It is one of the smallest territories in the world. Only Monaco and Gibraltar are tinier.
No island stands alone:
Bermuda may seem like one continuous land mass to visitors, but is actually made up of 181 islands, islets and rocks. Most of these are uninhabited, but eight of the larger ones, linked by bridges and one causeway, form the subtropical paradise visitors cannot resist.
Travelling from tip to tip of this fishhook-shaped chain of islands, you wind through land that is never more than .8KM / .5MI from the ocean – and usually much closer.
A paradise is born:
Over aeons the ocean’s currents and prevailing winds sculpted the pyrogenic rock and covered it with layers of limestone. Migrating birds carried seminal elements from far away, fertilizing the soil with seeds that would flourish on our archipelago. The animal population arrived with great determination and a little luck. There are no land bridges to Bermuda, so only animals able to fly, swim or drift along on some form of flotsam could find a home here. Finally, finishing touches were added by human seafarers who planted shrubs and flowering trees
Where is Bermuda?
More than 100 million years ago, this island was born of a turbulent marriage between fiery lava and the tempestuous North Atlantic waters. The picturesque archipelago may span only 53.7SQ KM / 20.7SQ MI but it boasts 120KM / 75MI of the most exquisite coastline in the Atlantic.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters warmed by the Gulf Stream, our terrain is low, rolling hills perched in a relatively flat landscape. The highest point is Town Hill in Smith’s Parish, which reaches 79M / 259FT above sea level.
History of Bermuda
Bermuda Visa Requirements
Citizens of a large number of countries are able to visit Bermuda without a visa. These countries include the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and many Western European nations. All visitors must have a valid machine-readable passport and a return or onward airline ticket and any required entry documentation for onward country – ie visa etc. Married woman travelling on a passport under their maiden name must produce a copy of their marriage certificate or other certified identification.
There is no departure tax for Bermuda.
As entry requirements may change from time to time it is strongly advised that you check with the department of foreign affairs or your local consulate or embassy for the current requirements.
Bermuda Travel Health
Bermuda is generally considered to be a very safe place to visit. There are no endemic diseases and and although no vaccinations are required, travellers should always ensure that their background immunisations are up to date. For a country of its size, the standard of medical care is very good, but also very expensive as there is no government assisted health service. There is one hospital which has both emergency services and a decompression chamber for diving related illnesses. There is also an emergency air ambulance service to the east coast of the US which caters for more serious or urgent medical attention. Travel health insurance which covers medical evacuation is recommended. The sun can be very strong in Bermuda and the use of sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are recommended. Bottled water is readily available and visitors should ensure that they drink enough to stay well hydrated.
The incidence of violent crime in Bermuda is low, although pick-pocketing and petty theft during peak tourist seasons can occur. Travelling alone at night in certain areas of Bermuda’s capital and only city Hamilton, should be avoided, and there have also been some reports of drink spiking in bars and night clubs where drinks have been left unattended. Take the time to familiarise yourself with local knowledge; where to go and not go; what to do and not do. As with travel to any unfamiliar destination, using common sense will always be an essential ingredient to a trouble free holiday.
Dialling 911provides access to all emergency services.
What is Bermuda Local Currency?
The currency in Bermuda is the Bermuda dollar the value of which is pegged to the US dollar. Therefore one Bermuda dollar is always equivalent to one US dollar. Banknotes are available in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50,and 100 Bermuda dollars, whilst coins come in 1, 5, 10 and 25 cent pieces. There is also a $1 coin. US dollars and Bermuda dollars are freely interchangeable, although when making purchases with US dollars it is usual to receive Bermudan coins in the change.
ATM’s are plentiful and easy to find in Bermuda with may offering 24 hour operation, so withdrawing cash should present no problems. Major credit cards are widely accepted in almost all establishment on the islands, as are travellers cheques.
There is no sales tax, or goods and services tax in Bermuda, so the price which is stated will be the price paid.
What is Bermuda’s Weather?
Bermuda has a very pleasant subtropical climate which is heavily influenced by the warming effects of the Gulf Stream and the warm humid westerly trade winds which ensure warm summers and mild winters. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 30 Celsius, but the moderate humidity can make it seem even warmer. Winter temperatures average around 20 Celsius, with occasional cold fronts and storms. Because of its position along the Gulf Stream, Bermuda is prone to hurricanes at certain times of the year. Although these can occur at any time between June and November, most have occurred during the months of August, September and November. Visitors shouldn’t be put off by these natural weather patterns as they tend to be infrequent and there is more chance of a tropical storm pounding the US than Bermuda. The only source of fresh water is rainfall, which thankfully is adequate. By law, rainfall is captured from the roofs of buildings and stored in underground tanks often built into the foundations.
Culture of Bermuda
With the blend of a laid back and unhurried lifestyle and a genteel British heritage, the people of Bermuda tend to be warm, relaxed and friendly. Many people from the US refer to Bermuda as ‘little England’ because of its charm, culture and traditions. However visitors from Britain may consider the ambience and culture more American than British.
Tipping is not generally necessary as most restaurants add a 15% service charge to your bill, whilst hotels might add a 10% charge in addition to the 7.25% Government Hotel Occupancy Tax. Tipping taxi drivers 10% of the fair is customary.
Unlike other parts of the world, haggling is not customary in Bermuda, although in some instances politely asking for a better price may bring a favourable result.
With a population of just over 65,000, the main religion is Anglican (23%), Roman Catholics making up 15% and 11% being African Methodist Episcopal, with numerous other Protestant groups making up another 18% of the population.
Being such a small community, Bermudians tend to be polite to each other in public and will usually begin and end any interaction with ‘good morning’ or what ever greeting is appropriate for the time of day.
What Languages Are Spoken In Bermuda?
The most widely spoken language in Bermuda is English, with Portuguese being the second most widely used language. Bermudians speak English with a fairly unique and strong accent which may take a little while to become accustomed to.
The international dialling code for Bermuda is +1 441. The international access code to dial outside of Bermuda is 011, followed by the country code. For calls to the US and Canada, simply dial 1 followed by the area code and number. Public phones can be found throughout Bermuda and accept coins, with many also accepting credit cards and locally purchased phone cards. Bermuda operates the GSM mobile telephone network with excellent coverage. Roaming agreements are in place with many overseas providers, but it is also possible to rent handsets from some of the local phone companies.
Although the cost is generally higher than in other parts of the world, internet access is widely available in Bermuda through numerous internet cafes. Additionally, many of the hotels offer both DSL and WiFi connections for guests.
The main Post Office is located at 56 Church Street in the city of Hamilton. Opening Hours are 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 12pm on Saturday.
Bermuda Transport Options
Bermuda International Airport (LF Wade International Airport) has daily flights to and from a number of US and Canadian cities as well as regular trans-Atlantic flights from the UK.
Because of its small size, there are very few options when it comes to getting around. The cheapest and most popular method is by bus, which is used extensively by locals and tourist alike. The bus service is both extensive and punctual with stops at all of the popular destinations. The buses are either pink or blue and the bus stops are easy to spot too. When heading into the city of Hamilton, look for a stop with a pink striped pole. A pole with blue stripes indicates routes leading away from Hamilton.
Ferries offer a scenic and inexpensive way to explore the Great Sound and operate between Hamilton and several locations on the sound, including Somerset and the Dockyard. Mopeds and push bikes are also a popular mode of transport for both locals and tourists, allowing the freedom to explore at your own pace. The roads tend to be narrow and winding in parts of Bermuda, so if renting your own mode of transport, be especially careful of other vehicles. Like many other activities in Bermuda, cycle and moped businesses are regulated by the government, so equipment should be well maintained and in good condition. Visitors should be aware that traffic moves on the left in Bermuda, as it does in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Car hire is not available in Bermuda
Bermuda Travel Tips
There is no getting around the fact that Bermuda can be very expensive. It is a very small country with a small population and the majority of its goods need to be imported. The islands are frequented by cruise ships which operate shore excursions. Visitors should be aware that prices can be considerably higher in the areas where these passengers do their shopping and dining, so choosing shops and restaurants a little off the beaten track will often yield significant savings. Remember that the locals are generally very warm and hospitable, so asking for advice on these matters can often prove useful.
Bermuda Local Food
The are many fine restaurants in Bermuda offering a large range of international cuisines and local dishes. Whilst many of the pubs still serve traditional english fare like fish and chips and steak and kidney pudding, some are being redeveloped to offer nouveau cuisines to attract more tourists and a more sophisticated palate.
Local specialities include Hoppin’ John (a tasty dish of boiled rice and black-eyed peas popular throughout the Caribbean), Bermuda fish chowder, shark on toast, all manner of fish and seafood, as well as the Christmas favourite, cassava pie. Like so many of the goods in Bermuda, almost all of the food is imported, so prices are often high. Many visitors will be delighted to learn that there is only one American fast food store in Bermuda: a KFC which was granted a licence before a legal loophole was closed. Local drinks such as Rum Swizzle and Dark n‘ Stormy, rely heavily on large quantities of different types of rum that are both sweet and potent. The legal drinking age in Bermuda is 18 and ID may be required.
Bermuda Local Timezones
Bermuda is in the Atlantic Standard time zone and is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT -4)
Bermuda operates Daylight Saving Time (Summer time) which begins at 2am on the second Sunday of March, and reverts at 2am on the first Sunday of November.
In Bermuda, electricity is supplied at 120 volts / 60 cycles which is the same as the US. Power outlets accept the two pin US type plug. If your electrical equipment is of a different voltage or phase, a power convertor will be required and possibly a plug adapter as well.
Bermuda Dutyfree Limits
All travellers are able to import the following items without paying duty: alcoholic beverages not exceeding one litre of spirits and one litre of wine; any accompanied tobacco not exceeding 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 0.5 kilograms of tobacco. Please note that duty must be paid on beer (approximately 30¢ per can or bottle). Gifts up to the value of $30 per person are also permitted without attracting duty. Visitors may bring prescription medication sufficient for the duration of their stay provided that they are contained in the pharmacy packaging bearing the prescription label.
Prohibited and restricted items include spearguns, firearms and ammunition.
As rules and laws relating to dutiable goods and customs procedures can change without warning,
Additional customs information can be found here: http://www.bermudatourism.com/Meetings/skins/aqua/Customs.pdf