The islands of Bermuda make up a remote and beautiful outpost situated far into the Atlantic Ocean. Located about 850 miles east of the Carolinas, this British territory harbors a wealth of cultural, historical and natural features that make it a unique and rewarding destination to visit. My wife and I spent a few days here this May and our favorite location was Horseshoe Bay.
Bermuda’s subtropical shores host many amazing beaches but Horseshoe Bay is the best known. The gorgeous turquoise water, pink sand, dark limestone, and relatively sparse crowds have earned it high marks by TripAdvisor. That site has ranked it as the eighth most beautiful beach in the world and awarded it as a 2014 Traveler’s Choice Winner.
The pink sand here is made up of the remains of countless microscopic marine organisms known as foraminifera. These amoeba-like protists build shells of calcium carbonate and some form symbiotic relationships with algae. Certain abundant algae give certain abundant forams a reddish tint, and when the forams die their shelly remains accumulate in the sediment. When mixed with the white sand these reddish particles impart a pink tinge to the beaches.
Interspersed with the fine sand are dark and rocky outcrops of limestone. Throughout the millennia countless corals and other shell-constructing invertebrates have inhabited this area. As these organisms have died they have left their calcium carbonate shells behind. Over time this hard mineral has accumulated, building reefs and thick deposits of limestone rock.
These rugged outcrops make Horseshoe Bay an interesting place to explore. All along the beach these barriers provide numerous private coves and tiny personal spaces that welcome the adventurous.
Although most people gather on the main beach these more remote locations are far more satisfying. A little bit of walking up or down the beach rewards the curious with relaxing isolation and amazing views that most people miss.
Just inland of these beautiful shores one can find equally beautiful foliage. The lush green plants are speckled with flowers of all colors including the pink of this oleander…
…this yellow flower…
…and this purple morning glory:
The greenery itself is vibrant and diverse as well. Yuccas, palms, pines, cedars, and many other types of plants fringe these sandy shores.
Although many parts of Bermuda are worth a visit for a variety of reasons, Horseshoe Bay was a particularly alluring location for us. My wife and I only got to spend a couple of hours here but we could have stayed for days. This serene, peaceful, and exquisite sliver of natural beauty was a relaxing and rewarding destination.