Bermuda is the oldest British colony in the world, and its turquoise waters, pink beaches, and pastel-colored mansions make it one of the most popular destinations in the “Caribbean” (it’s technically in the Atlantic but everyone always assumes it’s a Caribbean island).
Thanks to questionable tax and banking laws, Bermuda is home to lots of rich people. Consequently, it’s not one of the cheapest destinations to visit. I’ve tried to visit on a budget but it certainly wasn’t easy!
However, while it may be pricey, the island is a paradise! There’s the pink sand of Horseshoe Bay, the calm of Astwood Cove and Black Bay, and coral reefs filled with sea life and more than 300 shipwrecks (which make for some epic diving trips).
I loved my time backpacking Bermuda. While it wasn’t cheap, it was a gorgeous destination perfect for some rest and relaxation.
This Bermuda travel guide can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time on this island utopia!
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. Play golf
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 Hamilton and on toward Somerset Village in the west. It’s a long but very easy walk 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, a hat, and sunscreen. Don’t get sunburnt like me!
2. See 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. 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. Admission to the cathedral is free, but if you want to climb the tower it’s 3 BMD.
3. Explore Fort St. Catherine
Located at the northeastern end of St. George’s Island, this 17th-century UNESCO Heritage Site 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 you can explore. Admission is 7 BMD.
4. Visit Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
Spanning 60 acres, this is Bermuda’s largest nature reserve. Between November to May, it’s home to at least 25 species of waterfowl (including egrets and herons) spread out over salt marsh and woodland. You can take a guided tour or just wander the easy walking trails on your own. Admission is free.
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 ship that remains incredibly intact. Other highlights include a B52 bomber, a Chinese migrant ship, and remnants of Spanish galleons. Expect to pay 150 BMD for a two-tank dive and 500 BMD 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.
7. Learn about the Bermuda Triangle
The infamous Bermuda Triangle (also known as the Devil’s 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.
8. Hike to Fort Scaur
Built in the 19th century, 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. Admission is free.
Bermuda Travel Costs
Accommodation – Since Bermuda is not a budget destination, there are currently no hostels here. Camping is only permitted for residents.
Budget hotels start around 100 BMD 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.
Airbnb is also an option, with prices ranging from 70-135 BMD for a private room just about anywhere on the island. Entire apartments/homes go for between 150-250 BMD per night.
Food – The cuisine in Bermuda is a mix of seafood with more traditional British fare (it’s a British territory after all). Cod, wahoo, and rockfish are some of the most common fish caught here, often eaten with potatoes or hard-boiled eggs. Local favorites include fish chowder (the national dish), peas and rice, and papaya casserole. Fresh fruit is readily available, including strawberries, watermelon, cassava, and papaya.
Because Bermuda has to import a lot of its ingredients, eating out here is expensive. You can find affordable burgers or pizza for around 10 BMD from the food trucks near the beaches, but there are no major fast-food chains other than KFC. A two-piece chicken combo for one person from KFC costs around 10 BMD.
Grabbing take-out food or ordering meals like jerk chicken, wraps, and sandwiches from a deli costs between 10-12 BMD. At the Jamaican Grill, you’ll get a plate of tasty jerk chicken for just 6 BMD. Rice and peas is usually around 3-5 BMD.
If you want to splash out, a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around 75 BMD including a drink.
Beer is expensive at around 9 BMD while a latte/cappuccino costs 5.50 BMD. Bottled water is around 2 BMD.
If you want to cook your meals, expect to spend 80-90 BMD per week on groceries. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, fruits, and some meat.
Activities – Most museums and attractions are under 10 BMD. Bikes can be rented for around 30 BMD per day while scooters are closer to 50 BMD. Expect to pay 150 BMD for a two-tank dive. If you want your PADI certification, prices start around 500 BMD. Golf can be as low as 60 BMD or as high as 275 BMD for the fancier courses.
Backpacking Bermuda Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Bermuda, my suggested budget is around 120 BMD per day. This assumes you’re staying in a private Airbnb room, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, taking the bus to get around, and doing mostly free activities like hiking and hanging out on the beach. If you plan on drinking, add 10-30 BMD to your daily budget.
On a mid-range budget of about 210 BMD per day, you can stay in a budget hotel, eat out for a few meals at fast food joints, enjoy a couple drinks, rent a scooter or take the occasional taxi to get around, and do more paid activities like visiting the forts and going diving.
For a “luxury” budget of about 425 BMD or more per day, you can stay in a three-star hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, rent a cart or scooter to get around, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is 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 BMD.
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. 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 couple months in advance. Avoid hotels and resorts and instead, stay at a bed and breakfast or home rental properties. If you are staying with a group, definitely rent a large apartment as it is far less per person than a hotel room.
- Stay with a local – There are only a handful of Couchsurfing hosts in Bermuda so if you want to succeed in finding 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 25% off.
- Cut down on the partying – Drinks aren’t cheap in Bermuda, so skip the booze as much as possible here. Your budget will thank you!
- 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 ensures 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.
- Bring a water bottle – The water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Bermuda
You won’t find hostels in Bermuda, but there are some affordable hotels and apartment options. Here are some suggested places to stay in Bermuda:
How to Get Around Bermuda
Buses – Buses run frequently and service most of the island’s attractions. They’re easy to spot too: they’re pink with blue stripes. It costs 3.50 BMD for a one-way fare, and exact change is needed. You can also purchase tickets at the Ferry Terminal or any post office. 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 get transportation passes for up to seven days of unlimited travel on Bermuda’s buses and ferries. These passes cost between 19-62 BMD. Purchase them at Visitor Information Centres or the Central Terminal.
Scooters and Electric Carts – There are scooter rental shops all over Bermuda, and one-seaters start from about 46 BMD per day. If you book multiple days, you’ll likely get a discount. Elbow Beach Cycles and Oleander Cycles are two popular rental companies.
Current Vehicles also rent 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 per day.
Bicycle Rentals – Bicycle rentals are typically between 30-35 BMD 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 for the first mile and then 2.75 BMD for each mile after that. Skip them if you can!
Car rental – Tourists cannot rent cars in Bermuda; only locals can drive here (and they can only have one car per household to prevent overcrowding).
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking here is virtually non-existent. I would not recommend it.
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 ideal for enjoying the ocean. Temperatures can get as high as 30°C (86°F) 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 20°C (68°F) daily.
Personally, I prefer March-April for visiting, as temperatures are somewhere in between winter and summer highs, there are fewer crowds at all the attractions, and accommodation is cheaper.
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 just for camping illegally).
However, petty theft is an issue so you’ll want to keep your valuables safe at all times. Don’t leave anything unattended at the beach and always keep your valuables secure and out of sight when on public transportation.
If you’re worried about getting scammed, you can read about common travel scams to avoid right here.
From August through October, hurricanes are possible, so always keep an eye on the weather.
If you experience an emergency, dial 911.
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.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Momondo – This is my other favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here too.
- 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 in their spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can share 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.
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It gives you all the bus, train, plane, and boat routes 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 (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 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: