Bermuda shopping & the best stores
There is no sales tax as you shop in Bermuda. However that doesn't make things any cheaper except for a few items. Why? Because there are import duties on goods and most of the items in Bermuda are imported. Import duty is a way the government raises funds. Duty varies on the type of goods, but is always included in the price. So the key to tax free shopping in Bermuda is to go for the locally made quality items which are otherwise not available elsewhere.
There are lots of Bermuda made articles like cedar items, blown glass, handcrafts, pottery, fashions and paintings by local artists. Sports clothes and sun straws are also good buys. There are excellent books on Bermuda with wide range of titles including travel, history, art & architecture, diving and lot more.
With the military and British colonial legacy of Bermuda, and a natural tendency for most Bermudians not to throw anything away, the island has become a treasure trove of collectibles. Many types of small items can be found that reflect a slice of Bermuda's history. Many of such items have found their way to the island from other countries. Such items include old tins, buttons, bottles, original items of china & brass and lot more. You’ll find many of these items in the small stalls and shops in the alleys of Hamilton City.
The sea has played an important role in Bermuda's history as marine trade and fishing were once the main source of living for the islanders. You can purchase a range of items based on marine theme like displays of propellers, brass plates etc. The marine knots will remind you of the original regatta or ocean yacht races. You can engage yourself for hours searching for that little piece of the past to take back home. You also get excellent imported merchandise in Bermuda like French perfumes, English bone china, Swiss watches, Danish silver and jewelry, cameras, Irish linen, Scottish tweeds, Italian silks, cashmere sweaters, leather goods, liquor and liqueurs and many other great products.
My list of unique and great buys in Bermuda
• Bermuda cedar Items: The island has abundance of cedar trees and hence so many uniquely designed handcrafted cedar items are available like mugs, book ends, carvings, sculptures, picture frames, trays etc.
• Bermuda Gombey Rag Dolls: Gombey is a traditional rhythmic dance of Bermuda where sound and dance are combined to great shows by performers on colorful costumes. You get miniature dolls of such Gombey performers.
• Banana Leaf Dolls: Made of Bermuda banana leafs.
• Bermuda Longtail Jewelry: The beautiful white-tailed tropic birds known as Longtails, are seen on Bermuda's coastline during summer. The birds spend the winter at the sea looking for fish and come back to the island for nesting during the summer. There are many jewelry and charms of gold and silver that are designed on the longtails.
• Bermuda Moongate Jewelry: Moongates in Bermuda are arches that bring good luck to couples who walk through them. This is a very special tradition of Bermuda. You get lovely moongate silver charms and jewelry in the island.
• Hand crafted glass items: Talented local flame artists create exquisite glass items right in front of you in glass blowing studios. Items include vases, plates, glass models of animals & birds found in Bermuda, and lot more.
• Bermuda Perfumes: There are some great fragrances produced locally. Some are inspired by the ocean & sky and capture the essence of the island. Bermuda Blue Perfume and few products of Bermuda Perfumery are our favorites.
• Bermuda Rum Cakes: Local Black Seal rum is used as an ingredient. The cakes are delicious and have unique flavor.
• Gosling's Black Seal Rum: Produced in the island since early 1800s, very popular in the island but quite strong :)
• And of course, Bermuda Shorts ... a popular worldwide name which has originated from this island. But the proper Bermuda shorts are way different from what we know them to be. They are also official wears for men in the island.
Where to go for shopping in Bermuda?
The main shopping stores in Bermuda are in Hamilton City. Hamilton Shopping Map shows the popular stores, their locations and main product offerings. Other popular shopping areas include the Clocktower Mall in Royal Naval Dockyard (at the western end, quite convenient for the cruise ship passengers docking there) and Somers Wharf in St. George's Town (at the eastern end). While departing by air, the airport is a good place to buy duty free items which are less expensive than most stores in the island. Of course the varieties are less, but you get most of the usual stuffs starting from Bermuda rum cakes, food products, accessories to wine & spirits including island's famous Gosling's rum.
