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Earlier this year I published a post detailing the first of 3 vacations I had planned for 2019 (after surviving 2018 without one).
Today I wanted to share my experience with my recently completed 2nd vacation, which, for reasons that will be revealed later, was by far my most anticipated vacation in years.
Whereas the first vacation was a more family oriented Disney Cruise/Resort vacation with my daughter and girlfriend, this vacation was a pure romantic getaway for my girlfriend and I (we were celebrating our 5th anniversary of dating during the last week of June).
I had early on in the process selected Bermuda as the destination of choice.
I had heard great things about Bermuda, most notably the famous pink sand beaches and seafood.
Another bonus was that it was a reasonably short international flight (for my 45th birthday my girlfriend and I traveled to Bali, which was an absolutely amazing place to visit, but forced us to endure 24 hours of flying to get there).
I typically have no issues spending money on experiences and as such tend to splurge on hotel accommodations and dining in particular.
I ended up choosing an absolutely amazing property to stay in, The Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa.
One of the great things about this particular resort was that it was the only one on the island that catered to adults (officially had to be 13 years or older to stay there).
This meant that being on the private beaches was truly relaxing, without the cacophony present at most beaches where children are running rampant (don’t get me wrong I love kids, but it is nice to be disconnected every once in awhile).
I did splurge by upgrading my room to the Superior Suites Sea View category and the views did not disappoint.
The room itself was massive, it felt like a 2 bedroom apartment with a large separate vanity room, an enormous bathroom with jetted tub and shower, a king bed, sitting area, and private balcony.
One of the great bonuses of staying at this property was that there was a premier restaurant on site, Tamarisk, so, on the occasions we chose to relax and stay in, we were still able to eat incredibly well.
Bermuda Tip: Cambridge Beaches & Resort has a BBQ buffet at Tamarisk that is incredibly popular and very well done. Make sure you make dining reservations for this event as non-hotel guests often travel to the property for it and making seating in demand.
Our resort offered free shuttle transportation to the Naval Dockyard, which was a main access point to public transportation via ferry or bus.
Bermuda is a very popular cruise ship destination and there is typically 1 or 2 cruise ships at the dockyard at any given time.
Bermuda tip: Inquire about the cruise ship schedule and plan accordingly. The best times to visit popular tourist places like the world famous pink sand Horseshoe Beach are later in the day on days the cruise ships are departing or early in the day when the cruise ships are first arriving.
My girlfriend and I were on an island tour and we overheard one passenger complaining that Horseshoe Beach was absolutely packed and reminded her of the Jersey Shore.
We then decided to go to Horseshoe Beach early on a day the cruise ships were about to arrive and had large portions of the beach all to ourselves.
Bermuda fact: The sand itself of these famed pink sand beaches is not really pink. It gets this famous hue because of coral particulates that get washed ashore from a nearby coral reef located south of the island. The northern beaches do not have pink sand as the coral reefs are much further out.
Although Bermuda is a British overseas territory it almost feels like it is part of the United States:
- The Bermudian dollar is on par with the American dollar.
- An interesting tidbit is that although American dollars are used interchangeably and accepted everywhere, British currency is not.
- There is no need for electric plug converters as the outlets are the same as in the US.
One thing that pays homage to the Brits is that Bermudians do drive on the left side of the road.
I fell in love with Bermuda on the very first day of my vacation, going so far as to contemplate living there myself one day (I even posed this question to my girlfriend on day 1).
The island is absolutely picturesque and, because the country is only 22 miles long and a mile wide, almost everywhere you drive you see gorgeous vistas of aquamarine water.
However reality quickly set in and, unless I achieve morbidly obese FIRE, living in Bermuda was relegated to just a pipe dream:
Bermuda has been ranked as the #1 most expensive place to live in the world.
Talk about taking Geoarbitrage to the extreme negative.
Being a volcanic island with limited space for natural resources, everything has to be imported:
- The price of gas ranges from $8-9/gallon.
- A watermelon costs $16.
Because of an average of TWO hurricanes each year, Bermudian homes have to be constructed out of concrete, driving up prices.
The average cost for an acre of land (no ocean view) is $1 million.
The average home cost also comes in at $1 million (on a small plot of land).
The Bermuda government also makes it hard for non-Bermudians to buy homes in Bermuda:
- The only way you can obtain Bermudian citizenship is if you are married to a Bermudian for at least 10 years.
- Without citizenship (or work permit) you therefore cannot stay in Bermuda year round even if you do own property there.
- A non-Bermudian is only allowed to purchase a home that is in the top 5% of the real estate market (various tour guides quoted this range to be at least $3-10 million).
- On top of this the Bermudian government also assesses a lot of licensing fees for foreign buyers that can dramatically drive up the cost.
With the cost of goods being so high due to importation meant that Bermuda was indeed an expensive place to visit.
The seafood was absolutely delicious and well worth the price of admission (typically entrees in popular restaurants ranged from $30-$50).
Bermuda tip: Always ask your server if the fish is locally sourced (preferable) to imported fish. One of my favorite dishes was grilled local rock fish (a highly recommended place to try it would be Wahoo’s Bistro (my girlfriend said the grilled Cajun shrimps were the best she ever had).
The Bermuda public transportation system consisted of Ferries and buses that take you from one end of the island to the other.
Bermuda tip: Although the island is only 22 miles long, going by bus can be quite lengthy with many stops (going from the center of Bermuda to our resort on one end of the island was typically an hour journey). If at all possible, the ferry is the transportation of choice, much less crowded with better scenery.
Bermuda tip: Although we bought the all day public transport pass ($19 each), I would suggest loading yourself with tokens ($4.50/token) as there was not a single day during the trip we came out ahead with the pass.
When I first booked this trip I tried to plan a tour almost every day of our stay.
When I shared the itinerary with the resort concierge she shook her head and said I have never seen anyone try to do so much in a week.
She said, “Relax! This is Bermuda!”
It was great advice which I listened to (cancelling a few tours I had booked).
That being said, there was a couple of expeditions we booked that I am glad we kept.
The first was the Island Wrap Around Tour.
My girlfriend and I were part of a tour group that was whisked around the island by van with a great tour guide giving us the ins and outs of Bermuda and stopping along various highlights of the island that included:
- The world’s smallest drawbridge (only 18 inches wide to allow the mast of a sailboat to pass).
- The tallest cast iron lighthouse in the western hemisphere.
- A private golf course which is the site of an upcoming PGA championship.
A very popular tourist destination that my girlfriend and I went to and explored on our own was the Crystal Caves of Bermuda.
Bermuda tip: There are two cave systems (Crystal Cave and Fantasy Caves) with separate admission charges ($22 for either or $30 for both). The Fantasy Cave was a lot smaller and not as impressive as the Crystal Cave and could be skipped without losing much on the experience.
Another tour that my girlfriend and I may have enjoyed a bit too much was a sunset Gosling Rum Tasting Cruise, which included the national drink, the Rum Swizzle, with pineapple and orange juice mixed with rum, as well as the popular Dark and Stormy (Gosling Rum and Ginger Beer).
This cruise just so happened to be the night of our 5th anniversary and capped off what was quite a momentous event that happened earlier on in the day…
Long time readers of this blog have, quite understandably, associated me with my awful divorce.
But I did not let that bad experience dissuade me, as I always felt I was a romantic at heart.
Of course it had to take a special woman for me to contemplate getting married again and I am very fortunate that I indeed found one.
It is always smart to listen to Queen B’s advice:
” ‘Cause if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.”- Beyonce.
An added bonus was that the resort staff quickly recognized what was going on and when we returned to our room we were surprised with a bottle of bubbly and dessert.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and the 8 days passed in a blink of an eye.
The last day was spent relaxing at the resort, exploring the various private beaches and coves on the property and capturing a gorgeous Bermudian sunset:
I left Bermuda with not only a ton of incredible memories but a fiance to boot.
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