Why visit Bermuda?
Wanting to know the top reasons to visit Bermuda? Mark Twain wrote from Bermuda in 1910 during his long last visit - "You go to heaven if you want to, I'd rather stay here".
In 2015, the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine have voted Bermuda in the top 5 islands in the world and that wasn't the first time. The magazine Outside which is the favorite of all outdoor enthusiasts has ranked Bermuda as the 'Best Island' in 2015.
National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 'Best of the World' list includes Bermuda in the 20 must see places for 2016, Lonely Planet has listed Bermuda in 'Best in Travel 2017 Top Countries' as one of the 10 destinations that one should not miss, and the list goes on...
There must be a reason for all this. Bermuda is a paradise in the Atlantic for what it has as well as for what it does not have. Surprised to hear that Bermuda is great even for what it doesn't have? Yes. That's right. So let's first look at the reasons to visit Bermuda for what it DOES NOT have:
What It Lacks
Crime level in Bermuda is relatively low and tourists are practically not affected by any internal disturbances. But don't push it. There can be petty thefts particularly if you have kept valuables unattended in a public place like a beach or an unlocked scooter basket. Also do not invite trouble, for example by planning to stay at a beach at night when it's closed or hanging around in the back of town late at night. No place on the earth can then be safe.
People are so warm, hospitable, and the smiles so genuine. While Bermuda had a history of slavery centuries back, the island has overcome that gracefully. Today the black and white population coexist harmoniously in the island. There are some 60% black and 40% others, but there is no racial tension of any kind.
There is no fast food or franchise chain allowed in Bermuda. Many years back, before the law came into force, there was a KFC that was opened in Queens street at Hamilton city. That's the only one still there. So this is one island which has successfully resisted the invasion from the international franchise chains that are so common elsewhere in the world. That said, there are several nice fast food outlets and eateries in the island that are very popular with locals and tourists.
Billboards and Crowd
Bermuda never looks crowded. There are no billboards or neon signs, and relatively few cars to spoil the wonderful countryside. The houses and shops with their unique architecture fit so naturally into the landscapes.
No Motor Car Rentals
Oops! That sounds like the only drawback in Bermuda. But actually a blessing in disguise. Imagine if half of some 600,000 tourists visiting every year rented cars in this 21 square mile tiny island. How congested the streets would be? Or what would be the pollution level then? With about 65,000 Bermuda's own resident population, this island is virtually pollution free.
So what are the alternatives? Electric mini-car rentals (with seating capacity of two) are available in plenty though and they do not add to the pollution. You can also rent scooters and mopeds. And Bermuda's public transportation system
is very convenient to use and comfortable. Buses are all air-conditioned and so are the ferries. There are also ample taxis in the island.
What It Has
Now let's look at the reasons to visit Bermuda for what the island IS or HAS:
World's some of the most beautiful and pink sandy beaches are in Bermuda. So if you love to swim, or snorkel or tan on the beaches, there is probably no better place in the world than Bermuda. The book 1000 places to see before you die, prominently mentions Bermuda's south shore beaches as one of those destinations.
Bermuda is a paradise for the divers and those who love the underwater world. Bermuda's Atlantic offers breathtaking views of coral reefs, shipwrecks, underwater caves and a variety of coral and marine life. Water activities like snorkeling and swimming are unmatched anywhere in the world. You get to see the best of corals and marine life in the waters of Bermuda.
There are some unparalleled tourist attractions and places to see in Bermuda. Bermuda Aquarium, Dolphin Quest, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Maritime Museum, Crystal Caves, St. Catherine Fort, the list goes on.
Bermuda's somewhat Mediterranean architecture is so colorful, stucco exteriors come in every pastel color you can imagine, enhanced by lush vegetation everywhere. And this island is clean, clean and clean. If you look around, you will find all houses having slanted white limestone roofs with grooves. This allows the rain water to get filtered and flow down to an underground reservoir. Every house has to do it, as there is no fresh water supply in Bermuda.
