Bermuda is the oldest British colony in the world, and its turquoise waters, pink beaches, and pastel-colored mansions of Hamilton make it one of the most popular destinations in the “Caribbean” (it’s actually in the Atlantic but people always confuse it as a Caribbean island!).
Thanks to relaxed tax and banking laws, it’s also home to lots and lots of rich people, thus it’s not one of the cheapest destinations to visit. I’ve tried to visit on a budget but it was one of the hardest countries to do so.
However, you will find paradise here! There’s the pink sand of Horseshoe Bay, the calmbof Astwood Cove and Black Bay, and the the coral reefs filled with sea life combined with more than 300 shipwrecks make for some epic diving trips.
For the adventurous type, the Crystal and Fantasy Caves are two of my favorite places to visit in Bermuda for their dazzling cave formations. If you don’t like tight spaces, walk the 18-mile (29-kilometer) scenic coastal path in the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park instead which cuts through the island (bring sunsecreen).
I loved my time backpacking Bermuda and found a few ways to travel on a moderate budget. However, it was not easy. This Bermuda travel guide will give you all the practical information you need to help you plan your visit!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Bermuda
1. Visit the Crystal and Fantasy Caves
2. Climb the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
3. Explore the Royal Naval Dockyard
4. Relax on the beaches
5. Visit Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
Other Things to See and Do in Bermuda
1. Walk the Bermuda Railway
This is a public walking and cycling trail that stretches from St. George Town in the east end of Bermuda, through Pembroke Parish near the City of Hamilton and on toward Somerset Village in the west end. It’s a long but very easy walk across that hugs the island’s coastline for 18 miles (29 kilometers). Some things to keep an eye out for include secluded beaches, and even an old drawbridge. There’s not a lot of shade on this route, so be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen. Don’t get burnt like me!
2. Visit the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity is an Anglican church in the center of Hamilton. It was built in 1894 and officially consecrated in 1911, and its standout features include ornamental decoration, carvings, and stained-glass windows. You can climb the 157 stairs to the tower for views over Hamilton and the harbor as well!
3. Explore Fort St. Catherine
Located at the northeastern end of St. George’s Island, this 17th-century fort towers over the cliffs between St. Catherine’s Beach and Achilles Bay. Inside are exhibits showing life on the island in the 1600s, as well as tunnels, towers, and ramparts to explore. Admission is 7 BMD ($7 USD) for adults and 3 BMD ($3 USD) for kids.
4. Play golf
As a luxury destination, Bermuda knows how to cater to wealthy tourists looking to tee off on award-winning golf courses. There are more golf courses per capita here than anywhere else in the world! Mid Ocean Club is a must-do for its perfectly manicured greens right along the coast, challenging sand traps, and 18 holes in total. It’s a whopping 275 BMD ($275 USD) to play, though. On the other hand, you can find more relaxed 18-hole courses for as little as 50 BMD ($50 USD). Try the Ocean View Golf Course.
5. Go diving
Bermuda has strict protective laws for its coral reefs, so they remain in great condition. You’re likely to see blue angelfish, parrotfish, and even the snaggle-toothed barracuda (they’re not dangerous, don’t worry). Bermuda is also the shipwreck capital of the world, and you can dive wrecks like The Hermes, a 165-foot World War II tender that remains incredibly intact. Other highlights include a B52 bomber, a Chinese migrant ship, and remnants of Spanish galleons. Expect to pay 150 BMD ($150 USD) for a two-tank dive and 500 BMD ($500 USD) for your open water PADI certification.
6. Tour the Tucker House
This historic 18th-century home was the family residence of Henry Tucker, a wealthy merchant who later became the first government leader of Bermuda. The house contains a vast collection of household items including silverware, porcelain, antique furniture, and family portraits painted by Joseph Blackburn. It’s also part of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail, and you’ll learn about Joseph Rainey, a former slave who later became the first African American member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Entrance is 5 BMD ($5 USD) for adults (2 BMD/$5 USD for children and students).
7. Learn about the Bermuda Triangle
The infamous Bermuda Triangle is a region near the island that is said to have caused the mysterious disappearance of ships, planes, and people. If you want to dig into the mystery, check out the Bermuda Triangle exhibit at the Ocean Discovery Centre (at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute). You’ll also find exhibits dedicated to artifacts like coral-crusted coins pulled from shipwrecks, and an area for simulated dives (including shark cage dives). Admission is 15 BMD ($15 USD).
8. Hike to Fort Scaur
Fort Scaur is another one of Bermuda’s formidable fortresses, but it often goes unnoticed in favor of Fort St. Catherine. It’s not an overly steep climb, and at the top, you can wander around the ramparts and take in the panoramic ocean views over the Great Sound.
