An Overview of Bermuda Tourism
Because the country is so small, it’s divided into three separate towns. Each of these towns can be seen in only a few days. It takes only seven minutes to drive from the airport to the old capital of St. George, and it takes only 15 minutes to Hamilton- the capital and largest city.
A trip to this small island paradise should be well planned out. You should get a sense of what to expect and what to prepare for. It never hurts to do additional research before your trip. In this article we will address the major tourism topics.
The climate here is considered to be ‘subtropical’. From spring through fall there is hot and humid weather. In the wintertime there are temperature lows of 42F and daytime temperatures of around 60F. The water is also cooler in the wintertime. One advantage of visiting in the wintertime is that the humidity levels are much lower. The subtropical climate can be attributed to The Gulf Stream, despite the fact that its far north.
There are a couple different ways to get here. Most tourists come by plane. Conveniently, there are flights daily out of almost every major airport on the east coast. All passengers will have to pay a $25 airport tax. Bermuda’s airport has high landing/parking fees so you can expect to pay more for your plane ticket than you would for other Caribbean getaways. One significant advantage for United States tourists is that customs and immigration clearance is done before you board a flight home. This makes it easier for domestic connections when you arrive back in the United States.
Another way to arrive is by cruise. Cruises are popular in the summer months. Most ships come from the eastern seaboard ports of Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Miami, and Philadelphia. The customs and immigration rules are the same by cruise as they are by air. The cruise ships usually stop in three separate locations: The Royal Navy Dockyard, Saint George, and Hamilton. Certain ships will visit more than one of these locations.
It’s easy to get around the island by ferry or bus. There are buses which come every 15-20 minutes. Although you might have to wait a little longer than this on the weekends. You can find the exact bus schedules here. There are a lot of taxis available as well. Like other services from Bermuda tourism, taxis may not always come on time. You might have to wait an additional ten minutes to get picked up. This is because Bermuda is not fast paced like some major cities. It’s a laid back country.
Another option is to either rent a scooter or a moped. These will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace- you wouldn’t have to wait for taxis. It’s extremely important to note that driving is done on the left side of the road. This is the complete opposite of the United States.
One interesting fact is that there are no rental cars. This may sound inconvenient, but it can also be seen as a positive. Think about it- the entire country is 21 square miles. If tourists could rent cars then the streets would be really crowded and the pollution level would be higher. Having no rental cars is just one reason why this a unique vacation destination.
The crime level is pretty low here and tourists are not affected much. Violent crime is rare, especially compared to other Caribbean destinations. The most common crime is petty theft. Obviously, it’s best to use your common sense and use similar precautions that you would use in your home country. That should be enough to protect you against most thieves.
Mopeds have become common targets for theft. Make sure that you have locked up your moped when you leave it somewhere. Also note that some of the roads are quite narrow, so be careful when operating your moped.
Bermuda has a lot of things to do. Scuba diving in particular has become a popular activity. The Atlantic ocean provides amazing views of underwater caves, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and not to mention the marine life. If diving doesn’t suit you, then it’s always enjoyable to go swimming or snorkeling. You still get to see the marine life and coral reefs. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are a number of world-class golf courses.
Here are some specific sites of interest:
- Bermuda Maritime Museum
- Crystal and Fantasy Caves
- Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
- Spittal Pond
It’s also enjoyable to just walk around and enjoy the local architecture. The Mediterranean architecture is stands out and exteriors have every different type of pastel color. The vegetation enhances the architecture and makes it all more aesthetic. The subtle cultural differences are what makes this a special place.
Make sure you are prepared to travel- a list is recommended. As you already know, it can get very hot during the day. Carrying bottled water with you is always a good idea when you are away from your hotel. You wouldn’t want dehydration to hurt your vacation experience.
Speaking of water, it’s best to never just assume that water here is safe to drink. This is because all of the drinking water is captured in barrels and filtered by the lime rooftops of the buildings and houses. Depending of where you are staying, there can be different bacterias in the water. It’s good practice to ask the hotel staff or manager if the water is indeed safe to drink. To ensure that the water is safe, you can boil the water or purchase neutralizing tablets.
Showing Respect to Locals
The local Bermudians are friendly, warm, and happy to help you. It’s a small country and you will find friendly locals everywhere you go. They respect tourists, an it’s important that you show respect back to them. When greeting someone, it’s proper to say “”good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good evening”. Do the same when leaving. It’s also best to avoid talking about certain subjects such as politics or religion.
It’s common for tips to be included with your bill. In the event that a tip isn’t included, then it’s proper to tip 15%. Taxi drivers expect to be tipped 10%. In some cases, a taxi driver may turn you down if you show up sandy or wet.
There are restaurants spread all over the island. This island isn’t known for food, but there are some good options. The largest collection of them can be found in St. George town or Hamilton. Some of the best dining can be found at the higher-end hotels, although the meals are more expensive. As a general rule, the closer a restaurant is to a cruise ship dock, the more expensive the meal will be. This is because many cruise ship passengers have a short stay and don’t want to venture far out for a meal.
Some of the local specialty dishes include:
- Codfish Brunch
- Fish Chowder
- Shark Hash
- Sweet Potato Pudding
It’s interesting to note that there are no fast food franchises here. The only exception is one KFC franchise in Hamilton City. This KFC was in business before the law was passed that outlawed fast food franchises. This country sticks with its local food and has resisted corporate fast food invasion.
Bermuda tourism leaves you with lifetime memories that you will never forget. This island truly has something for everyone. There is everything from cave exploration to watching the sunset on a pink-sand beach. Basically, you have little to lose by visiting and everything to gain. In 1910, the famous author Mark Twain resided in Bermuda during an extended visit. He proudly remarked, “You go to heaven if you want to, I’d rather stay here.”