Bermuda

Destination Location

Bermuda
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  • 32.3642, -64.6786:secondary
Hotel reviews summary
4.5

Our guest rating from 4 reviews

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

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.

Codfish cakes, spiny lobster and fish chowder are some of the local seafood dishes that whet Bermudians palettes; while rum swizzles and the famed dark-and-stormy - a mixture of local Black Seal rum and ginger beer - are the drinks that quench their thirst. While Bermuda does not have a distinctive cuisine of its own, certain local delights await tourists and are definitely worthy of a taste while visiting. Most specialty dishes and drinks are available at local restaurants and can also be found on the menu at hotel dining establishments.

Once a staple food, codfish cakes are still enjoyed throughout the island, especially during traditional Sunday brunches, while Cassava Pie, whose authentic Bermuda recipe dates back to the 1600s, is a Christmas tradition. Bermuda's fish chowder, a spicy soup made with either rockfish or snapper - flavored with local black rum and sherry peppers sauce - is a national dish.

Bermuda has over 100 restaurants scattered across the island for visitors to choose from, with something to please just about every budget and food craving. Reservations are recommended for dinner and Sunday Brunch, especially during high season, and most restaurants automatically add a 15 percent service charge to the bill instead of a tip.

Dining facilities range from small roadside cafes to smart casual eateries to formal posh dining rooms; and most types of cuisine can be found, including Italian, Indian, Chinese, French and Mexican - to name a few; however, Jewish visitors should note that there are no kosher restaurants on the island, nor are there any vegetarian-only dining establishments. In addition, while there are fast food restaurants in Bermuda, there are no popular chains such as McDonald's and Burger King (but you will find only one KFC).

Most hotels throughout the island offer on-property dining. Many small hotels and cottage colonies have one dining room, while resort hotels normally have several restaurants for guests to choose from. Poolside and outdoor dining options as well as lively buffet barbeques are popular at hotels, mainly occurring during high season. Optional meal plans of daily breakfast and dinner can be purchased at most properties. As the expense of eating off-property at various restaurants, which can be costly, purchasing the meal plan can be of good value. In addition, certain hotels that offer meal plans also provide guests with exchange privileges to dine at other hotel restaurants. If money is a concern, guests should consider the optional all-inclusive package at Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, where meals and drinks are included.

St. George's Parish
In the town of St. George, visitors should stop by San Giorgio Ristorante. Located on Water Street, this waterfront Italian serves Mediterranean cuisine and has been called one of the island's best. Guests can choose to dine either indoors or out, overlooking St. George's Harbour. Dress is smart casual and prices are moderate.

Hamilton Parish
The Swizzle Inn at Bailey's Bay is a must for all new visitors to Bermuda. Named in honor of Bermuda's popular Rum Swizzle, the inn features a relaxed atmosphere and an eclectic menu of local pub food that attracts both Bermudians and visitors alike. Dress is casual and prices are inexpensive.

On the more elegant and formal side, Tom Moore's Tavern, on Walsingham Lane, is a former 17th century private residence featuring limestone walls, wooded beams and fireplaces. Guests dine on continental specialties including Bermuda lobster when it's in-season (from September through March). Jacket-and-tie is preferred, and prices are moderate.

Pembroke Parish
Located on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton, Portofino is a popular restaurant featuring Italian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere where locals and visitors alike gather. Dress is casual and prices are inexpensive to moderate. Reservations are recommended.

Paget Parish

The highly acclaimed Fourways Inn restaurant is located in a restored private home that was built in the 1700s. International cuisine and seafood delights are served in a setting of old-world décor and charm. Jacket-and-tie is required and prices are expensive. Reservations are necessary.

Southampton Parish
Situated dockside overlooking the Little Sound, the Waterlot Inn at the Fairmont Southampton Princess (The) was once a 17th century private home. Mediterranean cuisine is served in an intimate atmosphere captivated by candlelight and elegance. Jacket and tie are required and prices are moderate to expensive. Reservations are necessary.