Weather conditions remain clear and temperate. Bermuda has a remarkably mild climate that seldom sees extremes of either hot or cold. During the winter months (December through March), temperatures average 65-70°F. The hottest part of the year is between May and mid-October, when temperatures range from 75°F to 85°F. The summer months are somewhat drier, although rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.
No where in the world I have seen people so warm, friendly, forthcoming to help you with a smile. The island is small and you will find them everywhere. Bermudians and their culture add a very special dimension to this island. With a mix of British, Caribbean and American culture, you still get a vibe of old colonial as well as modern charm. Check the above link to know all about people of Bermuda, where they came from and their culture.
Getting around the island by bus or ferry is very easy. You get buses almost every 20 minutes. On weekends the wait might be a little longer. There are plenty of taxis as well. If you are comfortable, you can rent a moped or a scooter. This can give you all the freedom you want as you explore the nooks and crannies.
If you're looking for some of the best golf courses in the world, Bermuda is probably unmatched. You will get great championship golf courses, stunning scenery, great climate, and elevated tees with spectacular ocean views.
Options of getting lost
Although the island is small, but you can be on you own treading off the beaten paths where you will seldom find any souls. Tom Moore's jungle
is one such place that offers you secluded forested paths leading to number of caves as well as a water pool. You can do cave or grotto swimming in the jungle environment, explore the flora and fauna including bird life or do some cliff jumping to de-stress yourself. Or just rent a boat and explore
, discover a tiny sandy beach on your own and make a picnic with your dear one on the Atlantic in complete isolation.
And there are...
A Parting Note
I had always thought that our family had been a forerunner when it comes to visiting Bermuda frequently. But I have found out something amazing which has set a daunting target for us. A couple Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Falk from New York have visited the island 150 times since their honeymoon in Bermuda in 1955. They are married for 56 years and completed the 150th visit in the summer of 2012.
So what did they have to say? ..."We love Bermuda. The people are great and it’s so convenient to New York. We love that is so close and we enjoy being in another country. We’ve introduced our children and grandchildren to the island and my granddaughter who is 22 has been here 5 times already."
Update October 2018: Bermuda has been voted as the No. 1 island destination in Caribbean and Atlantic by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (released in The 2018 Readers Choice Awards).
Update March 2015: The leading lifestyle brand 'Outside' which has most of its client base in the U.S, has chosen Bermuda as the 'Best Island' in its annual Best of Travel Awards.
Update October 2013: For the 11th year, Bermuda continues to hold its position as the top Island in the Caribbean and Atlantic as per the Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice. The island received the following aggregate scores from the readers out of possible 100:- Overall rating: 87.1; Scenery: 93.9; Friendliness: 91.2; Ambience: 92.5; Beaches: 89.5; Activities: 84.0 Lodging: 88.3 Restaurants: 80.5. This year record breaking number of readers (close to 80,000) participated in the survey. The island St. John was in second position and St. Kitts in third.
Update October 2012: Bermuda has received the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine's readers choice award by winning the top position for the BEST ISLAND in the whole of Caribbean and Atlantic region. Five hotels of Bermuda including The Reefs, Pink Beach Club, Rosewood Tuckers Point, Cambridge Beaches and Fairmont Southampton have been rated as part of the top 12 hotels in the Atlantic region.
Update October 2011: Bermuda has been voted as the best travel destination in the whole of Atlantic and Caribbean by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.
David Barclay, Ontario, Canada (2012)
This September (2012) will be my wife and my 20th trip to Bermuda, we were here in June of this year and except for 1 time (cruise) have stayed at the Oxford House in Hamilton. The owner Anne Smith has become a friend along with the house keepers Fay and May.
My wife and I enjoy our time on Bermuda which always includes our motor bike rental from Oleanders (even though the helmet and name puts a bulls eye on our backs with the bike riding inhabitants). Every year it seams they come closer and closer as they zoom in and out of traffic. Bermuda is expensive but still remains my favourite destination even though there is now 3 more panhandlers on Front Street than in the 1990's.
Our favourites in no particular order:
Juice and Beans on Front Street (next best thing to Starbucks)
Local Artist Daniel Disilva
Things that are gone and we miss:
The Porch Resturant on Front Street
1 panhandler on Front Street