Arriving By Plane
Planes arrive at the L. F. Wade International Airport
(BDA), Kindley Field Road, St. George (tel. 441/293-2470; http://bermudaairport.com), about 15km (9 miles) east of the City of Hamilton and about 27km (17 miles) east of Somerset at the far western end of Bermuda.
Flights from most east coast gateways––including New York, Boston and Philadelphia—take less than two hours. Flights from Atlanta, Miami and Toronto take around three hours. And from London Gatwick (daily non-stop flights), the trip is just under seven hours. Upon arrival you’ll have to wait in line like everyone else to clear Bermuda customs, but American travelers returning home will have the added benefit of going through U.S. customs here in Bermuda, since the island is one of the few countries in the world offering “preclearance.” This allows passengers to avoid the long lines of U.S. Immigrations and Customs back home.
Airfares fluctuate according to the season but for the most part, you’ll pay the highest prices during peak summer season (July and August) and can often save up to 30% when traveling during the lowest of low season (January and February).
After clearing Customs, you can pick up tourist information at the airport before heading to your hotel. Because you aren't allowed to rent a car in Bermuda, and buses don't allow passengers to board with luggage, you must rely on a taxi or minivan to reach your hotel.
Leaving the Airport by Taxi or Minivan -- There are hundreds of taxis in Bermuda and cabbies typically meet all arriving flights. Hotels do offer transportation, but usually the prices they charge are a good $10 to $15 higher than the metered taxi rate.
Which is not to say taxis on Bermuda are cheap. They’re not. They usually move slowly, meters rise alarmingly fast, and taxi fares will inevitably represent a significant percentage of your day-to-day spending money. Regrettably, this situation can’t be avoided. Nonresidents are forbidden to drive cars and your only other option involves either walking (not practical on many of Bermuda’s narrow roads), renting a bicycle (not recommended for similar reasons), two-wheeled scooters (more on that later) and Bermuda’s latest rental vehicles, electric-powered Twizys, which can seat two passengers, but cannot fit even one piece of luggage.
Unless the taxi has been specifically called to pick you up, the meter should read $4.15 when you first get in a cab. After that, expect to pay $7.90 for the first 1.6km (1 mile) and $2.75 for each additional 1.6km (1 mile) for up to four passengers. The following is a sample of taxi fares, including a tip of 10% to 15%, from the airport: To any point within the City of Hamilton, expect a metered fare of around $40 to $50; to points in and around St. George’s, around $20 to $30; to points near Tucker’s Town, around $35; to such south-shore beach hotels as Elbow Beach, around $50 to $60; and to such far-distant points as the west end, around $70. Fares increase by 25% between midnight and 6am, as well as all day on Sundays and holidays (the rate jumps 50% for five to seven passengers at any time and luggage carries a surcharge of $1 per piece). In almost every case, a meter determines the fare, unless you ask for a sightseeing tour of the island, which can be pre-arranged before you step inside the taxi. Tours are usually a minimum of three hours in length and cost $50 an hour for one to four passengers and $70 an hour for five to seven passengers (you can cover half the island in three hours and the entire island in six hours).
At the airport, cab drivers typically wait at the taxi stand just beyond the main exit. If a taxi is not there, you can call Bermuda Island Taxi (tel. 441/295-4141) or BTA Dispatching (tel. 441/296-2121). Another good option is to download an app called Hitch to your smart phone, which works like Uber but with licensed taxi drivers (www.hitch.bm). Note that taxi drivers who use the Hitch app are the only cabbies who accept credit cards, so make sure you have cash on hand before departing the airport. age.
Arriving by Cruise ShipDepending on your ship, you’ll likely arrive King’s Wharf in the Royal Naval Dockyard where taxis and public transportation await. But a handful dock in the City of Hamilton where hailing a cab or hopping on a bus or ferry is also a breeze. If your ship is docking in the Town of St. George’s, you might consider arranging a taxi in advance since the east end port is considerably sleepier than its Hamilton and Dockyard counterparts. Tip: To save money on sightseeing excursions, consider booking through such companies as CruisingExcursions.com and ShoreTrips.com. Both offer the same types of trips as the cruise lines do (they’re often exactly the same), but for groups that are capped at 12 people (so a van rather than a bus) and often far less money than you’d pay for a cruise line tour (or even a tour by private taxi when you arrive).
