playing on the cruise ship deck) it truly felt like a tropical vacation.
For the actual docking of the ship, we grabbed lounge chairs along the edge of the deck. Near a bar, of course, so we could sip on piña coladas while we watched. Can you imagine how hard it would be to “park” a cruise ship?!
Bermuda was hot! A welcome change from the chilly summer I have experienced so far in San Francisco. After disembarking, we wandered over to the ferry boats to purchase tickets.
Our original plan was to ride the ferry to Hamilton, the capital city of Bermuda, but the local running the popsicle stand outside quickly convinced us that St. George’s was a much better option. After all, we were on vacation. So why see people walking around in business suits when we could see the tropical beaches and old town instead?
The ferry arrived in St. George’s much quicker than we had expected, and we immediately knew we had made the right choice. The waterfront was dotted with palm trees and old buildings painted in bright colors and pretty pastels.
We walked along the cobblestone streets and peaked our heads into the shops to check out the local artwork, jewelry and knickknacks. Past the town square we followed a little road up a hill in search of the path to Tobacco Bay. I wasn’t entirely sure if we knew where we were going but didn’t mind one bit. Every little house was more pretty than the last.
At the top of the hill, just when we thought we might fall over from the heat, we found Daniel. A local sitting outside of his house (soon to be an Airbnb!) dispensing snow cones. Our savior, and a smart entrepreneur at that!
From there he pointed us onward and it wasn’t long before the turquoise waters of Tobacco Bay peaked out beyond the hill. While Horseshoe Bay is the famous beach in Bermuda, Tobacco Bay is much less crowded. Since it is right next to the town of St. George’s, you can wander the old streets, lay by the beach and snorkel all in a single day.
At the edge of the beach a little shack pumps party tunes and dispenses rum drinks and snorkel gear. We rented a few masks and waded out through the shallows until the water got deep enough to swim around. We saw fish and sea creatures all around the rocks. It was amazing to find good snorkeling right at the edge of the beach!
We lost track of the time, because the only way to make the last ferry from St. George’s back to the dockyard was to take a taxi. (Had we missed it we would have taken a bus to Hamilton and a later ferry from Hamilton to the dockyard.)
A gentleman at the shack said he could arrange the taxi for us and we scrambled into the changing rooms to dry off the best we could. Imagine us slipping our sandy, wet bodies back into our dry clothes and then ducking under the Xlerator hand dryer to try to dry off. It was a wreck.
Outside, our “taxi” had arrived. The taxis, as far as we could tell, were just SUVs driven by a local. I’m sure they had some sort of marking or sticker but we were in too much of a hurry for me to notice. Now for reference, this was a five-person car. We were six people, plus the driver making it seven! He told us as long as we weren’t in wet swimsuits (thank you Xlerator hand dryer!) that we could all squish in. Dan’s parents, sister and Courtney squeezed into the back and I ducked into the front seat to sit on Dan’s lap.
And just like that, the cute cobblestone streets we had walked earlier became our rollercoaster track! We rumbled along, the driver gave a quick honk of warning and then we swung around a tight corner and down a hill. He took us the back route (to hide the fact that we were packed in like sardines) and hit every bump he could possibly find along the way – or so it felt.
Right as the ferry boat came into view, we slammed over a curb and all jolted forwarded. I practically slide into the windshield, thank goodness it was at a measly five miles an hour. (I even got this moment on film by accident!)
A total mess, but one of those hysterical moments that makes the trip fun and memorable.
I’m happy to report we made it back on the ferry in time and I have wholeheartedly fallen for the historical-meets-tropical views of St. George’s.