Caribbean Destination Series Part 6-Bermuda


Bermuda is a unique tropical-island paradise located in a remote corner of the western Atlantic Ocean. It is a peaceful vacation spot nestled in a sparkling blue-green sea. When the wind blows, Bermuda’s islands, islets and outcrops are washed with white-topped, cool-green waves.

It’s the diversity of color that first enraptures visitors to Bermuda—not just of sky and sea, but also of sand, trees, shrubs and flowers: The beaches are creamy white flecked with pink, the trees are a variety of lush greens, pink oleander lines the roadsides, and riotous vines tumble over limestone walls. Even the houses on Bermuda are colorful—pastel walls topped by white stepped roofs.

Add to this a variety of land and water activities (including cricket and afternoon tea), sailing (the biennial Newport-to-Bermuda race first came into port in 1906), excellent restaurants, no cars (but you can rent scooters), reliable sunshine, and excellent shopping buys on European goods.

It’s no wonder that vacationers return to Bermuda year after year.

Must See or Do

Sights—British history, shops and restaurants at the Royal Naval Dockyard; great views of Hamilton Harbour from Fort Hamilton; stalactites and stalagmites at the Crystal and Fantasea caves; extensive views of Bermuda from Fort Scaur and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse.Museums—18th- and 19th-century Bermudian and European paintings at the Bermuda National Gallery; model ships at the Bermuda Historical Society Museum; scuba-diving exhibits at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute; unusual architecture at Verdmont Museum; U.S. Civil War history at the Bermuda National Trust Museum.

Memorable Meals—Local cuisine at Black Horse Tavern Bar and Restaurant; excellent fish or roast beef at the Carriage House; terrific fine dining at Ascots Restaurant.

Late Night—A Friday jazz night from the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society; dress up for Splash on Bermudiana Road; live reggae and rock bands at Ozone.

Walks—Take a cliff walk and watch out for longtail birds; follow an old railway line through tunnels and woodlands on the Bermuda Railway Trail; explore a cherry-tree jungle at Blue Hole Park; get lost among the colorful flowers of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens; tour the historic streets of St. George.

Especially for Kids—Spot fish, turtles and moray eels at the Bermuda Aquarium; dolphin interactions and educational programs at Dolphin Quest Lagoon at the Maritime Museum; climb a wall at the Olympic Club.

Geography

This isolated bit of paradise is in the Atlantic, and it’s less than a two-hour flight southeast of New York. The closest land is North Carolina, 650 mi/1,050 km west.The country is actually made up of 181 small islands—the largest of which are connected by bridges and causeways, creating a landmass shaped roughly like a 21-mi-/34-km-long fishhook that is no wider than 2 mi/3 km.

History

The first known European to sight the islands was Spaniard Juan de Bermudez (from whom Bermuda takes its name) in 1503. Spain left the islands alone to their population of cahows and other birds, and they remained unsettled for another century. Bermuda became an important landmark and a hazard for ships crossing the Atlantic in the 1500s: Storms often swept ships onto the reefs that surround the islands.One such wreck led to the colonization of Bermuda. In 1609, the Sea Venture, an English ship loaded with colonists en route to Jamestown, Virginia, struck one of the reefs. The colonists found Bermuda a good place to be marooned, especially because of the wild hog population, which provided a steady supply of meat. The castaways built two new ships and sailed onward the next year, but their brief stay encouraged settlement on the islands. By 1612, there was a permanent British settlement—St. George’s. Originally ruled by the Virginia Company, it became a British crown colony in 1684 and remains one today. The population is a diverse mix, including those whose heritage can be traced to Africa, the U.K., the Azores, the West Indies and several other lands.

Because it lacked the water and soil to be a major agricultural producer, Bermuda’s fortunes were tied to trade. Much of the trade was with the U.S., and during the Civil War, Bermuda grew rich by trading English arms for Confederate cotton. After the war ended in 1865, Bermuda fell on harder times. But during the 20th century, the islands began to develop one of the businesses that it continues to rely on—tourism. During the 1960s, offshore banking, financial services and insurance also became important to the islands. With the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, who campaigned vigorously against U.S. corporations hiding their money on tax havens like Bermuda, many islanders now wonder nervously just what lies around the corner for this center of finance and insurance.

Under the Westminster system of government, Bermuda was governed by the United Bermuda Party (UBP) from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. During that period, Pam Gordon became Bermuda’s first female premier. In 1998, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP)—also led by a woman, Jennifer Smith—swept into power after a general election. The PLP has been in power ever since.

Snapshot

Bermuda’s foremost attractions are beaches, golf, tennis, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, nature preserves, cricket, sailing, shopping and relaxation.A clean, fairly formal, semitropical destination with beautiful beaches, trees and flowers, Bermuda can be a relaxing destination, albeit an expensive one.

Port Information
Location

Most travelers to Bermuda recall Hamilton as the main cruise-ship port, where vessels tied up along Front Street, which runs next to the water. Now, however, nautical traffic has been directed to either of the docks on the eastern or western ends of the island. Smaller ships now call at the Front Street dockyards, and only occasionally. The shift to larger docking facilities means that larger passenger ships can now stay two or three nights in port, instead of only a day.As many as three cruise ships can tie up at St. George’s. There are cruise terminals at the docks, which have public phones, restrooms and a tourist information booth. All of the shops and points of interest are within walking distance—making this a great port for sightseers. Larger cruise ships usually anchor in the Great Sound, the large bay in western Bermuda, or tie up at Kings Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard at the northwestern end of Bermuda.

The Dockyard was expanded with an extra berthing spot so that two giant cruise ships can visit the island at the same time. The towering stone buildings that were once part of the early-19th-century British naval installation now house shops and restaurants. There’s a maritime museum and a lagoon, where you can swim with the dolphins. The dock—opposite the main Dockyard buildings—offers phones, restrooms and a tourist information table. Ships that anchor in the Great Sound often tender their passengers to the Dockyard in smaller craft.

Shore Excursions

Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the islands, but you won’t have to waste your limited time making arrangements—and you won’t have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line.Typical tours on Bermuda include exploring Hamilton, St. George’s or St. David’s Island; visiting National Trust historic sites; snorkeling or helmet diving around coral reefs; playing a round of golf; taking a catamaran cruise; taking a cruise on a glass-bottom boat; taking a half-day fishing excursion; visiting the island’s legendary pink beaches; or just cruising around the islands. Check with your ship’s shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.

Potpourri

The title of John Lennon’s Double Fantasy album was inspired by the name of a flower he saw in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Lennon wrote some of the songs for the album while staying in Bermuda.Although it’s only 21 mi/34 km long, Bermuda has more than 125 churches.

The first game of tennis in the Western Hemisphere was played in Bermuda by Sir Brownlow Gray’s family in 1873. The next year, their American houseguest, Mary Outerbridge, introduced the sport to the U.S. on Staten Island.

Debate still rages over whether there is a mysterious, fatal force operating in the Bermuda Triangle, an area whose three corners are marked by Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico. An astonishing number of planes and ships have mysteriously disappeared there, and theories abound about who or what is responsible.

Rainwater is the main source of water on Bermuda: There are no rivers or other major sources of freshwater. The rain is funneled from the roofs of buildings into underground tanks. (In most hotels, the water is purified.) Islanders take their roof collection systems seriously: When a new roof is added to a house, it’s christened with a splash of Bermuda black rum.

Animals in Bermuda perform a variety of entertaining courtship rituals. In February, longtail tropic seabirds execute swooping aerial ballets along the crenulated coastline. From June to September, mating fire worms glow with a green light as they dart toward each other in Bermuda’s shallow bays—the performance is at its best an hour after sunset on the third day after the full moon. And, most of the year, Bermuda’s night air is filled with the whistling chorus of tiny singing tree frogs, especially after a rain shower.

