Travel Guide North America Bermuda

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Introduction

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Bermuda (officially, The Bermuda Islands or The Somers Isles) sits some 1,030 kilometres (640 miles) off the American coast in the Atlantic Ocean. It isn't as hot as the Caribbean islands and its waters are certainly not great for swimming year-round, but Bermuda is warm enough to host the Atlantic's northernmost corals. The beauty these corals afford, as well as the lure of numerous shipwrecks, makes diving in Bermuda's coastal waters an appealing prospect - that is, in summer when the Atlantic is warm enough to brave without a wetsuit.

Bermuda was first settled by the Brits in the early part of the 17th century. Culturally, Bermuda draws heavily on British influences: cricket is the most popular sport, pubs line the street corners and judges wear wigs. For some diversity, African slaves and American Indians have contributed to the island's music and dance styles. In all, Bermuda is an adorable destination of cultural class, British architecture and some fine beaches.

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Brief History

The first recorded discovery of Bermuda was in 1503 by Juan de Bermúdez, a Spanish explorer. Both Spanish and Portuguese ships used the islands as a replenishment spot for fresh meat and water. Bermúdez and Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo ventured to Bermuda in 1515 with the intention of leaving a breeding stock of hogs on the island as a future stock of fresh meat for passing ships. However, the inclement weather prevented them from landing.

For the next century, the island is believed to have been visited frequently but not permanently settled. In 1609, Sir George Somers set sail aboard the Sea Venture, the new flagship of the Virginia Company, leading a fleet of nine vessels, loaded with provisions and settlers for the new English colony of Jamestown, in Virginia. The fleet was caught in a storm, and the Sea Venture was separated and began to founder. When the reefs to the East of Bermuda were spotted, the ship was deliberately driven on them to prevent its sinking, thereby saving all aboard (150 sailors and settlers, and one dog). The survivors spent ten months on Bermuda.

Because of its limited land area, Bermuda has had difficulty with over-population. In the first two centuries of settlement it relied on steady human emigration to keep the population manageable. It is often claimed that, before the American Revolution more than ten thousand Bermudians (over half of the population) emigrated, primarily to the American South, where Great Britain was displacing Spain as the dominant European imperial power.

After the American Revolution, the Royal Navy began improving the harbours and built the large dockyard on Ireland Island, in the west of the chain, as its principal naval base guarding the western Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes. During the American War of 1812, the British attacks on Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake, were planned and launched from Bermuda, the Royal Navy's 'North American Station'.

In the early 20th century, as modern transport and communication systems developed, Bermuda became a popular destination for wealthy American, Canadian and British tourists arriving by frequent steamship service. In 1948, regularly-scheduled commercial airline service by land-based airplanes began to Kindley Field (now Bermuda International Airport), helping tourism to reach its peak in the 1960s–1970s. By the end of the 20th century, international business had supplanted tourism as the dominant sector of Bermuda's economy.

21st Century Bermuda enjoys amongst the highest living standards in the World, the local economy is driven by offshore finance with Bermuda being one of the leading re-insurance markets in the World. There are a good number of expats working at any time helping to sustain this position, the second major industry on the island is Tourism, and the island has some top rated hotels and some of the best beaches in the World. The target for tourism is for the more up market high spending more affluent individual, you will therefore find it a challenge to locate a budget airline ticket or accomodation, that said there are many guest houses which offer a good standard.

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Geography

Bermuda is a group of low-lying islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the western edge of the Sargasso Sea, roughly 1070 kilometres east-southeast of Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and roughly 1100 kilometres southeast of Martha's Vineyard. The island lies due east of Fripp Island, South Carolina. It has about 100 kilometres of coastline. Although the name Bermuda implies just one island, the territory consists of 181 islands, with a total area of 53.3 square kilometres. The largest island is aptly called Main Island, sometimes just called Bermuda.

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Parishes

Bermuda is made up of 9 parishes and 2 municipalities; the city of Hamilton and the town of St. George's.

