The eco-tourist will find Bermuda a rich stomping ground with its bird-watching, nature trails, and tours.
Some of these chief attractions include the following:
- The Arboretum, Middle Road in Devonshire Parish, is 7.7 pristine hectares (19 acres) close to the City of Hamilton, with a large expanse of open space and a small woodland.
- Bermuda Railway Trail, West End. Totaling 34km (21 miles), this trail provides a scenic route from East to West. It is used by walkers and birders alike.
- Blue Hole Park, Hamilton Parish. An abundance of wildlife exists in nearly 5 hectares (12 acres), with a natural small pond and caves close by.
- Hog Bay Park, Sandys Parish. On 15.4 hectares (38 acres), this park has well-maintained trails, vegetable gardens, and wooded hillsides with native and endemic vegetation.
- Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, Smith's Parish. At South Road, 13.8 hectares (34 acres) of nature form the largest and most accessible nature reserve on the island. There are excellent trails plus bird-watching at several observation points, where you can see a large variety of wildlife.
Some of the best eco-tours are offered by Bermuda Lectures & Tours (6 Leacraft Hill Rd., Southampton Parish; tel. 441/234-4082; www.bermudatourism.com/217.aspx). Lasting 1 1/2 hours and costing $15 per person, this outfit's tours are filled with information about the history and ecology of Bermuda and its parks, railway trails, and local hideaways.
The Nonsuch Island Field Trip (tel. 441/297-1980) offers 4 1/2-hour tours on Thursday only, costing $75 per person. These tours begin at 9:15am at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research Dock. A pristine 6-hectare (15-acre) island, Nonsuch is called a living museum of nature. It offers a glimpse of Bermuda as it was 400 years ago. A picnic lunch is part of the deal.
A local eco-heritage group, Rock Ramblers (Somerset Bridge, Sandys Parish; tel. 441/234-3438), offers walkabouts through parklands, nature reserves, beaches, forts, trails, and back country lanes. Commentary includes local history, ecology, and culture.
Among hotels, 9 Beaches is the most eco-sensitive. The Spartan resort sprawls across 7.3 waterfront hectares (18 acres), and makes a valiant attempt to recycle reusable materials.
General Resources for Green Travel
In addition to the resources for Bermuda listed above, the following websites provide valuable wide-ranging information on sustainable travel.
- Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com) is a great source of sustainable travel ideas; the site is run by a spokesperson for ethical tourism in the travel industry. Sustainable Travel International (www.sustainabletravelinternational.org) promotes ethical tourism practices and manages an extensive directory of sustainable properties and tour operators around the world.
- In the U.K., Tourism Concern (www.tourismconcern.org.uk) works to reduce social and environmental problems connected to tourism. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO; www.aito.co.uk) is a group of specialist operators leading the field in making vacations sustainable.
- Carbonfund (www.carbonfund.org), TerraPass (www.terrapass.com), and Carbon Neutral (http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu) provide info on "carbon offsetting," or offsetting the greenhouse gas emitted during flights.
- Greenhotels (http://greenhotels.com) recommends green-rated member hotels around the world that fulfill the company's stringent environmental requirements. Environmentally Friendly Hotels (www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com) offers more green accommodations ratings.
- For information on animal-friendly issues throughout the world, visit Tread Lightly (www.treadlightly.org). For information about the ethics of swimming with dolphins, visit the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (www.wdcs.org).
- Volunteer International (www.volunteerinternational.org) has a list of questions to help you determine the intentions and the nature of a volunteer program. For general info on volunteer travel, visit www.volunteerabroad.com and www.idealist.org.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.