You’ll find the world’s smallest drawbridge between Somerset and Southampton. It has a section—only one plank wide—that opens to allow for tall masts.

Every year on Boxing Day (26 December), the Gombey dancers parade around the islands, singing and dancing in elaborate costumes and masks. Gombey is the word for rhythm in Bantu and is also the name of a skin-covered drum originally developed in Africa and brought to Bermuda by slaves.

The shortened trousers that evolved into Bermuda shorts were introduced by the British military at the turn of the 20th century.

At Easter time, fragrant, white Easter lilies fill gardens and some fields in Bermuda. Every year, a large bouquet of blossoms is sent to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Visitors are outspoken in their admiration for the islands. “You go to heaven if you want,” said 19th-century author and humorist Mark Twain. “I’d rather stay here in Bermuda.”

See & Do
Sightseeing
Historic Sites

Crystal and Fantasy Caves
A gorgeous must-see. Located northeast of Harrington Sound, the Crystal and Fantasea caves feature subterranean palaces of stalactites and stalagmites. The formations in Crystal Cave are said to be more than 1 million years old. The Fantasy Cave looks more like an underground temple. Daily 9:30 am-4:30 pm (last tour at 4 pm). Admission to both caves is Bd$26 adults, Bd$10 children ages 5-12. Wilkinson Road, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-293-0640. http://www.caves.bm.

Fort Hamilton
This restored fort from the 1800s lies just east of Victoria Street and offers superb views of Hamilton Harbour. Daily 9:30 am-5 pm. Free. Hamilton, Bermuda.

Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse
This restored, white cast-iron structure was built in 1846, making it the oldest such structure in the world. If you climb all 185 steps, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the ocean and the connected islands. Beware of the winds, though: They actually make the cast-iron lighthouse sway. Later, you can relax with an afternoon repast in the tearoom. Daily 9 am-5 pm. Bd$2.50 adults, free for children younger than 4. Southampton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-238-8069.

Royal Navy Dockyard
Established in the early 1800s, shortly after Britain lost many of its North American ports to the U.S. following the Revolutionary War, the Dockyard became a major British naval hub in the Atlantic and was used through World War II. Closed in 1951, the Dockyard is now the home of the excellent Bermuda Maritime Museum, the Commissioner’s House, lots of shops and restaurants, and a multimillion-dollar cruise-ship dock. The museum chronicles the islands’ seafaring past and contains ship models, maps, whaling gear and boats—some from the 1800s. Also shown are artifacts recovered from sunken Spanish galleons near Bermuda, including some retrieved by noted local treasure hunter Teddy Tucker. The stone Commissioner’s House houses a World War II exhibit, paintings and antique Bermudian furniture. Daily 9:30 am-5 pm. Last admission 4 pm. Maritime Museum: Bd$10 adults, Bd$5 children ages 5-15, free for children younger than 5. Phone 441-234-1333. http://www.bmm.bm.

Museums

Bermuda Historical Society Museum
This museum contains some small exhibits, including models of the Sea Venture, the ship that wrecked near Bermuda in 1609 and introduced the British to the islands. Monday-Saturday 9:30 am-3 pm. Free. 13 Queen St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-2487.

Bermuda National Gallery
One of two separate venues inside Hamilton’s City Hall, this gallery has a collection of 18th- and 19th-century Bermudian and European paintings. The museum has a permanent collection of historic European paintings, known as The Watlington Collection, bequeathed to Bermuda by Hereward T. Watlington. The gallery also puts on temporary exhibitions. Some notable works found at the museum include paintings by Gainsborough, Murillo and Reynolds. The Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery (on the top floor) displays temporary exhibits. Monday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Free. 17 Church St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-9428. http://www.bermudanationalgallery.com.

Bermuda National Trust Museum
Exhibits focus on activities in Bermuda during the U.S. Civil War—when the islands were a key port for boats attempting to elude the Union naval blockade and deliver goods to the Confederate states. Have the caretaker make an impression of the Confederate seal for you, using the original press of the Confederate States of America. Monday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Bd$5 adults, Bd$2 children. 32 York St., St. George’s (the museum is inside the historic Globe Hotel), Bermuda. Phone 441-297-1423. http://www.bnt.bm.

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
Extending the islands’ legacy of underwater exploration, the institute serves as a base for numerous scientific expeditions. Visitors can see exhibits on diving technology and conservation work, as well as learn about the institute’s research projects. A dive capsule simulates all the sights, sounds and temperature changes you would experience at different depths. One room has a superb shell collection, beautifully displayed and lit. Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Bd$13 adults, Bd$6 children ages 6-16, Bd$10 for seniors. 40 Crow Lane, East Broadway, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-7219. http://www.buei.bm.

Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
Bermuda’s first purpose-built art museum houses more than 1,200 works of art inspired by the island, by both local and international artists. Temporary exhibitions are also presented. Monday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Bd$5 adults, free for children younger than 12. Bermuda Botanical Gardens, 183 South Road, Paget Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-236-2950. http://www.bermudamasterworks.com.

Verdmont Museum
This architectural oddity lies about 1 mi/2 km east of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. The Georgian-style mansion has eight very different fireplaces, unusual inside shutters and a grand staircase leading all the way to the attic. Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm. Bd$5 adults. Verdant Road at Sayle Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-236-7369.

Parks & Gardens

Bermuda Botanical Gardens
Popular with islanders and visitors alike, the gardens surround Camden, the official residence of Bermuda’s premier, and offer an explosion of colors—reds, oranges, purples and blues. The 36-acre/15-hectare spread includes formal landscaped gardens, a butterfly garden and an impressive cactus collection. There is also a special Garden for the Blind, designed with the most fragrant flowers and spices, splashing fountains and textured plants to touch. Daily 9:30 am-5:30 pm. Tours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 am. Free. South Road at Point Finger Road, Paget Parish (southeast of Hamilton), Bermuda. Phone 441-236-4201.

Zoos & Wildlife

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
This all-in-one attraction contains more than 100 indigenous species of fish, turtles and moray eels, as well as displays on Bermuda’s geological history and the development of its ecosystems. The exhibit includes a 140,000-gal /529,957-l tank, allowing visitors to view coral reefs and the fish that inhabit them. Daily 9 am-5 pm, with last admission at 4 pm. Bd$10 adults, Bd$2.50 children ages 5-12. 40 N. Shore Road, Harrington Sound, Bermuda. Phone 411-293-2727. http://www.bamz.org.

Recreation
Beaches

Bermuda’s beaches are world renowned: white sand with pink flecks, unspoiled and soft. The best ones are on the southern shore, from Southampton to Tucker’s Town, including Warwick Long Bay and the smaller beach surrounding Jobson’s Cove next door. They’re less crowded and perfect for tanning or picnicking.The beaches on the north side of Bermuda, such as Tobacco Bay and Fort St. Catherine, aren’t as broad as those on the south side, but it’s hard to criticize soft, pink sand and azure water.

Bird Watching

Paget Marsh Park
A wooden boardwalk that crosses a pond allows easy viewing of the red mangrove jungle—home to resident kiskadees, white-eyed vireos and visiting warblers. Yellow-crowned night herons roost in the trees, and moorhens and coots take to the water. Open daily dawn to dusk. Middle Road, Paget Parish, Bermuda.

Somerset Long Bay Park
Bird-watchers love this park because it not only attracts breeding moorhens and coots but also all sorts of migrants and vagrants. Warblers nest in the mangrove trees, and herons and egrets fly over the ponds. The park is ideal for children who want to swim in calm, shallow water. Daniel’s Head Road, Sandys Parish, Bermuda.

Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
The largest wildlife sanctuary on Bermuda (60 acres/25 hectares), Spittal Pond is home to 200 species of native and migratory birds, including North American warblers, house martins and cardinals. Fall and winter are the prime seasons for bird-watching. This rare dose of wilderness—craggy cliffs, untamed grasses and vegetation—on this sedate island chain would be worth a visit even if it had no birds. Open daily dawn to dusk. On South Road, Smith’s Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-236-4201.

