THE MAGIC OF BERMUDA :: singing frogs + beauty everywhere

July 15, 2014

Bermuda!

Bermuda!

I just got back from a trip to Bermuda! I wanted to share the highlights:

Singing frogs
We arrived at night and rode in a taxi with the windows rolled down – through the perfumed trees – from one side of the island to the other. I heard the singing frogs, and every last bit of tension left my body. Something about that song. It lulls me, it relaxes me, and it can put me to sleep even though their calls are quite loud. It feels incredibly healing to all the cells in my body.

I recorded the singing frogs so that you could hear them too! I was down by the ocean – the crashing of the waves is quite loud, but you can make out both the individual songs as well as the power of their collective chorus.

 

The water
The sea has two colors: royal blue in the deeper waters + turquoise green near the shore where it’s shallow. And where there’s a lot of limestone + minerals, it becomes a creamy light green jade. Depending on where you are, you might see fish swimming … schools of silver flashes of light, flipping bright yellow tails or solitary electric blue fluorescence. The water is warm, yet refreshing, and the tides are pretty gentle.

warm turquoise waters

warm turquoise waters

The Fairmont spa team
One of the most generous, kind + diverse spa teams I’ve met. Along with the Bermudians, there were foreign workers from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, South Africa, Canada + the U.S. A mix of talent, sparkle, openness + spunk. We did four trainings over two days + had so much fun.

The flowers
I imagine when the first shipwrecked crews began to inhabit the island, there wasn’t much more than super thick jungly green foliage. Over the last 1000 years, many plants were brought to the island – flourishing splashes of color from the bright blossoms of hibiscus, oleander, amaranth, plumeria + plumbago.

plumbago flower

plumbago flower

crazy beautiful hibiscus variety!

crazy beautiful hibiscus variety!

plumeria

plumeria

bright island flower

bright island flower

perfume flower :: the scent of these is heavenly

perfume flower :: the scent of these is heavenly

Colors all around 
The colors of the houses in Bermuda match the surroundings: pastel pink to mirror the light pink sand, bright blues + turquoise of the sea, fluorescent greens + yellows to match the fish + oranges mimicking the fiery flowers. The colors range from bright + cheerful to soft on the eyes.

turquoise bermuda home

turquoise bermuda home

The sun
The sun felt so, so good on my skin. At home in Arizona I’m well-trained to avoid the sun. But these sun rays are different – like they bake some kinda healing goodness into your whole being. My skin + bones just drank up the warmth with abandon.

Railway trails
There are large trails covering almost the expanse of the island, following the routes of what used to be their railway system. Perfect for taking walks or going for a jog, you pass through forests, tall flowering shrubs, massive slabs of coral stone + old railway tunnels.

railway trail leading into a train tunnel

railway trail leading into a train tunnel

banyan embrace

banyan embrace

Botanical garden
The garden is super relaxed, with a huge expanse of land, tons of flowering trees, a collection of peacocks + a cafe.

Beaches everywhere
There are so many pristine beaches in Bermuda – take your pick! From larger beaches full of people + cookouts to totally deserted coves all to yourself! The water is sparkling, the temperature is perfect + the sand is soft + white, sometimes pinkish in color.

Southlands beach

Southlands beach

Jungles
In a moment you can find yourself in greenery so thick it looks like house plants gone wild – three stories high! Not to mention banyan tree forests + huge walls of ficus.

banyan dance

banyan dance

Laid-back atmosphere
Bermudians are super friendly + easy-going. The whole island feels welcoming + everyone is kind to foreigners.

Motorbikes
There are only three major roads on the island: north, middle + south. People get around by car, bus or motorbike. You can rent motorbikes by the day + they’ll teach you how to ride them. It’s totally exhilarating to ride the curvy roads, breathing in the perfumed air, looking at the flowers, the water, the sky + the colors, while the wind cools down your hot sweaty body.

my lovely motorbike

my lovely motorbike

Caves
There are more caves in Bermuda than anywhere else in the world. And they’re full of gorgeous limestone stalactites. Some of them have pools of turquoise water that you can swim in + most of them are not well-known, making for a totally unique experience.

After we finished the spa trainings, we had one free day off the beaten trail … read more about it here.

off the beaten trail + underground

off the beaten trail + underground

AUTHOR: LOTUSWEI CATEGORIES: magic travels
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Comments

Candice Sardella

Hi Katie! First time to your blog! Was referred by a couple of friends to try Lotus Wei…on my way to doing that as soon as I am done here. Just ended up poking around and ended up here very intrigued by your trip to Bermuda. I’d love to know the details of your itinerary. I’m interested in planning a trip for myself and my husband and I LOVE off the beaten path places! Would love to hear some suggestions.

Thanks!