Bermuda is the only Atlantic island that restricts car ownership to local residents. Part of the reason for this is the notoriously narrow roads, which have small or nonexistent shoulders and hundreds of blind curves. Add the British custom of driving on the left, and there would be traffic chaos if newcomers were allowed to take to the roads in rented cars. You'll rely on taxis, bikes, motorized bicycles called "putt-putts" or four-wheeled electric vehicles called Twizy's.
Dozens of taxis roam the island, and virtually every hotel, restaurant, and shop is happy to call one for you. For rates, see above.
Taxi Touring Tip -- When a taxi has a blue flag on its hood (locals call the hood the "bonnet"), the driver is qualified to serve as a tour guide. The government checks out and tests these drivers, so you should use them if you plan to tour Bermuda by taxi. "Blue-bonnet" drivers charge no more than regular taxi drivers.
By MotorbikeDependence on cabs and rented two-wheeled motor scooters—locally called bikes—is simply a fact of Bermudian life that newcomers quickly accept as part of the island’s charm. Although not having a car at your disposal is inconvenient, Bermuda’s tourism advertisements make it seem just wonderful: A happy couple zipping around the island on a sunny day, helmets on and smiles wide. What the adverts don’t tell you is that the roads are narrow, driving on the left side of the road can be confusing and Bermudians—who own cars and pay dearly for the privilege—feel that the road is theirs (so just pull off to the side of the road if a car is tailgating or wants to pass). During inclement weather, scooter riders are likely to be edged close—sometimes disturbingly close—to the shoulder; after rainstorms, they’ll almost certainly be splattered with water or mud. Many accidents occur on slippery roads after it’s rained, especially involving those not accustomed to using a motor scooter.
Who should rent a scooter and who should avoid them altogether? Frankly, the answer depends on your experience, physical fitness and time of day. Although scooters can be a lot of fun during a sunny day, they can be wildly dangerous after dark—and of course, after you’ve had a few Dark n’ Stormy’s, which is not at all advisable. Considering the hazards, visitors who are physically fit and confident on two wheels will have a blast renting a scooter. But if you’re at all apprehensive, whether because of your physical ability or current road or light conditions, then consider taking a taxi to avoid a trip to the emergency room.
You must be 16 or older to rent a scooter, helmets are required by law and some vehicles are big enough to accommodate two adults. Among the rental companies listed below, fees tend to be roughly equivalent—so shopping around for a better deal is usually a waste of time. On average, scooters for one rider rent for $55 for the first day, $95 for two days, $135 for three days, $165 for four days, $188 for five days, $207 for six days and $225 for seven days. Scooters for two riders cost about $75 for one day, $127 for two days, $170 for three days, $200 for four days, $227 for five days, $247 for six days, and $267 for seven days. You’ll also have to pay a one-time fee of $30 for insurance, which is valid for the length of the rental.
With several offices across the island, the two main operations that rent scooters are Oleander Cycles (www.oleandercycles.bm; tel. 441/236-5235), with locations at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, Grotto Bay Beach Resort, The Reefs Hotel & Club, the City of Hamilton, the Town of St. George’s and the Royal Naval Dockyard; and Smatt’s Cycle Livery (www.smattscyclelivery.com; tel. 441/295-1180) with rental locations at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club, Fairmont Southampton and Rosewood Bermuda. A third option is Elbow Beach Cycles (www.elbowbeachcycles.com; tel 441/296-2300), which rents scooter from its sole location at Elbow Beach Resort in Paget Parish.
Important: Police are cracking down on vacationers who use cellphones while riding motorcycles and bicycles -- violators are being pulled over by the police and given a fine. Don't do it.
Though you can’t rent a car you can still get around on four wheels. Called a Twizy, this electric-powered vehicle is similar to a golf cart, but instead of riding side-by-side, its two passengers sit front-to-back in a low-to-the-ground cockpit that features a windshield but no windows. Simply hop in, turn the key, release the parking brake and press the accelerator. In no time you’ll be safely zipping around Bermuda in an environmentally-friendly, seatbelt-equipped vehicle with side impact protection and an airbag for the driver. A full charge will last up to 55 miles (plenty of power for a 21-square-mile island) but if you need to “refuel” along the way, there are charging stations at hotels and at popular attractions. Thanks to the clever folks at Current Vehicles (www.currentvehicles.com; tel. 441/296-8949; $129 per day plus mandatory $30 insurance fee)—the company that rents these vehicles from the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club and the Fairmont Southampton—finding these “Oasis Points” is simple, since all you have to do is consult an app that you download to your smart phone, which also works offline.
