WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO BERMUDA
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Other than the Bermuda Triangle, not many people know much about the island (me included before living there)!
How easy is it to get there?
The only direct flight from Europe is from London, and it's usually a 7hours trip.
You need to make sure you apply for a Travel Authorization Form (https://www.gov.bm/applying-bermuda-travel-authorisation), which will cost 40$. It's very easy and quick to complete, but make sure you do it with enough time in advance, as once completed, the government will have to review and approve your application (they aim 48h but is not guaranteed).
2. Shall I buy medical insurance?
Yes! There are many things you will be able to save on, but don't let your health be one of them. The Healthcare is private, so in the unfortunate event that you'll need to go to the hospital you'll have to pay a fortune if you don't have insurance. More important, Bermuda is a small island with only one Emergency Department and limited resources, so give yourself the opportunity to be flown somewhere else if you'll need specialized critical treatments.
3. Bermuda is not in the Caribbean!
Is a very common mistake. Many don't know that Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, however has its own government, and is part of the North American Continent.
Don't worry, you still have dreamy beaches and landscapes as expected. Actually is a very interesting mix: you feel American influence, see the British contribution in the very well looked after details, and the island tones (including the colorful houses) relate very much to the Caribbean islands.
This mix will make you breath 100% original Bermudian vibes, and don't get confused: Bermudians, are Bermudians; you'll learn how important it is when talking to them!
3. Is it true that is expensive?
Yes!! Whatever you consider expensive, double that. The reason behind is that pretty much everything is imported, so even if you're planning to buy your lunch at the supermarket, you'll require a high budget ( just a vague idea: bread 7$, frozen pizza 12$, bottle of juice 12$, bottle of water 2$ - a dinner out in a nice but easy going place consisting of a pizza and alcoholic drink: 74$). Not trying to scare you off, is just good to be aware, and I'll tell you more in another post about some good alternatives.
4. Be aware of Man o' war!!!
Also known as the Portuguese jellyfish, they look beautiful but their sting can cause serious burns. The tentacles can be so long that they are considered the longest animal of the ocean, so once you see them floating next to you, it might be already too late to swim away. After a storm, you'll find plenty of them on the beach -be careful, they can still sting if you touch them!
Useful note on FIRST AID: you'll have to remove the tentacle first, and the best and easy way to do it is to apply shaving cream and scrape it off with a credit card or similar, wash out with vinegar and apply hot packs for 45 minutes! (It's just another good reason to get your health insurance before you travel!)
4. How to move around the island?
I love to rent a car when I am in a new place but, contrary to most countries, you can't do that here. Only residents are allowed to have a car, and maximum one per house hold.
Thankfully you still have other options to don't miss any spot on the island:
scooter is probably the most chosen option (15-17$ per day), but I must say they go a bit crazy on the street; plus narrow roads, steep hills, strong wind and wet grounds in the rain contribute to a dangerous adventure; so drive carefully and only rent one if you feel safe to do so.
Safer but more expensive is the twizy, tiny electric car that fits two people. You need internet in order to use it as is rentable and unlocked/locked through an app , from which you can check the parking and charging points (available all over the island). Price is 15$ per hour for the first 8h, and if kept longer you won't be charged more for the first 24h, which corresponds to a total of 120$ per day.
Buses connect the island from top to bottom, however they don't run overnight and they're not very good at respecting their schedule (one time I ended up waiting nearly three hours!), for this reason locals will often offer you a lift if they see you waiting, and it's completely normal. You recognize the bus stop from a pole on the side of the road: pink= towards Hamilton (capital), blue= opposite direction. You can either purchase tickets at the bus station and visitor information centers, buy tokens in many hotels, or pay cash on the bus (but you'll need the correct amount as you won't get change). A booklet of 15 Zone 3 tickets (cover a shorter distance than Zone 14, but you can use more than one for longer journeys) is the best deal for 25$. Otherwise one ticket on the bus will cost 3.50$, and one equivalent token 2.75$.
Bikes are also available to rent, and ferries connect few points of Bermuda (using the same bus tickets).
It's easy to find a taxi in the main city, but for the little villages or more hidden beaches it's useful to have HITCH, the Bermudian version of Uber, only more expensive.
5. What's the best time of the year to travel?
The Island is hugged by a subtropical climate that makes temperatures pleasant throughout the year. High season is from May to October, with July and August being the warmest months with temperatures above 30°C. There's no rainy season, however there are regular storms in the coldest months, and the Atlantic hurricane season runs from the 1st of June to November 30th ( Bermuda is barely affected by this, and if, there's no usually a strong or dangerous impact).
Now you have some of they key points for Bermuda, go and start planning your trip! :)