European cuisine is the specialty at Henry VIII, named after the oft-married King of England. Guests dine in one of four rooms, all of which are decorated in rich oak paneling to create an English and pub-like setting. Jackets are required and prices are moderate.

Sunday Brunch
Sunday Brunch is a popular meal in Bermuda, but it tends to be a bit on the expensive side. Although pricey, there's always a huge selection of foods, ranging from hot, cold and spicy to fish, fowl and seafood, to choose from. Restaurants offering Sunday brunch are listed in the Saturday edition of the Royal Gazette newspaper.

Afternoon Tea
Considering its British background, there is no wonder why traditional afternoon tea is an everyday occurrence in Bermuda. Most hotels offer free afternoon tea with scones to their guests, while visitors to the Lighthouse Tearoom at the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse in Southampton can enjoy an English tea for about USD 6.

Located 1050 kilometers (650 miles) off the coast of North Carolina is a 55 square-kilometer (21 square-mile) island dotted with pastel-colored houses, pink sand beaches and narrow winding roads. As a self-governing British colony, Bermuda is comprised of 181 small islands and islets connected by bridges and causeways that resemble a fishhook from the air.

Bermuda is divided into nine parishes or "tribes," as they were called back in the 1600s when the island was first surveyed. The original eight tribes, named after prominent shareholders in the Bermuda Company, included Sandys, Southampton, Warwick, Paget, Pembroke, Devonshire, Smith's and Hamilton, and were divided by narrow lanes. While some tribe roads are remnants of the past, others exist today as shortcuts to major roads and footpaths found during walks around the island. St. George's, considered public land back in those days, is the island's ninth parish.

Each parish is unique. St. George's captures the island's past with structures dating back to the 17th Century - now they are modernized, and pastel-colored buildings make up the government and shopping destinations in the city of Hamilton and Pembroke Parish. Nature reserves and scenic bays can be found in Sandys.

St. George & St. George's Parish
Situated on Bermuda's East End, St. George's houses the island's first capital, the town of St. George. Founded in 1612 when the Sea Venture was shipwrecked off the coast, the Town has experienced little change in the past 400 years and illustrates what life was like in past centuries. A current revitalization project - ensuring not to jeopardize the Town's unique historical character - will restore cobblestone streets, monuments and structures, as well as add a new Heritage Visitor Centre, waterfront promenade and boardwalk. In November 2000, the town of St. George was named a World Heritage Site.

Also found in the Parish is Fort St. Catherine; it is Bermuda's most impressive fortification dating back to 1613. Tucker's Town, in southern St. George's, is home to the most expensive luxury homes in Bermuda as well as the Natural Arches, a unique arrangement of caves and rock that united to form archways, sometimes called the "ninth wonder of the world" by Bermudians. St. George's also houses L.F. Wade International Airport.

Pembroke Parish
Centrally located, Pembroke houses capital city Hamilton, which replaced the Town of St. George as capital in 1815. Known for its shopping, international business and culture, Hamilton is home to the island's governmental system and Parliament.

Front Street, lined with rows of distinctive, pastel-colored buildings, houses the main ferry terminal, department stores, banks, restaurants and is where parades and other local happenings can be found. During high season, from April through October, cruise ships can be seen docked in Hamilton Harbour, along the street.

Outside of the capital to the northeast is Fort Hamilton, which was originally designed to overcome any city attack and is now home to a garden moat lined with flora. Spanish Point is a scenic parkland and residential area that is off-the-beaten tourist path, while Admiralty House Park offers a scenic beach with magnificent ocean views, hiking trails and a park.

Sandys Parish
The westernmost of all Bermuda's parishes, Sandys is the furthest away from the island's airport. While an expensive taxi ride, the parish is served by four ferry stops, as well as the island's buses.

Attractions on the West End tend to be natural such as Mangrove Bay, Ely's Harbor and Springfield and Gilbert Nature Reserve; however, the big draw is the Royal Naval Dockyard, a British naval shipyard abandoned in the 1950s, and Maritime Museum. Somerset Village houses the world's smallest drawbridge - the 81-centimeter (32-inch) plank Somerset Bridge barely provides enough room for a sailboat's mast.

