Is Bermuda safe?
Bermuda in general is quite safe. Otherwise this island would have never been world's one of the top travel destinations in the first place. However like any other place in the world, there are some health and safety risks that do exist in Bermuda too and some of them are unique to this island. And if you are absolutely unprepared, one of such risks can potentially spoil your vacation.
I don't want to sound negative here, but with proper knowledge and precaution, you can avoid all such health and safety hazards. Here are the main areas of health and safety concerns that need attention. A proper knowledge on do's and don'ts can help mitigate such risks considerably.
Risks and safety measures at the beaches
Bermuda beaches are generally safe. However there can be occasional risks and some of them may have high impacts.
Portuguese Man of War, a marine creature that looks like Jellyfish with a big blue bladder floating over the water surface, and can be occasionally seen in Bermuda waters. Sometimes due to strong wind or storm they are blown on to the beaches. A sting from its long tentacles can be extremely painful and sometimes may cause serious problems, and in some rare cases can also be fatal. They might look dead, but often they are not. So do not go near it if you spot one in the water or on the beach.
Rip Currents that flow back towards the sea from the shore, can sometimes be dangerous. If caught in the current, one can be swept away towards the sea.
Several beaches in Bermuda have sharp rocks on the shallow seabed that often remain invisible to swimmers and snorkelers. If you are barefooted and inadvertently step on those, there are chances of getting a bruise or cut. Church Bay Beach, one of the most popular beaches for snorkeling is one such beach. There are several others. In a place like Bermuda where there can be high level of bacteria in the waters, all such cuts should be taken seriously, because it can lead to infection. It is advisable that you wear reef shoes while swimming at the beaches.
Note that many beaches in Bermuda (other than the ones which are popular among tourists) do not have Life Guards, and most that do, have life guards during summer. So if you anticipate that you may need any kind of assistance while swimming or snorkeling, you need to choose a beach carefully.
Theft and Snatching
There have been cases of theft and robbery in Bermuda. While they may not be of great concern, there have been instances where the tourists have been the victims of such cases.
Theft at Bermuda's public beaches do occur at times (although not very common). Your valuables may disappear if you leave them behind unattended, particularly on a crowded beach. Even if the beach is secluded and no one seems to be around, I would suggest not to leave behind your camera or wallet unattended while you go for a swim. Either hand it over to someone you know or carry them in a waterproof plastic bag.
There are few beaches in Bermuda (such as Snorkel Park Beach, Tobacco Bay Beach etc) that have locker facilities that you can rent on an hourly rate. If you carry valuables, I suggest you take a locker to keep them safe. If you plan to take a camera with you, a waterproof camera can also be a good idea which floats on the water. You will often get an ordinary waterproof camera at the cruise ship for some $35 - $45.
Another common theft in Bermuda is from the basket of a scooter or moped which one can rent
. If valuables are kept in the basket, it should not be left unlocked, particularly when parked. Better is to carry all the valuables and not leave anything behind in the scooter basket that is unattended.
Electric mini cars
are also now available in Bermuda for rent. However some of such cars may be of open type (without proper glass windows to safely lock the cabin while you are away). In such cases, do not leave any valuables inside the car while you go out to explore an attraction.
You should also be careful in a crowded public place (including beaches) for any possible snatching. Cases of snatching do occur in Bermuda, although only occasionally. Best is to keep your stuff in a pouch bag which is tied to your waist and hidden under your clothes.
Health Safety Measures
In case of any medical emergency, you can call the Emergency Department of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Phone: 441 239-1359). This is the main hospital in the island and best equipped for all kinds of treatment. They have around 300 beds and also an Out Patient Department. In order to call for ambulance, dial the local number 911. This is a centralized number for ambulance service. If you stay in a hotel, for minor health issues, talk to a hotel's guest service staff to get assistance.
However, before you start your travel to Bermuda, you can go through the website of International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT; Phone (USA): 716/754-4883, Phone (Canada): 416/652-0137; Website: www.iamat.org). For each country including Bermuda, they have an updated list of recommended vaccinations, air pollution and other health recommendations.
Also go through the website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA (Phone: 800/232-4636; Website: www.cdc.gov). They have a series of health guidelines and recommendations for travelers to Bermuda including tips on eating and drinking safely, vaccinations, bug bites, outdoor safety measures and more.
Try to bring adequate prescription medications so that you do not need to buy your routine medicines in Bermuda. The brands you use nay not be available in the island and you should then carry the generic names to get the substitutes. Also while carrying medicines, carry them in original containers and also the prescription itself so that you do not face problems at the security checks.
Expenses for any medical treatment in Bermuda can be exorbitantly high. And when you don't anticipate things to go wrong at all, it does go wrong at times. There is no free treatment provision in Bermuda and any hospitalization is very expensive, far more than in the US or UK. On top of it, if one is staying at a hotel when a health related serious problem forces hospitalization, the hotel is unlikely to show any mercy with its heavy cancellation charges.
In case you need to avail medical facilities in Bermuda, check out Bermuda Medical Services
to know about all the hospitals, specialty clinics and nursing homes in the island and their offerings.
Most roads in Bermuda are considerably narrow and many do not have sidewalks. Although the maximum speed limit anywhere in the island is set to 35 km/hr (or around 22 mph), rash driving by local youth is not uncommon. As a result, cases of road accidents and even road casualties too are not uncommon.
As per 'Bermuda Digest of Statistics 2019' issued by Department of Statistics (Government of Bermuda), in the year 2018 the total reported road accidents were 1,461 and road casualties 759. One of the main causes of these road accidents is drivers' inattention. In a small island of 21 square miles, a total of 49,087 registered vehicles were recorded.
So, what should you do to avoid any road mishap?
Note that all road traffic in Bermuda move along the left side of the road (and not the right side). If you are from a country like the USA and not at all used to driving along the left side of the road, avoid driving a scooter which one can rent. Instead, an electric mini car is a safer option if you don't want to avail public transport.
Avoid walking along busy roads that have no or hardly any sidewalks. Cars can pass frighteningly close to you. Instead take a public transport like a bus or a taxi for getting around. If you plan for a longish walk or hike, a nature trail like Bermuda Railway Trail would be ideal where vehicles and public transports are not allowed.
Serious Crime in Bermuda
Serious crime in Bermuda is low to moderate, and the total cases of offenses have decreased since the year 2000 (as per statistical data published by Bermuda Police Service). So far, virtually none of these criminal offenses (except for few thefts) have affected the tourists or visitors.
Having said that, there have been cases of internal violence including firearm related incidents, assaults on individuals, burglary and other theft of properties etc. It is advisable for the tourists to avoid loitering around a few trouble prone places after dark such as outskirts of Hamilton (i.e. 'back of the town' areas), lonely streets such as sections of South Road, Pitts Bay Road in Hamilton, and also some of the street in St. George.
Bermuda Police has issued safety guidelines specifically for women in Bermuda. If you are a woman planning to visit Bermuda, I suggest that you check these guidelines for your own safety: Safety Advice for women in Bermuda
Hurricanes in Bermuda
Hurricane season in Bermuda is between June to November (although authorities no longer say so as that would scare away tourists from the island). Severe storms or hurricanes in Bermuda are infrequent (once in an interval of 6-7 years on an average). However hurricanes when they strike can create major impacts and damages. In several occasions the island activities had come to complete standstill including closure of all public transports (bus, ferry, taxi service), stores, eateries and other establishments for few days until the storm or the hurricane subsided.
While over the years the island has learned from its mistakes and is nowadays well prepared to face such situations, there is a lot that you need to do on your part too to ensure your personal safety. Read Hurricanes in Bermuda and what it means
to know all about it.
Crossing The Bermuda Triangle
You are surely aware of the controversies surrounding Bermuda Triangle which is a triangular ocean area with its three corners at Miami (Florida), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Bermuda. Actually all cruise ships and flights getting to or out of Bermuda from the US, UK or Caribbean need to pass through this area. So do you need to be scared of any possibility of disappearance of your ship or aircraft as touted by many believers of the triangle, or is it safe?
Well, to let you know a fact... this triangle area is one of the busiest in the world when it comes to commercial cruise and air traffic. Over 750,000 tourists visit Bermuda every year from The US, UK, Caribbean and other parts of the world, enjoying the sun and the sand, and get back home happy and safe. And there are thousands of tourists who return to the island, and many return every year. So there is no cause for you to worry having to travel across the Bermuda Triangle area.