Boating & Sailing

Bermuda has become one of the world’s great sailing centers because of its temperate weather and the challenge of unpredictable winds. Experienced sailors can rent their own boat or sign on for a skippered cruise. Sunfish and Windsurfers rent for Bd$30 an hour; outboard motorboats rent for about Bd$90 for a minimum of two hours and Bd$195 for a whole day. Fuel costs an extra Bd$7 a gallon.
Blue Hole Water Sports
Rents everything from sailboards to small sailboats. Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-293-2915.

Fishing

Bermuda is one of the world’s prime angling spots, offering the possibility of catching Bermuda chub, yellow snapper, wahoo, dolphin fish, oceanic bonito, black-fin tuna, rainbow runners, barracuda, bonefish, pompano, and blue and white marlin. Full-day deep-sea trips offered by the Bermuda Sport Fishing Association start at around Bd$1,300 (including bait and tackle) for up to six people. Half-day trips may also be available—inquire locally about prices. Half-day reef-fishing charters are also available and start at Bd$900 for up to six people. Other local captains also offer competitive rates. Bermuda Sport Fishing Association
This organization can help you arrange a charter fishing excursion. Phone 441-295-2370.

Golf

To a golfer, Bermuda is as close to paradise as you can get. There are plenty of top-quality courses. Many are private, however, so access can be difficult.Do be aware that there are dress codes at all courses. Some allow shorts, but they must be Bermuda-length. It’s best to inquire ahead of time.

Horseback Riding

Spicelands
Offers a popular 75-minute early-morning adventure trail along sand dunes and South Shore beaches. Rides start at 7 am and run about every two hours. Price is Bd$80 per person for groups of up to six. Private groups of experienced riders run Bd$160 per person. Riders may trot or canter in private sessions; group rides are walk only. Phone 441-238-8212. http://www.spicelandsriding.com.

Scuba & Snorkeling

Both diving and snorkeling are popular pursuits in Bermuda. The waters are the clearest in the western Atlantic (some divers report 200-ft/60-m visibility), and the warm Gulf Stream nurtures the northernmost coral reef in the Atlantic. The reef has spelled the doom of many ships, so shallow-water wreck diving is a big draw. More than 350 wrecks are found in the waters around the islands, including the Constellation, a four-masted schooner.Snorkeling is also good, and the reef can be easily reached from many of the beaches. Tobacco Bay is a particularly scenic spot, and Church Bay is rewarding because of the variety of colorful fish. Pick up a fish-identification guide before you hit the water so you know what you’re looking at.

You can rent snorkeling gear for Bd$12-$24 a day. Rates for a one-tank dive start at about Bd$75; two-tank dives run about Bd$115. You must be a certified diver and present your C card to rent equipment and go diving, although some shops offer a supervised introductory course for beginners.

Another great option for people who can’t swim or dive is helmet diving. Operators fit you with a helmet that is hooked to an air hose, enabling you to breathe underwater. After a short briefing, experienced guides take you walking on the sea floor.

Tennis & Racquet Sports

Bermuda takes tennis as seriously as it does golf. The game was imported there from England in 1873—the first court was laid out at Clermont in Paget Parish. Today, there are more than 100 courts on the islands—at hotels, in parks and attached to clubs. At many courts, tennis whites are required.

Other Options

Skyrider Parasailing
Operators pick up guests upon request from the Wharf in Dockyard or from the Ferry Terminal in Hamilton in their Paranautique boat and cruise around the Great Sound for two hours. The parasailing part of the trip allows guests (one or two at a time) to sit in an aerial armchair or recliner and take in wonderful views of the reef. Bd$60 per person for cruise and parasail, Bd$50 for children, Bd$20 per person for cruise only. Phone 441-747-7245. http://www.skyriderbermuda.com.

The Olympic Club
This Hamilton gym includes a rock climbing wall, which can be a fun activity for children and youth. The wall is open daily except Monday noon-8 pm, weather permitting. Gym open Monday-Thursday 6 am-9 pm, closes at 8 pm on Friday. Saturday 8 am-3 pm, Sunday 9 am-1 pm. Adults Bd$35, children Bd$25 for two hours. 12 Dundonald St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-4095.

Nightlife

Check the local newspapers, as well as Preview and This Week in Bermuda to find out what’s happening.

Bars, Taverns & Pubs

Blue Juice
A rocking bar that never stops, and you can even dance in the courtyard. The venue shows music videos on an exterior screen, and snacks are available. Open daily 11 am-3 am. 76 Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3000.

Frog and Onion Pub
This is the closest thing to a British pub on the island. Serves snacks and food at the Royal Naval Dockyard during the day and into the evening. Think bangers and mash, steak-and-kidney pie and fish-and-chips. Daily for lunch and dinner (food available until late). $$. Most major credit cards. The Cooperage, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-2900.

Hubbie’s Bar
One of the creative, artsy places in town booking jazz performers and hosting poetry readings. 10 Angle St., off Court Street, Bermuda. Phone 441-293–9287.

Lemmon Tree
A happy-hour spot catering to locals, tourists and expats. Venue hosts popular DJs. Food is also served during the day, including popular breakfasts. 7 Queen St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-0235.

The Pickled Onion
This bar has a little bit of everything, from Top 40 to blues to classic rock ‘n’ roll, all presented in a sleekly madeover venue. Lively bar atmosphere but also serves food. Open daily 11 am-1 am, later on weekends. 53 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-2263.

Dance & Nightclubs

Ozone
Younger crowds will head for Ozone, housed in a swanky building of Hamilton. This place is for mainstream music and the slick crowds. Open Tuesday-Saturday noon-3 am. 69 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-3379.

Live Music

Fairmount Hamilton Princess
The bar at one of Bermuda’s most prestigious hotels is the life of the party, hosting live bands and presenting sumptuous buffets. 76 Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3000.

Henry VIII
This restaurant doubles as a performing hall and a drinking hole, with a music hall and comedy shows. 56 South Shore Road, Bermuda. Phone 441-238-1977.

LV’s Piano Jazz Lounge
Formerly the dance club Splash, this live-music spot attracts a mature and sophisticated crowd with its world-class jazz, enforced dress code and comprehensive wine list. Thai and dim sum lunch buffet offered. Monday-Thursday noon-1 am, Friday noon-3 am, Saturday 8 pm-1 am. 12 Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-3300. http://www.diningbermuda.com/LVs/default.asp.

Performing Arts

Sometimes the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society holds a Friday jazz night. Keep an eye out for its theater productions as well as those performed by Waterspout Theatre. Check the local newspapers, as well as Preview and This Week in Bermuda to find a schedule of island events.The Bermuda Civic Ballet performs classical ballet, while the National Dance Theater of Bemuda has a more eclectic repertoire. The Bermuda Philharmonic Society performs classical music at the Royal Naval Dockyards.

Spectator Sports

As a British Crown Colony, Bermuda is cricket country. On any given Sunday—especially from late April until September—you should be able to find a game to watch on fields all around the islands. The two-day Cricket Cup Match between St. George’s and Somerset is so popular that the government had to declare it a legal holiday—too many people were skipping work to attend. Even if you’re not a cricket enthusiast, the match (held in late July or early August) is worth attending for the colorful atmosphere and for the local fish dishes sold at the food stands. Gambling is permitted on the islands during the Cup Match, but you don’t wager on the teams. Instead, a dice game called Crown and Anchor is played—it’s similar to craps.The islands are often a boat-race destination, and one must-see is the Newport-to-Bermuda race, which is held in June of even-numbered years. In June of odd-numbered years, the Marion-Bermuda is held.

April is an important month for tennis lovers, because the XL Championship tournament is held at Coral Beach on the south shore.

