I have not met many people in the UK who have been to Bermuda on holiday or indeed have considered it as a holiday destination. The reasons for this could include its reputation as being a bit pricey but mainly I think because most people planning to travel over the Atlantic for an island holiday are going to head for the Caribbean rather than Bermuda, which lies all by itself a thousand miles further north. Since I announced I was moving to Bermuda, I have had quite a few people say they thought it was in the Caribbean but in fact the nearest coastline / land mass to Bermuda is that of Carolina in the US which is about 600 miles away. Consequently, it is a popular getaway for US citizens, particularly those residing on the east coast.
Getting to Bermuda~~~
There are regular direct flights to Bermuda from New York, Washington, Boston and Miami. Slightly less frequent services operate from Toronto, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Most flights take about two hours, I always had a lot of trouble with connecting flights if you cannot travel from these destination, for instance a trip to Las Vegas tends to take about 16 hours.
There is only one direct flight to Bermuda from anywhere in Europe and it is operated daily (most of the year) from Gatwick by British Airways taking about six hours. This can be an extremely expensive fare as BA have the monopoly on the route, although BA seems to have fairly regular flight sales and tickets can often be found for about £400 during the sale.
Your maximum stay as a holiday maker is three weeks. When you land at Bermuda International airport it is imperative that you either trample over your fellow passengers as you make an inelegant and uncontrolled dash for passport control or be prepared for an extremely long and slow moving queue. Bermudians are convinced that ALL visitors are really there to seek permanent residency on their beloved island and are (very politely) very thorough in establishing your true motivation for being there, to put it mildly.
Immigration process over and as a tourist you will be treated with warmth, hospitality and friendliness by Bermudians who will bend over backwards to assist you in whatever way they can. When I lived there, I learned to pretend I am on holiday at all times as locals can be rather less forgiving towards ex-pats.
When to travel~~~
Bermuda has four seasons at the same time as our own (but hotter!) and there can be rainfall at any time. Hurricanes are quite rare in Bermuda unlike in parts of the Caribbean, however a category one hurricane, known as Florence struck during my first few months on the island.
In the hottest summer months, of June to August, temperatures hover just above 30 degrees centigrade. It also will get very humid, at least 80% which can feel quite uncomfortable. Temperatures will start to drop off after October but in the winter it will still be a pleasant 15 to 20 degrees. The main disadvantages to a winter break in Bermuda is that it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean not the Caribbean Sea and thus the sea cannot be enjoyed all year round, it is best enjoyed from the end of May until September. Additionally, I found that many tourist activities, such as boat rides, do not operate outside the main summer months.
Getting around Bermuda ~~~
As a visitor, you will not be permitted to hire (or borrow) a car in Bermuda but many visitors and even locals get around by moped. These are available to hire for about $150 the first week and slightly less the following weeks. The death rate for moped drivers in Bermuda is ridiculously high for an island of its size with a 30mph maximum speed limit. This is however entirely due to the lunatic riding of Bermudian young men, who think it looks cool to ride lop-sided, one handed, drinking coffee and breaking the speed limit. For some reason the government has not realised this is the issue and blames expat car drivers, who they would happily blame for all the problems in Bermuda. Tourist moped drivers should not have any difficulties on the roads of Bermuda.
Other options are bus, ferry and taxi. There are about four ferry routes that operate between Hamilton and each end of the island and ferries are roughly every half an hour. I did not use them extensively as I found the buses more frequent and useful. There are eleven bus routes in operation, all of which start and end in Hamilton and cover all corners of the group of islands which make up Bermuda. During my first six weeks on the island, before I purchased my car, I relied upon the buses for getting around and I found that they unfailingly run on time, are clean, air conditioned and a thoroughly enjoyable experience as the island is so pretty and the views so good. I would get on Bermuda public transport for pleasure and not because I need to go somewhere. They can get busy near some of the popular beaches at the end of the day.
A one day transport pass for the entire island is $12, a weekly pass is $45, monthly $55 and three monthly $135, it is approximately half price for children except for the one day pass which is the same. Obviously the three month pass is only relevant to residents but I thought I would demonstrate how tourists are subsidizing the locals.
Taxis are generally plentiful from Hamilton and tend to hang around the main hotels as well. If it starts to rain though, they will be snapped up very quickly. Each journey starts with about $3.50 on the clock and a 10km journey will cost about $16. The island is not really big enough to have very long and expensive taxi journeys. A Bermudian dollar is at parity with the US dollar and both notes and coins are accepted everywhere.