Descent into wonder at Bermuda's Crystal Cave

Bermuda’s beaches are often praised as must-see destinations when visiting the island, and rightfully so. But there are other natural attractions that aren’t quite so visible — unless you go 120 feet beneath the surface.

It took dripping rainwater more than 30 million years to form the Crystal and Fantasy caves in Hamilton Parish. And it took two teenagers in deep pursuit of a lost cricket ball to discover them more than 100 years ago. Today, the caves are among the island’s top draws.

The descent on our guided tour down Crystal Cave’s 88 steps wasn’t particularly challenging, but the floors can be slippery, so shoes with good rubber soles are a must. No jacket is required, though, since the caves aren’t cold.

Although at times it felt like I was on a theme park queue, I had to remind myself that this was the real deal. Each step down reveals increasing numbers of stalagmites and stalactites. As much as I wanted to touch them, our guide forbade it because the oil on our hands prevents future growth of the calcium mineral deposits. It appears a few past visitors who wanted a souvenir did not get the memo, and I spotted a handful of formations that were missing their sharp tips.

With each step, the pathway increasingly transformed from being dimly lit to radiating hues of blue light. Finally, we reached the crystal-clear lake, itself 55 feet deep, with stalagmites and stalactites yielding a surreal experience as my group and I walked on pontoon bridges to explore. Taller guests will have to mind the formations, much like being in an attic with protruding nails. No swimming is allowed.

The caves consist of the Crystal and the Fantasy caves. Both are similar in composition, but Crystal is a bit longer and has the bridge, while Fantasy is steeper and is traversed on a traditional pathway.

The guided tour of each cave takes about 30 minutes. Admission to each cave is priced at $24 for adults and $10 for ages 5 to 12. For those interested in touring both caves, the price is $35 for adults and $12 for ages 5 to 12. The caves are free for kids under age 5. 

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