Bermuda Vacation - Travel Guide
Add Bermuda vacation to your list of hot Caribbean vacations! Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory, is one of the best hot spots to have your next vacation at. A quick 2.5 hour flight from some of America's and Canada's major cities will get you to the island to enjoy Bermuda's breathtaking views, manicured golf courses, miles of velvety pink-sand beaches and the warmth and hospitality of local residents. You will fall in love with the island's perfect scenery, many historical landmarks, a vibrant nightlife and that perfect list of aquatic activities that make it a true paradise to explore. Read on about Bermuda travel tips!
Why vacation in Bermuda?
Here are the top reasons that attract tourists to Bermuda:
While Bermuda offers 34 phenomenal beaches across the island, exquisite resorts with fantastic activities and on/off site delectable dining options, it also provides over the top amenities for those who conduct their business meetings and conferences in Bermuda. State of the art technologies, a wide selection of business programs and plans and security throughout the island make this the ultimate spot for business trips.
It's a treat for those that are coming from the United States or Canada as the Bermuda vacation is only a couple hours away if you are coming from New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Miami or Toronto. Just imagine breathing in that fresh tropical air and sipping your favourite cocktails on a perfect pink sandy beach while crystal-clear turquoise waters break against the shore in just a couple of hours of flight time!
Bermuda beaches have something that other vacation destinations do not, the pink sand! This is because very small red organisms grow underneath the coral reefs in the ocean. When they die, they get mixed with seashells, sand and bits of coral reefs and are washed up to the shore. Once they get mixed with the sand and the sunbeams, you are able to observe a one of a kind pink hue.
When on Bermuda vacation, go on a sightseeing tour, you will be amazed by the historic sites, old architectural churches, exotic caves with limestone formations, Bermuda's own Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Hamilton Harbour, Front Street full of luxury shops and extravagant restaurants and an abundance of water activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, shore excursions and many others.
Best time to go to Bermuda
Even though Bermuda's temperatures are on the chilly side in the winter months (December to March) and swimming might not be so enjoyable, it's the best time to engage in water activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. The waters are crystal clear and the visibility is excellent going as deep as 200 feet underwater. Hotel rates are significantly lower during this time, so it's best for those that are on a budget.
However, the best time to go on Bermuda vacation would be during its' peak season from March to November. Temperatures get as high as 24-29 degrees Celsius (75-85 degrees Fahrenheit) while the humidity levels rise. Although accommodation rates are sky rocketing compared to the winter season, most tourists prefer to come during the summer months to enjoy the warm weather and a number of activities.
Where is Bermuda on the map?
Since Bermuda is a popular tourist destination, one might think that it is part of the Caribbean. It is not, as it is located in the North Atlantic, 1,070 km (665 miles) off the east coast of North Carolina, United States, 1046.07 km (650 miles) east of Washington D.C., and 1,578 km (981 mi) north of Puerto Rico. However, Bermuda is part of the Caribbean community.
The total area of Bermuda is 53.2 km² (21 mi²) and if you take a bus during your Bermuda vacation, you can go from one end of the island to the other in about 2 hours, taking into account the transfer at the capital city of Bermuda, because buses do not operate from Dockyard to St.George.
Bermuda is also known because of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. It lies northeast of Puerto Rico and Florida forming a triangle with these two countries. Bermuda consists of 138 islands and small islets, but only 20 of them are inhabited. Those that are populated are connected to the Main Island (the hot tourist destination) by causeways and bridges.
Capital city of Bermuda
Hamilton, the capital city of Bermuda, is a small but vibrant and picturesque harbor city full of colour and lively shops, museums and galleries. Hamilton is home to many international and local businesses, and its' historic part of town is a definite place to visit on Bermuda vacation. Hamilton and the nearby parishes offer a wide selection of things to do and to see. Light ocean breeze, beautiful blooming gardens, historic churches and monuments, a hands-on interactive aquarium and the zoo make this place a heaven on earth.
Hamilton's population is fairly small with approximately 2,000 residents living in the city. However, most people that are employed in Bermuda's capital, do not reside there. They live in other parishes and commute by car, bus or a ferry, to work or to enjoy some leisure time in the city.
Hamilton is home to a magnificent Harbor that welcomes passenger cruise ships on Bermuda vacation, yachts and freight ships. Once people get off the boats, they can walk straight onto Front Street, the center of it all. You will find exclusive shops, restaurants, banks, insurance companies, theaters, museums and many other great activities, no wonder this street is the busiest on the island.
Population in Bermuda
According to the Population statistics, the population of Bermuda in 2016 is calculated to be 70,337. Among other religions on the island, Bermuda's prevailing religions include Roman Catholics, Anglicans and African Methodist Episcopalians.
