One of the most valuable learnings of 2017: Bermuda is the perfect getaway from New York City. From its unique and welcoming culture to its affordability and convenience, I've detailed all the reasons why Bermuda needs to be on your 2018 bucket list.
Although airfare is cheaper during fall and winter, a great thing about Bermuda is that temps are fairly mild all year round. My airfare was about $3oo round-trip flying from JFK on American Airlines in Mid-October, which is a great price for an international flight to warmer weather! I expect airlines charge more during the high season, but luckily it's just as lovely even in the cooler months. Although it rained a bit during our stay, temperatures were around 70 degrees every day. We were still able to snorkle, bronze up at the beaches (both private and public) and go hiking — all in the "off-season"!
While we were able to obtain a comped room due to my dad's medical conference that was happening, the Bermuda Tourism website frequently has lodging sales (right now is one of their biggest, the Pink Sale! This will save you up to 50% on hotels and resorts if you book by January 23rd).
When discussing my travels to Bermuda, a lot of my friends were surprised at how convenient it was to fly there from New York (while many didn't realize that Bermuda was much farther north than the Caribbean islands — it's a very secluded destination out in the middle of the Atlantic!). I was able to take a direct flight to the island, time totaling just over 2 hours.
I will say that once you get to the island, one of the inconveniences is transportation. There are no car-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, and visitors aren't allowed to rent a car on their own. BUT there are some awesome alternatives that I personally think are better and more memorable that get you around just as good.
The first option: rent a scooter! Tourists may not be able to rent cars, but scooters are more fun anyway, right? (They also make for some Instagramable shots, not like that matters to me or anything ;)). Option number two: try out public transportation. You can find bus map brochures all around the island (your hotel/resort should definitely have them!), and it's definitely the cheapest way to get around. We took the bus from Southampton to the Royal Naval Dockyards for a day and it was such a great way to see so much more than you experience at the resort. You'll get a look into everyday life of Bermudians, passing by colorful villages, beautiful subtropic landscapes and will probably have an opportunity to chat with a local (they're so welcoming and approachable, too).
We stayed at the Fairmont Southampton, which is probably one of the more affordable resort options on the island, but it was also one of the most convenient. The resort had its own golf course, which was so beautiful it might has well been doused in glitter, as well as multiple pools, decent souvenir shopping and several restaurants on-property. Horseshoe Bay is one of Bermuda's most famous beaches, and it was right in the Fairmont's backyard. It was so fun to explore this beach's stunning coves while also being able to grab a drink at the beach bar (which was a lot more affordable than the Fairmont's private cabana bar).
Additionally, it's walking distance to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, another stunning Bermuda tourist attraction. Since the Fairmont is more centrally located than other resorts, it's easier to ride the public transportation all around the island like we did to visit the Dockyards. The Fairmont also offers a free ferry that will take you to Hamilton, the island's capital and urban center, during the day and its a beautiful 45-minute ride. You can relax, enjoy riding the waves and sip on one of the alcoholic beverages they offer onboard.
My favorite travel experiences are those where you're able to soak up and learn about the destination and its history, rather than spending your vacation within a tourist trap that provides a cheapened, diluted outlook on the local culture.
Bermuda was great because local experiences were so accessible, be it by public transit or within the nearby shops in Hamilton. The Royal Dockyards were likely the most touristy spot on the island, as that's where the cruise ships dock. Although less localized, the history of the dockyards paired with one of my favorite food experiences on the island made the visit there worth it.
Also, the locals are some of the nicest people I have met while traveling to new places. If you look lost or confused (which we did multiple times), they'll ask if you need help or directions before you have a chance to ask them. It must be that island air that makes Bermudians so kind!
Some Bermudian food and drink you'll need to try include the traditional Rum Swizzle, the Bermuda fish sandwich (fried fish fillets with tarter sauce on raisin bread toast), fish chowder (highly spiced, thick broth with a dash of rum and sherry pepper sauce), Bermuda rum cake, and, of course, be sure to pick up a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal Rum.
If you're wanting some nontraditional dining options while on this island, be sure to try Gibb Hill's Lighthouse (there's a restaurant inside that offers some of the most amazing seafood dishes I've ever had — just be sure to dress up! We showed up as stereotypical Americans in our tourist Bermuda T-shirts and jeans). For a more casual unique dining experience, head to the Frog and Onion Pub at the Dockyards, a pub started by an Englishman and Frenchman.
As Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, you'll find British influences all over the island. It's hard for one to ignore all the British accents while there, as it seems many Brits head to Bermuda on holiday. You'll also notice afternoon tea options at restaurants, a traditionally British tradition, as well as many English pubs, opportunities to play cricket and a massive portrait of Queen Elizabeth at airport customs. Although Bermudians are primarily British in terms of custom, many locals watch American TV and Bermuda English shares many similarities to American English.
4) LANDSCAPES & ARCHITECTURE
I have yet to see anything more beautiful in my lifetime than Bermuda's pink sand beaches paired with its stunning turquoise waters. In sunlight, the water is clear as day so it's easy to spot sea-life and other treasures. If staying at the Fairmont, there's a path on the south side of the resort that winds through lush tropical flora, down a steep hill that takes you along the resort's golf course. I highly recommend experiencing this in the early morning light with a coffee in hand. You'll also likely spot many geckos during your walk!
While in towns and villages, take a moment to admire the charming, colorful buildings and historic architecture. Even when the weather was a tad dreary, it was hard not to be happy when surrounded by bright and interesting architecture!
It sounds cheesy af, but Bermuda really does have something for everyone. Like history? Cool, there's lots of that on the island — especially be sure that the National History Museum is on your list. Err on the side of adventure? Make sure to hike, see the shipwrecks via diving or snorkling and go parasailing. Need some family-friendly options? Head to the Bermuda Aquarium, zoo and go mini-golfing at the dockyards. Just need time to relax? Sit back and rest your eyes at one of the many beautiful beaches the island has to offer, with a Rum Swizzle in hand.
Are you planning a trip to Bermuda? Have questions? Ask me in the comments below! 👇