Bermuda is a country located 900 kilometers off the coast of North America in the Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda, consisting of 157 islands of different sizes, form a large archipelago, which nowadays is very popular among tourists. Spanish captain Juan de Bermudez discovered the islands in 1609 in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean and in honor of the discoverer was given the name – Bermuda.
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A volcanic underwater ridge runs through the Atlantic Ocean, the western part of which is where Bermuda is located. Despite their volcanic origin, they have a very nice landscape. Under the water on either side of the islands are two mountains that form banks. It is on the bases of these banks that coral reefs are located. The islands have lush vegetation, of which 35% are shrubs. However, contrary to the lush nature, the fauna was originally not distinguished by diversity, most often you can find a mountain lizard.
The warm Gulf Stream passes close to the islands, which causes the predominance of a subtropical climate on the islands. It provides the island with an average annual temperature of +23 degrees. This is favorable conditions for many plants: juniper, hibiscus, and cedar can also be found here. In winter the islands have strong winds, which greatly affects the weather, but despite this the temperature does not fall below +18 degrees.
Only 20 out of 157 Bermuda islands are inhabited, where 68 thousand people live. The first people began to settle on the islands back in 1609. They were mostly Americans. In order to develop the economy began to import blacks, so now among the population and are dominated by blacks and mulattoes. Since there were very few animals, people have brought mammals to the island, and now Bermuda amazes not only the magnificent vegetation, but also the diversity of fauna.
In 1684 Bermuda became the property of England, with the administrative center in the port city of Hamilton.
In the 20th century, the islands began to develop through tourism. This is promoted by beaches with pinkish sand, which attracts tourists. However, despite the development of the economy, the ecosystem of the island is badly affected, which can lead to bad consequences, such as the entry of some species of fish in the red book or their complete extinction.
The main attractions of Bermuda are the beautiful coral reefs, beautiful gardens, coves with pink sand and the clearest water. But besides that there are many interesting buildings and historical monuments.
The “heart” of Bermuda is the capital Hamilton, where most of the commercial and governmental institutions of the country are concentrated. Its main street, Front Street, is home to many old Victorian-style buildings, notable for their overhanging porches, apricot orchards, and limestone fences.
Among the most popular tourist sites in the city are the Cathedral of the Bridge of the Holy Trinity, Fort Hamilton, the Senate Building, the Meeting House, the Cenotaph Monument, Pa La Ville Park, Victoria Park, Mary Jean Mitchell and Bermuda-Rose-Sisaiti Gardens, the Bermuda Historical Museum, the Desmond-Fontaine Gallery and the National Gallery.
A visit to Crystal Cave and the Bermuda Aquarium is also recommended. Other nearby attractions include Blue Hole Park, with its many birds, the Devils Hole Aquarium, and the beautiful botanical gardens.
Equally interesting is the city of St. George, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among its many attractions should not fail to mention the Royal Square, City Hall, “Pillar of Shame”, the State Residence and the Garden of Somers.
Also notable is Ordnance Island, which is connected to St. George by a small bridge. It boasts such interesting sites as the old St. Peters Church, the statue of Sir Somers, the 85-meter high St. David Lighthouse, the Tucker House Museum, the Unfinished Church, the National Trust Museum, and the St. George Historical Museum.
Also worth visiting is Ireland Island, which is interesting for Fort Royal Naval Dockyard, which has an Arts Center, the Bermuda Maritime Museum, a craft market, and many stores. The Clock Tower, historic Clock Tower Alley, Michael Swann Gallery, and Lagoon Park are also recommended attractions on this island.
When it comes to Bermuda’s natural attractions, there are numerous National Parks and Reserves, such as Nonsach Island, home to the Cahu (the endangered Bermuda pigeon).
In addition, underwater protected areas have been established on the islands:
- Sir Hughes Sanctuary;
- Coopers Island;
- Charlie’s Island;
- Gilbert-Neche Reservoir;
- Hungry Bay;
- Castle Island.
Bermuda is one of the most popular and visited resorts in the region, so here you can find establishments with a variety of menus, from European to Caribbean. If we talk about national culinary traditions, they are based on American and English cuisine. The main product of local cooks is all sorts of seafood, which is cooked here just masterfully.
