When it comes to dream getaways, Bahamas and Bermuda are two destinations top of most people’s lists. Both of these island paradises can offer amazing experiences, especially if you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand.
Choosing whether to visit the Bahamas or Bermuda for that once-in-a-lifetime vacation or honeymoon can therefore be difficult. Having visited both, we compare them below, and show you what each has to offer.
We look at which has the better beaches, nightlife, what activities you can do in each, how the vibe compares, and more!
Bahamas vs Bermuda: Stunning Natural Scenery
For tourists looking to sunbathe and swim, the Bahamas and its hundreds of beautiful islands seem the natural choice. The Bahamas is huge compared to Bermuda, and there are countless islands and beaches to discover. Therefore if you’re wanting a holiday where you can explore and island hop, then the Bahamas will suit you better than Bermuda.
In fact Bermuda, although made up of 138 islands, has just 64 miles of coastline. In comparison, the Bahamas has 3,542 miles of coastline!
However the most popular sites in the Bahamas tend to attract hawkers who can be quite persistent. Bermuda, on the other hand, seems to have avoided this fate at their most popular beaches and destinations.
The Bahamas also attracts far more tourists, and so the popular beaches can get very busy and are developed with many large resorts and buildings. Bermuda’s beaches, on the other hand, are less developed, quietier, and retain some small island charm.
Both islands are expensive destinations though, Bermuda probably more so than the Bahamas. Yet Bermuda does have a decent public bus system, so getting around the island can be cheap and easy.
Expect beach weather year-round in the Bahamas. In contrast, the temperatures in Bermuda from mid-December to March can be relatively cool.
Bahamas: Beaches and Scenery
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches in the Bahamas, which has countless sandy bays and coves across 655,000 square kilometers!
One of our favorites is Greenwood Beach on Cat Island. This long sandy stretch is far less touristy than other beaches. If you are adventurous enough, you can even find beaches all to yourself in the Bahamas due to the number of uninhabited islands in the nation.
Iconic beaches such as Pig Beach on Big Major Cay are a must visit too. It’s famous not for the turquoise-hued waters, but the pigs that swim here! Visiting this uninhabited Bahamian island can be expensive though.
A more accessible, and equally iconic beach, is Gold Rock Beach in Grand Bahama. Regarded as one of the best swimming spots – and beaches in the Caribbean – the sunsets here are unparalleled. In fact it’s the sunset reflecting off a nearby cay that gives this beach its name.
The Bahamas also have some of the world’s best diving spots in arguably the world’s clearest water. And with 340 days of sun a year, there’s rarely a day when scuba diving and snorkeling isn’t possible.
Exumas Cays Land and Sea Park is probably the best snorkeling experience in the country, where you can see a huge variety of colorful sea-life. A great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must.
Although the Bahamas lacks mountains and rainforests, it’s not all beaches and coral reefs. There are some forests to be explored in northern Bahamas, particularly on the islands of Grand Bahama and Andros. (Recommended: The Best Island in the Bahamas For You).
Bermuda: Beaches and Scenery
Smaller Bermuda is perfect for sun, sea, and sand, but it can be easily explored within a week. That makes it perfect for a short holiday, whereas the Bahamas may be suited to a longer one.
This little British island territory has some stunning stretches of coastline, with white, golden, and even pink sand beaches. Bermuda’s longest beach, Warwick Long Bay, is a great place to dip your toes for a romantic walk along the shore.
One of our favorite beaches is West Whale Bay, which has unbelievable turquoise-clear water. As the name suggests, you can also spot migrating humpback whales here during April.
For a more secluded and private beach, head to Clarence Cove, which also has safe calm swimming water. However if you want a snorkeling spot, we would recommend Church Bay. The reef lies very close to the shoreline there, so you can rent snorkeling equipment from the refreshment stands nearby and swim out to the colorful sea-life.
For such a small nation, Bermuda packs a punch in terms of natural attractions. When you need a break from sunbathing and swimming, then make your way to Walsingham Nature Reserve. Here you can explore the magnificent Crystal Caves that are 120 foot below the ground – one of dozens of caves on the island.
