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  • Flag                                     Coat of Arms                             Tourist Board

    Bermuda prounounced Ber-myü-duh)is a British Overseas Territory located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the east coast of the United States – approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) ESE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 1,770 km (1,100 mi) northeast of Miami. It is a self-governing British Colony with a population of 64,237 based on the 2010 census. Bermuda is also referred to as the Bermudas or the Somers Isles, because of the Somers Isles Company which oversaw the area from 1614 to 1684.

    Although not technically a part of the Caribbean, Bermuda has aligned itself for marketing purposes with the Caribbean because it is an island nation and because tourism is a vital part of its economy. Bermuda, in fact, officially became an associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 2003.

    While the majority of people think of Bermuda as a single island, it is actually comprised of 181 closely linked islands with a total area of 53.3 square kilometers (20.6 square miles). The capital and principal city of Bermuda is Hamilton.

    The islands were apparently uninhabited when they were discovered in 1505 by the Spanish captain Juan de Bermúdez, for whom they are named, who claimed them for the Spanish Empire. Although he visited the area twice, he never landed on the islands because of the dangerous reef surrounding them.

    At some point the Spanish or other visitors released feral pigs on the island, which were abundant when settlement of the island began around 1609 by the Virginia Company, which had established Virginia and Jamestown on the American continent two years earlier. The settlement they founded was established when the ship, the Sea Venture, was grounded on the reef during a hurricane so they could get on shore.

    The territory was first managed as an extension of Virginia by the Company until 1614, when its successor, the Somers Isles Company, took over. In 1684 the Somers Isles Company’s charter was revoked by the British Crown, which then took over management of the territory. The territory finally became a British colony in 1707 after the unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. Bermuda is the oldest and most populous remaining British Overseas Territory since Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949 and Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. The first capital of Bermuda was St. George's, which was established in 1612 making it the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the New World.

    In addition to tourism, Bermuda's economy is based on offshore insurance and reinsurance, which has contributed to making it historically one of the world’s highest GDP per capita.

    The People
    Bermudians are a diverse group of approximately 65,000 people of many backgrounds with a reputation for being one of the friendliest people in the world. English is the official language – British with a local Bermudian lilt, described more like a song than speech.

    Some interesting facts about Bermuda and Bermudians are:

    - The Bermudian English can be traced to Elizabethan English.

    - Bermudians still honor old world manners, and "Good morning" and "Good afternoon" are absolute musts for all Bermudians.

    - Historically, Bermudians are ocean adventurers - fishermen, whalers, traders and privateers.

    - Bermudians are descendants of slaves from the West Indies and West Africa, English settlers, Irish adventurers, exiled North American Indian prisoners, and Portuguese immigrants.

    - Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is believed to have been inspired by the shipwreck of the "Sea Venture".

    Flora and Fauna
    Bermuda was uninhabited when discovered and mostly dominated by forests of Bermuda cedar, and mangrove marshes along its shores. Only 165 of the island's current number of 1000 plant species are considered native.

    Many different types of palm trees have been introduced to Bermuda, including coconut palms, which is the furthest north that these palms grow naturally. Unfortunately, while coconuts do grow on Bermuda, the lack of heat does not usually allow them to establish their fruit.

    The only indigenous mammals of Bermuda are five species of bats, all of which also occur in the eastern United States. The national bird of Bermuda is the Bermuda Petrel or Cahow, which as thought to be extinct since 1620, but was rediscovered in 1951. The government has established a program to protect it, including restoration of a habitat area.

    Except for turtles, which lay eggs on Bermuda beaches, the Bermuda Rock Skink was thought to have been the only indigenous land vertebrate of Bermuda. Recently, however, DNA studies have established that a species of terrapin that was thought to have been introduced onto the island actually predates the arrival of humans in Bermuda. Because this species of turtle lives mostly in brackish ponds, some question whether it should be classified as a land vertebrate to compete with the skink's unique status.

    Architecture
    A unique architectural feature of Bermuda is its whitewashed stepped roofs, which are designed to capture and channel rainwater into underground tanks – which is the main source of fresh water on Bermuda.