Rugby lovers have their field day in November, the month for Bermuda’s World Rugby Classic.

Other Options

Cup Match Cricket Festival
The Cup Match Cricket Festival is literally a national holiday, with most Bermudians taking the day off to attend the event. It rotates between the Somerset and St. George’s cricket clubs. Phone 441-295-6574 for information. http://www.worldrugby.bm.

Escape to Bermuda Triathlon
This international triathlon covers the length of the island. The course begins with a 1-mi/0.65-km swim at Royal Naval Dockyard. Competitors jump from high-speed ferries and swim through warm turquoise waters into the King’s Stairs below the Dockyard Clock tower. Phone 310-449-4077 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              310-449-4077      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://www.escapetobermudatriathlon.com.

World Rugby Classic
Bermuda is some 3000-mi/4800-km from the United Kingdom, but the sports traditions live strong. This yearly rugby event is another sports highlight of Bermuda, with matches in the fall. For information, write to P.O. Box HM 226, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-0023. Toll-free 800-237-6832 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-237-6832      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Shopping

Because it is a British Crown Colony, Bermuda can offer very good prices on British and European goods, such as bone china, crystal, jewelry and woolens. The lack of sales tax makes the prices even better. French perfume is a particularly good buy and is exempt from custom duty.Among the most popular native products are food, such as Bermuda’s famous rum cakes and Outerbridge’s sherry pepper sauce, available in most supermarkets and liquor stores, as well as in many gift shops. Royall Lyme men’s aftershave products, LiLi perfumes (including Bay Rum and Navy Lime for men) and homemade perfumes are also good. Spirits such as Bermuda Gold (a liqueur) and Gosling’s Bermuda rum are deservedly popular. Wood carvings, items salvaged from shipwrecks, pottery and tiles are available, too. You can pay in U.S. dollars, but don’t haggle—prices are firm.

In Hamilton, the main shopping areas are on Front Street, Queen Street and Reid Street. Time and economic change have taken away some old, familiar names—Trimingham Brothers and HA & E Smiths, two historic department stores that merged in 2004, closed a year later. A.S. Cooper’s department store on Front Street was torn down, but the business has not closed. A new and larger building is being constructed for retail and for office space. Meanwhile, Cooper’s departments have moved into individual china shops, cosmetics and perfume shops, and fashion boutiques in Hamilton, St. George’s, the Fairmont Hotels and Royal Naval Dockyard.

Bluck’s on Front Street West remains well-known for its fine china and crystal. Woolens and cashmeres can be bought at the English Sports Shop on Front Street. There are shopping malls, such as the Washington Mall on Reid Street in Hamilton, but they are miniscule compared to those in the U.S.

Until recently, there were no regular open-air markets in Bermuda. But now, every Saturday 8:30 am-12:30 pm, local farmers, growers and craftspeople meet at the Bull’s Head Car Park, off Woodlands Road in Hamilton, to sell their produce and wares. The market offers a good opportunity for visitors to meet the locals.

In St. George’s, Somers Wharf contains branch stores of all the major shops in Hamilton that sell china and woolens. Bridge House Art & Craft Gallery sells local arts and crafts.

Apart from nautical history and dolphins, the Royal Naval Dockyard is all about shopping. The Bermuda Arts Centre is known for its art, quilt and sculpture exhibitions, and Craft Market is filled with individual stalls run by local artisans. Check the Dockyard Glassworks or the Bermuda Clayworks for beautiful gifts. The Clocktower Shopping Mall is a great venue for souvenir shopping.

Shopping Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm.

Bookstores

The Bermuda Bookstore
A Bermudian favorite, this store is well-stocked with both popular and esoteric titles. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, and children are encouraged to linger in the junior section. The latest detective and mystery titles are always there, as well as an excellent selection of Bermuda books. 3 Queen St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3698.

The Book Cellar
St. Georgians and yachting sailors who anchor in the harbor are grateful for this store, the only bookshop east of Hamilton. It has a great selection of books from Bermuda and from the U.K., as well as secondhand books on display in the back room. Tucker House Basement, Water Street, St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-0448.

The Bookmart
Bermuda’s largest bookstore always carries the latest best sellers as well as biographies, romances and titles for teenagers. It also has a classics section with a good selection of 19th-century fiction. Brown & Co. building, Reid Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3838 ext. 412. http://www.phoenixstores.bm.

Galleries

Amos Art Studio
Eric and Diana Amos are well known for their paintings and prints, which are sold at their studio. Eric specializes in painting Bermuda birds, and Diana focuses on watercolor landscapes of Bermudian scenery. Their daughter Stacey also paints whimsical renditions of animals. 2 Penno’s Drive, Hunters Wharf, St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-2354 or 441-236-9056.

G-135
The brainchild of three young Bermudians, this is a gallery, an Internet cafe and a place to lounge around, all in one. Local artisans rent space in the converted, funky building. 135 East Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-533-2663. http://www.g-135.bm.

The Desmond Fountain Gallery
Desmond Fountain spent the last 30 years creating bronze sculptures that can be seen on the grounds of hotels in Bermuda, as well as outside the City Hall. In this studio, interested buyers can check out the human figures and animal bronzes on display or browse through his catalog. They can also view and buy paintings and etchings by a variety of other local artists. 69 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-3518. http://www.desmondfountain.com.

Specialty Stores

Astwood-Dickinson
This shop sells prestigious lines of fine jewelry—including Baccarat, Tissot and Links of London—at prices significantly lower than those in the U.S. It also has a Bermuda collection of pendants and pins featuring gold Bermuda emblems, such as the longtail, hibiscus and the Bermuda onion. 83-85 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-5805.

Pulp and Circumstance
This company has two stores within a minute’s walking distance of each other. The first specializes in high-quality gifts from Europe, including scented candles, candle holders, soaps, bath crystals and unusual tableware. The second shop attracts stationery lovers with its selection of beautiful papers, pens (including fountain pens), notecards and notebooks. Queen Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-9586 or 292-8886. http://www.pulpandcircumstance.com.

Riihiluoma’s Flying Colours
During the summer season, tourists pack this store looking for inexpensive Bermuda gifts. Fun T-shirts with Bermuda logos, paperweights, dolls and all kinds of colorful beachware, including vibrant sarongs, are just a few of the items on display. 5 Queen Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-0890. http://www.FlyingColours.bm.

Sail On Bermuda
This is a perfect store to find an unusual gift. Sunglasses, top-quality yachting jackets and summer dresses are also for sale. Old Cellar Lane, Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-0808.

The Bermuda Perfumery
Here you can watch how perfumes are made from local flowers through a process called enfleurage. Known as the LiLi line, these perfumes can be purchased both at the perfumery and online. Popular fragrances include Bermudiana and Oleander for women and Cedarwood for men. The charming garden surrounding the old building is well worth a visit. Stewart Hall, 5 Queen St., St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 411-293-0627. http://www.bermuda-perfumery.com.

The Gem Cellar
Most jewelry from this shop is custom designed, making each piece unique. Also, handmade gold Bermuda charms for pendants or bracelets make excellent souvenirs of the islands. Old Cellar Lane, Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-3042.

The Irish Linen Shop
As its name suggests, this store specializes in exquisite Irish linens, but it also offers material, tablecloths, mats, napkins and runners from France, as well as hand-embroidered pieces from Madeira. 31 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-4089. http://www.theirishlinenshop.com.

The Island Shop
A treasure trove of Bermuda-inspired gifts, this store offers items ranging from embroidered linens to tableware and handpainted ceramics. Wooden sculptures, candle holders and unusual ornaments can also be purchased. Smaller shops are in the Old Cellar Lane, Front Street, Hamilton and on Somer’s Wharf in St. George’s. 3 Queen St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-5292.