  • Devonshire Parish - Home to many nature-based attractions, including a national park.
  • Hamilton Parish - It should not be confused with the city of Hamilton, is split in two by Harrington Sound and is home to Flatts Village, Baileys Bay, and the Bermuda Aquarium, Zoo and Museum.
  • Paget Parish - Contains several popular beaches including Coral Beach, Elbow Beach, and Grape Bay. Also home to Bermuda College, Bermuda Botanical Gardens, and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
  • Pembroke Parish - Includes the capital city of Hamilton.
  • St George's Parish - Together with the town of St. George's they stand on the eponymous island, at Bermuda's northeasternmost part. Many popular beaches are here, such as Tobacco Bay, Achille's Bay, and St. Catherine's Beach. Most visitors arriving by air land here at the L.F. Wade International Airport. On the St. George's Island is the Town of St. George, the first capital, a scenic UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the oldest continually inhabited British settlement in the New World. It boasts small winding streets with typical British Colonial architecture with fountains, gardens and squares, cobbled streets and plazas.
  • Sandys Parish - Composed of Ireland Island, Boaz Island, and Somerset Island, Sandys is most well-known as being the point of entry for cruise ship passengers, who arrive at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Includes the settlement of Somerset Village.
  • Smith's Parish - On the southern end of Harrington Sound and includes Spittal Pond Nature Reserve.
  • Southampton Parish - Famous for its beaches and resorts, including much photographed pink sand of Horseshoe Bay Beach.
  • Warwick Parish - Includes Darrell's Island, Hawkins Island, Long Island, and Marshall's Island, as well as Warwick Camp.

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Cities, Towns and Villages

  • Hamilton, the capital, and largest town, whilst the centre of business and life in Bermuda, it's small size ensures it retains its charm.
  • Saint George - the old capital. Oldest surviving English New World town.
  • Flatts Village - location of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.
  • Somerset Village - on Somerset Island, Sandy's Parish.

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Sights and Activities

Horseshoe Bay

Well, the Horeshoe Bay is, unsurprisingly, horseshoe-shaped. It's one of the most beautiful beaches in Bermuda with its soft pink sand and as a result it is often crowded here, especially in the warmer summer months of May to September. The Beach House which is located in the Bay offers snorkeling and diving gear and other water sports related articles for rent and also some snacks and drinks.

South Shore Park

The coastal reserve of South Shore Park has one of the nicest beaches of Bermuda and on top of that it is surrounded by gently rolling green hills. There are walking trails through the hills along the coast to not less than 12 bays and beaches with terrific views from in any direction you look.

Cristobal Colon

The Cristobal Colon is the largest shipwreck in the Bermudian waters and ran aground 13 kilometers north of the island in 1936. It is a popular wreck dive site but most of the interior of this Spanish cruise ship, including chandeliers and other stuff, was auctioned in 1941. The US military used the Cristobal Colon as a target ship and blew it in two during the WWII, because many ships thought the Cristobal Colon, which was still seen on the reef, to be just a ship without having troubles at all, resulting in a Norwegian cargo ship had gashing its hull in 1937. Nowadays, both boats are 50 feet below the water level and on the Norwegian cargo ship you are still able to see a fire truck!

Royal Naval Dockyard

The Royal Naval Dockyard is a is worth a visit and apart from the Dockyard grounds has a pub, movie theatre, market and the Bermuda Snorkel Park and Bermuda Maritime Museum. Originally built by free labor in the form of prisoners and slaves in the 18th century, before becoming the home of the Royal Navy, these historic buildings are now a hive of shops, artist and craft studios, and eateries. Other attractions include the feted National Museum of Bermuda which houses a replica of the 19th century Commissioner’s home, and a playhouse to amuse the youngsters. Dolphin Quest put on free shows, but their program also offers the opportunity to interact with dolphins by swimming with or feeding them – for a price. In addition there is The Keep, the fortress on the edge of the dockyard, which was used by the British navy as a base to launch their raid on Washington in 1814. It also served as a base during both World Wars and was later abandoned in 1951. Most of the buildings including old munitions warehouses and Commissioner's House have been beautifully renovated and function as one of the cultural and historical highlights of Bermuda nowadays, although shopping is almost equally as popular.