There are also more than 400 churches and various religious centers scattered throughout the island. Nationalities that live on Bermuda consist mostly of residents of African decent (they predominate all other ethnic groups), as well as caucasian residents and a lesser percentage from other origins.
Another quite interesting fact about Bermudians is that they are known as "Onions" all over the world, and they are sure proud of that. The reason for that is that back in 1800s Bermuda used to be the largest exporter of onions. The export later stopped, but back in those days Bermuda's rich soil was ideal for growing vegetation and it produced succulent and juicy onions that got shipped in 1,000 tons to US alone.
Local Language in Bermuda
Since the island of Bermuda is a British territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, the official language on the island is English. Tourists on Bermuda vacation will have no problem communicating in the international language, but at times it could be a little challenging to understand the locals as they speak with the Bermudian accent. There is also a fairly large Portuguese community so visitors can expect hearing Portuguese language from some of the locals as well.
Bermudians are such open-hearted, educated and expressive people that they will start a conversation with anybody, especially the tourists. If you require help, just ask one of the local residents. They will be extremely happy to give a helping hand to someone in need.
How to get to Bermuda
Flying to Bermuda during the winter season is extremely affordable as the rates start increasing during the island's high season, that does not kick in until March.
Direct flights are available from United States, Canada and the UK, and those passengers that are travelling from other countries will need to make a transit stop in either New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Orlando, Toronto, London, Munich, Miami, Milan or other major cities. Check with your airline as to what city it departs from to travel to Bermuda, prior to booking your Bermuda vacation.
Bermuda vacation options
Bermuda offers a vast selection of the best hotels, resorts (the choice would be between family-friendly, adults and couples only) villas, guests houses, inns, apartments and cottages for rent, as well as several vacation packages suitable for any taste and budget.
There is only one all-inclusive resort on the island - Grotto Bay Beach resort - that includes all the buffet-style meals, drinks, on-site activities such as tennis, all non-motorized water sports, swimming in the caves and even transportation around the island by bus or a ferry.
Some other accommodations offer all-inclusive packages as well, but guests have a choice between only renting a room or purchasing a plan that might include breakfast, lunch and/or dinner and other amenities depending on the hotel/resort. Keep in mind, that the resorts and hotels that do offer all-inclusive packages might require a 3-night minimum stay; therefore, when booking Bermuda vacation, thoroughly check the options the specific place offers.
For those that are looking to rent privately, there is a great option of staying in an apartment or a guest house, that are fully furnished and equipped with appliances for convenience. In that instance, tourists are responsible for their own meals and activities.
Weather in Bermuda
What's great about Bermuda is that it experiences a sub-tropical climate, the weather never gets extremely hot or cold, and the weather conditions remain clear and calm. The winter months in Bermuda begin in December and go through March with the temperatures being the lowest out of the whole year at 18-21 degrees Celsius (65-70 degrees Fahrenheit). Although the weather is pleasantly nice and cool during the days, evenings and early mornings get chilly, so wearing a light jacket during your Bermuda vacation is a good idea.
Bermuda's high season begins in April and lasts through November, but May through October is the hottest period and due to the high humidity levels it can get quite uncomfortable. The temperatures are the highest during this part of the year locking in at 24-29 degrees Celsius (75-85 degrees Fahrenheit).
Public transportation in Bermuda is one of the most reliable, prompt, well-maintained, inexpensive and most of the time air-conditioned transportation systems among the Caribbean destinations. Buses run on a schedule and prices are even cheaper if a pass is purchased. The bus drivers do not carry any change for their passengers, and they only accept coins in either U.S. or Bermudian dollars, transportation passes or tokens.
Ferries in Bermuda provide service to those who are looking for a more scenic trip, and their routes are more reachable than any other form of transportation. Ferries are as decent as the bus system and they accept the same forms of payment.
Taxis are another great way to explore the island on Bermuda vacation or simply get to your destination from the airport or any other starting point. If a blue flag is seen on the hood of the taxi car, it is the indication that this specific taxi provides tour guide services to its' passengers. All taxi drivers are regulated by the government and even though they are self-employed, they must adhere to the proper dress code and other strict regulations. All taxis are metered and although the government sets the rates, riding a taxi is very expensive.
One of the most popular ways to explore beautiful Bermuda is by renting a moped, a scooter or a bicycle. It's a more reasonably priced option, that allows to see the places unreachable by ferries and the buses. However, renters must acknowledge that the roads in Bermuda are steep, not well taken care of and are super curvy, so a driver must be very alert when driving on Bermuda vacation.
