Whether you’re fascinated by the “Bermuda Triangle,” love The Beach Boys, or just want to get away, Bermuda is calling, and you should go! This island is not as far as you think (only an hour and a half flight from the East Coast of the USA), and it’s home to the friendliest people you’ll likely ever meet. We were only there for a long weekend, but we can’t wait to get back soon! Here are the most important things you need to know before you visit Bermuda!
It’s Not in the Caribbean
“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya to Bermuda, Bahama, come on, Pretty Mama…” Contrary to popular the Beach Boys song, Bermuda is actually over 1,300 miles away from the nearest Caribbean island! In fact, it’s only 650 miles from North Carolina, making it much closer to the United States. It’s also technically not “tropical,” since it’s not within the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
More here: The Best Places to Eat on Bermuda
It has Strong Ties to “The New World”
It is, however, just as beautiful as any Caribbean island I’ve ever visited, and at least pleasant to visit all year round. It’s so isolated out there in the Atlantic Ocean, it wasn’t even inhabited before the English laid claim to it. The Spanish had put it on the map about 100 years before (Bermuda comes from the Spanish “discoverer” Juan Bermudez), but the first settlers were British and arrived in 1609.
Those settlers? They were the crew and passengers of the British ship Sea Venture, which wrecked up here enroute to Jamestown! They were blown off course by a hurricane, and when news got back to England about their wreck, survival, and rebuilding of a ship, Shakespeare himself was inspired enough to write The Tempest.
Read next: How to Spend a Day in St. George’s, Bermuda
Fill Out Your Arrivals Card Online
This will not get you into a different line, but it will expedite your process of getting into Bermuda! Just fill out your arrivals form here online instead of waiting until you’re in line at customs, and have it ready to show either on your phone or printed out. It just takes a couple of minutes to fill out!
Also helpful: How to Spend 72 Hours on Bermuda
The Rail Trail is Not for Bikes
Cycling is a great way to get around Bermuda, and in fact, there are several cycling clubs that get together and ride often. However, they are not biking on the rail trail because it’s not conducive to cycling. We learned this the hard way. Basically every travel blogger recommended taking the Rail Trail by bike. I don’t know what section of the trail they were on, but it was not the stretch from Hamilton to Somerset. It is a lovely trail for much of the way, but it crosses several roads, requiring you to stop frequently.
Even more importantly, you have to literally dismount to lift your bike up and over several gates, which are honestly not far enough apart to even justify getting back on the bike in many places. There are also steep inclines and declines (into ravines over which there were bridges in the railroad days), and a few sets of stairs up which you have to carry your bike. We saw lots of runners and walkers, but the only people struggling through on bikes were tourists like us.
Bottom line: Don’t waste your time or energy–cycle on the roads! Or rent a Twizy if you’re more interested in stopping along the way at the many beaches and sites that are not even on or near the trail.
Must read: What to Pack for a Long Weekend in Bermuda
There are No Traditional Rental Cars
You read that right! There are no rental cars on the island of Bermuda. Even the locals are limited to exactly one car per household. There’s just not a lot of space for cars! The alternatives are taxis (there are plenty), bicycles (which are totally safe on the road), public bus (which is amazing and efficient), ferry (which is super fun, but not super frequent every day), or walking (which is a great way to get around town, but the distances between towns are too far for this to be practical for the entire time you’re on the island).
The only thing similar to a rental car is a Twizy, which is an electric vehicle that can only fit one or two people–without luggage! The Twizy is super fun and easy to drive, but make sure you have the Current App so you can rent one. They charge by the hour ($25 per hour at the time of this writing), but the maximum rate is $125 per day, so if you keep it for more than 5 hours, you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Just remember: Left is right, and right is wrong–this is a British territory, and as such, they drive on the LEFT! Click here for Tips for Driving on the Left!
More here: Your Guide to Getting Around Bermuda
They Use the Bermudian Dollar
Bermudians do use the Bermudian dollar, but it’s tied to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 conversion rate. Many businesses accept credit cards, but not all, so it’s useful to have cash handy. Also nice: Bermudian businesses accept the U.S. dollar as well! So there’s not necessarily any need to change your money or get cash out of the ATM as long as you have U.S. dollars with you. You will, however, be given back Bermudian dollars in change!
Keep reading: The Ultimate Guide to Travel and Your Money
There are Over 300 Shipwrecks Around the Island
You’ve heard about the cursed “Bermuda Triangle.” You’ve heard about ships that went down with precious cargo and untold riches. While it’s far from “cursed,” per se, Bermuda earned the nickname “The Devil’s Isle” for a reason…
Over 300 ships have gone down here after crashing offshore! The waters aren’t as deep as they may have seemed to sailors of old, and as a result, many ships ran aground or sank altogether over the centuries. You can explore some of them today on a snorkel or scuba diving tour!
More here: The Best Things to Do on Bermuda
Always Greet the People You See
We met a Bermudian on our flight over, and he gave us what he considered to be the most important advice: Greet people! It’s considered polite to take a second to say “hello,” “good morning,” “good evening,” etc. But more importantly, it’s considered incredibly rude not to! Even my exceptionally non-people person husband was greeting people within just a day or two of arriving.
We met so many friendly locals while we were on the island, too. People would see us looking at a map, or trying to find a road name, and they would literally get out of their cars to help us. I can’t say enough good things about the Bermudian people, from their helpfulness to their good humor and kind nature. We loved Bermuda and can’t wait to go back!
More here: How to Spend 1 Day in Hamilton, Bermuda
Want more? Get everything you need to know on my dedicated Bermuda Page!
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