Crystal Caves

The caves, which were discovered by accident in 1907, take their name from the hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites which shimmer like crystals in this magical illuminated space 120 feet (36 metres) below ground. Also underground and close by is the 55 feet, (17 metres) deep, Cahow Lake, with a bridge visitors can use to cross it. The Crystal Cave can be reached by following a sloping pathway and a few steps, and low heeled, rubber-soled shoes are recommended. Those with walking difficulties or problems with confined, warm spaces may find it a little difficult. Visiting involves a fairly steep descent, so a decent level of fitness is essential. Two teenage boys playing cricket are credited with making the discovery, after their prized cricket ball fell down a hole and disappeared. Determined to get it back one of them crawled into the darkness and got the surprise of his life. Shortly afterwards the property owner lowered his 14 year old son Bernard into the entrance the boys had found, a bike lamp his only source of light, and the rest is history! Since then the caves have only been changed enough to make them safer and easier for visitors to explore treasures which were over 30 million years in the making. These beautiful crystal cave formations are a definite must see.

Gibbs Lighthouse

The Gibbs Lighthouse in Bermuda is one the most famous tourist attractions in not only Southampton Parish but also in the whole world. This lighthouse is one of its own kind. It was made from cast iron, the oldest of its own kind in the world. The Gibbs Lighthouse is located on a hill in Southampton Parish. Since it is on a hill which means it can give you a broad view of the whole Southampton Parish. The height of the lighthouse is 245 feet from the sea level. I can be seen from long distances; its own height is 117 feet. It won’t be wrong to say that The Gibbs Lighthouse is the most famous attraction of Southampton Parish.

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St George's

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town was formerly the islands capital and is famed as being the place where the English claimed Bermuda as theirs back in 1609. Three years later the settlers arrived and the island was developed. Wander the streets and you’ll come across their quaint names, like Featherbed Alley, along with the standard painted stone buildings which favor color. Anyone wanting to learn more about the history of this lovely place will find several museums, [Bermuda National Trust, Tucker House, and St. George Historical Society Museum], dedicated to that purpose. There are also regular re-enactments of historical tales in King’s Square by the harbor.

The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo

Situated in Flatts Village, this triple billed attraction makes for a great day out for visitors of all ages. There’s a nice mix of exhibits and live animals, including over 300 birds, mammals and reptiles, plus more than 200 fish and other sea creatures are dotted around this seven acre site. The focus of this site is to promote conservation and environmental education, which is done nicely through exhibits such as those featuring rescued marine turtles or harbour seals, while the amazing North Rock Exhibit – with 140,000 gallons of water, is home to both live corals and large fish like sharks. The zoo is home to many endangered species, and active breeding programmes run with the goal of reintroducing these into the wild.

Bermuda Railway Trail

There are no trains on Bermuda these days, but the only one to ever run (the ‘Old Rattle and Shake’ between 1931 and 1948), used this 29 km route. It is now a popular hiking or biking trail covering coastline, woods and cliffs, and a great way to see parts of Bermuda visitors generally miss. There are useful official guides to the trail available from the government offices in Hamilton.

National Museum of Bermuda

On the museum’s superior grounds, you can trip the “19th-century Commissioner’s House” complete with reliable age furniture and displays on Bermuda’s armed and social history. It Takes time to visit the 16 acres and relish panoramic sights of the island, as well as the sheep browsing on the grounds. The Museum Play area and Playhouse keeps the children entertained, and you can also watch the dolphin happenstances in the Keep Pond at “Dolphin Quest”.

Bermuda Botanical Gardens

The 35-acre landscaped park located in Paget parish, numerous flowers, shrubs, trees & plantations including a vast collection of subtropical fruit trees, hibiscus, an aviary and Banyan trees. The Garden has large glass houses with cacti and orchids along with formal gardens and lawns. There is also an aromatic garden designed for blind visitors.

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

BUEI or Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute was opened in 1997 and features shipwrecks from the past in Bermuda. The Institute also provides you with a tour of amazingly artifacts and showcased workpieces for an exhibition that are sometimes interactive as well.