Itinerary
Local Tours

There are several reputable tour operators in Bermuda. Even if you book though a tour company, many of the excursions are conducted by very knowledgeable taxi drivers who have received the “blue-flag” designation for their expertise as guides. (You can also hire these drivers directly.) Local tours are offered to major attractions, such as the Government House, the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo, the Town of St. George or the Royal Naval Dockyard.You can also take tours of the Bermuda National Trust properties and nature reserves (phone 441-236-6483; http://www.bnt.bm); the Bermuda National Gallery at 10:30 am on Thursday (phone 441-295- 9428; http://www.bermudanationalgallery.com); and snorkeling tours with local boating companies.

Day By Day

Because Bermuda is so small and logistics are no problem, the days on the itinerary below can be reshuffled, depending on the traveler’s schedule and mood.Day 1—Arrive Bermuda. Explore the hotel grounds and visit the beach.

Day 2—Take a ferry tour around the harbor and the Great Sound, and then spend a few hours exploring Hamilton. Visit Fort Hamilton for its botanical moat garden or head to a beach.

Day 3—Tour the Harrington Sound area, stopping at the Devil’s Hole and the historic Town of St. George. Swim at Tobacco Bay or Achilles Bay.

Day 4—Tour Somerset and the Royal Naval Dockyard on the western end of Bermuda. Take a ferry back to Hamilton or to St. George’s.

Day 5—Head for one of the south-shore beaches. After swimming and snorkeling, take a cliff walk and watch out for longtail birds, which swoop in and out of the coastline.

Day 6—Spend a half-day shopping in Hamilton and the rest enjoying the water. If you have the energy, try snorkeling, scuba diving, going out on a cruise or deep-sea fishing.

Day 7—Swim at John Smith’s Bay in Smith’s Parish on the south shore. Then explore the Blue Hole Park, situated off the western end of the Causeway—famous for caves and trails through a cherry-tree jungle.

Day 8—Depart Bermuda.

Day Plans

We’ve designed four specific itineraries for Bermuda visitors. PLAN AAround Hamilton

Before heading out, make reservations for dinner. Then pack your swim gear and put on comfortable walking shoes. Start the morning with a stroll along Front Street, where you can browse for gifts. Continue exploring up to Reid Street and then Queen Street, where you can board a clean, comfortable bus (Bus 7) for the south-shore beaches (or hire a taxi for about Bd$34 one-way).

Although there are many beaches with soft, pink sand, the most famous is Horseshoe Bay (a half-hour ride by bus). Once you get off the bus, it’s a 10-minute walk down the lane to the beach (or catch the small minibus to take you there). At the beach, there are changing facilities, a fast-food restaurant and a shop where you can rent beach and snorkeling equipment. Keep in mind that this is Bermuda, which observes more proper decorum than some resort areas—don’t wear swimsuits off the beach.

Take a taxi (there are plenty in the beach parking lot) up to Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, a short distance from Horseshoe Bay. After enjoying the view from the top of the lighthouse, have lunch in the tearoom below.

After a short walk down the hill, you can catch a bus back into Hamilton (bus stops are marked by a pole painted pink at the top). Once in Hamilton, a leisurely walk will lead you back to the waterfront. If it’s Wednesday, spend time on Front Street during Harbour Night, when the street is closed off to traffic, and local arts and crafts are sold amidst music and entertainment.

PLAN B

Nature at Its Best

After making reservations for the evening, take a taxi or Bus 1 or 7 to the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Explore the beauty of these delightful gardens, and then go to Fort Hamilton. Arrange for the taxi to return for you in about an hour. There are spectacular panoramic views, a moat and a pathway winding past dozens of different tree and plant species.

From the fort, take the taxi (or the half-hour walk) to the ferry terminal area. Have lunch in one of the outdoor cafes overlooking the harbor—try the Waterloo House or Harley’s at the Fairmont Hamilton Hotel (both just west of the ferry terminal).

Board the 2 pm ferry for a roundabout trip to the Royal Naval Dockyard and enjoy the natural beauty of the islands scattered along the Great Sound. You can get off the ferry and tour the dockyard before returning to Hamilton for dinner.

PLAN C

St. George’s and East End

Reserve an evening meal at the Carriage House or Cafe Gio before packing your swim gear and donning comfortable walking shoes. Sightsee around historic St. George’s first. You can pick up a map from the visitors center at King’s Square for a detailed walking tour, which begins on Ordnance Island. Then hire a taxi or take Bus 10 or 11 to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo in Flatts Inlet on Harrington Sound (a half-hour ride by bus).

After you’ve admired the brightly colored fish, connect with Bus 3 to the Crystal Caves. Take Bus 1 or 3 from the caves back to St. George’s in time for dinner.

PLAN D

The Dockyard and West End

Make reservations for dinner at Beethovens restaurant or the Frog and Onion before packing your swimwear. Explore the craft market and Maritime Museum at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Then hire a taxi (about Bd$14) or take Bus 7 or 8 to Somerset Village. This quiet little community has a few shops to browse in, and you can stop for lunch at the Somerset Country Squire.

Next, stroll along the Railway Trail from the village to Somerset Bridge. This beautiful walking route leads along the Great Sound (great vistas, especially from Scaur Hill Fort Park) and passes through limestone cuts under a canopy of trees.

Catch a bus back to the Dockyard or take the 2:30 pm ferry from Somerset Bridge. Enjoy a walk along the ramparts or on the pier, and watch for gulls and terns.

Dining
Dining Overview

You’ll find some very fine food on the islands. Bermuda has a variety of cuisines including Continental, American, British, Asian and Indian. Sushi is also popular, and many restaurants offer a variety of diverse menus.Dining often entails some dressing up: A few upscale establishments require men to wear a jacket (or jacket and tie) after 6 pm. It’s a good idea to inquire in advance, though some places will supply you with a jacket in your size when you arrive.

Some restaurants feature Bermudian dishes, such as hopping John (peas and rice), Bermuda fish chowder (traditionally served with black rum and sherry pepper sauce), rockfish (also known as grouper), fish pot (a mix of shellfish), crayfish, amberjack, wahoo, conch fritters, shark on toast, turtle and cassava pie. British pub food (fish-and-chips, steak-and-kidney pie, scones) is also popular. For drinks, try the locally renowned rum swizzle, a syllabub (a cream-and-cider drink) and a dark-and-stormy (a potent mix of rum and ginger beer).

Overall, Bermuda is expensive, and the prices in restaurants generally follow suit. One bargain—and a unique Bermuda experience—is the Bermuda breakfast: fresh codfish, potatoes and bananas. It’s generally eaten in informal cafes.

Expect to pay within these guidelines per person for a meal (drinks, tax or tip not included): $ = less than Bd$15; $$ = Bd$15-$25; $$$ = Bd$26-$50; and $$$$ = more than Bd$50.

Local & Regional

Black Horse Tavern Bar and Restaurant
For the local cuisine experience, this unpretentious restaurant cannot be surpassed. Aromatic fish chowder (the best in Bermuda), shark hash, curried mussel pie, conch fritters and fresh-fish sandwiches are just a few of the Bermudian specialties on the menu. The eatery overlooks Smith’s Island, venue of Bermuda’s first parliament. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed for most of January. $$. Most major credit cards. 101 St. David’s Road, St. David’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-1991.

Cafe Acoreano Ltd.
A cultural oasis for the Portuguese, this basement cafe offers divine Portuguese doughnuts as well as other pastries. Monday-Saturday for breakfast and lunch. $. Most major credit cards. 2 Washington St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-0402.

Carriage House
This is an excellent place for fish or roast beef. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 22 Water St., St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-1270.

Monty’s
Bermuda’s classic codfish breakfast is served there every Sunday. Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday for breakfast and lunch. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 75 Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-5759.

The Spot
A local favorite, unlicensed cafe, especially for a pancake or eggs breakfast. Prices are very reasonable and service friendly and fun in true Bermudian style. Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $. No credit cards. 6 Burnaby St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-6293.

