Bermuda, located only 2 hours by plane from New York City, is one of the most popular destinations in the Atlantic. Many people mistake it for a Caribbean Island but it is located way above. This oldest British colony in the world can absolutely compete with its distant Southern neighbors when it comes to vacation vibes. Just relax or drive around and explore the island. There are a pink sand beaches, turquoise water, pastel colored towns, coral reefs filled with sea life, hundreds of shipwrecks and historic charm. No surprise the island is home to so many rich people. It is a true paradise but it can be expensive. This Bermuda travel guide can help you plan your trip for any budget.
- Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez discovered Bermuda in 1505. That’s how the name originated.
- This British Overseas Territory is an archipelago that consists of 181 islands mostly connected by bridges creating one easily accessible landmass of 21 square miles (54 square km).
- The city of Hamilton is currently the territorial capital and one of the smallest capital cities with a population of around 1000.
- The official currency of Bermuda is Bermudan dollar (BMD). The BMD is pegged to USD at a rate of 1:1. This makes it easy to use American currency interchangeably.
- The formal attire of Bermuda for men is a blazer, shorts and knee socks.
- Bermuda’s electrical standards and outlets are the same as the one used in the United States.
The World Travel & Tourism Council has awarded Bermuda the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp. It indicates the destination has adopted global standardized health and hygiene protocols. Regarding current situation with Covid-19 I highly recommend to check the the official website of Government of Bermuda where you will find the latest travel restrictions information. The situation is so dynamic that it does not make sense to list everything here.
Thanks to two natural allies, Gulf Stream and Azores High, Bermuda has a very mild climate similar to sub-tropical. This ensures comfortable temperatures year round, from mid 60s in the winter to mid 80s in the summer. The rains are fairly evenly distributed over the seasons because the flow of weather fronts in winter is replaced with tropical rains in summer time. The least rainy months are April and May, while the rainiest month is October.
When to travel to Bermuda
Taking into consideration the climate, peak season in Bermuda is from May to October. During that period of time you can experience great weather most of the time. Since it’s the best time to visit the island there are going to be lots of other tourists and you can expect higher prices. If you want to avoid busy season and still enjoy good weather then you should plan your trip around March and April. There will be mild weather and better prices for sure.
We travelled to Bermuda in the end of May and enjoyed sunny and warm weather during the entire stay. Our friends visited the island in December and had a great time as well. The water was unfortunately too cold to take a plunge but they really enjoyed walking on the beautiful and mostly empty popular beaches.
Where to stay
We stayed at Fairmont Southampton located right above the famous Horseshoe Beach and had a blast. The hotel is the largest resort on the island with 593 rooms and lavishly equipped with walk-in closets, marble baths and private balconies. There are nine restaurants and bars, shops, spa, 18-hole golf club, full service beach club, dive center and tennis courts. The best attraction of all was a private pink sand beach accessible by shuttle (or a longer walk). All of this makes the hotel a dream. It is one of the best places to stay in Bermuda. Although it is a pricey option, you will not regret spoiling yourself (currently closed for renovation).
The other great option is newly refurbished 400-room urban Hamilton Princess & Beach Club resort overlooking the breathtaking Hamilton Harbor. This hotel has two wonderful restaurants, on-site water-sports rentals, as well as infinity and spa pools. It is only a five minute walking distance to the shops, dining and clubs in Hamilton. The resort owns a private beach with hammocks in the ocean that is accessible by shuttle.
If you are looking for more affordable hotel and apartment options here are some suggestions:
How to get around
It is important to know that renting cars isn’t an option for tourists. Only locals can drive cars on the island and actually they can own only one car per household to prevent overcrowding. Fortunately there are other options that can take you anywhere you want in Bermuda.
This is what we used for the most of the time. It costs 3.50 BMD for one-way fare and you need exact change if purchased on the bus. You can also buy tickets at the Ferry Terminal or any post office. If you are planning to stay longer then you should get a transportation pass. It is valid for up to seven days of unlimited travel (including ferries). It costs between 19-60 BMD and can be purchased at Visitor Information Center or the Central Terminal. The bus schedule and routes can be found on Bermuda’s Department of Transportation website.