Hamilton Parish

East of St. George's, Hamilton runs from the North Shore to the South Shore and is best explored by moped, bicycle or taxi. The area has deep limestone caves, including Crystal Caves and Cathedral and Prospero's Caves. Hamilton Parish surrounds Harrington Sound and is also home to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, located in Flatt's Village, Holy Trinity Church, the Bermuda Perfumery & Gardens, and several parks and nature reserves.

Smith's Parish
Smith's sits between Hamilton and Devonshire, running from the North Shore to the South Shore and overlooking part of Harrington Sound. The island's three main roads—North Shore Road, Middle Road and South Shore Road - pass through Smith's, each offering scenic views from narrow and winding roads.

Smith's includes Spittal Pond—Bermuda's largest bird sanctuary stretching nearly 25 hectares (60 acres) and the popular beach, John Smith's Bay. In addition, Verdmont Historic Manor House, built in 1716, exemplifies early Georgian architecture and houses a collection of Bermuda cedar furniture and valuable mahogany.

Devonshire Parish
Devonshire runs from the North Shore to the South Shore - set between Smith's to its east, Pembroke to its northwest and Paget to its southwest. At one time, the parish housed the British Army headquarters with the majority of the land used for military purposes. Today, the only remnants of base are a former hospital, now a government ministry headquarters, a graveyard, and the Officers Mess - now the Police Recreational Club.

Nature can be seen throughout the parish at the nine-hectare (22-acre) Arboretum, full of tall trees, open meadows and palms, and the Edmund Gibbons Nature Reserve - a small walking area with local flora, fauna and migratory birds. Palm Grove is an estate with gardens, a tropical bird aviary, moongate and an island map set in a pond.

Paget Parish
To Devonshire's west is Paget, extending from Hamilton Harbour on the North to the South Shore. Best for exploring, the Parish is home to the Bermuda National Trust headquarters at Waterville and other historic houses.

The parish features the 15-hectare (36-acre) Bermuda Botanical Gardens, which exhibits flora that thrives in the island's sub-tropical climate, as well as Camden House, the official residence of Bermuda's Premier. Also of note is Paget Marsh, Bermuda's second largest nature reserve that features palmetto and cedar trees, as well as a mangrove swamp.

Warwick Parish
Set between Southampton and Paget, Warwick spans from the Great Sound to the South Shore. The parish is the most densely populated of all parishes and is famous for its South Shore beaches.

South Shore Park extends from Chaplin's Bay, a scenic public beach, east passing over Stonehole Bay and Jobson's Cove. The stretch ends at Warwick Long Bay, Bermuda's longest length of unparalleled beach.

Southampton Parish
Southampton is the second-most western parish sitting between Sandys and Warwick, overlooking the Great Sound. Due to the long distance, getting to the parish from the airport is an expensive taxi ride.

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and park, just under four hectares (ten acres), is a prominent Bermuda landmark and one of the oldest iron lighthouses in the world. Horseshoe Bay stretches for a quarter of a mile and is shaped like a horseshoe of pink sand beach fringed by limestone cliffs. Another popular public beach in Southampton is Church Bay Beach, which is known for swimming and snorkeling.

Known for its pink sand beaches, pastel-colored houses and turquoise waters, Bermuda is a bit more relaxed when it comes to the entertainment scene. While there is after-dark action on the island, more options are available to those who visit during high season, from April through October. But there are no worries to be had when it comes to finding something to do at night from November through March as the crowds are less and prices are normally lower.

The best way to find out what is going on in terms of entertainment and nightlife is to pick up copies of free publications, such as Preview Bermuda, Bermuda Weekly and This Week in Bermuda, at the island's tourist centers and hotel concierge and social desks. These magazines highlight the schedules of upcoming activities and events that will take place around the island. Local television and radio stations also provide visitors with details of scheduled cultural events and nightlife happenings across the island.