Other sights and activities

  • St. George. The old capital and oldest English New World town.
  • Baileys Bay

Singing tree frogs - not so much a sight but a sound! Evenings in Bermuda are full of gleeping sounds, which to the surprise of many tourists orginate from tree frongs. The species is common in Bermuda but also found in Barbados and Grenada where it is believed to originate. It is yet to reach the surrounding smaller islands but is in abundance in Bermuda. Warm nights and those after heavy rains are the noisiest especially in Bermuda. The male is responsible for the louder ‘gleep gleep’ mating sounds. Like other frogs, they inflate and deflate the large throat pouch to give out that unmistakable loud sound that spreads around the island

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Events and Festivals

Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts

Features theater, dancing, and concerts at venues across the islands every January/February, the Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts is not worth making a special trip for, but is good to catch if you’re around. The long-running event is one of the cultural highlights of the Bermudan winter.

International Race Week

This flashy racing event hails from the 1920s (the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club) and today is a hotly contested race on the international circuit. Squads come in from the US, Canada, the UK, as well as Norway and Bermuda, every spring and race in the Great Sound. There are four classes, including comets and lasers and is fun to watch the big ships compete.

Beating Retreat Ceremony

This long-standing show of pomp and regalia takes place a couple times a month throughout the summer– May through September – on a Monday or Wednesday evening, from 9:00 p.m. The event harks back to 16th century England and goes off across the Commonwealth. King’s Square in St George’s is a good place to watch the military ceremony.

Bermuda Day

Previously Empire Day and Commonwealth Day, Bermuda Day is one of the most colorful events, with a large parade streaking through Hamilton on May 24. Along with the parade are dinghy races and a half-marathon which goes from the western part of Bermuda to Hamilton. Bermudans also traditionally use this day as a marker for the summer season by jumping into the sea and donning shorts as their office uniform.

Queen’s Birthday Parade

Front Street is the host of serious pomp and pageantry in Hamilton when it celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s birthday in early June (always the second Monday). The Bermuda Regiment, police, and cadets all get in on the parade, which starts at 10:00 a.m. and includes military music.

Somers’ Day

This event marks the day when Sir George Somers happened upon Bermuda in 1609, due to his vessel getting wedged on a reef. His crew eventually came ashore to claim Bermuda for the crown, after which colonizers returned in 1612. Somers’ Day is also a part of the eponymous Cricket Cup Match days in late July/early August so catch a game for sport.

Gombey Festival

This Afro-Caribbean style dance highlights the culture of Bermuda to a tee, with beautiful costumes and elaborate moves. It takes place in the City Hall parking lot on a Sunday (usually in late September) and features stilt walkers, crafts stalls, food, and face painting. Gombey is a kind of combination of Bermuda’s traditional folk music and dance. It is the most famous in the island. It has its origins in three different cultures: British, West African and indigenous new-world. Gombey dancers are mostly male, performing in groups of 10 to 30 members. While this is traditional dance, all knowledge has been passed down orally, so Captains of each troupe basically define the direction and style. Some experts also say that Gombey is actually the Bantu word for rhythm. Gombey is also similar to Mummers, some kind of folk dance that comes from Afro-Caribbean style of celebration.

Remembrance Day

As with other countries around the Commonwealth, Bermuda marks the falling of soldiers in WWI and WWII. There is a parade held by the various facets of the Armed Forces together with remaining veterans, along with a memorial service. It is held on the closest Sunday to November 11.

Harbor Nights

Harbor Nights is a weekly event in Hamilton, the capital, during the high season that showcases music and performances by Bermudan performers. It takes place every Wednesday night on Front Street, May through October, and features a good display of outdoor arts and crafts.

Front Street

From time to time the main street in Hamilton, known as Front street, plays host to a number of street festivals, including parades at Xmas time. All year around Front Street has the best shopping in Bermuda, with a range of shops. Cruise ships stop on one side of the road and shops run along the other.

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Weather

Bermuda has a subtropical climate with warm to hot summers and mild winters. Summers last from May to October with temperatures between 25 °C and 30 °C during the day and 19 °C to 23 °C at night. December to April, daily temperatures are still between 20 °C and 22 °C dropping to around 15 °C at night. Rainfall is quite evenly distributed throughout the year with between 100 and 150 mm of rain a month. April to June is the driest time of year, with an average of 9 rainy days a month, while December has 15 of these days with some rain. Overall, October has the highest amount of rain. Generally though, conditions are very sunny and pleasant, only on hot summer days with higher humidity and almost no wind are conditions a bit more unpleasant.

