Deciding whether your next trip should be to Bermuda or The Bahamas can be a difficult decision. However, the difficulty isn’t with the question, “Should I visit The Bahamas vs. Bermuda?” but rather, “Which should I visit first?” Both are stunning destinations, and if you’re fortunate enough to visit both, you’ll understand that they’re each unique.
While there are some similarities—you’ll find world-class beaches, incredible snorkeling sites, and regional delicacies in both—all it takes is a quick dive into the activities and history of each place to see how different they really are. Depending on where you live and in what season you want to travel, one island may prove to be a better choice, too.
To help make the decision easier, explore the differences between The Bahamas vs. Bermuda below.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Bermuda is usually in the late spring and early summer when parts of the U.S. are still chilly and travelers are anxious to get a jumpstart on summer vacations.
If you’re craving warm beach days, it’s best to travel in June or July, when the average daytime temperature is in the low 80s. If you’re looking for a vacation experience with fewer crowds, May is your best bet.
If you’re headed to The Bahamas, you’ll have more flexibility on when to go, which may influence your decision to visit The Bahamas vs. Bermuda. Because it’s closer to the equator, The Bahamas has less seasonal weather and temperature fluctuation.
The coldest months are December and January, though temperatures are still in the mid-70s. That’s the most popular time to visit The Bahamas as it provides an escape from the snow and single-digit temperatures across the U.S.
Spring and fall are a happy medium between the off-season and the busy season, though early fall has a slightly higher risk of storms from Caribbean hurricanes.
If you’re deciding between The Bahamas vs. Bermuda, travel time may be a factor, especially if you only have a few days for your getaway.
Bermuda is in the Atlantic, roughly even with North Carolina. Cruises to Bermuda leave from the New York area and last for seven to ten nights.
The Bahamas may be more convenient if you only have a long weekend or live close to South Florida. Quick two- to four-night cruises depart from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to The Bahamas, making it the perfect destination for a quick getaway.
If you’re a history buff, both The Bahamas and Bermuda are good options, but Bermuda may have a slight edge. One of the most popular historical sites to visit in Bermuda is the Old Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, which dates back to 1846. Touring the forts around the Royal Naval Dockyard can also fill at least a day as the island was once England’s military stronghold in the Atlantic (and has a related pirate history that’s quite fascinating).
In The Bahamas, the main historic site most guests visit is Fort Charlotte, near Nassau. However, there’s also a fully operational winery in The Bahamas set on an 1800s-era historic site, which offers a nice blend of history and wine tasting.
Underwater Exploration & Wildlife
When it comes to wildlife, the “Bahamas vs. Bermuda” question becomes a trickier one to answer. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll find a variety of natural experiences in both places. And, of course, once you’re in the water, there’s no way to guarantee what marine animals you will or won’t see.
If you love marine mammals, you may be better off heading to The Bahamas. In Nassau, you can get in the water with both dolphins and sea lions under the guidance of a certified trainer. Bermuda also offers a dolphin experience, and though you can’t get up close to sea lions, there is an excellent zoo and aquarium.
If snorkeling is your favorite ocean pastime, both islands are winners. Sea turtles are familiar sights in both destinations. For some, snorkeling in the Bermuda Triangle may have a certain allure to it, while other travelers may appreciate the convenience of being able to snorkel right from an all-inclusive Bahamian beach club.
If you don’t snorkel, both islands offer alternate ways to get on the water, including glass-bottom boat tours and catamaran sails. Bermuda has a particularly exciting evening glass-bottom boat tour that leads to a sunken ship, while The Bahamas offers a low-key glass-bottom boat tour complete with rum cocktails and Caribbean music.
If you’re a scuba diver, you’re probably wondering which has the best underwater sites to explore. If you like scuba diving on shipwrecks, head to Bermuda. Thanks to the famous Bermuda Triangle, the country has more shipwrecks per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Many are very shallow, allowing for fantastic photography and easy diving in clear water (though it can be chilly enough that you’ll want a long wetsuit).
If you’re diving in The Bahamas, you won’t find as many shipwrecks, but the water tends to be warmer, so you don’t need to wear as thick of a wetsuit. The visibility is also better as it’s protected more from the open sea. You’ll find more coral reefs and sandbars here, which may appeal to newer divers not quite ready to explore a wreck.
Luckily for beach lovers, both islands have them in droves, though they are a little different. One of the most famous beaches in Bermuda is Horseshoe Bay, often considered one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The beach’s bright pink sand is incredibly soft and gently drops into the ocean, creating perfect conditions for a day spent relaxing in the warm water. It’s easy to find beach chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel gear rentals along the beach.
If you feel like going for a jog or a stroll, you can walk down to Warwick Long Bay Beach, which is almost equally as beautiful. There are several beaches hidden in rocky coves between Horseshoe Bay and Warwick Long Bay, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to try frozen drinks and island snacks from food carts and beach bars along the shore.
In The Bahamas, you have even more options. While the sand isn’t pink, it’s equally soft and inviting. A popular beach near Nassau is Blue Lagoon Island, with a huge central lagoon, hammocks, easy snorkeling, and beach food and drink in a laid-back atmosphere.
You can’t talk about beaches in The Bahamas without mentioning the world-famous Atlantis Resort, home to some of the best beaches in Nassau and among the most popular attractions in the entire region. In addition to a luxurious five-mile beach, the resort is home to a waterpark complete with slides, huge pools, a relaxing river float, and private cabanas.
Atlantis is also home to a fabulous marine habitat worth at least a few hours on its own. The marine center has different lagoon habitats on-site for animals like sharks, rays, alligators, and sea turtles.
Beach enthusiasts may also want to consider a trip to Pearl Island, a private island away from the crowds closer to Nassau. In addition to having high-end and comfortable amenities, the island is just a quick swim from a fabulous coral reef, where you’ll have a good chance of spotting some of the Caribbean’s most colorful wildlife.
Good news for foodies: you can’t go wrong in The Bahamas vs. Bermuda debate. Both islands have incredibly fresh and flavorful seafood, plus a variety of unique food experiences.
While in The Bahamas, try a rum cake, one of the island’s most famous desserts. The best rum cakes come from The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, and yes, samples are always available. You can also taste the island’s most famous rum at the John Watling’s Distillery, which is housed in an estate dating back to 1789. If you have time, it’s also fun to swing by the local fish and farmer’s market, called Potter’s Cay. It’s open every day and is the perfect place to try small bites and local island flavors.
Of course, Bermuda has more than its fair share of memorable gastronomic experiences, too. If you feel like spending an evening out on the town, consider doing a pub crawl through the Hamilton neighborhood. Unlike a more college-style pub crawl, you’ll visit waterfront restaurants and all-ages beach bars. Most establishments offer discounts to pub crawlers, and you can do your own personal taste test to decide which is the best rum swizzle in town.
If you’re seeking a more elegant experience, you may opt for a classic tea service, modeled on the traditions of England in the 1600s. Tea is accompanied by a traditional spread of scones, cakes, and small sandwiches.