Music
Visitors can find what is known as lounge entertainment in many of the hotels across the island. Lounge entertainment can be anything from classical piano tunes to a musician strumming a guitar to a local band playing the steel drums. Other properties set an island mood in their restaurants as calypso bands play appropriate dining music while guests indulge in fine foods and some also offer the opportunity for dancing.

Pubs across the island have long been a mainstay of the local entertainment scene and are a great place for visitors to mingle with the locals. Devonshire's Clayhouse Inn is where locals and visitors alike gather to watch shows starring limbo dancers, the Bermuda Strollers, and other local bands. Caliban's Bar at Ariel Sands has emerged as a great place for nightly Bermudian entertainment as is Hubie's Bar in Hamilton. Located on Angle Street off of Court Street, Hubie's is the place to be on Friday nights, where anyone and everyone from governmental officials to store clerks to local punks can be spotted enjoying some jazz. One thing to note is that the bar closes at 10 p! Some other pubs and bars of interest include the Hog Penny, The Pickled Onion and The Swizzle Inn in Bailey's Bay.

The City of Hamilton's Front Street also houses two of the island's most popular nightspots. The Oasis nightclub is the place for rock and disco that draws a younger crowd, while Club 40's disco dancing scene allows guests to show off their best moves on the island's largest dance floor.

Performances/Shows/Exhibits
For those who are looking for more than just musical entertainment, there are a variety of options that tourists can turn to. Local festivals, cultural events, art exhibits and theatrical performances and concerts are other ways that visitors to get their fill of the island's entertainment. In addition, most of the island's large resort hotels offer nightly after-dinner shows during the April to October high season. Taking place annually during the months of January and February, the Bermuda Festival draws to the island a host of internationally acclaimed artists who perform classical and jazz concerts as well as theatrical productions. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy local artist performances during this time in the Festival Fringe, which complements the Bermuda Festival. Bermuda's Philharmonic Society puts on several programs throughout the year, including classical music concerts that are performed by the entire Philharmonic as well as by soloists. These programs take place at several places across the island including the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton, King's Square in St. George's and the Royal Naval Dockyard.

The Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society features some of the island's best amateur actors. Plays are scheduled throughout the year at the Society's Daylesford Theatre headquarters in Hamilton. Be sure to order tickets in advance as most of their performances, including the Christmas pantomime, sellout.

As the only destination outside of the United States to enjoy the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Bermuda has hosted the Harvard University group for nearly 30 years. This satirical troupe performs at the island's City Hall Theatre in Hamilton during Bermuda College Weeks in March and April.

Bermuda is also home to some renowned art exhibits. The Hereward T. Watlington Collection, which includes paintings from the 15th to 19th centuries, is housed at the Bermuda National Gallery. Located in City Hall on Church Street in Hamilton, the gallery also offers other exhibits, lectures and theatrical presentations.

Cruises
One of the hottest nightspots is the "Don't Stop the Carnival Party." Running from early May through October, this party starts with a boat ride to Hawkins Island in the Great Sound followed by an evening of entertainment. Guests can look forward to an island barbeque, open bar, live band, limbo contest and dancing under a sky fully lit by stars, as well as lots of fun. Fantasy Cruises operates an evening cruise during high season on a catamaran, where a strolling calypso-playing artist entertains as you sail through calm waters. For some late afternoon enjoyment, the Calypso Cruise makes a stop at Hawkins Island for swimming and snorkeling, and then continues its journey through the islands of the Great South as guests are entertained by the Tropical Beat duo.

Hamilton

Parish:Pembroke

Country: Bermuda

Hamilton by the Numbers
Population: 1,010
Elevation: 34 meters / 110 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 141 centimeters / 55.5 inches
Average January Temperature: 18°C / 65°F
Average July Temperature: 27°C / 80°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 110 volts AC, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT/UTC -4

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 441

Did You Know?
The city is named after Bermuda's first governor, Sir Henry Hamilton, a British Army general who was Lieutenant-Governor of Canada during the American Revolutionary War.