The Temptations
St. George’s answer to The Spot, this lively cafe tempts you with delicious sandwiches, soups, pastries and ice creams. Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast and lunch. $. No credit cards. Duke of York Street, St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-1368.

Cuisines
Asian

House of India
This restaurant certainly lives up to its name by serving aromatic and authentic Indian cuisine. It’s also a fun venue for celebratory lunch and dinner parties. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. Park View Plaza, 57 North St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-6450.

Silk Thai Cuisine
Spicy stir-fry, rice and noodle dishes, and curries are all part of the excellent fare there, and vegetable concoctions make this restaurant ideal for vegetarians. Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner; Saturday and Sunday for dinner only. $$. Most major credit cards. Masters Building, Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-0449.

French

Fresco’s Restaurant and Wine Bar
This restaurant has a special ambience, especially in the outside courtyard area where whistling tree frogs serenade diners. The predominantly French menu features exquisite dessert souffles, a different flavor every day. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Chancery Lane, off Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-5058.

Fusion

Harley’s Bistro
Casual outdoor dining. Italian and Asian cuisines are fused into a delightful treat. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3000, ext. 39.

The Harbourfront
The Harbourfront Restaurant is situated right on the harbor at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). It offers the perfect setting for either a casual lunch or an elegant dining experience. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-4207.

Italian

La Trattoria
One of Bermuda’s less-expensive restaurants, this fairly informal establishment has an Italian focus, with pastas and pizzas the most popular fare. It’s also known for its central location and fast, friendly service, which is particularly important for business lunches. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. $$. Most major credit cards. 23 Washington Lane, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-1877.

Little Venice
This lively eatery serves traditional Italian fare in a casual and very friendly atmosphere. The “early bird” dinner (6-6:45 pm) is great for families. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner only. $$$. Most major credit cards. Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3503.

Portofino
Calamari lovers are in heaven in this truly Italian setting. The pizzas and pastas are also excellent. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner only. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 20 Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-2375.

Mexican

Rosa’s Cantina
If you crave Tex-Mex food, then Rosa’s is for you. Margaritas, sangria and Mexican beers help to wash down spicy quesadillas, empanadas, steaks and burritos. Open daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 121 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-1912.

Middle Eastern

Cafe Cairo
Hummus, rice pilaf, falafel and halva are just a few of the authentic Middle Eastern dishes served there. But this restaurant is popular for its innovative dining venues, which include a back room fashioned into a silk tent complete with low-lying sofas. Turns into a nightclub. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 93 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-5155.

Cafes & Tearooms

Lighthouse Tearoom
Once the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse keeper’s cottage, this quaint tearoom offers British hot buttered crumpets, scones, strawberry jam and cream teas. The view over the ocean, however, is definitely Bermudian. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Closed January-mid February. $-$$. Most major credit cards. Gibbs Hill, St. Anne’s Road, Southampton, Bermuda. Phone 441-238-8679.

Mrs. T’s Victorian Tea Room
The venue is Victorian in style, with its extensive collection of china and Victorian dolls on display. The food includes a delightful variety of cakes and scones that reflects Bermuda’s British heritage. Tuesday-Sunday noon-5 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 126 Somerset Road, Sandys, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-1616.

Coffeehouses

Paradiso Cafe
Overlooking busy Reid Street, this is a great place to people-watch while sipping fresh coffee and munching on a pastry. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. $. 7 Reid St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-3263.

Rock Island Cafe
Bermuda’s artists, poets and actors love the atmosphere there—comfy armchairs and eye-catching artwork add to the ambience. So do the wafting aromas of homemade pastries and freshly brewed coffee. It sometimes serves as the venue for Waterspout Theatre productions. Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. $. Reid Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-5241. http://www.rockisland.bm.

Continental

Ascots Restaurant
Overlooking a lush, semitropical garden, this country-house restaurant offers superbly prepared provincial European cuisine. Open Sunday-Friday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 24 Rosemont Ave., Pembroke, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-9644.

Beethovens
This award-winning eatery at the Royal Naval Dockyard’s Clocktower Mall serves Continental and some Asian cuisine in a casually elegant atmosphere. The quiche is particularly tasty. Daily for breakfast, lunch and tea. April-December, it also serves dinner Thursday-Saturday. $$$. Most major credit cards. Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-5009.

Cafe Gio
This cafe offers a varied menu in a delightful waterfront setting. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed January. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 36 Water St., St. George’s, Bermuda. Phone 441-297-1307.

Fourways Inn
Occupying one of the oldest buildings on the islands (built in 1727), this classically decorated restaurant offers a spectacular dinner experience. Treats on the menu include excellent roast beef, rack of lamb and foie gras. This is one of the best fine-dining establishments in Bermuda. Daily for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. Cobbs Hill and Middle Road, Amen Corner, Paget Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-236-6517. http://www.fourwaysinn.com.

Ocean Club
For dining with fabulous views, try this spot overlooking the private South Shore beach at the Fairmont Southampton Princess. April-November it’s open daily for lunch and dinner. Smart-casual dress code. $$$. Most major credit cards. South Road, Southampton, Bermuda. Phone 441-238-2555.

Tom Moore’s Tavern
Named after the Irish poet who stayed in this elegant 17th-century house, this charming restaurant is known for its Continental cuisine and Bermudian ambience. It overlooks a mangrove lake. Open daily for dinner. Closed January-mid February. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. Walsingham Lane, Hamilton Parish (in Bailey’s Bay), Bermuda. Phone 441-293-8020. http://www.tommoores.com.

Seafood

Lobster Pot
Bermudian lobster—broiled, curried or Thermidor—is superbly cooked. When the local lobster season (April-August) finishes, Maine lobster is used. Although fresh seafood is definitely the focus, you can’t go wrong with the escargots cooked in a unique and secret sauce. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 6 Bermudiana Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-292-6898.

Port O’ Call Restaurant
The menu often depends on the availability of local fish, but it always has something special to offer, whether it is fresh Bermuda yellowfin tuna on a bed of spaghetti or blackened mahimahi served on fried seaweed. During the season (September-March) Bermuda lobster—broiled or Thermidor—is always a draw. Very trendy with a great atmosphere. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 87 Front St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-295-5373.

Steak Houses

Greg’s Steakhouse
This restaurant features inventive takes on tried-and-true traditional steaks and more. The venue features live shows, and there’s a sushi bar on the top floor. Try the coffee-rubbed steak, from a Jamaican recipe. $$$. Most major credit cards. 39 Church St., Hamilton, Bermuda. http://www.gregssteakhouse.com.

Security
Personal Safety

Bermuda has relatively little crime, but sporadic incidents of pickpocketing and petty theft do occur, especially during high tourism season (April-October). Be sure to leave valuables in a hotel safe if one is available. Theft of motor scooters and mopeds can be a problem. If you rent one, lock your cargo bag while riding and be sure to lock the bike when you park it. Exercise caution when driving your moped around the island as numerous accidents are reported yearly.It’s wise to avoid deserted areas, especially after nightfall, and to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Use caution in the area of Hamilton known as “back of town,” which is several streets inland from Front Street. Don’t walk alone there at night. If you must visit there, go with a Bermudian with whom you have established a friendship. In bars and nightclubs do not leave your drinks unattended—isolated cases of drinks being spiked with date-rape drugs have occurred.

Visitors should be aware that it is illegal to use, or have in your possession, any illegal substances. The island has a zero-tolerance policy for the use of illegal drugs.

For further information, contact the Bermuda Police Headquarters (phone 441-295-0011; http://www.bermudapolice.bm) or contact your country’s travel advisory agency.

Health

Bermuda has few health hazards. The food and tap water are generally safe, although most people prefer to drink bottled water. Prescription medicines are readily available. Medical and dental facilities are far superior to what would usually be found in a country this size. In case of emergency, dial 911.For more information, contact your country’s health advisory agency.