That is why at any restaurant you can try such delicacies as spicy shark meat soup, famous Bermuda lobsters, sea perch soup with black rum, and fried cod with sherry sauce. Sunday breakfast (fried cod with potatoes, bananas, eggs, and avocado), mussel pie, wahoo steak (king mackerel), seafood salads, and fried Cuban yellowtail are also common. As a side dish, the most commonly served are “hoppin john” (a mixture of black peas and rice), grain flour tortillas with rice and peas, fried bananas “tostones,” Bermuda onions, all kinds of vegetables, and rice with sauces.
Also worth trying is the local cassava pie, which, incidentally, saved the first settlers of Bermuda from starvation.
For dessert, there are all kinds of fruit, medley jam, grape jelly, and sweet potato pudding. In addition, it is recommended to try the local honey. It is quite expensive, but its taste you will remember for a long time.
Bermuda’s main drink is Golsing’s Bermuda Black Seal rum and cocktails based on it, such as the swizzle (rum, lemon juice, bitters and sugar). Other alcoholic drinks are also widely available, including a variety of imported beers.
Hotels in Bermuda can satisfy the needs of almost any vacationer. Most are resort hotels with excellent service and comfortable rooms. Meals in many of them are organized in buffet style, but breakfast is not always included in the room rate. Moreover, the most luxurious hotels have fitness centers, spas, golf courses and tennis courts. In addition, many hotels offer scooter rental. Also a nice feature of some establishments are cooking weekends, during which professional chefs teach guests how to cook and lecture about nutrition.
It’s worth saying that the most diverse hotels and inns, both luxury and budget, are concentrated on Main Island. However, on the other islands there are also many options for accommodation. In addition, in Bermuda you can always rent a villa, cottage or apartment.
Entertainment and Recreation
Bermuda is an ideal place for relaxation: the number of types of entertainment on the islands promises a great pastime even for the most demanding. For the more adventurous, Bermuda offers all kinds of water sports: diving, yachting, scuba diving, water skiing and surfing. Golf, cricket and tennis are also very popular in Bermuda, so there are plenty of clubs and schools dedicated to these sports. Also ecotourism is popular on the islands, offering rare bird watching, underground cave explorations and wandering through lush preserves and botanical gardens.
The main vacation spot in Bermuda are the pale pink sand beaches. And there are both public and private beaches. Horseshoe Bay, Jobson’s Cove, Tobacco Bay, West Vale Bay, and Elbow Beach near Hamilton are considered the best public beaches. Almost all beaches have sun loungers, cafes and restrooms.
But Bermuda is known for more than just beaches. Popular local luxury restaurants, nightclubs and beach parties in the style of reggae, which will certainly enjoy a noisy holiday and fun company. Speaking of family vacations, there are also a lot of interesting options for it. Among them are raft racing, horse-drawn carriage rides, swimming with dolphins in the Maritime Museum, visiting the Zoo, Aquarium and Underwater Institute, as well as excursions to the underground crystal caves and numerous nature reserves.
In addition, Bermuda’s entertainment program includes many festivals, holidays and carnivals. Among them, the most famous are:
- Caribbean Music Festival;
- Bermuda Reggae Festival;
- Bermuda Tattoo Festival;
- Spring Student Festival;
- Bermuda International Film Festival;
- Sandcastle Competition;
- Dockyard Illumination Festival and many others.
Bermuda is a duty-free zone, so goods from EU countries are much cheaper than on the continent. Hamilton, Devonshire and St. George have the largest concentration of large malls and a variety of stores. There you can buy fashionable clothes of famous brands, magnificent Scottish cashmere, quality Italian leather goods and many other great products at affordable prices.
Souvenirs are better to buy not in shopping centers, but in small specialty shops, as the choice is greater, and the quality is often better. In such institutions first of all we recommend to pay attention to all kinds of tropical crafts from wood, shells and straw (hats, jewelry, baskets, etc.), as well as local rum. In addition, all kinds of t-shirts, magnets, toys, and utensils with symbols of the islands are sold everywhere.
Payment in all stores is in Bermuda dollars, U.S. dollars and credit cards. Other currencies are not accepted in the stores, but can always be exchanged at local banks.
Usually almost all the stores are open from 09:00 to 17:00, but on Thursdays many of them close quite early (about 15:00).