    The Bermuda Triangle
    The area of ocean between Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico is commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle. While this name was first used around 1950 it refers to a long standing legend of ships and planes mysteriously disappearing in the triangular area. Scientific theory however suggests that the causes of these mysterious disappearances are less legend and more likely due to hurricanes, waterspouts, rogue waves and other potential geophysical phenomena. Whatever the reason, you can visit the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in Bermuda for an interesting display on the Bermuda Triangle.

    Tourist Office
    For more information about events, promotions and things-to-do in Bermuda, go to the Tourist Office Page or visit the official website of the Bermuda Tourism Bureau.

    Note: Information provided on this page were derived from a combination of internal research and readily-available outside sources, such as destination tourism offices, official press releases and marketing media kits. 

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    Fast Facts

    Capital:Hamilton

    Motto:"Quo Fata Ferunt" (Latin); "Whither the Fates Carry (US)"

    Anthem:"God Save the Queen" (official) and Hail to Bermuda (unofficial)

    Currency: The official currency of Bermuda is the Bermuda dollar, which trades at the same rate as the US dollar and carries the same symbol ($). Bermuda and US currencies are accepted interchangeably, but change is almost always given in Bermudian currency.

    Canadian dollars, British pounds and other foreign currencies will need to be exchanged at local banks.

    ATMs: ATMs may be your best bet for exchanging money. They are fast, accessible and usually offer a great rate. HSBC Bermuda, Butterfield Bank and Capital G Limited all have on-island ATMs available 24 hours a day. Check convenience stores, gas stations and your hotel for the nearest ATM. On-island ATMs dispense only Bermuda dollars.

    Electricity: The electrical current in Bermuda is 110 volts, 60Hz AC, which is the same voltage found in the US and Canada.

    Travelers from other countries, including the UK and Europe, will need to use an adapter since two-pronged plugs are in use island-wide.

    Time Zone: Standard Time in Bermuda is Greenwich Mean Time minus four hours. In other words, the time in Bermuda will be one hour ahead of New York and four hours behind London.

    Daylight Savings Time will be from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

    Climate: Bermuda has a warm subtropical, near tropic climate. It is warmed by the nearby Gulf Stream, and the westerly winds, which carry warm, humid air eastward over Bermuda and that keep winter temperatures above freezing.

    The climate in summer can be somewhat humid, but temperatures rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F). Winters are mild and windy, with average daytime temperatures in January and February around 20 °C (68 °F), although occasional cold fronts can bring Arctic air with sudden drops in temperature. Atlantic winter storms, often associated with these cold fronts, can sometimes bring gusting winds and heavy rain. Factoring wind chill, the air temperature in winter can fall below freezing, 0 °C (32 °F), although the actual temperature rarely drops below 10 °C (50 °F). Bermuda is located within the hurricane belt and is often in the path of hurricanes although they generally begin to weaken as they approach the island and direct landfalls of hurricanes are very rare because of the island's small size.

    The only source of fresh water in Bermuda is rainfall, which is collected on roofs and catchments (or from underground lenses) and stored in tanks. Most homes in Bermuda usually have one of these tanks as a part of its foundation.

    The average annual temperature of the ocean is 73.1 °F (22.8 °C); ranging from 65.4 °F (18.6 °C) in February to 82.8 °F (28.2 °C) in August.

    Dress Code: Dress in Bermuda is generally what is called smart casual. Bermuda is still very much a reserved British style. Modesty is the prevailing rule, whether you are swimming at the beach or walking through town.

    Bathing suits, abbreviated tops and short shorts may be worn at beaches and pools, but a cover-up is standard off the beach.

    Beaches are relaxed, but there is no nude or semi-nude beaches on Bermuda.

    Casual sportswear may be worn at lunchtime in restaurants, but many dining establishments and nightclubs ask men to wear a jacket in the evenings. When making dinner reservations, it is always best to check on any specific dress requirements.

    Season-by-Season: What to Wear

    In the warmer months (May to mid-November), make sure to pack:

    > Summer-weight sports clothes, swimsuits, a raincoat or lightweight windbreaker for daytime activities

    > Evenings call for casual elegant cottons, with ladies in a light dressy sweater or cocktail-type outfits and gentlemen in a sports jacket and tie.

    In the cooler months (December to late March), visitors should bring:

    > Light woolens or fall-weight casuals, sweaters, a raincoat, windbreaker or coat and, as always, swimsuits for the daytime.

    > Evenings deserve elegant lightweight woolens, with ladies in a dressier sweater or cocktail attire and gentlemen in a suit or sports jacket and tie.

    Culture

    Bermuda’s culture is a rich fusion of British colonial and African heritage.

    As Britain's oldest colony, British influence continues to dominate the government and educational and legal institutions.  Judges still wear powdered wigs and “bobbies” direct traffic.

    While African influences are more subtle, they can be found in dance and of course music, which includes reggae, calypso and the rhythm of the Gombeys— dancing and drumming troupes that are often in the street.

    The famous Bermuda shorts originated in the early 20th century from the British military's uniform for hot climes. Although Bermuda shorts come in all combinations of color, pink is the #1 favorite; and they are taken very seriously, as there is in fact a law that no shorts can be shorter than six inches above the knee.

    Food & Drink: Island cuisine reflects the diversity of Bermuda and its heritage and close relationship to the ocean. Seafood is a staple with exceptional local fish like wahoo and rockfish a mainstay. Traditional dishes include Codfish and Potatoes (served either the English way with hard-boiled egg, egg sauce and olive oil or Portuguese style with a sauce of tomato and onions); Hoppin' John (peas and rice); Pawpaw Casserole;  and, of course, Bermuda Fish Chowder.

    Bermuda also has two world-famous signature drinks: the Dark ‘n Stormy® (featuring Bermuda’s own Gosling’s Black Seal Rum mixed with Ginger Beer) and the Bermuda Rum Swizzle.

    Bermuda Visitor Information Centres: For brochures and guides; and access to staff with a wealth of knowledge, from directions and phone numbers to the best hidden spots to discover.
     

    City of Hamilton

    8 Front Street next to the Ferry Terminal

    City of Hamilton

    Pembroke Parish

    Tel: 441 295 1480
     

    Royal Naval Dockyard

    Visitors' Courtyard

    Royal Naval Dockyard

    Sandys Parish

    Tel: 441 542 7104

     

    Town of St. George

    7 King's Street

    Town of St. George

    St. George's Parish

    Tel: 441 297 0556

    Telecommunications: International telecommunication systems rank among the best in the world for reliability, quality and sophistication. Bermuda has state-of-the-art telephone, fax, Internet, wireless and wireless roaming services.

    - Bermuda's country code is 441.

    - Direct dialing is possible to and from the island.

    - Worldwide and international prepaid calling cards can be purchased locally. Local calls at public phones cost 50 cents.

    - Many shops and hotels sell prepaid phone cards usable at public phones.

    For international collect and credit card calls, most public phones accept a variety of cards including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, Discover, EuroCard, JCB and Bell.

    Most mobile phones will work on the island; ask your carrier ahead of time to make sure. To avoid excessive roaming charges, many visitors rent mobile phones.

    Travel Information
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    Boasting great weather, pink sand beaches, clear blue waters, historic sites and warm, friendly people is not hard to understand why Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted Bermuda "Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic" 18 times since 1994.

    Bermuda is also closer than you think--less than 2 hours away from most eastern US airports.  There are daily nonstop flights to Bermuda from all over the US, Canada and the UK.

    Arriving by Air
    Arriving by air lands you at the east end of Bermuda in St George’s Parish (tel. 441.293.2470 and www.BermudaAirport.com).

    From the United States:

    AirTran Airways

    Tel: 800 247 8726

    Web: www.airtran.com


    American Airlines

    Tel: 800 433 7300

    Web: www.aa.com 


    Delta Air Lines

    Tel: 800 221 1212

    Web: www.delta.com 


    JetBlue Airways

    Tel: 800 538 2583

    Web: www.jetblue.com


    United Airlines

    Tel: 800 UNITED (864 8331)

    Web: www.united.com 


    US Airways

    Tel: 800 428 4322

    Web: www.usairways.com  
     

    From Canada:

    Air Canada

    Tel: 888 247 2262

    Web: www.aircanada.com


    WestJet

    Tel: -888-WESTJET (937-8538)

    Web: www.westjet.com


    From the United Kingdom:

    British Airways

    Tel: 44 (844) 493 0787

    Web: www.ba.com

    Arriving by Private and Charter Flights: For information on arrival by Private plane or charter flight contact: www.dca.gov.bm.

    Passports, Immigration & Customs Before embarking on your travel to Bermuda, make sure you have the required documents:

    > A round-trip ticket to Bermuda 

    A return or onward travel ticket to a country to which the passenger has right of entry is required of all visitors.

    > A valid, machine-readable passport

    All travelers must carry with them proof of citizenship and identification, specifically a passport, for return to their own country or for re-entry through another foreign country as required by Bermuda Immigration authorities. This applies to adults as well as children and infants travelling alone or with their parents.

    Note: For visiting yachts and their crew click here for more information.

    Note: Married women whose identification documents are in their maiden name but who are travelling under their married name should also carry their marriage certificate or certified copy as further proof of identity.

    Note: For a list of Nationals who are required to present a visa to enter Bermuda, please visit the website of the Bermuda Government's Department of Immigration.

    Visas to enter Bermuda may be obtained from the Visa Section of a British Embassy, British High Commission, British Consulate or other British Foreign Service establishment aboard. For more information, visit the Bermuda Government's Department of Immigration website.

    For detailed information on Bermuda’s customs & duty allowances and regulations, download our Customs Regulations Fact Sheet.

    Arriving By Cruise Line Cruising to Bermuda on a Cruise Ship typically consists of an all-inclusive package with transportation, meals and lodging. A warm Bermuda welcome awaits you at one of three Ports of Call:

    - King's Wharf and Heritage Wharf - both of which are located in the Royal Naval Dockyard on Ireland- Island North at the western tip of the island;

    - Hamilton Harbour located in the capital City of Hamilton

    Cruise Lines serving Bermuda include:

    - Celebrity Cruises

       “Summit” from Cape Liberty, New Jersey (May-September)

        Website:  www.celebrity.com 

    - Norwegian Cruise Line

        “Norwegian Breakaway” from New York (May-October)

        “Norwegian Dawn” from Boston (May-October)

         Website: www.ncl.com  

    - Royal Caribbean

        “Explorer of the Seas” from Cape Liberty, New Jersey (April-October)

        “Grandeur of the Seas” from Baltimore (May-October)

        Website: www.royalcaribbean.com  

    Arriving by Private Vessel Sailing into Bermuda is a great option and way to experience Bermuda and its crystal clear waters and dramatic scenery from afar and up close.

    Here are some guidelines to make your travel and clearance as smooth as possible:

    > All private yachts entering our waters are required to obtain Immigration, Customs, and Health Clearance in the port of St. George's. The clearance facility is located at the eastern end of Ordnance Island.

    > Yachts arriving from overseas ports are usually cleared with a minimum of formality. Upon approach, visiting yachtsmen must contact Bermuda Radio, which will guide you into St. George's Harbour and direct you to Customs clearance berthing.

    > The Customs boarding officer, who normally carries out clearance for all three departments, brings all documents required for clearance on board. The officer will also collect a passenger tax of US$35 from each person on board.

    > A valid, machine-readable passport is the required document for entry into Bermuda.

    Extended Stays for Visiting Yachts and their Crew
    Effective June 1, 2011, visiting yachtsmen and their crews will be granted a maximum three month stay on arrival in Bermuda. In keeping with best practice and standard immigration policy, visiting yachtsmen and their crew will be required to provide:

    - proof of citizenship;

    - financial means to repatriate themselves by air (if required);

    - proof of health insurance; and

    - a declaration not seek or take up employment in Bermuda.

    The fee for this extended stay is set at a nominal $250.00 for each member of the crew and each passenger. Extensions for up to a further three months will also be permitted on application to the Department of Immigration and the fee is $100.00.

    For detailed information about travelling to Bermuda via private yacht, visit the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre website.

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