VacationWiser Guide to Bermuda

VacationWiser.com Guide to Bermuda

(courtesy of www.gotoBermuda.com)


Bermuda is 21-square miles of natural beauty and colorful island culture. To get a lay of the land, explore the island's three regions – West End, Central Bermuda and East End – and get an overview of the world-renowned beaches dotting its shores.


Royal Naval Dockyard & the West End: One of Bermuda’s most popular destinations, the historic Royal Naval Dockyard anchors the West End. The Dockyard is home to a major cruise ship port and serves as a hub for sightseeing, shopping, dining, entertainment and an array of island experiences. Nearby, you’ll find many of the renowned South Shore beaches, including Horseshoe Bay and Warwick Long Bay. Climb up Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for panoramic views of the South Shore, and explore the village of Somerset, home to calm bays, candy-colored churches and the most photogenic little drawbridge you’ll ever see. 


Hamilton & Central Bermuda: Central Bermuda is home to the capital City of Hamilton, a harbor town known for its blend of global sophistication, vibrant nightlife and local flavor. Enjoy dining, shopping, dance clubs and the island’s most cosmopolitan culture along Front Street downtown, and find great beaches, botanical gardens, lush parks and oceanfront golf nearby. There is cachet attached to living "close to town," and adjoining Paget Parish is home to some of the classiest real estate in the world.


St. George’s & the East End: Step back in time as you stroll the centuries-old brick streets of the Town of St. George, Bermuda's former capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The well-preserved historic town and nearby fortress make St. George's and the East End a haven for British colonial architecture, history and culture. Nearby, discover many unique natural attractions, including the limestone formations of Tobacco Bay Beach, Tom Moore’s Jungle and the Crystal Caves of Bermuda. Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve and Ferry Reach National Park are both flush with flora and birdlife, including several rare species.



Bermuda Basics

Before diving into everything that’s great about Bermuda, let’s cover some basics:

·         Getting there: Bermuda is easily reached by plane in under 2 hours for most cities on the East Coast, or 3 hours from Miami or Atlanta.  Several cruise lines travel to Bermuda from April – November.  The online Visitor Arrival Card gets travelers through Arrivals and out the door without the hassle. www.bermudaarrivalcard.com


·         GETTING AROUND: Buses and ferries cover the island all year long and, since this is how most locals get around, they’re a great way to get a taste of Bermuda's warm, welcoming culture. Rent a scooter (moped) or electric mini car to zip around to hidden gems or hop on a ferry to see the island from the water as you get where you’re going.   Taxis are readily available, but rentals cars are not permitted.


·         What to Wear: When packing your Bermuda wardrobe, think smart-casual. The atmosphere of the island is still imbued with British reserve and decorous informality. Proper island style is the prevailing rule, whether you are swimming at the beach or walking through town. It’s this classic sense of light-hearted decorum that makes Bermuda different from many tropical destinations.


·         TIME ZONE:  Bermuda is the in Atlantic Standard Time Zone (GMT-4).  Bermuda is 1 hour ahead of the east coast.  Bermuda observes Daylight Savings Time starting second Sunday of March and returns to Standard Time on first Sunday of November


·         Location: Bermuda is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 655 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Bermuda consists of 181 Islands with the largest known as Main Island.


·         Entry Requirements: All travelers must carry with them proof of citizenship and identification, specifically a machine-readable passport, for return to their own country or for re-entry through another foreign country as required by Bermuda Immigration authorities. This applies to adults as well as children/infants travelling alone or with their parents.  Bermuda entry visas and visa waivers are not required for tourist and business visitors and work permit holders. 


·         Climate: Bermuda’s location in the Gulf Stream provides comfortable temperatures year round, from mid 60s in the winter to mid-80s in the summer.  Bermuda has no rainy season.  Heavy downpours are more likely to occur at night in the summer and don’t usually last longer than a couple of hours.  Hurricanes are very rare – average of one per decade


·         Banking and Currency: Legal tender on the island is the Bermuda Dollar, which trades at the same rate as the U.S. dollar and carries the same symbol ($). Bermuda and the U.S. Dollar are accepted interchangeably. When dispensing change, most retailers and businesses will try to provide change in U.S. dollars to visitors.  ATMs are widely available. Most ATMs dispense only Bermuda dollars. 


·         Language: English.  While you’re travelling through Bermuda, you may hear locals use original phrases and terms. Be in-the-know with this quick guide to Bermy (short for Bermuda) slang.


·         COMMUNICATIONS: Though Bermuda may be small in size, its international telecommunication system ranks among the best in the world.  Bermuda's country code is 441. Direct dialing is possible to and from the island.  Worldwide and international prepaid calling cards can be purchased locally at shops and hotels.  Long-distance phone calls can be made with a calling card.  Most mobile phones will work on the island; ask your carrier ahead of time to make sure. To avoid excessive roaming charges, many visitors rent mobile phones.


·         ELECTRICITY: The electrical current in Bermuda is 110 volts, 60Hz AC, which is the same voltage supported by the U.S. and Canada. 


·         DRINKING WATER: Tap water is safe to drink


·         TIPPING: Nearly all restaurants in Bermuda automatically add a tip of 15 to 17 percent to your check.  Tips for bellhops are $1 to $2 per bag and cleaning staff should get $1 to $2 per day. Taxi drivers are normally tipped between 10 and 15 percent of the fare, more if driver takes you on a guided tour.


·         STEP Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 


·         Distance from Bermuda Airport (Airport code BDA is located on East End, in St. George’s Parish):



   Drive Time

Distance in Miles


Royal Navy Dockyard

    26 minutes

   57 minutes

9 miles

21 miles

Where to stay in Bermuda


Bermuda is known as a great destination for families and couples and offers a wide variety of accommodations for these travelers.


These are some of our suggested hotels in Bermuda.  For more information go to www.vacationwiser.com/bermuda.  Sample rates below are for a 4-night stay for 2 people.  Number in parentheses next to rates are bi-weekly prices. Number in parentheses by hotel name is Star rating,


Coco Reef (3.5*)

Wake up to the sound of waves lapping the sand of Elbow Beach at the quiet, beachfront Coco Reef Resort. Each room can be interconnected to the next, perfect for families travelling with teens. There’s a grocery market within walking distance and an in-room mini fridge (read: snack-money savings). There’s also babysitting, laundry service and three eateries right on-site. Hamilton is just a 10 minute ride away.


As low as $1,540 ($60) midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,818 ($70) midweek and $1,857 ($72) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Aunt Nea’s Inn at Hillcrest (3.5*)

Aunt Nea's Inn is a historic Bermudian guest house located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. George's. From original woodwork and building craftsmanship from the 1700s to stunning harbor and garden views, you will love staying in this very special property in the heart of the old town.


As low as $1,621 ($63) midweek and weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $1,621 ($63) midweek and $1,561 ($61) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa (4*)

Make yourself at home at Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa, featuring 60 well-appointed waterfront residences. Most units have fully equipped kitchens, spacious bathrooms and separate living spaces.  Amenities include air-conditioning, separate showers and jetted bathtubs, complimentary Wi-Fi and exclusive privileges at the semi-private Belmont Hills Golf Club, accessed by water shuttle.


As low as $2,425 ($94) midweek and $2,328 ($90) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $2,328 ($90) midweek and $2,445 ($95) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Fairmont Southampton (4.5*)

Perched atop one of Bermuda’s highest points, the Fairmont Southampton is the largest resort on the island. The 593 rooms are lavishly appointed with walk-in closets, marble baths and private balconies. Across the palm-dotted grounds you’ll find nine restaurants and bars (don’t miss the historic Waterlot Inn steakhouse), shops, Willow Stream spa and the 18-hole, par 3 championship course at Turtle Hill Golf Club. Relax at the pools or lounge on a chaise at the full-service beach club, complete with dive center, tennis courts and private pink-sand beach. Located on Bermuda’s famous South Shore.


As low as $2,490 ($96) midweek and $2,082 ($81) weekend for 2 people in mid-May 2020

As low as $2,623 ($101) midweek and $2,490 ($96) weekend for 2 people mid-July 2020


Grotto Bay (3.5*)

Scattered over 21 acres, 11 colorful cottages overlook clear, turquoise waters. This lush tropical estate features dramatic caves and acres of woodland preserves along the water's edge. Swim the shallow waters off a private pink sand beach, take a dip in the freshwater pool, or languish in the outdoor, garden Jacuzzi. Sail, snorkel, paddle board, dive ancient wrecks and explore the delicate coral reefs with the help of onsite company, Dive Bermuda. With lighted courts, you can play tennis night or day, work out in our ocean-front gym or get pampered in a 500,000-year-old underground cave spa. The resort is conveniently located within five minutes of two of Bermuda's finest golf courses and the L.F. Wade International Airport.


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