Reply

Katie

Hi Candice, so happy you asked! Okay, here’s the scoop:

GETTING AROUND :: As a foreigner you are not allowed to rent a car (nor would you want to b/c the island is so small + the roads small + windy). They have taxis + a bus system, but I would highly recommend renting motorbikes. There are rental places everywhere on the island + they’ll teach you how to drive them + you just have to remember to stay to the left! It’s so, so, so much fun to drive everywhere on the motorbike. If neither you nor your husband has driven one before, I would recommend each getting your own bikes, not riding together. It takes about 45 minutes from one end of the island to the next. There is a place called Southlands – it may be on the maps or you can ask the locals – that beach is usually totally deserted, even though it’s a stone’s throw east of the more touristy beach (between Horseshoe Bay + Elbow Beach which are the more popular touristy beaches). Southlands is west of the Botanical Garden by about a mile on the south side of the road – it looks more like a private driveway, but it’s actually a public beach! Also, just before reaching there is the most beautiful road going north into a huge grove of banyan trees. If you get motorbikes, drive in there and drive all through the property there until you come out the other side + are able to cross the main road again + into the beach. When you’re there it will all make sense. If you want me to mail you a map of bermuda + circle places on it, lmk + send me your mailing address through our contact us page. Otherwise, you can’t miss the banyan trees because it’s the most beautiful, mysterious, intriguing little grove. Oh! and bring sunscreen. I never wear sunscreen, but I did get quite sunburned driving the motorbikes. Or wear long sleeves! And bring linen + cotton clothes + good walking shoes. It’s hot + humid.

BOTANICAL GARDEN :: if you go to the garden, I recommend going in the morning before it gets too hot – and you can stop by the cafe + get something to drink, then relax under the trees.

GROTTO BAY :: ask the locals to show you on the map how to get to Grotto Bay Resort (it’s very near the airport). It’s a simple resort, but it has the most beautiful public swimming cave. It’s not publicized to the tourists, because it’s on the resort property, but they don’t mind if you come in + just take a dip inside the turquoise pool that’s inside Cathedral Cave underground. Just change into your suits in their bathroom + you’re set.

TOM MOORE’S JUNGLE :: this is a sort of park, with a jungle. I only spent a short time here, so I didn’t get a chance to find it, but somewhere here, there’s a 15 ft high cliff that you can jump off of into the water + it’s supposed to be exhilarating. If I go back again, I will spend more time here + find that cliff. There are underground caves here, but they do not have electricity (lights) so if you want to explore them, bring a headlamp.

SNORKLING :: I didn’t have time to do this, but I will definitely do it if I return. I saw some of the most beautiful fish from a distance + so I know it would be amazing. Choose somewhere off the beaten path … I believe there is somewhere to the far, far east, past the airport, near the Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve.

RAILWAY TRAIL :: If you like to walk, jog, or bike, check out the railway trail. It’s amazing! There is one long trail that runs along the entire island (that used to be the railroad system). You could take a whole day to just walk + explore + picnic + hit whatever beaches you come across along the way.

KAYAKING :: This is another thing I would’ve liked to do if I had had more time.

LIGHTHOUSE VIEW OF THE ISLAND :: I haven’t been here yet, but I heard that the view is amazing. Go up to Gibbs’ Hill Lighthouse + climb to the top to see the entire island + the sea. There is another island at St.David’s on the far east side.

EXPLORE :: There are so many parks, reserves, little lakes, marshes, arboretums, beaches + amazing places everywhere! Explore, get lost + discover your own magical places – they’re everywhere. Note: there are roughly 30-40 beaches + bays on the island.

WHERE TO STAY :: There are beautiful hotels AND there are also a lot of beautiful places to check out on AirBnB. If I was traveling on my own, I would probably find a beautiful quiet residential place through AirBnB. I personally really liked the east side of the island because it was quieter + less tourist areas/golf course type places.

FOOD :: The food situation can be a little tough if you’re used to organics, juices, smoothies, free-range, etc. All of the food is shipped to the island weekly + there are NO organic fruits/veges, coconut milk ice cream, or things that you could find at Whole Foods. I heard there is a higher end grocery store, but I never found it. I only went to the regular grocery stores, which were all pretty conventional/old school. We mostly just ate at places where we knew they were cooking fresh, local fish from a daily catch, like the Ocean Club at the Fairmont. I’m sure there are more places like this – ask around.

There is a company you can check out that does interactive island eco tours that look really fun if you want small group experience lead by a local with lots of history, etc.: bermudahiddengems.com

And there is the sweetest Scottish girl named Ria, who works at the Fairmont Southhampton Hotel’s Willow Stream Spa who has explored the island + knows all the best places … give her a call if you want more ideas.

Lmk if you have any more questions – call or email. Happy travels! xo

Reply

Candice Sardella

Wow! I am so impressed by your response! haha! This is all wonderful and exciting. Thank you for all these suggestions! I would definitely love a map to help visualize this trip. I’m heading over to your contact us page right now…

thanks!

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