Lay of the Land
“You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”~Mark Twain
A British Overseas Territory, Bermuda is a collection of 120 islands in the mid-Atlantic. The small territory was created by ocean-floor volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Volcanic rock can be found below the surface, while limestone rock forms the majority of the above-water land. This limestone can also be seen in the local architecture, as Bermudians use it for the roofs of their homes. Because the islands have no fresh water lakes, the limestone roofs were devised to act as filters to purify rainwater, which can eventually be used as drinking water. These colonial-style homes—with shiny white roofs and soft pastel coloring—are unique to and iconic symbols of Bermuda. The islands are located just east of North Carolina, which means that its climate is mild and not tropical like the Caribbean, notably farther south. Bermuda’s beach season is from April to October, when temperatures range between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bermuda’s total land area is 26 square miles, and it is surrounded by coral reefs. The shape of the islands resembles a fishhook, with the airport in the upper part of the handle and the cruise ship port on the opposite and curved end of the hook. Getting from one end to the other takes just over an hour. Because there are no rental cars, navigating the island requires taking taxis, which can be expensive, or taking a hotel shuttle, if available.
Bermuda is divided into parishes. All flights land at L. F. Wade International Airport in St. George’s, the eastern-most parish noted for its well-preserved maritime fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just past the airport is Hamilton Parish, where Tucker’s Town is located. A posh residential area, Tucker’s Town boasts two waterfront golf courses, both of which are lined by mansions.
Located in the middle of Bermuda in Pembroke Parish is Hamilton, the main town and driving force of Bermuda’s economy. Comprised of two main streets, it boasts a wealth of shops, bars and restaurants as well as banks, financial services firms and insurance and reinsurance agencies. There is also a wide marina that will host the America’s Cup in 2016.
On the western side of the islands is Dockyards, where the transatlantic cruise ships dock. A former Royal Navy shipyard, the structure has been repurposed to house stores, activity centers and restaurants to cater to the day trippers. Ten minutes away is Cambridge Beaches Resort, a historic cottage colony that only accepts adults and children over thirteen years old. There is an easy and efficient ferry system that is located in Hamilton and offers routes to Dockyards, St. George’s, Paget Warwick, South Hampton and Somerset.
Indagare Tip: There’s no need to exchange currency, as the Bermudian dollar (BMD) is tied to the US dollar at a one-to-one ratio. USD is accepted everywhere, and even in taxis.