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Getting There

By Plane

L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA IATA Bermuda International Airport), ☎ +1 441 293-2470. There are daily flights from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, together with less frequent flights from other US and Canadian cities. British Airways fly from London Gatwick to Bermuda.

There is a $50 airport tax for all passengers. Bermuda's Airport has the world's highest landing/parking fee for airlines, so the overall price for the air ticket (including all taxes) is considerably higher than for many Caribbean destinations.

Arriving passengers will need to pass through Immigration and Customs, and non-residents must have a return or onward ticket. Importing narcotics and weapons (including all forms of guns) is strictly prohibited, as is importing any live marine animals, snakes or plants.

The airport is adjacent to Castle Harbor, in St. George's Parish, and nearer St George's than Hamilton (though no part of Bermuda is far from any other). If you are arriving on an inclusive tour, then your tour operator will probably have arranged onward transportation to your hotel by private bus. The airport is well served by local public buses, but unfortunately these will not accept luggage.

Taxis are available at the airport; depending on time of arrival and destination they may cost up to $100. Rates to and from the airport are set and posted. Hire cars are not available (see 'Get around' below).

One plus for visitors arriving from the US is that customs and immigration clearance is done in Bermuda prior to boarding your flight home. This allows for easy domestic connections on arrival in the US.

By Boat

Bermuda receives many visits from cruise ships during the summer months, with most ships operating from the ports of Baltimore, Boston, Bayonne, New York, Charleston, Norfolk, Miami/Ft Lauderdale, and Philadelphia on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

The same immigration and customs rules apply as for arrival by air (above).

There are three different locations cruise ships may stop at in Bermuda, and some vessels visit more than one of these in a single cruise:

  • Hamilton. Cruise ships berth here alongside Front Street, one of the main streets of Bermuda's capital. Passengers here have access to the shops and restaurants of Hamilton, and can reach the rest of the islands using the bus and ferry systems described in 'Get About' below.
  • Saint George's. Cruise ships berth near the main square of the small town and historic former capital. Passengers can reach Hamilton and Flatts Village directly by bus, and other locations by changing in Hamilton.
  • The historic Royal Naval Dockyard at the entrance to the Great Sound, beyond Somerset Village in Sandys Parish. Only here can the largest of cruise ships dock. Passengers can reach Hamilton directly by bus or ferry, and other locations by changing there.

Bermuda is a favourite, if challenging destination for offshore yacht crews. Crossing from the US mainland or the Azores can take up to 3 weeks in the notorious calm of summer. The rest of the year there might be too much wind: nor'easters to hurricanes. Another hazard: lots of floating debris from sunken ships and the hurricanes of the last few years. Within a 200 nm radius from Bermuda collisions with solid objects are frequent and often deadly.

Yachts have to clear in Bermuda Customs and Immigration at St George. The only bargain left in the islands is to bring your own boat and anchor, moor or dock for free in all the islands' coves for up to 6 months. Check in is only $15.-/pp ($10 cheaper than by air).

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Getting Around

By Car

Until the arrival of the US military during the second world war, cars were entirely banned from the islands. Even now hire cars are banned, and only residents are permitted to own cars. Motorized bicycles or mopeds are available for hire and heavily used by locals and tourists as well. If you wish to use mopeds, rentals are very common, regulated and priced competitively, but beware: "Road Rash" is a very common affliction affecting many tourists. The rule of the road is to drive on the left side of the road, Commonwealth-style.

By Taxi

Taxis are another easy way of getting around the islands. They are available at taxi stands on Front St. in Hamilton, at the major hotels or by phone. All taxis are fitted with a meter and charge $6.40 for first mile plus $2.25 for each subsequent mile; or $8.00 for the first mile for 5-6 passenger taxi and $2.80 for each additional mile, for travel between 6AM and midnight. If not in Hamilton, you can always flag one down on a major road or call to have one pick you up.

With many services in Bermuda, but especially with taxis (though not with buses and ferries, which are very punctual), there is a concept of "Bermuda Time." You may find that when you call for a taxi to pick you up, they may not be as prompt as you would like. This may mean waiting an extra ten minutes, but remember that Bermuda is not at all fast-paced like many cities, it is much more laid back and relaxed here. So relax; you are on Bermuda time. Enjoy the views while you wait.