For a dip, you can go to the natural swimming lakes and holes situated throughout the mangroves in Blue Hole Park. There are several walking trails to enjoy that take you to and from these swimming spots.
Bahamas vs Bermuda: Explore the Sights and Experience the Tropics
Along with the natural scenery on offer, both the Bahamas and Bermuda have a wealth of attractions and cultural experiences worth checking out.
Bermuda has no casinos though, as gambling is illegal. So if you want to try your hand at blackjack, the Bahamas is the place to be. In fact for rip-roaring nightlife then the Bahamas is the better choice. Bermudan nightlife is far more laid back.
The Bahamas is a fascinating mix of culture, with African, British and American influences. In fact with its close proximity to the U.S., there’s no doubt there’s a very ‘American’ feel to the tourist hot-spots in the Bahamas.
However, the Bahamas still has much culture on offer.
The vibrant rhythmic national music of the Bahamas, Goombay, was created as a way for slaves to pass down traditions and customs. Goombay continues to this day, and is a staple of fun summer festivals in the country. The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas in Nassau is a good place to visit to find out more about the history of the Bahamas.
For something a bit more historical then visit Fort Charlotte, which sits on a hill overlooking Nassau. The 18th century fort will introduce you to what the Bahamas was like when piracy was rampant a few centuries ago.
There’s no doubt that the Bahamas is also a country synonymous with having a good time, so if you fancy a flutter then head to Paradise Island. Here you can try your hand at the casinos, and grab a beach-side cocktail at one of its high-market resorts.
As an overseas territory of the UK, expect British influences. However American culture, as well as Native American and African influences have all left their mark on this fascinating little island.
The capital of Bermuda – Hamilton – with its multi-colored houses is a great place to learn more about this mash up between British colonial history and African heritage. Bermuda National Gallery and the The Museum of the Bermuda Historical Society are both worth visiting if the island’s history and culture is of interest.
If you’re on vacation in Bermuda for a week or more, and are exploring the island’s towns as well as beaches, then expect to come across Gombay! These colorful Bermudan dance troupes perform on the streets and at festivals throughout the year to rhythmic drumming in a tradition that dates back to the 1800s.
Bahamas vs Bermuda: A Taste of the Island Life
Both the Bahamas and Bermuda will provide a treat for your taste buds, with cuisine focused around seafood.
As a nation made up of numerous islands, it will come as no surprise that Bahamian cuisine is focused around seafood. So if you are a seafood lover, this is the country for you!
Fried conch (aka cracked conch) is a popular dish in the Bahamas and is served in a variety of ways – look out for it on menus. Baked crab is another dish that’s very popular – it’s made up of crab meat, bread crumbs and egg, all baked within the crab shell itself.
As for what to drink, coconut water in the Bahamas is a no brainer! You also have to try Switcha, which is a sort of lemonade, except it’s made with limes.
Want something a little stronger? The beers made by the Bahamian Brewery are definitely worth trying, as are the delicious rum cocktails served up and down the archipelago. The Yellow Bird is a favorite rum cocktail of many Bahamians.
Bermudan cuisine is a real mash of English and Caribbean influences, and subsequently favorite dishes here include salted codfish and potatoes (a common breakfast), fish chowder, and fish and chips.
Seafood is therefore a big deal in Bermuda, and locally caught rockfish and wahoo are almost always on the menu around the island.
For desert, bananas are king. Banana crumble and Bermuda Banana cakes are well worth trying.
To wash it all down, rum – like most tropical islands – is the drink of choice! Try the Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail, a blend of rum with ginger beer.
Bahamas vs Bermuda: Which is the Better Choice?
Both are great destinations, but certainly suit different vacations. The Bahamas’ most popular islands and beaches can be packed and noisy. However, with so many beaches and islands, it’s still possible to find remote secluded spots all to yourself. If you have longer than a week for your holiday and want a bit of an island hopping adventure and a fun nightlife, then the Bahamas would suit you best.
Smaller Bermuda is better suited to tourists who want great beaches but also wish to have all the sights and tourist hot-spots in close reach. Therefore if you would rather spend more time sunbathing and shopping than exploring and partying, then Bermuda is probably the better destination.