Dos & Don’ts

Do respect the first rule of Bermuda: Do not wear beach attire off the beach. Also, don’t wear beach attire when riding a bicycle—it is considered offensive.Don’t waste water by leaving on taps or by leaving them dripping. Water is precious, especially in the summer months.

Do greet people on the street with “Good morning,” “Good afternoon” or “Good evening.” Similarly, do say “please” and “thank you” to assistants, servers and hotel staff. Bermudians appreciate those pleasantries and consider it rude not to say them.

Don’t risk a wreck. Look both ways before crossing streets, especially if you are not used to traffic on the left side of the road.

Do carry prescription drugs in original containers with labels. Because of regulations, you should also carry a copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor giving the reason the medicine was prescribed.

Don’t remove shells from the beach or coral from the reefs.

Do apply sunblock even on cloudy days. It’s very easy to become sunburned in Bermuda.

Hotels
Hotel Overview

Accommodations range from deluxe international beach resorts to cozy guesthouses and inns to tourist apartments. You may find accommodations are expensive, but there’s a good selection of immaculate, well-located properties. Your choice may be determined by other considerations: access to golf courses, tennis courts, restaurants and the beach.”Cottage colonies” are establishments that offer lodging in attractive cottages. A restaurant and bar are always on-site, and all have access to at least one private beach. Housekeeping apartments and guesthouses with cooking facilities may be a cheaper alternative. Because of the economic climate, a number of the smaller hotels have been converted to condos or rented to long-term clients. There are also several luxury mixed facilities that have come onto the market and include hotel rooms, condos and fractional ownership facilities.

Reserve well in advance if you’re planning to visit in June: It’s the height of the honeymoon season. During the off season (November-March), rates on lodging can be as much as 40% lower than those during high season. There’s a 7.5% government tax on hotel accommodations. A service charge may also be added. It’s wise to inquire whether these expenses are included in the rate you’re quoted.

Facts
Geostats

Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.Beginning 1 June 2009, passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 66,536.

Languages: English.

Predominant Religions: Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic).

Time Zone: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October.

Voltage Requirements: 110 volts, 60 cycles AC.

Telephone Codes: 441, country code;

Money
Currency Exchange

U.S. currency is widely accepted in Bermuda and is on par with the Bermuda dollar. Canadian dollars are rarely accepted. You’ll find ATMs in Hamilton on Front Street and near the ferry dock, in St. George’s off King’s Square on Water Street, and in the Royal Naval Dockyard in the Clock Tower (as well as in other locations throughout Bermuda).

Tipping

Tip 10%-15% depending on the quality of service. Many restaurants may add the tip to the bill, even for one or two people. If in doubt, ask.

Weather

Winters and summers are more clearly defined in Bermuda than in the Caribbean. The highs in summer (May-November) usually hover around the 70s-80s F/23-27 C, with 70%-84% humidity. It’s hottest July-September. We find January and February too chilly for the beach, but golf and tennis can still be good. December-March are in the 60s and low 70s F/15-22 C, often accompanied by rain and wind. Take along a sweater for evenings year-round. Expect the weather to flip-flop a lot mid-November to December and late March-April. Hurricanes—although rare—are most likely to occur around September.

What to Wear

Bermuda is fairly formal, despite the presence of the seemingly informal Bermuda shorts, which are an accepted part of business attire. Some good restaurants require a jacket and tie in the evening.

Communication
Telephone

You can make international calling-card calls from phone booths throughout the islands. Calling cards can be purchased at a variety of stores.

Internet Access

Internet access is vital in Bermuda, given that the islands have become a center for international business. Dial-up, DSL and wireless access are all of high quality and readily available from a number of competing Internet providers. Most hotels offer Internet access in guest rooms, but guesthouses and housekeeping apartments typically do not. However, those visitors can access it at the Hamilton Library on Queen Street or at an Internet cafe.

Internet Lane
In addition to Internet access, this company also offers CD-burning service and digital camera rentals. If you’ve forgotten your charger, you can also charge your phone there. Closed Sunday. The Walkway, 22 Reid St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-9972.

Logic Internet Cafe
Serves free coffee to Internet users. Closed Sundays. 10 Burnaby St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-294-8888.

Swiss Connection Internet Cafe
Situated in the Royal Dockyard, this place is extremely popular with cruise visitors. Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda. Phone 441-537-6480.

Twice-told Tales
This secondhand bookstore is also an Internet cafe. It’s a fun place to meet locals who often discuss politics or culture over fresh coffee. Closed Sundays. 34 Parliament St., Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone 441-296-1995.

Mail & Package Services

General Post Office
Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday until noon. Parliament and Church streets, Hamilton, Bermuda.

Transportation
Air

All flights use the Bermuda International Airport (BDA), formerly known as Kindley Field. It’s at the eastern end of the islands, about 2 mi/3 km from St. George’s and 10 mi/16 km east of Hamilton. Phone 441-292-2470. http://www.bermudaairport.com.No firearms are allowed in Bermuda, so they may not be checked in luggage. Because of tightened security, it’s advisable to arrive at the airport two hours before your departure.

Connecting Transportation: Taxis are the only practical transportation from the airport, though there is a public bus stop nearby. Fares are posted in the taxis.

Bus

Bus service is quite good: The buses are clean and punctual, they stop everywhere, and they’re the most affordable way to travel the length of Bermuda. Public buses are painted pink or blue, and stops are marked with pink- or blue-striped poles—pink stripes indicate a route headed toward Hamilton, blue stripes indicate a route going away from the capital. Buses stop near all major tourist attractions. In Hamilton, they leave from the Central Terminal on Washington Street, near City Hall. In St. George’s, buses to Hamilton (with connections to the West End) leave from Duke of York Street.During daylight hours, most buses run every 15 minutes (less frequently on weekends). A trip covering the length of Bermuda—14 zones—costs Bd$4.50. You pay Bd$3 for up to three zones. A token or correct change is required. You can save money by purchasing tokens at any of the Visitor Service Bureaus or at the Central Terminal in Hamilton, where they’re Bd$0.25 less than the cash fare. Visitors can also buy day and multiday passes at those locations, as well as pick up a free leaflet detailing routes, schedules and fares.

Minibuses are available in the eastern (near St. George’s) and western (near the Royal Naval Dockyard) ends of the islands. It costs a maximum of Bd$5 to take a minibus between two points in those areas.

Car

Visitors aren’t allowed to drive cars in Bermuda.

Ferry

Ferry boats are fun and scenic ways to get around. They operate between Hamilton and many other points around Great Sound (which is surrounded by the western half of Bermuda). From the ferry dock in Hamilton (near the tourist office), you can take a boat to the Royal Naval Dockyard and other points at the western end of Bermuda for Bd$4. Boats to the nearby parishes of Paget and Warwick cost Bd$2.50. (You can take a motorbike or bicycle on the ferry.) During the high season, you can take a ferry between the Dockyard and St. George’s Tuesday-Thursday. Bd$8 adults round-trip. Phone 441-295-4506 for ferry information.

Ship

Several cruise lines visit Bermuda. The main port is no longer Hamilton, the long-time port of call. Ships now call at Kings Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard; smaller vessels arrive at St. George’s on the other end of Bermuda.

Taxi

Taxis are available throughout the islands (the best place to catch one is in Hamilton), but they’re expensive. Rates increase 25% after midnight and on Sundays and holidays. Look for the taxis with the blue flags on the windshields: The drivers are registered tour guides. Sightseeing fees are usually about Bd$100 for three hours for up to four people.

