Bermuda

Overview

Surrounding the secluded, fish hook-shaped Bermuda islands are patches of stunningly beautiful aquamarine water. These are the shallows of the Sargasso Sea, clearly delineating treacherous reefs. Scores of ships have floundered on them over the centuries, making Bermuda the shipwreck capital of the world

Contrary to popular belief, Bermuda is not a single island, nor is it in the Caribbean. Rather, the archipelago of Bermuda (officially, the Bermudas or Somers Islands) consists of 181 islands and islets. Only the seven largest are inhabited, joined by bridges and a causeway, totalling a mere 54 sq. km. There is a narrow twisting road that, in about 75 minutes, takes you from tip to stern of this 34-km-long country.

More than 90 silky, pink-sand beaches rim the 120-km craggy coastline of the archipelago. There are the sweeping strands of Warwick Long Bay, the longest beach at just under a kilometre. And there are private, tiny coves, perfect for two, squeezed into every nook and cranny, lapped by the translucent, emerald waters.

Blue and pink are not the only colours pretty Bermuda has. Green – in the form of world-class championship golf courses – also draws golf enthusiasts to the islands.

Due to its strategic North Atlantic location, Bermuda is also rich with history. The British overseas territory is home to the oldest continually inhabited English town in the New World, St. George's, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, it counts more forts per square kilometre than anywhere on Earth.

Lovers of all things water and sand delight in Bermuda, which is equally suited for lovers, fun-loving singles and families with kids of all ages. Diving, snorkelling and deep-sea-fishing enthusiasts will also have plenty of reasons to get excited here, the site of the earth's most northerly coral reef.

Bermuda is a fantastic destination for:

  • golf
  • snorkelling and diving
  • spa and wellness

Fly from Toronto for 4 luxurious nights in Bermuda. WestJet Vacations shows you the very best accommodations and flights, and the package choice is yours.

Airport served by: BDA

Destination basics

Bermuda has a mild, year-round subtropical climate with average daytime temperatures ranging from 18 C in the winter to 25 C in the summer.

Bermuda is actually located in the North Atlantic, not in the Caribbean. This means high season is April through October, especially in the summer months when the ocean reaches a balmy 29 C.

Visiting during the November through March low season is often fine for golfing, hitting the spa, sightseeing or playing tennis. Although the water is cooler, the beaches are still picturesque. The beaches will be less crowded and you won’t have any problem claiming a bit of space for your very own.

One great reason to visit during the winter is for the diving. Visibility is better, often reaching 60 metres. And the abundance of marine life around the reefs can be spotted more easily.

However, during this time, cold fronts can bring gusty winds and heavy rain. Nighttime temperatures may fall to 13 C, so pack lightweight layers, a warm sweater and a raincoat.

Average annual rainfall is 150 cm, and it falls almost evenly throughout the year. Bermudians welcome the showers, as rainwater is the only source of fresh water, collected from roofs and stored in tanks.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Bermuda

Due to its British heritage, Bermudians speak English with a lilting accent traced to Elizabethan English from the time of Shakespeare

While times have changed, locals tell you they share a polite society, where manners still thrive. It is rude not to greet people with a friendly "Good day." Bermuda is also conservative and religion is very important. Not surprisingly, there are more churches per capita than anywhere in the world here.

Many Bermudians can trace their ancestry through multiple generations. That includes Diana Dill, mother of actor Michael Douglas, whose family's roots date to Bermuda's earliest settlers in the 1630s.

Over more than 400 years, Bermuda's history has crafted a distinct culture. Its people descended from West Indian and West African slaves, English settlers, Irish adventurers, North American Native prisoners and Portuguese immigrants.

Like its southern U.S. and Caribbean neighbours, slavery features predominately in Bermuda's history. If this legacy is of interest to you, hit the self-guided African Diaspora Heritage Trail. It includes a stop in St. George's at the graveyard of the western hemisphere's oldest church, St. Peter's, which has separate sections for slaves and free men.

Today, African and West Indian culture roars to life when energetic gombey dancers hit the streets on Bermuda Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and other holidays. Accompanied by drummers, energetic men and boys perform African dances in groups of 10 to 30, usually from the same family or community.

When the gombey dancers come along, in their brightly coloured masquerade costumes and headgear, you will not be able to keep still. The ever-faster rhythm is infectious and will soon have you jumpin' up with the locals.

Bermuda is more formal than most sun destinations, although not nearly as much as you may expect. In homage to its British roots, flowing black robes and full white wigs appear for government occasions in the world's second-oldest parliament. Traditional English afternoon tea is taken here, and cool pints beckon from the English pubs that are liberally sprinkled throughout the island.

Other libations worth a sip are the national cocktails – the Dark n’ Stormy and the Bermuda Rum Swizzle.

The Bermuda dollar is accepted at par with the U.S. dollar—in fact, they are virtually interchangeable. If you pay with U.S. dollars, you will likely get your change in Bermudian currency. Canadian dollars need to be exchanged at banks. Should you need to withdraw funds, ATMs are readily available. Major credit cards and travellers cheques are also accepted almost everywhere.

Bermuda sits isolated in the North Atlantic, near the western edge of the Sargasso Sea. Its closest Caribbean neighbour, the Bahamas, is more than 1,450 km south.

Although the main island grouping called "Bermuda" may seem like a contiguous landmass, it is a string of seven inhabited islands linked by bridges. The territory counts an impressive 181 islands, islets and rocks.

If you're feeling adventurous, pay a visit to the uninhabited islands by boat. Be careful of the dangerous surrounding coral reefs, or go with a local cruise company. You wouldn't want to meet the same fate as the many ships that never left and became wrecks!

The islands are relatively flat, limestone-topped volcanic rock. Over millions of years, caves have bored through the rock, creating interesting tourist attractions. You'll find that the highest point is only 76 metres above sea level, at Town Hill in Smith's Parish. For the best vantage point from which to see the entire "fish hook" of Bermuda, head to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.

Bermuda actually has one of the highest population densities in the world, with 3,140 people per square mile. Yet it has a surprising number of parks and nature reserves, thanks to the world's first environmental laws set very early on in the country's history in the 1600s.

Curious what makes Bermuda's famous beaches pink? Bits of crushed coral, calcium carbonate and the shells of tiny single-celled animals called foraminifera give the sand that rosy blush.

In order to protect Bermuda from traffic congestion and pollution, there are no rental cars on the island. However, scooters and bicycles are available for rent. If you choose to rent a scooter, have no fear, the speed limit on the island is never higher than 32 km per hour! Scooter rentals use the exact same guidelines as car rentals; you'll need a valid driver's licence and credit card. Bus, taxi, ferry and horse-drawn carriage rides are also available.

Public transportation in Bermuda consists primarily of air-conditioned pink and blue buses and ferries. Both buses and ferries run at frequent intervals to most visitor attractions. The ferry service travels between Hamilton, Paget and Warwick, or from Hamilton to Ireland Island and to St. George's. Both bus and ferry are inexpensive and convenient.

The fleet of taxis here is also a great way to get around. Just keep in mind that in Bermuda, taxis don't have meters – so you'll have to negotiate the price before you travel. Shared transportation can also be arranged in advance from the airport to the hotel as well as to major tourist attractions.

If you're looking for a more unique transportation option, catch the Bermuda Railways Train in Dockyard, Hamilton and St. George's. Or, rent a 19-foot whaler boat and explore the gorgeous Bermudan waters.

As with all international destinations, you will need a Canadian passport for travel to Bermuda. You will also need proof of a return ticket – so keep your WestJet return air ticket or proof of purchase available in your carry-on. To expedite your entrance into the country, fill in the immigration forms given to you while onboard the plane and have them ready for local officials.

Once you've landed at L.F. Wade International Airport, you will pass through immigration and pick up your baggage. If you've booked hotel transfers with WestJet Vacations, just look for a CEO Transport Ltd representative holding a WestJet Vacations sign. They will shuttle you to your hotel so you can begin your vacation in beautiful Bermuda.

Vaccinations

Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria, typhoid and tetanus are commonly recommended.

Bermuda uses the North American standard plug, however some properties have only two-pronged receptacles in the room rather than three-pronged receptacles.

Bermuda has an elegance about it, a graceful charm that is captivating for visitors. You notice right away its pristine scenery. There aren't any garish neon signs, billboards or litter, and graffiti is a rarity. Photography buffs will love the lush greenery with peach hibiscus blossoms, purple bougainvillea and green palms, not to mention the famous pink-sand beaches.

In Bermuda, a British flair is evident everywhere. You can spot bright-red British telephone boxes and pillar-style post boxes of the sort you'd see in London. Cab drivers have a professional polish to them, and they are happy to serve as your tour guide as well.

You'll still get a sense of the tropics here, too. Calypso and soca tunes, the music favoured all over the Caribbean, can be heard all over the island, from the airport to local radio stations.

While Bermuda is often grouped among other Caribbean destinations, it's technically not Caribbean at all, because of its geographic location in the Atlantic. In truth, Bermuda is British and North American-ish, with a touch of Portuguese and a cultural hint of just about everywhere, thanks to the number of foreign residents here.

Simply put, Bermuda is not like anywhere else. It is unique. You will always know exactly where you are. It has the modern amenities you are used to, but with a different feel.

Unlike most sun destinations, tourism is not the economic lifeblood here. In fact, Bermuda is quite affluent, with finance as its largest sector. It's also safe, and residents are friendly and helpful.

You'll also find Bermuda is a honeymooners' paradise (ranked sixth worldwide by Brides magazine), home to the most golf courses per square kilometre in the world, and is a renowned diving destination for exploring shipwrecks.

Pink is a favoured colour here, seen on old-style cottages and tinting the sands of its signature beaches. Even men sport Bermuda shorts in cotton candy pink with matching blazers.

Architectural blandness and cookie-cutter conformity doesn't exist here. Homes and businesses are coloured in pastels like a fistful of Easter jelly beans and feature whitewashed stepped roofs that channel rainwater into underground tanks, the only source of precious fresh water.

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ˆTotal price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions. *Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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