Ahhh Bermuda! One of my favorite islands in the entire world – as well as one that is very near and dear to my heart!
When I think of Bermuda, I think of many vacations spent there as a child with my family and extended family. I learned how to swim there. My sister learned how to walk there. And we all learned to appreciate what a truly spectacular place it is.
With those pastel colored homes, soft pink sand beaches and equally pink (and blue!) public transportation buses – even the hues of the island speak friendliness and tranquility. And while there are plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation on the island – there are also plenty of opportunities for adventure – making it one destination that absolutely fits that old adage – “there’s something for everyone.”
Now for those of you who fancy themselves “island hoppers” – it is important to note that Bermuda is not one of your typical Caribbean islands – mainly because it’s actually NOT in the Caribbean! That’s right folks – Bermuda is only a bit under 700 miles (or 1120 kilometers) off the coast of North Carolina surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
This, my friends, is important to know for two reasons. One – the flight from New York, DC, Philadelphia or any other major east coast city is a short one (around two hours from JFK!) and two – the weather is not what you would consider tropical year round like say – Jamaica. Which means they have an off season, as it tends to be chillier there from October through May – just like the Carolinas and some other not so southern east coast states. However – rest assured from late spring through early fall you can certainly find hot and humid weather if that’s what you desire.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Glenn Jones, the Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and we discussed the appeal of Bermuda, who it draws, who it should draw, hidden gems and more.
Some of the key observations that came out of this conversation between Glen and I are below and I have grouped them into categories to make it easier for you to zero in on the information you may be searching for. It’s not a comprehensive list by any means – but rather a neat and tidy little summary of our talk.
Transportation: One of the things I love about the island is how accessible it is once you are there. Getting around the 20.5 square miles of Bermuda can be done via many different modes of transportation – from mopeds to Twizzies (mini cars built for two) to those pretty public buses I mentioned at the beginning of this overview. You may also opt for private tours via taxi’s or you can rent a bike and pedal your way around. And…that is a great segway to the next section – Sightseeing and Activities!
Sightseeing and Activities: One really cool thing that they’ve “created” in Bermuda is the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park. What they have done is taken an old railway bed that ran from one end of the island to the other and converted it into a path that walkers, joggers and pedal bikers can enjoy. Bonus – it hugs the coast, so you get to take in fabulous views while you’re participating in a healthy outdoor activity!
Something else you can find in Bermuda not unlike those Caribbean Islands they often incorrectly get grouped with – caves! There is an entire system of caves running under the island and a few opportunities to actually go down into some of them and explore the phenomenal stalagmites and stalactites. And – if you are staying at or just want to visit Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Spa their spa is actually housed in a cave. Pretty cool, huh? And cool is a great advective since the temperature remains at 70 degrees in the caves year-round!
Hidden Gems: Now for those of you that like to go off the beaten path when you travel and find treasures that may not be as in your face as some of the more popular experiences on the island – Glen had two great options. First – a day trip to Coopers Island Nature Reserve – but only if you like the idea of having your own private beach and the possibility of swimming among sea turtles! And second – Tom Moore’s Jungle (Actual Name: The Walsingham Nature Reserve) – which Glen playfully described as “Bermuda’s idea of a jungle.” This twelve-acre reserve features lush hiking trails, caves and a “blue” swimming hole and is probably as “un-touristy” as you can get on the island.
History: Now if you know me you know that I feel very strongly about travel as a classroom and aim to make sure every new destination I send you to results in you learning something new. As for Bermuda – the history of the island itself is the lesson. Here British, African and Portuguese heritages came together on one small island. And rest assured there are plenty of museums – as well as the Royal Yards – that you can visit to learn more about these cultures and their stories including the somewhat unusual history of slavery on the island.
Gastronomy: Now to one of my favorite topics – food! Bermuda has no shortage of dining options for all you foodies out there. Of course – thanks to their location they have an abundance of restaurants serving very fresh seafood. However – if seafood isn’t your thing there are plenty of other cuisines to be found. From well-known names like Marcus’ – as in Chef Marcus Samuelsson – located at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, to beach side restaurants such as Mickey Beach Bistro at the Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort and Spa, to the infamous uber-casual Swizzle Inn Pub where the Rum Swizzle was created. And it is definitely worth it to note here that if you or someone you are travelling with has a restricted diet – i.e. – vegetarian, gluten free, etc…Bermuda is very accommodating.
Type of Traveler: Both Glen and I agreed that the island is really a super destination for all kinds of travelers. Multi-generational being a big one of course – which I base on my experience as a child, couples, girl’s spa trips, guys golf trips – just to name a few. We also uncovered that it is uniquely suited for group trips – especially those work off-sites that are going to be starting back up again soon – as it is a very safe island, a short flight away and as far as COVID-19 – one of the more practical options. Which is another great segway into the next topic….
Updated COVID-19 Information: So, Bermuda has been managing COVID-19 quite well – at one point even having zero reported cases. That being said – they have strict protocols in place to protect their residents – as one would expect. As of this writing travelers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel. Upon arrival they will then be re-tested – and subsequently await the results at their accommodations before being approved to go out and about on the island.
For the CDC’s most up to date information on COVID-19 cases click here. And for the most up to date entry requirements click here.
Of course, as stated above this is not anywhere near a complete list of the information that I can provide you with on Bermuda – it’s simply intended to highlight some of its key features. For more details on things to see and do, where to stay, it’s price points and more – contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!