There’s no better way to soak up the essence of Bermuda than on foot. Organized walking tours (free in winter) are offered in the City of Hamilton, the Town of St. George, and the West End, sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs. Independent guides also offer a year-round slate of organized and custom tours to suit varied interests, from birding to geology, medicinal plants to architecture.
Byways Bermuda (tel. 441/504-8687, info [at] bywaysbermuda [dot] com), run by former schoolteachers Ray and Kay Latter, offer “uncommon and unusual” tours year-round in different parts of the island. Some, such as “Forts & Flowers,” combine a bus tour with a stroll through forts, parks, or historic neighborhoods. Others are strictly walking tours and use the public buses to get to the start of each hike.
Group and family tours can also be arranged. Antiques dealer, history buff, and former schoolteacher Tim Rogers of Bermuda Lectures & Tours (tel. 441/234-4082, trogers [at] northrock [dot] bm) takes visitors on custom tours in Hamilton and elsewhere. Standard hourly fees are $60 for a maximum group of six people, but tours for larger groups can also be arranged.
Educator Robert Chandler of Discovery Tours (tel. 441/335-4944, rkchandler [at] ibl [dot] bm, $20 per adult, children under 12 free) leads island-wide custom tours that have an environmental focus. Hog Bay Park, Blue Hole Park, and the South Shore beaches and dunes are among his favorite sites.
To check departure times and schedules for all seasonally organized tours, call the Department of Cultural Affairs (tel. 441/292-9447) or the Department of Tourism (tel. 441/292-0023, www.bermudatourism.com).
For those who prefer to do their own thing, most of the island is easily walkable—though certain areas are short on sidewalks. To get away from main roads, hike the Railway Trail, today part of the National Parks system, or meet up with the Walking Club of Bermuda (contact Laura Gorham, tel. 441/737-0437, ltgorham [at] ibl [dot] bm, www.walk.free.bm), which gets together every Sunday morning at a different location for a six- to seven-mile hike, with cut-off points for those who don’t want to go the full distance.
Don’t forget that much of Bermuda’s biodiversity is marine, not terrestrial; half-day and full-day snorkeling and scuba tours over Bermuda’s renowned reefs can be arranged through several respected outfitters. Fantasea Bermuda (tel. 441/236-1300, fax 441/236-8926, info [at] fantaseabermuda [dot] com, www.fantaseabermuda.com) offers excursions departing from its outlets at Albuoy’s Point, Hamilton, and Dockyard, and also picks up clients from the dock at the Waterlot Inn in Southampton.
Blue Water Divers and Watersports (tel. 441/232-2909, www.divebermuda.com) offer dives leaving from Elbow Beach, Paget, Hamilton, and Somerset Bridge. Parasailing, boat rentals, kayaking, waterskiing, helmet diving, and “snuba” diving are all on offer. For details for individual operators, see the Department of Tourism’s website (www.bermudatourism.com).
The compact size of the island allows you to maximize your exploring by land or by sea; you can float over seafans and inspect mangrove dragonflies in the morning and still have plenty of time later in the day to bask at the beach or enjoy a shopping jaunt to Hamilton.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition