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Why Go to Bermuda

A visit to Bermuda means that 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 Elbow Beach or Horseshoe Bay Beach, strolling past the old-time buildings in Historic St. George or polishing up on your naval history at the National Museum of Bermuda. These islands don't put on a pretense of being "hip," but they do offer a charming old-school sophistication that's hard to find anywhere else.

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Bermuda Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Bermuda is either March or April when the temperate weather becomes pleasant for beach bathing, even if it's not quite warm enough for swimming yet. And the prices aren't as high as they are during the busiest season, from May to October. If you're more interested in golfing, plan your trip for the wintertime. Unlike the Caribbean, Bermuda is relatively cool in the winter. As such, you'll score the greatest discount at area hotels and enjoy fewer crowds at top attractions

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What You Need to Know

  • There's more than one Bermuda Most people think of Bermuda as one island, but in reality, it's an archipelago of more than 100. 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 located off the coast of North Carolina.
  • U.S. dollars are accepted 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.

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 when temperatures hover in the mid-60s. 
  • Opt for "AP" Dining out in Bermuda is expensive, but some hotels offer rate plans that include some or all of your meals. An "AP," or American Plan, typically includes all three meals in the cost of your room and board. 
  • Arrive early Bermuda is only a two- or three-hour plane ride from many spots on the East Coast, so you might not lose an entire day in travel time as you would going to other islands, namely in the Caribbean. Book an early morning flight and enjoy a first (full) day on the island.

Culture & Customs

Bermuda is a blend of British, American and West Indian traditions and cultures. The island has mixed its elusive past to create its own customs. 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 flip flops – anywhere besides the beach is frowned upon. 

What to Eat

Considering that its islands are surrounded by the Atlantic on all sides, Bermuda has the inside edge on quality seafood. Fish chowder (with a dash of sherry), codfish cakes and spiny lobster are island favorites. 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 the central parishes where there are more dining options. Ascots and Fourways Inn are two popular spots that offer European menus with fresh and local ingredients. If international fare is what you crave, recent travelers and experts recommend House of India.

Port O' CallThe Lobster Pot & Boat House Bar and The Harbourfront Restaurant and Komodaru Sushi Lounge all offer fresh seafood local island dishes. Once you're seated, try local delicacies like Bermudian wahoo, which is a type of white fish, some lobster or rockfish. No visit to Bermuda is complete without trying some of its famous rum. Try a rum swizzle at the world-famous Swizzle Inn Pub & Restaurant or a dark 'n' stormy at any bar on the island.

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Safety

Crime, especially theft, against tourists is becoming more common in some parts of Bermuda. The capital, Hamilton, is where most of the crime occurs, however, law enforcement has cracked down and installed surveillance cameras throughout the city and in all major tourist areas in recent years. As with any travel, be sure to leave treasured items at home and the valuables that you do bring with you should be secured in the hotel safe. Rented mopeds are sometimes stolen; make sure to always lock your scooter before leaving it unattended.

Getting Around Bermuda

The best way to get around Bermuda is on a bus. You don't have the option of renting a car here and maneuvering with a motorbike could be fun or deadly, depending on your perspective. Electric two-seater vehicles called Twizys are yet another option and easier to master than a scooter (not to mention safer). The taxis pretty much have a monopoly on getting you from L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA) to your hotel, but this budget-killing option for sightseeing is not your best bet. Fortunately, the buses are reliable and affordable, and stop at many of the top attractions

Many people arrive at Bermuda on a cruise ship. Most dock in Hamilton, though there are a few that anchor around Historic St. George or the Royal Navy Dockyard. Taxi drivers are waiting at all the docks to show you around, or you could rent a motorbike to move around on your own.

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Entry & Exit Requirements

You'll need a valid passport to travel to Bermuda and you'll have to present proof of return flights or continuing travels. Also, expect a departure tax upon leaving. Occasionally, officials will also ask to see proof of sufficient funds to cover your visiting expenses. Visiting yachts need customs, immigration and health clearance at St. George's port to visit Bermuda, and yachters should expect a passenger tax. Visit the State Department's website  for the latest information on foreign entry and exit requirements.

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