Few Safety Tips
If for some reason you walk or ride into a neighborhood where you feel uncomfortable, leave as quickly as possible. At nights, avoid the narrow lanes or alleyways and instead use the lit up main thoroughfares. Remember, most crimes in Bermuda are opportunistic in nature and you should minimize all chances of becoming a victim to those.
When in a nightclub or a bar, use commonsense while interacting with locals. Do not leave your drink unattended.
If your hotel room has a safe, use that for keeping valuables or important documents like passport. Do not leave valuables in plain view and leave your room. Also, do not keep the doors unlocked at night or when you are away.
Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during midday. It can otherwise easily burn your skin. Ensure that you apply sufficient sun-guard lotion. However do not use sun guard lotion while swimming or snorkeling from the beaches... this is not allowed.
When exploring coastal trails or going into the beaches, try to wear sturdy shoes. This will help prevent twisted ankles and stubbed toes. There are many rocks and boulders on the way.
If one is suffering from Hay fever, there is a good news here. There are no ragweed in Bermuda. And pollens of other weeds are also quickly blown into the ocean. So the air generally remains pollen free all the time. Bermuda is also Zika free.
If you are visiting Bermuda, take a look into the Bermuda eBooks
to make a great vacation plan in Bermuda and know about the best attractions, guided and self-guided tours, water sport and other activities, great dining and shopping options, vacation tips and lot more.
2) Visit Living in Bermuda
to know all about what it takes to relocate and settle in Bermuda.
Viewers' Reviews and Comments
Joann (December 2019)
Is it safe for a 20 and 21 year old to travel alone in Bermuda? They are brother and sister.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) December 2019
There is no safety issue as such other than stray incidents that take place mostly at late nights in bars and nightclubs. Also the outskirts of Hamilton should be avoided after dark. All shops usually close by 5:30pm (except on Harbor Night Wednesdays in Hamilton), and as a precautionary measure, it's better not to stray around on lonely roads at nights. Bermuda is quite safe otherwise in general.
Alison Potter (August 2015)
Hi, your website is great. It is quite hard to find honest information about holiday destinations - especially when travelling with children. We are looking for a destination for our Christmas holiday. We normally go to somewhere like Thailand but last year went to St Lucia. This year we would like to still take a holiday but I will be about 7 months pregnant (we also have a 5 year old). From what I have seen on Bermuda the standards of heathcare/ food hygiene and hotels look high. also the flight time from the UK is only about 7 hours which is appealing to a mum to be! You seem to have a lot of experience of Bermuda I thought I would ask someone who knows what they are talking about. Thank you so much.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) August 2015
Hi, Bermuda is a good travel destination to choose when it comes to food/hygiene/hotels etc. You may however note the following:
1) Hotels like Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess (also managed by Fairmont group) have extensive Lifestyle cuisine menu other their regular menu. This gives you a good choice of food with special dietary requirements. Fairmont Southampton in particular is very flexible and can customize meals to your requirements.
2) You should take adequate foreign travel health insurance that includes maternity. Healthcare cost in Bermuda can be very high.
3) There is only one proper hospital in Bermuda - The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Paget. So stay in a hotel close to Paget (like in Hamilton, Southampton or in Paget itself).
Nadine Smith (February 2015)
My son and I will be travelling to Bermuda via NCL on May 31-June 7, 2015. Although they offer the tour packages and excursions on board Norwegian, some have suggested you can get a better deal outside. This is my first time to Bermuda and wanted to know if it is safe to roam around the city and the beaches ( in the daytime only). Should I carry my passport with me or leave it on the ship? Thanks for any input.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) February 2015
Bermuda is quite safe for the tourists in general. Take a group tour on per person rate from the kiosk of Island Tour Center (they offer a host of boating, sailing and land based tours). You can also take a taxi tour by the hour ... look for a blue flag taxi whose taxi drivers are certified tour guide and can share a lot of history and information along the way. Just tell them where do you want to go. It's safe to take a public transport like a bus or a ferry and roam around the island and the beaches (note that public beaches are open only until sunset). Do not leave any valuables unattended, they can and sometimes do disappear. You do not need to carry your passport if you can leave it safely in your ship.