Bermuda Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- There's more than one Bermuda Most people think of Bermuda as one island, but in reality, it's an archipelago of more than 180. Tourist activity is largely concentrated on the largest of the chain, which is also known as Bermuda.
- There's no Caribbean anywhere in sight Calling Bermuda "Caribbean" has confused a lot of travelers. In reality, these islands are off the coast of North Carolina. The term refers to a similar history of colonization, as well as some shared cultural traditions, with the islands clustered farther south.
- There's an even exchange rate Bermuda is certainly expensive, but its dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar, which is widely accepted. Save yourself some trouble and pay for everything in American bills.
Visit Bermuda, and there's a good chance you'll see men milling about the capital city of Hamilton dressed in crisp and prim business shirts, tucked neatly into seemingly casual short trousers. Their "Bermuda shorts" fit well into the mystique surrounding these lonely islands of the Atlantic -- islands that hold tight to their British customs, elegance and etiquette, but still know how to let loose under a subtropical sun.
Usually, the people who visit are looking for a little luxury. Top activities include spa treatments and afternoon tee-times. Need a break from the golf clubs or a change of pace after your facial? Try stretching out on the dazzling pink sand at the Elbow or Horseshoe Bay beaches, strolling past the old-time buildings in Historic St. George, or polishing up on your naval history at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. These islands don't put on a pretense of being "hip" -- visit Puerto Rico if you want to be in fashion -- but they do offer a charming old-school sophistication that's hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean.
How To Save Money in Bermuda
- Bundle up Bermuda only experiences beach weather for half the year. But great sites like Historic St. George and the Unfinished Church are perfect to visit in the chillier (and cheaper) winters.
- Opt for "AP" Dining out on Bermuda is expensive, but some hotels offer rate plans that include some or all of your meals. An "AP," or American Plan, offers all three meals in the cost of your room and board.
- Arrive early Bermuda is only a two-hour plane ride from many spots on the East Coast, so you might not lose a day in travel time as you would going to other Caribbean isles. Book an early morning flight and enjoy a first (full) day on the island.
Bermuda Culture & Customs
As Concierge.com notes, "The country has developed its own distinct style of architecture (ornate, rambling and pastel), dress (wildly pastel), and firmly fixed traditions (high teas and stiff upper lips), which make it look and feel less like a desert island and more like a firmly established nation." Bermuda shorts are the norm here, even during business hours, but it's best to pair them with a jacket for tea time or the dinner hour. Wearing a bathing suit -- or even sandals -- anywhere besides the beach is frowned upon.
Considering that its islands are surrounded by the Atlantic on all sides, Bermuda has the inside edge on quality seafood. But its remote location at sea also means almost all other ingredients are imported in, and at a premium -- Bermuda restaurants are universally described as expensive.
Dining on the islands is also more formal than on other destinations, so you should call ahead to find out the dress code. Although you can keep your Bermuda shorts on for the dinner hour, many establishments prefer you accessorize with a jacket and tie. Most visitors dine in Hamilton, where there are more options, but there are a handful of eateries in Southhampton on the southwestern tip as well. Once you're seated, try local delicacies like Bermudian wahoo, which is a type of white fish, or some lobster or rockfish.