By Bus

The islands benefit from a good bus service, which connects all parts of the islands to Hamilton. The bus is the cheapest way to get around, and it can be a good idea to use it, but it has some negative sides. The timetable is not always respected and, especially outside of Hamilton, Bermudians will often wait 15 or even 30 minutes at the bus stop (don't blame them, if they say the bus will come in a moment: time is relative in such a beautiful place)! Bus drivers are well educated, however the first time you catch a bus, you will be scared by the fact that buses will regularly hit the leaves of palms and other plants (as they travel very very close to the side of the street) and by the speed reached in some streets, despite the official speed limit. Bus frequency is very good in some areas, but this is only until about 6PM; afterwards it is impossible to reach many parts of the islands by bus. The buses are air-conditioned and used equally by locals and visitors. If you plan to use the bus, it will be much more convenient if you buy a multiple-day travel pass in a post office in St. George's or Hamilton. When catching a bus, look out for the pink and blue painted poles which denote bus stops: pink indicates buses heading into Hamilton; blue, heading out from Hamilton. Buses will not accept passengers with a lot of luggage, thus they are not a recommended means of transportation from or to the airport. More information available from
Department of Public Transportation, ☎ +1 441 292-3851.

By Boat

There are also passenger ferries which ply the waters of Hamilton Harbour and the Great Sound, and are a great way of getting to Somerset and the Dockyard. There is also a ferry service between the Dockyard and St. George's. Transportation passes valid on both buses and ferries are available for unlimited use for periods of 1 to 31 days and cost $12–55. A one-way bus or ferry trip costs $4. Ask the bus driver for a transfer if you must connect to another line. If embarking from a cruise ship at the Dockyard the ferry is the most cost effective way to get to Hamilton. If you wish to visit St. George's by ferry, do this on a day your cruise ship does not embark from Bermuda. Contact Sea Express, ☎ +1 441 295-4506, for more information.

By Scooter

Hiring a moped or scooter is a popular way to see the island, the speed limit on the island is 25mph and the roads have little traffic by international standards, and therefore this is a fun alternative. There are plenty of moped hire companies operating around the Hamilton area.

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Red Tape

One of Bermuda's few taxes is its steep import duty. This varies depending on the item and the importer. Some items are tax-exempt when brought in for personal use (books, educational materials). The duty on cars is fixed to their value. If the cost of the vehicle before it is landed is less than B$10,000, the duty is 80%. For cars costing $10,000 or greater, before landing, the duty is 100%. The dealer must add his own profit margin on top of this. Each person arriving on the island is allowed a $200 exemption, but visitors deemed to be carrying more than that amount will be subject to duty on the excess value.

Visitors are granted entry for not more than 6 months and usually for only 21 days. Extensions of stay are possible from the Bermuda Department of Immigration.

Since 1 March 2014, Bermuda does not issue its own visas. However, it requires that visitors who need a multiple-entry visa to transit the United Kingdom, the United States or Canada (the only countries with air links to Bermuda) present this visa upon arrival in Bermuda. For visitors who need such a visa, both the passport and the visa must be valid for at least 45 days beyond the end of their intended stay.

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Money

See also: Money Matters

The Bermudian Dollar (BMD) is pegged to the US Dollar at par. Banknotes issued are $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 while the coins come in 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and $1.

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Work

Bermudians have been successful in implementing policies devoted to making sure that the native-born population is included in economic prosperity and professional opportunities instead of foreign workers. Laws are in place to encourage the hiring of qualified Bermudians and to building a future in which it is the rule, rather than the exception, for native-born Bermudians to be professionally trained and promoted and for young Bermudians to see a future in which they can hold places of leadership and progress within their own country.

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Language

The principal language spoken is English, although many Bermudians have a strong accent. Bermuda has a unique accent not really similar to any other Caribbean country. Most people claim it resembles the Southern US in some cases. Portuguese is the second most widely spoken language.