This one was our favorite way to get back to the hotel from Hamilton. It is also the most popular way to get around Bermuda. Fares are the same as for buses. All ferries leave from the Ferry Terminal in Hamilton and make stops near most of island’s main attractions. You can find schedules on the SeaExpress website.
- Scooters, Electric Carts and Bicycles
It is a perfect option for one or two people. The rental shops are easy to find all over Bermuda. The prices start from about 46 BMD (if booked for multiple days you can get a discount). The most popular companies are Current Vehicles, Oleander Cycles and Elbow Beach Cycles. Twizy (two-seater) from Current Vehicles can travel up to 50 miles (80km) on one charge for 99 BMD per day. Bikes costs around 30-35 BMD per day.
This is the most expensive option. They are metered at government-set rates. You will pay 7.90 BDM for the first mile and 2.75 BMD for each additional mile.
Things to do
There are so many different activities on the island that everyone can find something exciting to do. You can choose from variety of beaches, sailing, diving, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching, kiteboarding to exploring natural wonders, arts and culture. I am going to list only a few activities that we did. You can find more attractions and details here.
Whether you are looking for a romantic rendezvous, family relaxation or me-time you can choose from about 34 sandy beaches and coves. Some of them are very popular among tourists and locals and some are even world famous like the pink sand Horseshoe Beach located on Bermuda’s south shore.
If you are seeking beach activities like running on coastal trails, snorkeling over colorful reefs just off shore, paddle-boarding, kayaking or kiteboarding, Elbow Bay Beach would be a great choice.
Shelly Bay Beach is ideal for families and kids as it has a long stretch of shallow and calm waters, shades, park and other facilities.
To admire exceptional pink colored sand you should head over to mentioned before Horseshoe Bay Beach. It is a great place to relax and swim. Once you get there don’t forget to explore nearby Horseshoe Bay Cove and climb the rocks with caution to get to the view point.
Warwick Long Bay would be perfect for a nice long walk while admiring beautiful views all around. A little Jobson’s Cove nearby is also worth exploring.
One of the best beaches for snorkeling is Tobacco Bay Beach. It has crystal clear and shallow waters and there is a nice viewpoint to admire sunset after long and extensive day.
One thing you should know is that there are no nude or semi-nude beaches in Bermuda.
- Glass-bottom Boat Tour
This activity is perfect for exploring the shipwrecks of the Bermuda Triangle which is one of the world’s most mysterious phenomenons. You can see the sunken aircrafts and shipwrecks, colorful fish below, jump off the boat and snorkel.
- Crystal and Fantasy Caves
This is one of the most popular attractions and such an incredible experience. Legend says that two boys were playing cricket when a ball fell into a small hole that was emitting warm air. One of the boys decided to venture into the hole with only a rope and a headlamp to discover this hidden Bermuda’s gem. Today there are thousands of tourists from around the world visiting this incredible finding. Crystal Caves are accessible after the short walk through a lush garden lined with royal palms. Once you descent into the caves you will admire soaring stalagmites and icicles of white limestone dripping form the ceiling. There is also a bridge that will walk you through a crystal-clear lake which reveals even more intricate rock formations underwater. Tours are offered daily 9am – 5pm and no reservation is required.
Interesting fact is that Mark Twain was the very first tourist who descended into the caves in 1908.
- Visit St. George’s Island
A town located on the east end of the island is Bermuda’s first English settlement and has a lot of history. You can explore a popular unfinished church, shop in the downtown area or take a long but very easy walk on the Bermuda Railway (18 miles/ 29km) through Pembroke Paris toward Somerset Village.
- Royal Naval Dockyard
Visit Royal Naval Dockyard, a lively port for cruise ships, to learn about rich maritime history at the National Museum of Bermuda. Don’t forget to stop by the historic Clocktower Mall where you can shop local boutiques for crafts, jewelry, swimwear and more. This area also offers snorkeling cruises, dolphin encounters, and miniature golf among other activities.
- Check for Bermudas’s events
Go here to find out about current and upcoming top events and festivals that take place in Bermuda.
When we visited the island we were super lucky to experience the world famous America’s Cup which is a top competition in the sport of sailing. It is the oldest international event still taking place in any sport. It inaugurated 46 years before the modern Olympic Games started. We really enjoyed the ambience and were mesmerized by the beautiful and fast yachts.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it!