Bermuda Wade Airport is Bermuda’s only international airport. It is located 16 km from the city of Hamilton and is connected to it by a regular bus service. A passenger ferry service operates between each of the inhabited islands.
Public transport in Bermuda includes buses, cabs, small trains and tourist horse-drawn carriages. Streets in all towns are narrow, so the maximum speed here is 35 km/h. The main way to get around the city is by bus. Buses run from 7:00 to 23:00. Tickets for travel are sold at the drivers and passes are available at major stores. All buses stop at the first request of passengers.
Cabs are not a bad alternative to buses. And many of them can give an introductory tour (cars with a blue flag on the hood). The fare is $4 for boarding and the first mile and $1.4 for subsequent miles.
Car rentals are not allowed in Bermuda. The fact is that traffic congestion on the islands is very high, so there are frequent traffic jams and parking problems. However, you can rent a scooter in any city. It is worth noting that the traffic in Bermuda is left-handed, which is quite unusual for most tourists.
The telecommunications system of Bermuda can be called quite developed and quite modern. Public pay phones with access to international lines are found almost everywhere. They work on plastic cards, which are sold in any supermarket or street kiosk. In addition, telephone cards from companies in Great Britain, the United States and Canada, such as Prepaid Global Calling Cards, are available in Bermuda.
Mobile communications are by the GSM 1900 standard and cover almost the whole of the islands. International roaming is available to all major operators. Local standard phones can be rented at the offices of mobile companies (Wireless Ltd and Bermuda & West Indies Ltd) and specialized kiosks.
Network technology on the islands is quite well developed. Internet access is available round the clock in almost all hotels. In addition, in large cities (Hamilton, St. George, etc.) are many Internet cafes. Prices for these services range from $3 to $5 per hour.
Bermuda is recognized as one of the safest places in the western hemisphere. Crime is virtually absent here, and violent offenses are considered something out of the ordinary. Therefore, for personal safety, it is recommended to simply follow general precautions.
It is necessary to take into account that in most establishments, as well as in all public places smoking is strictly prohibited, and the violation of this prohibition is punishable by a huge fine. A similar penalty awaits those who drink alcohol in public places.
Any special vaccinations are not required to travel to Bermuda. The level of medical care here is very high. Tap water is safe, but it is advisable to drink bottled water during your first days on the Islands.
Sharks and other dangerous marine animals are absent from most beaches. However, from March to July in the open ocean waters around the islands recorded large clusters of “Portuguese ships”, which are extremely poisonous. Therefore, precautions must be taken when diving and swimming in the open ocean.
Bermuda’s main source of income is tourism, and industry is represented mainly by ship repair and boat building businesses, as well as pharmaceuticals and building materials. As a result, about 80% of the food consumed on the islands is imported.
The main economic advantage of the islands is the fact that literally all operations of foreign companies here are completely tax-free. Because of this, Bermuda is an important financial center, where more than 6,000 large and small foreign companies are registered.
In June this year, the Government of Bermuda has made several changes in the property law, thanks to which the purchase of real estate by foreign citizens has become more accessible. Under the new provisions of the law, foreign nationals can buy twice as much property as before. In addition, residents of Bermuda is now allowed to sell their property to foreigners without any licenses or permits, though only in cases where the market value of the property does not exceed 177,000 $.
Of course, these new provisions have caused increased interest in all Bermuda real estate – both residential and commercial. And analysts suggest that prices for local real estate in the near future will jump, as large foreign investors are very interested in investing their capital here.
Tips for the tourist
The people of Bermuda are friendly, polite and democratic. However, it is worth bearing in mind that beachwear and swimwear outside the beaches are not allowed here. Almost all restaurants require evening wear, and many fashionable establishments have a strict dress code. Tips are not accepted in most restaurants and hotels, as they are usually included in the bill.
Russian citizens with a valid visa to Canada, Great Britain or the USA do not need a separate visa to visit Bermuda. In this case at the border you should present the passport with visas of these countries and the return tickets (or tickets to a third country).
Russian citizens who don’t have these visas should apply to the Consular Section of the British Embassy (10, Smolenskaya Embankment, Moscow) or Consulate General (5 Proletarskaya Diktatura St., St. Petersburg).
The maximum period of stay in Bermuda is three months.