Bermuda Travel Costs
Accommodation – There are currently no hostels in Bermuda, and camping is only permitted for residents.
Budget hotels start around 100 BMD ($100 USD) for a basic double room outside of Hamilton’s city center. A bed and breakfast for two in Hamilton can cost upwards of 200 BMD ($200 USD).
Airbnb is the cheapest option here, with prices starting around 65 BMD ($65 USD) for a private room just about anywhere on the island. Full apartments or homes start around 80 BMD ($80 USD) per night, but most are 200 BMD ($200 USD) or higher.
Couchsurfing is technically available; however, there are only 200 or so members in the whole country, so the odds of finding a host are slim.
Food – Bermuda has to import a lot of its ingredients, so eating out is expensive. You can find affordable burgers or pizza for around 10 BMD ($10 USD) from the food trucks near the beaches, but there are no fast-food chains other than KFC. Grabbing take-out food or ordering meals like jerk chicken, wraps, and sandwiches from a deli will cost between 10-12 BMD ($10-12 USD). At the Jamaican Grill, you’ll get a plate of tasty jerk chicken for just 5 BMD ($5 USD).
Most restaurants with a full menu (appetizer, soup/salad, main entree) will cost between 55-60 BMD ($55-60 USD) per meal. A cocktail to go along with it is an additional 10 BMD ($10 USD). Restaurants also typically include a 15% gratuity at the end of your bill. You don’t need to tip if the gratuity is added! My two favorite places were Specialty Inn and North Rock Brewing Co. Additionally, the cafe at Cambridge Resorts is reasonably priced despite being at a resort. Most meals will cost between 10-20 BMD ($10-20 USD) there.
If you can cook your meals, you will spend at least 70 BMD ($70 USD) on groceries per week, including things like veggies, milk, and eggs.
Backpacking Bermuda Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Bermuda, my suggested budget is around 127 BMD ($127 USD) per day. This budget will cover a private room in an Airbnb, cooking most of your meals but also occasionally eating at take-out joints, taking a couple of bus or ferry rides, and seeing one attraction per day. You can reduce this budget slightly if you stick to cheaper attractions, like museums.
A mid-range budget of about 200 BMD ($200 USD) will cover staying in a budget hotel, eating take-out or food truck meals, renting a bicycle or getting a daily transportation pass, and more activities each day.
For a luxury budget of about 600 BZD ($600 USD) or more per day, you will stay in elegant four-star resorts, eat out for all your meals, and enjoy plenty of drinks. You can also do more tours and excursions, like diving trips. This budget is the floor — if you want an even more luxurious experience in Bermuda, the sky’s the limit!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.
Bermuda Travel Guide: Money Saving Tips
I’ve said it many times already, but I’ll say it again: it isn’t cheap to visit Bermuda! Don’t plan to come here if you’re on a super limited budget. However, there are some things you can do to stretch your money when you visit. It’s not easy but there’s a few tricks. Here are some ways to save money in Bermuda:
- Book early – If you want cheap accommodation, you’ll need to book rooms at least a month in advance. Avoid hotels and resorts and instead stay at a bed and breakfast or home rental property. If you are staying with a group, definitely rent a large apartment as it is far less per person than a hotel room.
- Couchsurf – There are only a handful Couchsurfing hosts in Bermuda, many of which have private rooms available. If you want to succeed in reserving one make sure you inquire really early in order to maximize your chances of success.
- Travel off-season – Bermuda’s off-season (winter) is from November to March, and if you come during this time you might find accommodation prices up to 30% off.
- Cut down on the partying – Drinks aren’t cheap in Bermuda, so avoid it if you can. Tobacco Bay has some affordable beach bars there as well.
- Stay central – While Hamilton is not set on one of the famous pink beaches, it’s the center for all the buses and ferries. If you rent an apartment and aren’t careful, you can end up somewhere far from a bus stop (which means more taxis). Staying in or near Hamilton will ensure you’re near all the bus lines so you can avoid spending too much money on transportation.
- Cook your meals – If you skipped the hotel and rented an apartment, chances are you’ll have a kitchen. There’s an ever-growing local and organic foodie scene on the island so you can find a lot of cheap fruits, vegetables, and meats at markets and shops that will help lower your costs dramatically.
- Pack a water bottle – A water bottle with a purifier will come particularly in handy here. Save money and thousands of plastic bottles and get a bottle that can purify the tap water for you. My preferred bottle is LifeStraw ($49.99).
Where To Stay in Bermuda
You won’t find hostels or campsites in Bermuda, but there are some affordable hotels and apartment options. Here are my suggested places to stay in Bermuda:
How to Get Around Bermuda
Buses – Buses run frequently and service most of the island’s attractions, and they’re easy to spot: they’re pink with blue stripes. It costs 3.50 BMD ($3.50 USD) for a one-way fare, and exact change is needed. You can also purchase tickets at the Ferry Terminal or any post office for 2.75 BMD ($2.75 USD) each way. Bermuda’s Department of Transportation website has all the info you need for bus schedules and routes.
Ferries – Ferries are the next most popular way to get around Bermuda, and the fares are the same as for buses. All ferries leave from the Ferry Terminal in Hamilton, with stops near most of the island’s main attractions. You can check schedules on the SeaExpress website.
You can also get transportation passes for up to seven days of unlimited travel on Bermuda’s buses and ferries. These passes cost between 19-62 BMD ($19-62 USD). Purchase them at Visitor Information Centres or the Central Terminal on Washington Street.
Scooters and Electric Carts – There are scooter rental shops all over Bermuda, and one-seaters start from about 55 BMD ($55 USD) per day. If you book multiple days, you’ll likely get a discount (like 95 BMD/$95 USD for two days). Elbow Beach Cycles and Oleander Cycles are two popular rental companies.
Current Vehicles also rents out two-seater electric Twizy cars all over the island that will let you travel up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) on one charge. Rentals cost 99 BMD ($99 USD) per day.
Bicycle Rentals – Bicycle rentals are typically between 25-35 BMD ($25-35 USD) per day. You can find rental shops all over the island, including at Oleander Cycles and Elbow Beach Cycles.
Taxis – Taxis aren’t cheap. They’re all metered at government-set rates, starting from 7.90 BMD ($7.90 USD) for the first mile and then 2.75 BMD ($2.75 USD) for each mile after that. Fares are 25% higher between 12-6am, all day Sundays, and on public holidays.
When to Go to Bermuda
Peak season in Bermuda is from May to October when visitors flock to the island and the prices are at their highest. If your main interest in Bermuda is for water sports, however, the hot weather is definitely most ideal for enjoying the ocean. Temperatures can get as high as 86°F (30°C) during these months.
The winter months from November to the beginning of March are surprisingly cool compared to the rest of the Caribbean, with temperatures hovering around 68°F (20°C) daily. I prefer March or April for visiting, when temperatures are somewhere in between winter and summer, there are fewer crowds at all the attractions, and you’ll get significant discounts on hotels.
How to Stay Safe in Bermuda
Bermuda is a safe place to backpack and travel. It’s a destination for the affluent — laws are strict, and police presence is plentiful (seriously, you could actually get kicked out of the country for camping illegally). However, petty theft is an issue, and you’ll want to keep your valuables safe at all time. Don’t leave anything unattended at the beach!
If you’re worried about getting scammed, you can read about the 14 travel scams to avoid right here.
Always trust your gut instinct. Avoid isolated areas outside the tourist areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t go to Dundonald Street in Hamilton when it’s dark, as petty crime is particularly common in that area. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID.
If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it in Bermuda! Follow that rule, and you’ll be fine.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
Bermuda Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Bermuda
. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Momondo – This is my favorite booking site. I never book a flight without checking here first.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Rome 2 Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Bermuda Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Bermuda Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Narrative, by Mary Prince
This is one of the most brutal books you will ever read about the slave trade. Mary Prince was born in Bermuda in 1788 to a house slave, and then later separated from her family at the age of 12. From there, she was tossed into slavery, abused sexually and physically, and sold several times before she became freed in England in 1828. Her handwritten story is straightforward, detailed, and difficult to read at times, but it’s an important book even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire, by Simon Winchester
In this book, Simon Winchester sets out to travel what’s left of the British Empire, spanning a distance of 100,000 miles back and forth between Antarctica, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the Far East. His adventures (including his time in Bermuda) are often funny and poignant, and you’ll learn a lot about the empire’s imperial outposts that still fly the British flag.
Into the Bermuda Triangle: Pursuing the Truth Behind the World’s Greatest Mystery, by Gian Quasar
Okay, some of this book might be a little sensationalist, but who doesn’t love a good deep-dive into one of the world’s biggest unsolved mysteries? The author examines specific stories — like a pilot who reports a weird haze around his plane before disappearing forever — using official reports from investigative agencies. Freighters vanishing into thin air, pleasure yachts drifting by with nobody on board, and other planes colliding with “strange objects” are just some of the other things explored in this book.
Bermuda Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Bermuda and continue planning your trip: