Having spend the first few days of our trip to Bermuda visiting beaches, it was time for a bit of a break from the beach and sun for the kids. The itinerary for day six was a trip to the Crystal and Fantasy Caves followed by Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse.
Before breakfast, though, I took a quick walk from our vacation rental house down to Horseshoe Bay to take a dip in the water and a few photos. Getting to Horseshoe Bay at 8am before the throngs of cruise ship passengers show up is a much different experience than visiting Horseshoe Beach at noon.
After breakfast we headed off by taxi to Crystal and Fantasy Caves. The ride was about half an hour to the caves and when we got there it was a tad crowded due to cruise ship excursion buses. The cost for the two-cave tour was $35 each and kids five and under are free. It’s $12 for the kids 6-12. After waiting abut 25 minutes it was time for our tour of the first of the two caves. Our first cave tour was of Fantasy Cave. We were lucky and there were only eight people (including the four of us) on this tour, so it was basically private. Typically when visiting a cave in hot summer weather you get a break from the heat. However, Fantasy Cave is very humid since apparently it only has one entrance. As such, you sweat just as much inside the cave as outside. (Especially when you have a child riding on your back on a Piggyback Rider).
I commented to our kids as a joke that it looked like we were in Fraggle Rock. Our tour guide responded that these caves were actually the inspiration for the set designers for the Jim Henson series.
Once our tour of Fantasy Cave concluded, we returned above ground to obtain a numbered ticket for Crystal Cave. After about a 15 minute wait we descended into Crystal Cave, this time with a group of nearly 50 people. The giant group we were with for Crystal Cave definitely made us appreciate the small group we had for Fantasy Cave. Whereas Fantasy Cave was toured via stairs and hard surface pathways, the majority of Crystal Cave is toured on floating platforms. With a large group, the platforms move a lot and it’s not a continuous circuit so we had to squeeze to the size to let the entire group snake around. Crystal Cave is not humid like Fantasy and it felt like pleasant air-conditioning will down there. The entire tour of both caves took about 90 minutes including waiting time.
After our visit to the caves we walked across the street to the famous Swizzle Inn. The Swizzle Inn’s claim to fame is that it is Bermuda’s oldest pub and founder of their national drink the Rum Swizzle. To learn more about Swizzle’s we recommend you check out our good friend Greg from How to Drink‘s video about the Queen’s Park Swizzle. While not a Bermuda Rum Swizzle, you can’t go wrong with any swizzle.
The Swizzle Inn was very accommodating to our kids’ food allergies. The manager even came out to confirm everything. They ate cheeseburgers (with no bun) and grilled vegetables We made sure to order the Fish Chowder at the Swizzle Inn as part of our attempt to find the best Fish Chowder in Bermuda. Obviously it would take more than a week-long visit to sample enough of them, but we’l have to continue on our next visit.
After enjoying our lunch and Rum Swizzles we ventured across the street to Bailey’s Bay Ice Cream Parlour . Prior to arriving in Bermuda we attempted to find out if Bailey’s Bay’s ice cream contained egg (something both of our kids are allergic to) but were unable to make a determination. So before we went inside with the kids and got their hopes up, I ran in to check and luckily it turned out their ice cream is egg-free. We all enjoyed the ice cream, but I think the Dark and Stormy ice cream was the best.
After finishing our ice cream we hailed a cab and ventured off to Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse back in Southampton. You purchase tickets to climb the lighthouse in a gift shop for $2.50 each. We arrived a bit after 3:00 pm and had enough time to explore the lighthouse before it closed at 4:30 pm. The views from the top were spectacular and worth the 185-stair climb.
Before we headed back to our vacation rental we made a quick pit-stop for some more Fish Chowder at Henry’s Pantry next to the nearby Henry VIII Restaurant. On our last visit to Bermuda we did a taxi tour on the final day and the driver stopped off at Henry VIII Restaurant and got us some Fish Chowder so we had a hankering ever since. Unfortunately once we got there they informed us they were out of Fish Chowder for the day and suggested we go next door into the restaurant. We were able to order the chowder to-go at the restaurant but it was double the price and came to $10 for a small cup after tax and tip. But it was still the amazing Fish Chowder we had remembered from the last visit and was enjoyable.
Now it was time to head back to our rental for dinner. We trekked down Gibb’s Hill to to Railway Trail. The walk back to the house was about a mile and we made sure we had a lot of water.
After a long day we cooked dinner at the house and ate on the patio enjoying the beautiful views of the Great Sound. It was a great way to cap off a fun-filled exhausting day exploring caves, climbing a light house, hiking, and eating a lot of Fish Chowder.