Store/Shop Hours in Bermuda
In general, you can shop 9am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday. Except for the stores at Clocktower Mall in Dockyard, shops in Bermuda are usually closed on Sundays and other public holidays. So if you reach Hamilton City after 5pm on a week day or anytime on Sunday, it will look quite deserted. However the Supermarkets remain open for extended hours (usually from 8am to 10pm Monday-Saturday and 1pm - 5pm on Sundays).
Harbor Nights celebration takes place on every Wednesday in Hamilton city (April through September), when most of the shops and restaurants on Front street remain open till late evening. Many stores & shops on such nights are usually open until 9pm and some even beyond. Same is the case in St George on Tuesdays when Market Nights are celebrated. Also, stores stay open late on Fridays during the Christmas shopping season.
A Bermuda Shop
Not sure why I took this picture above. My wife was then busy buying a seahorse crystal which we still proudly hold in a glass cabinet back at home. Perhaps this picture somewhat sums up what shopping in Bermuda is all about.
Shopping categories and the best Bermuda stores
Click a shopping category below to know about the items and find out the best stores in Bermuda selling them.
Art & Craft: Information about art galleries, studios and craft centers in Bermuda exhibiting & selling paintings, drawings, photos, sculptors, models and other artworks from renowned artists.
Bermuda Books: Here I have reviewed a number of outstanding Bermuda books covering diverse subjects. I've also listed the top bookstores in the island.
Bermuda Shorts: Know all about Bermuda shorts - why are they so popular, get a guide to buy the right shorts from the right stores, comments from women & men buyers.
Clothing Stores: A review of the clothing or apparel shopping options in Bermuda and the top stores in the island.
Bermuda Local Food & Drinks: If you are looking for the best of Bermuda food products, wine or spirits, or even Cuban cigars, check out these great offerings and places you get them.
Glassware and Ceramics: Here you will know about some great Bermuda shops on glassware & ceramics, like the Dockyard Glassworks, Bermuda Clay Works Pottery, Island Shop, Bluck's, Bermuda Glass Bowling Studio and such.
Gifts and Souvenirs: Finding the little gifts & souvenir in Bermuda can be quite puzzling. You may keep searching for hours to get what you want. Know about our favorite stores.
Jewelry and Accessories: In Bermuda, you can find artists selling their handmade jewelry or accessories which often have island themes and are just lovely.
Perfume and Cosmetics: Some great shops on Bermuda perfumes and cosmetics include Bermuda Perfumery, Gibbon's Perfume Shop, A.S Coopers & Sons, Dockyard shops etc.
Kids Stores: Here are the best kids stores in Bermuda selling all sorts of children's items like clothing, art & craft, games, DVDs and lot more.
Thrift Stores: There are several thrift stores in Bermuda where you can get a lot of value buys. These stores are generally attached to charities and provide various kinds of value items in low price. So if you are looking for small local items that are cheap and at the same time serving as excellent gift or souvenir or even as great household items, then explore some of the thrift stores in Bermuda. Most of the items come through donations and can be used ones.
Tattoo Parlors: How about finding a clean reputable tattoo parlor in the island and getting a tattoo done on yourself to serve as a nice memory of your time in Bermuda?
People's Market: This is an open area market where vendors sell all kinds of items in an affordable price and in an atmosphere which is family friendly and inviting. It's a great place to pick up traditional Bermudian items like art & craft, food items, clothes, books including used ones, jewelry items, bags & shoes and lot more. The market is held on every Saturday and more like a community event where you can meet many locals. There is also free live music, dance shows and loads of games for children. The weekly theme changes. There is no entry fee. It is held at Cedar Bridge Academy School campus in Devonshire parish.
Map of Bermuda Shops & Stores
Shopping Map: A map showing the main shops and stores in Hamilton City, Bermuda.
Bermuda Duty Free shopping & allowances
Check out Bermuda Duty Free to find out where can you get duty free items in Bermuda and how much of duty free shopping allowance is given.
Complete Bermuda Vacation & Travel Guides on eBooks!
1) Visit Bermuda Activities to know about all the popular activities in the island.
Shopping in Bermuda Reviewed by Raj Bhattacharya Rating: 4.5
By Raj Bhattacharya
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