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Eat

Two relatively unique Bermudian dishes are salted codfish, boiled with potatoes, the traditional Sunday breakfast, and Hoppin' John, a simple dish of boiled rice and black-eyed peas. Shark hash was made, fish cakes were traditional on Fridays, hotcross buns at Easter, and cassava or farine pies at Christmas. With the high-end tourist market, great effort has been expended by hotel and restaurant chefs in developing an ostensibly 'traditional Bermudian cuisine', although this has usually meant adapting other cuisines, from West Indian to Californian, in line with the expectations of visiting clientele. Most pubs serve a typical British Pub fare, although the number of these establishments has diminished as premises are lost to development, or establishments are redeveloped to target the tourist market (note the loss of the Ram's Head, the White Heron, the Rum Runner, and the Cock and Feather (redeveloped into the Pickled Onion, with a nouveau menu)). On the other hand, over the same period Bermuda gained its first and only Irish pub, Flannagan's. While lobster and other seafoods are often featured on the menu, virtually everything is imported from the US or Canada.

Local specialties include:

  • Cassava pie. Farine is an alternate base. Traditionally eaten at Christmas, but becoming more commonly found in local markets year round.
  • Bay grape jelly. Bay grapes were introduced as a wind break. Although, like Surinam cherries and loquats, they are found throughout Bermuda, and produce edible fruit, none of these plants are cultivated for agriculture in Bermuda, and their fruits are normally eaten from the tree, primarily by school children.
  • Bermuda Bananas which are smaller and sweeter than others, are often eaten on Sunday mornings with codfish and potatoes.
  • Fish is eaten widely in the form of local tuna, wahoo, and rockfish. Local fish is a common feature on restaurant menus across the island.
  • Fish Chowder seasoned with sherry pepper sauce and dark rum is a favourite across the island.

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Sleep

Accommodations in Bermuda are typically quite expensive. However there are excellent options available. There are many exclusive and four star accommodations. There are also a wide variety of B&B style accommodations and smaller guestroom hotels. Additionally, some businesses offer private homes, apartments and studios for short term rent.

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Drink

Bermuda has two popular drinks:

  • Rum Swizzle which is a rum cocktail made of Demerera Rum (amber rum) and Jamaican Rum (dark rum) along with an assortment of citrus juices. Sometimes brandy is added to the mixture as well. Note, it is quite strong. According to local lore, it was named after the Swizzle Inn (although swizzle is a term that originated in England, possibly in the 18th century) where it was said to be developed.
  • Dark n' Stormy is a highball of Gosling's Black Seal, a dark blend of local rums, mixed with Barritt's Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer.

Both drinks are comparatively very sweet.

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Health

See also: Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Bermuda. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Bermuda) where that disease is widely prevalent.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Bermuda. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and vaccination against hepatitis B and typhoid are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.

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Safety

See also: Travel Safety

Violent crime is becoming increasingly problematic in Bermuda but is still very rare compared to other destinations in the Caribbean. Most crime is petty like robbery. Using common sense and similar precautions that one would take at home is usually sufficient enough to deter most thieves.

There is an element of gang related violence associated with drugs, which is focussed around the downtown area of Hamilton, in general the island is safe for tourists but as with any North American location, sensible care needs to be taken.

Mopeds are very frequent targets for theft; make sure that you properly lock up any rented moped when leaving them unattended. Also, rented mopeds have a tendency to get into accidents due to the sometimes narrow roads as well as driving on the left hand side, which may take getting used to. Using common sense and keeping calm in the traffic, which can appear quite close helps.

Also note that homosexuality is seen as taboo in public in Bermuda even if it is allowed by law in private. The local gay community exists on a more low-key scale than elsewhere, with no gay specific venues at this time.

Note that Bermuda has no right to concealed weapons except for government officers.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bermuda is: 1-441
To make an international call from Bermuda, the code is: 011

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Quick Facts

Bermuda flag

Map of Bermuda

[edit]

Capital
Hamilton
Government
Overseas territory of the UK
Nationality
Bermudian
Population
64,000
Languages
English, Portugese
Religions
Christianity (Protestant, Catholic)
Currency
Bermudian Dollar (BMD)
Calling Code
+1441
Time Zone
UTC-4

Contributors

as well as Peter (5%), Hien (4%), dr.pepper (3%), nigelpeaco (1%)

Bermuda Travel Helpers

Accommodation in Bermuda

Use our map of places to stay in Bermuda to explore your accommodation options and to compare prices across the country at a glance. To narrow the results down by budget category, use the links below.

This is version 54. Last edited at 18:31 on Aug 20, 19 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

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