When it comes to dream getaways and honeymoon vacations, Bermuda and Jamaica should be two destinations top of your bucket list. Both of these friendly island paradises can offer amazing experiences, especially if you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand.
However these island nations are very different from each other.
Making the right decision to visit either Bermuda or Jamaica for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday or honeymoon destination is therefore very important. Having visited both, we compare them below, and show you what each has to offer!
Bermuda vs Jamaica: Stunning natural scenery
Both islands have stunning coastlines and those picture-perfect white-sand beaches you expect from a dream holiday. Jamaica is huge compared to Bermuda though, boasting 635 miles of coastline in contrast to Bermuda’s 64 miles.
However, Jamaica is a tropical island that also has a lush green mountainous interior, in comparison to Bermuda which is much drier and flatter. That makes Jamaica a better holiday destination for tourists who wish to do more outside than just sunbathe – such as hiking, swimming in waterfalls, and culture-based activities. In fact Jamaica’s highest peak is 2256 meters – Bermuda’s is just 79!
Expect beach weather year-round in Jamaica as well. The temperature in Bermuda is great too, but mid-December to March can be relatively cool.
When deciding between Bermuda vs Jamaica, expenses are very important to consider. The large local population in Jamaica means that there are many different accommodation and food options in the country, and so it can cater to tourists on a range of budgets. Therefore it’s a very affordable destination, and is actually included on our list of cheapest Caribbean islands to visit. Bermuda, in contrast, tends to be quite expensive, more upscale, and has far fewer options for budget travelers.
However there’s no doubt that Bermuda is a safer island in terms of crime. Although crime in Jamaica tends to happen in the big cities and away from tourist areas.
Below we look in more detail at what both islands have to offer potential tourists, before showing how each is different culturally, and what to expect. Spoiler alert – they’re very different!
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 Jamaica 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 here, 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 situated throughout the mangroves in Blue Hole Park – there are several walking trails to enjoy that take you to and from these swimming spots.
Jamaica has it all when it comes to a tropical island paradise, but what most tourists want are spectacular beaches! However the popular beaches in Jamaica can get busy, and tourists often get harassed by people trying to hawk goods – something that is less of a problem in Bermuda.
One of the best beaches on the island is Seven Mile Beach at the town of Negril. This is a popular spot, but this long stretch of gorgeous white sand is your stereotypical Caribbean paradise. Expect clear blue water, great snorkeling, and one of the best sunsets in the region.
For another beautiful beach with calm swimming water, head to Bloody Bay. The turquoise-hued water is a great place to swim, snorkel, paddle board and more.
There are many great snorkeling spots throughout Jamaica’s coastline, but one of our favorites is Montego Bay. Head there to swim beside colorful reef fish and sting rays. A great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must.
As one of the Caribbean’s largest islands, the diverse geography in Jamaica is one of the reasons to visit. The iconic Blue Mountains are stunning, and the gorgeous 14 mile Blue Mountain Peak Trail takes you through jungle waterfalls, coffee plantations and more as you make your way up Jamaica’s highest peak.
For panoramic views of the island head to Holywell National Park in the Blue Mountains. Here you can hike up through the jungle. Our top tip is to rent a tent and camp for a night or two – the stars up here, and the sunrise in the morning, are unrivaled.
Bermuda vs Jamaica: Explore the sights and experience the tropics
Both islands have colorful cultures, but as a bigger nation with a varied population, Jamaica has a lot more to offer in terms of cultural experiences and excursions.
Bermuda is more of a family friendly destination with a quiet nightlife. Jamaica tends to attract a younger crowd and has a lively nightlife.
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.
Jamaica’s culture is colorful and vibrant, and the country is a wonderful melting pot of different religions and beliefs.
One of those is the Rastafarianism movement which was borne out of Jamaica in the 1930s. For visitors to the island, the Rastafari Indigenous Village near Montego Bay is an opportunity to connect first-hand with people practicing the religion, while also learning how to make traditional drums and cuisine.
Probably Rastafarianism’s most famous member was Bob Marley, and no visit to Jamaica is complete without visiting the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston.
For the best nightlife on the island head to Montego Bay – named MoBay by locals. This party town is a place where you can enjoy a cocktail on the beach, or dance to reggae until the early hours of the morning.
Synonymous with both Jamaica and Rastafarians is marijuana – which is legal for medicinal use in Jamaica, and for use by Rastafarians. Being caught with small amounts (2oz or less) will result in just a small fine of around 5 USD. That makes Jamaica a relatively safe place to smoke for tourists looking for their ganja fix. It’s common for tourists to be approached about buying weed in Jamaica – always exercise caution.
Bermuda vs Jamaica: A taste of island life
Both Bermuda and Jamaica will provide a treat for your taste-buds, with cuisine focused around seafood.
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.
Jamaica’s national food, ackee and saltfish, combines the national fruit of Jamaica (ackee) with salted cod. It’s a popular dish that famous Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has said he often eats for breakfast!
Another iconic Jamaican dish worth trying is jerk chicken or pork. This type of cooking is native to Jamaica and the spicy cooking style may have been invented by slaves who escaped into Jamaica’s wilderness and invented it as they cooked over wood fires.
For something sweet, try Grater cake – a delicious cake made from grated coconut! As for what to drink, Jamaica’s very-own Red Stripe lager is popular on the island (and around the world). Rum cocktails are also made up and down the island with a variety of fresh fruit.
Bermuda vs Jamaica: Which should you choose?
Both Bermuda and Jamaica are great places to visit for a beach-orientated vacation, with each island home to beautiful white sandy stretches of coastline, and some stunning snorkeling spots.
However Jamaica – with its lush forest and mountains – is more suited to holidaymakers who want a vacation that also involves activities away from the beach, such as hiking or culture-based excursions. Jamaica is a much cheaper option than Bermuda too.
Being much smaller, Bermuda is probably better suited to tourists who want a beach vacation with all the sights and tourist hot-spots in close reach.
Recommended for your trip to Bermuda or Jamaica
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