Since these zippy vehicles are all the rage with locals and tourists alike they tend to book up fast, so make a reservation long in advance of your arrival. No Twizy’s left? Then consider renting a similar electric-powered vehicle called an Anaig Quick from Oleander Cycles (www.oleandercycles.bm; tel. 441/295-0919), which has thirteen in its fleet ($115 per day plus mandatory $40 insurance fee) or a larger hatchback-style electric car called a Tazzari that you can also rent by the day ($150 per day plus $40 mandatory insurance fee).
By Bicycle Pedaling a bicycle—or a push bike as it’s called on the island—up Bermuda’s steep hills can be challenging, but if you’re looking for a more natural means of locomotion than a scooter or if you plan to explore Bermuda’s many trails, you can rent mountain bikes at most cycle liveries (from $40; see above). Serious road riders should head to Cycle Works, in the City of Hamilton, which rents Specialized Roubaix carbon and Focus Cayo aluminum race bikes for $95 per day (www.bicycleworks.bm; tel. 441/297-8356). As with scooters, exercise caution: roads are narrow and sometimes slippery, and remember to stay on the left.
With 11 routes covering the island, most of which run every half hour throughout the day, Bermuda’s bus network services nearly all hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and attractions. Regularly scheduled buses go to most of the destinations that interest visitors in Bermuda but be prepared to wait since they don’t always run on time or on certain days of the week. For example, some buses don’t operate on Sundays or holidays, so be sure you know the schedule before you wait on the roadside.
Bermuda is divided into 14 zones, each about two miles long. The rate is $3.50 within the first three zones and for longer distances the fare is no more than $5 (generally for rides from the City of Hamilton to Dockyard, St. George’s or Hamilton Parish). Just make sure you have a ticket or coins since bills are not accepted and drivers will not make change. For those planning to use the bus often—or the ferry for that matter since the below prices are the same for those traveling by water—consider buying a Transportation Pass available for one day ($19), two days ($31.50), three days ($44), four days ($48.50), seven days ($62) one month ($69) or three months of unlimited use. These passes and individual tickets are sold at the ferry terminal on Front Street, post offices across the island or the Central Bus Terminal on Washington Street in the City of Hamilton, where all routes begin and end (at Church St., tel. 441/292-3851, 7:15am to 7pm Mon.-Fri., 8am to 6:30pm Sat., 8:30am-5:30pm Sun. and holidays).
It’s sometimes confusing to identify where buses actually stop along the roadside since not all bus stops are equipped with covered shelters. When in doubt, look for a blue or pink pole on the side of the road. Blue poles indicate routes heading west and pink poles indicate those heading east.
By FerryOne of the most scenic and efficient ways of getting around the island is the government-operated ferry service. In Bermuda there are two kinds: Two-tiered, air-conditioned fast ferries that zoom from the City of Hamilton to Dockyard across the Great Sound and from Hamilton to St. George’s via the North Shore; and older navy blue-and-white commuter boats, which operate between the hotel-filled parishes of Paget, Warwick and Southampton to the City of Hamilton. The easiest way to tell where a ferry is headed is by its colored route. Ferries to Paget and Warwick are on the Pink Route; Somerset and Dockyard are on the Blue Route (which also takes scooters aboard); Rockaway in Southampton is the Green Route; and on weekdays in summer only, Dockyard and St. George’s are well-served by the Orange Route.
The cost of a single fare varies by route. One-way adult fares to Paget, Warwick and Southampton cost $3.50 while one-way adult fares to Dockyard and St. George’s cost $5. Cash or coins are not accepted so purchase tickets, tokens or transportation passes in advance at the ferry terminal on Front Street in the City of Hamilton. Like buses, you can buy money-saving Transportation Passes ranging from one day to three months. For more info about public ferries contact the Department of Marine and Ports (www.marineandports.bm; tel. 441/295-4506).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.