Review: Horseshoe Bay Beach By Cruise Ship

Until recently, I’d never been to Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda, or to Bermuda at all.

To be fair, I’ve been reading about it for years and had all kinds of people — including more than a few readers and listeners — tell me it was the kind of place you have to see to believe. But somehow, I never got around to taking a trip there.

horseshoe bay beach
Horseshoe Bay on a sunny day.

During a short cruise that stopped in Bermuda for a day, I had a chance to visit the much-discussed beach, which is located on the southern coast of the island.

About five minutes after arriving at the beach — having traveled there from King’s Wharf in the Royal Navy Dockyard by a shuttle bus — I figured out why TripAdvisor lists Horseshoe Bay as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

Getting to Horseshoe Bay Beach

The shuttle buses lined up at King’s Wharf in Bermuda.

There are a few transportation options for getting from the dock to Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda. Most forms will take about 25 minutes or so to get there. But not all forms of transportation are created equal, and they certainly don’t all come at the same price.

You can take a taxi for approximately $38 (without tip), hire a driver for $100 per hour, buy a cruise line transfer for around $50, or do what most guests do: jump into a shuttle bus for $7 per person. Not that the taxi rates are not roundtrip but each way.

The cash-only shuttle bus was the easiest option for us. The driver was friendly and made change for us. (Although to be safe, it’s always best to have exact change.) The shuttle buses will operate throughout the day until aroun 5:30 pm local time, always confirm final pick p.

You can take the No. 7 public bus from the Dockyard to Horseshoe Bay for $4.50 per person. Even though this is the cheapest option, it can take twice as long to get there because the bus makes all the local stops.

On the plus side, unlike in most cities, public transportation is very organized, efficient, and clean in Bermuda.

Insider Tip: The earlier you get off the ship, the quicker you get to Horseshoe Bay, the better. Not only will you have more time, but there will be far fewer people.

Arriving at Horseshoe Bay


After a 25-minute scenic bus ride, you will arrive at Horseshoe Bay Beach. It’s a short walk down to the beach from where you’re dropped off. This is where you’ll have the chance to pick up anything you may have forgotten.

Items at the beach shop are much more expensive than you will find back home (although probably comparable to what you might pay for some of it on the ship), so be sure to read the tips section at the end of this piece to avoid making any costly mistakes.

For instance, I bought a mask and snorkel for $30. I could have easily ordered it on Amazon for half the price.

The Beach

bermuda horseshoe bay beach

You know when you’re looking at a postcard or a photo online and you think wow, this is unbelievable? That’s precisely what you’ll say when you set onto Horseshoe Bay Beach. Just off the pathway, past the stores and bars, you’ll be led onto the beach. To the left will be giant rocks with caves, to the right the shoreline.

Horseshoe Bay beach

The water was warm, blue, and crystal clear. The sun was shining, and the day couldn’t have been more perfect. I noticed that there seemed to be a cluster of people swimming a little ways down the beach, so I wandered down to check it out.

About 100 yards off the beach is a small series of reefs that create a fantastic snorkeling spot. I put on my mask and immediately began spotting parrot fish, angelfish, and others that I can’t name. The reef and the corals were a playground for the fish, who didn’t seem bothered by us.

horseshoe bay beach

I guess they’re just used to humans at this point.

Just down the beach, there are several large rock formations and a few caves that are perfect for exploring. In the past, visitors used to climb to the top of these jagged outcroppings to take amazing pictures of the beach. However, it seems that some of them fell, and it could be dangerous to climb them. Hence, there are now big “Keep Off The Rocks” signs posted to prevent any accidents.

Horseshoe Bay beach

At the base of the rocks, there are a lot of tidal pools that are fun to explore, but be careful… some of them are pretty deep, and the drop-off can catch you off guard. Definitely watch your step.

I decided to visit the sandy beach to experience the famous pink sands of Bermuda. Although the sand at Horseshoe Bay has a pinkish tint, the actual granulated bits of pink are not easily noticeable unless you observe it closely.

fine pink sand

Based on my conversations with some locals, the pink appearance of the sand is due to the presence of minuscule organisms that grow under the coral. When these organisms die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and are eventually swept onto the shore by tides and waves. Although the sand isn’t particularly pink, it is still incredibly stunning.

Insider tip: If you want to escape the crowds, take a walk away from the main section of the beach. You’ll discover a fantastic stretch of the beach that’s almost empty. Similar to the private islands owned by cruise lines, people often stop walking as soon as they reach the beach and remain there. However, if you break away from the crowd, you’ll almost always find beautiful, secluded places.

Beach Rental Costs

Horseshoe bay cabana

As you step onto the beach, you will notice a hut over to your left side with chairs stacked high, just waiting to be rented. They also have umbrellas, snorkel gear, and boogie boards available to rent for the afternoon.

IMG 1023

Want to go all-out (and avoid the hot sun)? You can rent a pop-up tent here as well. When you rent an umbrella, one of the shop attendants will bring it to the beach and get you set up. The same is true of beach chairs.

So how much does it cost to rent the equipment?

  • Beach Lounger $18
  • Beach Umbrella $15
  • Sand Chair $15
  • Boogie Board $25
  • Snorkel Mask $20
  • Full Face Snorkel Mask $25
  • Sand Package (includes 2 sand chairs and an umbrella) $40
  • Lounger Package (includes 2 beach loungers and an umbrella) $45
  • VIP Package (pop-up tent, 4 beach loungers and a bucket of bottled water)  $150

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda

waves beach and sand
  • Bring sunscreen, towels, and your essential beach gear. It’s far cheaper to bring your own than it will be if you have to pick it up after you arrive.
  • Apply sunscreen before you get to the beach. The sun can be pretty brutal, and a lot of people walk away with bad sunburns.
  • If you plan on playing around the rocks, consider packing a pair of water shoes so you don’t tear your feet up.
  • Get to the beach early (especially if there’s more than one ship in port) and head back to the ship a few hours before the end of the day so you don’t wind up tired, hungry, and having to wait in a long line to board.
  • Even though the shops at Horseshoe Bay take credit cards, the shuttle drivers only take cash.
  • The ride to the beach is only 20-25 minutes, but give yourself extra time when heading back to the ships just in case. You know what they say: Expect the unexpected.
  • Bermuda is known for their Rum Swizzle — made with rum, fruit juices, grenadine, and bitters — so try one before leaving the island.

As I mentioned before, I’d never been to Bermuda before, and this trip to Horseshoe Bay left me wishing that I had more time to explore the beautiful island.

I’m already trying to figure out when I can jump on a cruise that docks here for a few days (as opposed to this particular itinerary, which only puts us on the island for the afternoon).

Explorer this handy guide to Bermuda before you arrive to you can make plans before the cruise ship docks.

Horseshoe Bay Beach Video

cruise bermuda horseshoe bay travel beach

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