Bermuda is actually in the Atlantic Ocean and not technically part of the Caribbean.

Orientation
Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda and is located in the parish of Pembroke. The city is on the central west coast of Bermuda along the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 1,421 kilometers (884 miles) east of Charleston, South Carolina

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.

Bermuda, an archipelago made up of seven main islands (now connected by bridges) and approximately 170 small islets and rocks, lies about 1050 kilometers (650 miles) east of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras.

Today, the name Bermuda conjures up visions of pristine beaches, manicured golf courses and cool breezes; however, early in its history, sailors dubbed Bermuda the "Island of Devils," based on the belief that the region's frequent shipwrecks were caused by monsters that had attached themselves to the doomed vessels. In actuality, the islands had been formed by a combination of volcanic eruptions and coral build-up, and the dangerous coral reefs surrounding the islands were truly to blame for the many disasters.

The islands' modern history began in 1505, when the Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez sighted it from his ship. He didn't stop, but he did take good notes on the islands and named them "Las Bermudas" on his map. Subsequent attempts to land on Bermuda were thwarted by the coral reefs, but one ship managed to anchor off Bermuda in 1525, making the first detailed mappings of the area. In 1538, the first men landed on the islands on a mission from the King of Spain searching for a riches-laden ship that had been lost for two years.

The shipwrecks continued to prevent settlement of the Bermuda until the early 17th Century, when a shipwreck actually led to the first long-term habitation of the islands. Sir George Somers was leading a group of ships from England to Jamestown, Virginia, when his ship, the Sea Venture, wrecked along the east coast. As the rest of his party headed on to Virginia, he and his crew stayed on for approximately a year to build new ships. The wreck of the Sea Venture, which was widely reported back in England, inspired Shakespeare to write "The Tempest." Somers returned to Bermuda two years later, intending to claim it for the Crown, and died there.

By 1612, 60 English settlers moved permanently to Bermuda, under the charter of the Virginia Company. More settlers, slaves and laborers followed soon after them. Bermuda rapidly became a slave-trading center and remained so until the British abolished slavery in 1834. Rule of Bermuda transferred from the Virginia Company to the Crown in 1684.

During the early years of settlement, three main forts were built on Bermuda. Fort St. Catherine, at the far eastern end of the island near St. George, is the largest. The two other forts, which were built to protect Hamilton Harbour, are Fort Scaur and Fort Hamilton, both dating back to the 1600s. St. George originally served at Bermuda's capital, but in 1815 the capital was moved to Hamilton. Colonists believed that Hamilton's location on the main island and its protected harbor provided more opportunity for growth.

During the American Civil War, Bermuda's proximity to the mainland United States made it an ideal base for Confederate blockade-runners. Later, during Prohibition in the United States, bootleggers and smugglers operated out of Bermuda. After Prohibition ended, Bermuda developed its two current industries: banking and tourism. Banking was a natural extension of Bermuda's history as a trade center. Tourism was a natural extension of the island's legendary beauty.

Over the course of its history, renowned writers, musicians, and artists have come to Bermuda and found inspiration in its landscape. Some of these luminaries include playwrights Noel Coward and Eugene O'Neill, who owned the same home there at different times; poet John Donne; and writer Mark Twain. Artist Winslow Homer was also a frequent visitor.

The island government handles all of its domestic issues except for security, while the Commonwealth is in charge of defense and foreign affairs. The leader of the government is a Governor, who is appointed by the Queen of England. The Bermuda Parliament governs local affairs. The parliament consists of a Lower House (or the House of Assembly) and an Upper House (the Senate). A nationally elected Premier handles the day-to-day working of the government and appoints ministers.

Today Bermuda attracts the everyday visitor as well as the rich and the famous, all of whom enjoy its stunning beauty, clean air and comfortable weather.

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.

As with all international destinations, you will need a Canadian passport for travel to Bermuda.

The Bermuda dollar is accepted at par with the U.S. dollar—in fact, they are virtually interchangeable.

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.

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