Rent a car in Bermuda
Bermuda does not allow the tourists to drive around the island in rented cars and it is the only island that prohibits car ownership to foreigners. The reason being is that Bermuda is a fairly small island that has unbelievably narrow roads and many curved corners and shoulders. If tourists on Bermuda vacation were to drive in rented cars, it would create chaos and severe accidents. Therefore, the government of Bermuda has decided to allow tourists to travel on buses and taxis only, and to restrict the use of rented vehicles.
Money in Bermuda
Bermuda's national currency is the Bermudian dollar, which is also abbreviated as BMD or BD$. Bermudian dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar on a one-to-one ratio and is not traded or used outside of the island. It plays an important role in the lives of the local residents and citizens; however, is not to be used anywhere outside of the country. Due to a high volume of Bermuda's economy such as tourists, commerce, international operations and imports come from the United States, the currency that is mostly used on the island by the foreigners is the U.S. dollar.
Most major credit cards are accepted in Bermuda, but debit cards and traveler's checks are not, so make sure you plan this ahead to ensure a sufficient balance on your credit card during Bermuda vacation. ATM machines dispense Bermudian dollars only, and in some shops and restaurants you might receive change in local currency as well. Keep in mind, you are not allowed to use the Bermudian dollars once you leave the island, so if you ask for the change to be given in U.S. dollars, most of the time the shops/restaurants or any other establishments will gladly provide such.
Tipping in Bermuda
Tipping in Bermuda is quite similar as in the United States. Most hotels add a 10% service charge to their bill, while others can add 15%, this all depends on the specific resort/hotel and its' amenities such as extraordinary activities and/or resort fees. If you visit a dining establishment during your Bermuda vacation, then at the time of paying, carefully inspect the final bill. A service charge of 15% will be added to the price, and if it's not, it is expected that he patron covers that amount.
When leaving a tip, be generous, after all you are on vacation and the service staff are working hard to ensure you have a pleasant time in Bermuda. Housekeepers receive $1-$2 per day, bellhops get $1-$2 for every bag they assist you with, taxi drivers expect a 10% tip and 15% if they assist with very heavy luggage or take you on a guided tour. If you believe that you have received exemplary service and the staff member went above and beyond to help you, leave an extra tip, it will be much appreciated.
Solicitation in Bermuda
What's also great about vacationing in Bermuda is that the harassment and solicitation levels are low to none. It is rare that tourists will be approached by locals selling things. Even movie stars and other celebrities on Bermuda vacation are left alone, and if others do spot them, the contact is usually minimized to glancing and checking them out.
Safety in Bermuda
Bermuda is a very safe island to vacation and to live. Exercising regular safety measures should never be a second thought, as just like in any other country things can happen. Be vigilent at all times, especially if you are leaving the resort area. Aways inspect the area around you if you are using an ATM machine, leaving the bank or a casino. Even though Bermuda is a generally safe island, try to stay within the resort area at night.
Keeping your valuables in a safe place is a great idea, and even though resorts are all safe and surrounded with security guards, leaving your belongings on the beach unattended, for example, is not something tourists should do.
Although, the quality of Bermuda's medical services are one of the top in the world, they are extremely expensive. Travellers should purchase extensive medical insurance when booking the trip to Bermuda, because the costs will jump very high.
Keep in mind, that there is a strict rule on the island, there are absolutely no topless, nude or semi-nude behaviour on the Bermudian beaches. We are all used to bringing seashells and other things from the beach as memories of our vacations, but Bermuda has a different story. Seaglass that can be found along Bermudian shores and is used by the local artists to make jewellery and many other decorations, so it is a very valuable attribute to the island. Tourists are not allowed to take sand, shells, corals or seaglass off the beach. The local police are always patrolling the beaches and ensuring everyone is following the rules.
If you take into precaution these general safety rules, you are guaranteed to have a worry-free and relaxing time in Bermuda.
Water in Bermuda
Water is Bermuda is not chlorinated or treated in any way, it in fact comes from rainfalls and locals usually collect it in large tanks that are placed underneath their roofs. Large hotels have extensive water systems that clean and treat the water before guests consume it. But just like the bottled water is has a slight taste to it, not a lot of people will like it. The quality of water may vary, depending on where you are staying on Bermuda vacation, so if unsure, inquire about the safety of the tap water at the front desk of your hotel or a resort. In general, tap water in Bermuda is pure, clean and absolutely potable.
Electricity in Bermuda
Voltage in Bermuda is at 120 volts, 60 cycles and the plugs are exactly the same as in the United States and Canada. Citizens from North America should not worry about plug adapters and/or transformers. Pack your devices and chargers for your Bermuda vacation and you will be just fine. However, those that are travelling to Bermuda from Europe, remember to bring the adapters and/or converters to adjust the voltage.