Other

Bicycles, mopeds and scooters are available for rent by the hour or day. Bikes (called “push bikes”) go for about Bd$25 a day, one-person mopeds for about Bd$70 a day and double-seaters for about Bd$80. Additional charges, including insurance, often apply. Two- and three-day rentals are less expensive, and rates can drop by 50% after seven days. The largest cycle-rental operator is Wheels Cycle Ltd. in Hamilton. Phone 441-292-2245.You must be at least 16 years old to rent a moped or scooter. Helmets are required. Drivers are advised to be careful—the islands’ roads are narrow and twisting. (Do not try to take in the scenery while you’re driving. Many accidents involving visitors have resulted from just such action.) Bermuda driving is on the left. When entering traffic circles, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout and those about to enter from the right. The speed limit is 20 mph/32 kph. Be sure to lock the bike and your valuables when you make a stop.

Horse-drawn carriages are the most romantic means of transportation. Carriages are usually parked near the ship terminals and cost approximately Bd$45 per half-hour for up to four passengers.

For More Information

Tourist OfficesBermuda: Bermuda Department of Tourism, Global House, 43 Church St., Hamilton HM 12. Phone 441-292-0023; toll-free 800-237-6832 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-237-6832      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://www.bermudatourism.com.

U.S.: Bermuda Department of Tourism, 205 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10017. Phone 212-818-9800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              212-818-9800      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Toll-free 800-223-6106 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-223-6106      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://www.bermudatourism.com.

Embassies of the United Kingdom

Canada: British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7. Phone 613-237-1530 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              613-237-1530      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://ukincanada.fco.gov.uk/en.

U.S.: British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Phone 202-588-6500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-588-6500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. There are also consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en.

Foreign Embassies in Bermuda

Canada: Canadian Consulate, 73 Front St., Hamilton HM140. Phone 441-292-2917.

U.S.: U.S. Consulate General, Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DV03, Hamilton. Phone 441-295-1342.. In the case of after-hours life or death emergencies for American citizens only, contact the duty officer at 441-335-3828. http://hamilton.usconsulate.gov.

Events
Calendar

Bermuda has two extended celebrations during the year, which include several weeks of sporting competitions, arts events and parades. The first is the Bermuda Festival, which falls in January and February. The Bermuda International Marathon occurs during this event. Bermuda Heritage Month is in May. It’s filled with various types of races (boat, bike and foot). Events culminate on Bermuda Day, which is 24 May. The Bermuda Department of Tourism can offer information on specific events related to both the Bermuda Festival and Bermuda Heritage Month. Phone 441-292-0023; toll-free 800-237-6832 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-237-6832      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://www.bermudatourism.com.Boat races are also a big part of Bermuda’s calendar. International Race Week takes place each year in late April and early May and includes a series of high-profile yacht competitions. The famous Newport-Bermuda Yacht Race occurs in June of even-numbered years.

The annual Bermuda Music Festival is held in October and features both local and international talent. Phone 441-292-0023. http://www.bermudamusicfestival.com. The Bermuda Gourmet Getaway is also held in October. Phone toll-free 800-237-6832 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-237-6832      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. http://www.bermudagourmetgetaway.com.

Bee-Line Transportation
Offers various tours throughout the islands. Phone 441-293-0303. http://www.beelinetransportltd.com.

Bermuda Hosts
This company has several different tour packages that can be customized to fit your schedule. Phone 441-293-1334. http://www.bermudahosts.bm.

Meyer Agencies
This company deals directly with the cruise lines and offers taxi, walking, bicycling, garden and water tours. Phone 441-295-4176. http://www.meyer.bm.

Blue Water Divers
Offers scuba and snorkeling trips as well as scuba instruction. Somerset Bridge, Sandys Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-1034. http://www.divebermuda.com.

Dive Bermuda
Offers one- and two-tank dives to various sites around the islands. Bd$120 for a two-tank dive. Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel, 101 South Shore Road, Southampton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-238-2332.

Greg Hartley’s Undersea Adventure
This outfit takes you out about a mile/kilometer from shore to ensure clear water for viewing the fish during a 30-minute helmet dive. Pickup at Watford Bridge. Bd$80 per person. 1 Mangrove Bay Road, Sandys Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-3535. http://www.hartleybermuda.com.

Belmont Hills Golf Club
Opened as a replacement for the former Belmont Country Club, this golf course has panoramic views of the Great Sound. The course includes two lakes plus a water fountain, and its signature hole is the par-3 No. 7. Open to the public. Green fees are Bd$110 and cart Bd$30. 97 Middle Road, Warwick Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-236-6400. http://www.belmonthills.com.

Fairmont Southampton Golf Club
Located on one of the island’s most scenic and prestigious properties, this challenging par-54 course has strategically placed bunkers, water hazards and elevated trees. Greens fees start at Bd$80 for 18 holes, with a Bd$15 cart fee. Club rentals cost Bd$25. 101 South Road, Southampton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-239-6952. http://www.fairmont.com/southampton/Recreation/Golf.

Mid Ocean Club
Considered by many to be Bermuda’s best course, Mid Ocean is laid out like a British links course—next to the water, with lush, rolling hills. Every hole is a killer, but the fifth is infamous for the 600-ft/180-m drive over a lake to the green. (Not many balls make it.) Nonmembers can play with an introduction. The only days for visitors to play are Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Greens fees are Bd$225, or Bd$70 if you’re playing with a member. Cart fee is Bd$25. Mid Ocean Drive, Tucker’s Town, Bermuda. Phone 441-293-0330. http://www.themidoceanclubbermuda.com.

Port Royal
This public course has holes made just as challenging as those of the private courses by the wind sweeping across them. This signature Robert Trent Jones-designed course is reopening in June 2009 after extensive renovation and is hosting the PGA Grand Slam of Golf event in October. Its design elevates players for the tee off: The tee box for the 16th hole is set on a cliff—a challenge for those afraid of heights. Greens fees are Bd$225 per person, which includes a cart and 40-45 balls. Middle Road, Southampton Parish, Bermuda. Phone 441-234-0974. http://www.portroyalgolf.bm.

Tucker’s Point Golf, Tennis and Beach Club
Standing on the former Castle Harbour course, the Tucker’s Point Club boasts a private course with magnificent views of the islands, particularly at the 17th hole. Nonmembers can play with an introduction. Call well in advance for help getting an introduction—the course is very popular. Greens fees are Bd$230 a person, which includes a golf cart. Paynter’s Drive, Tucker’s Town, Bermuda. Phone 441-298-6970. http://tuckerspoint.com.

Church Bay
Known for its calm water, this small, beautiful beach is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Take Bus 7. Southampton Parish (off South Road), Bermuda.

Clearwater Beach
This attractive recreational area is on a former U.S. military base. There are two beaches, lifeguards in season, public conveniences, a picnic area and a hiking trail into Cooper’s Nature Reserve. Take Bus 6 from St. George’s or the local shuttle van. St. David’s, Bermuda.

Elbow Beach
This is one of the largest and most popular (and safe) swimming beaches on the islands. There aren’t any changing facilities, but there is a lunch wagon. Take Bus 2 or 7. Paget Parish (off South Road), Bermuda.

Horseshoe Bay
Probably the most beautiful (and most popular), with its horseshoe shape, pink sand and coves that border turquoise water. Visitors can climb some of the rocks at the cliffs. Changing facilities and refreshments are available on-site. There is a lifeguard on duty during summer. Take Bus 7. Southampton Parish (off South Road), Bermuda.

John Smith’s Bay Beach
With its moderate surf, this beach is a favorite for swimming and snorkeling. There are changing facilities, a lunch wagon and a lifeguard in season. The beach can be reached on Bus 1. Smith’s Parish (near Harrington Sound), Bermuda.

Snorkel Beach
As the name implies, you can swim and snorkel in this beach’s protected waters. Snorkeling equipment may be rented on-site. Sandys Parish (near the Royal Naval Dockyard), Bermuda.

NORTHSTAR Travel Media, LLC. ©2010 All rights reserved.

3 Responses

  1. detailed information about the Bermuda, are there many mysterious things happening every year?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: