Looking to get away from it all but don’t want to go too far from home? You’re in luck, because there is a tropical paradise just off the east coast of the United States that offers crystal clear waters, pristine beaches, historical sites, gourmet food, and fun for the entire family. Read on to learn more about Bermuda.
Bermuda is a group of islands in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, about 640 miles west-northwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 1,100 miles north of Miami, Florida. It’s considered a British Overseas Territory. The islands account for the eastern and northern points of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Urban legends tell of various planes and ships that have mysteriously disappeared in the area, but most all theories about the area have been disproved.
Located at the edge of the Sargasso Sea, Bermuda is an archipelago comprised of 181 islands with a combined 64 miles of beaches. Listing all 181 islands is next to impossible, since many have more than one name and multiple areas have been given the same name. Bermuda is made up of 9 parishes with two main cities, Hamilton and St. George. The islands are located just south of a volcanic caldera, and are surrounded by coral reefs. There are no bodies of freshwater on the islands, so rainwater is collected for drinking and is plentiful.
Bermuda was discovered in 1505 by Spanish explorers. It was claimed by the British in 1609 and settled 3 years later. It has close ties to Virginia and the Jamestown colony, as several ships sent to relieve the colony ended up in Bermuda due to bad weather, and one of them shipwrecked there. John Rolfe was among the settlers who arrived in Jamestown via Bermuda and went on to marry Pocahontas. The attacks on Washington, DC during the War of 1812, which inspired the creation of the Star Spangled Banner, were planned on Bermuda’s islands.
Despite being thought of as a tropical paradise, Bermuda’s climate is actually considered warm temperate or subtropical. It benefits from its position east of the warm moist Gulf Stream. This brings the region copious rainfall and humidity. Temps seldom go below 50 degrees F in the winter or above 90 degrees F in the summer. While the islands are in a hurricane region, direct landfall is rare.
Bermuda boasts 34 pristine pink sand beaches. The pink hue is the result of the exoskeletons of tiny reef-dwelling organisms washing up on shore and mixing with the sand. Most beaches on the islands are public, but a few are privately owned by hotels and restaurants. Not all beaches are family-friendly, as some have dangerous undercurrents or submerged reefs that make them inappropriate for children to swim in. It’s important to do your homework beforehand. The concierge at your hotel should be able to help you find the perfect beach to relax on.
Bermuda offers a wide variety of accommodations to choose from including hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, timeshares, condominiums and cottages. There are 29 hotels on the islands ranging from the luxurious $798 a night Tucker’s Point resort to the $155 a night Greenbank Guesthouse and more. Many hotels offer all -inclusive packages. Check with your travel agent or the site of the hotel you’re interested in to see what types of packages they offer.
Bermuda offers high end shopping and well known brands such as Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Benetton as well as art galleries, boutiques and gift shops, but don’t expect to score many bargains. The islands have no sales tax, but since everything must be imported, prices are as high or higher than those in the U.S. There are many fine craftsmen on the islands offering jewelry and other delights for sale. Many shops also offer leather goods, clothing and cosmetics. Due to high prices and the fact that discount stores are unheard of in Bermuda, it’s a good idea to stock up on batteries, over-the-counter medications, and toiletries before you go.
Bermuda offers a wide range of attractions including two lighthouses (St. David’s and Gibbs Hill), one at each end of the main island, a 19th century fort (Fort Hamilton), a 17th century fort (Fort St. Catherine) and the National Museum of Bermuda. Other sites include Somerset Bridge, the smallest drawbridge in the world, Crystal Caves, an aquarium and zoo, and several nature preserves and gardens. Golf enthusiasts will find over a half dozen courses to choose from. Prefer the water? Visitors will find fishing charters, diving, para-sailing, jet skiing, snorkeling and even dolphin encounters-yes you can swim with the dolphins!
[dropshadowbox align="right" background_color="#FCE6E9"]
- Bermuda’s official symbols are the Bermuda Cedar, the Cahow (bird), and yes, the onion!
- It’s one of the smallest countries in the world with just 21 square miles of land.
- Even though Bermuda is a British possession, UK laws don’t apply there and those that live there are not considered British citizens.
- Casino gambling is outlawed on the islands and forbidden on cruise ships docked in port, but sports betting is allowed.
How to Get There
Bermuda is just a quick two-hour flight from most US East Coast destinations, and there are daily non-stop flights available all over the US, Canada, and the UK. The islands are also a popular port of call for cruise ships. Royal Caribbean, Holland American, Norwegian and Celebrity Cruise Lines all offer cruises to Bermuda from Halifax Nova Scotia, Boston, New York City, and other Eastern ports.
Before You Go
A valid passport is required for entry. Also, visitors are not allowed to rent cars, so be prepared to use the island’s taxi service or rent a moped to get around. The US dollar is welcome in most places, and you can also exchange for the Bermuda dollar, but be aware it cannot be exchanged for US funds once you’ve left the islands. The atmosphere is on the conservative side so be modest. Wear a cover up when not on the beach. Men should bring sports jackets to wear at dinner, and of course, Bermuda shorts are always in style.
Bermuda is a beautiful group of islands with a rich history and plenty to see and do. Book a vacation today and see for yourself why Bermuda is paradise and so much more.