Posted by Laurentiu - Filled under Caribbean
Bermuda is a self-governing British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Caribbean, around 640 miles (975 km) off the coast of the United States. It consists of about 138 islands and islets, with all the major islands aligned on a hook-shaped but roughly east-west axis and connected together by road bridges.
Hamilton, in Pembroke Parish, is Bermuda’s administrative center and largest city. It boasts a large quantity of museums, some fine buildings and architecture. It boasts a fine Anglican cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. There are numerous forts, fortifications and bits of Royal Naval heritage. There are cinemas, a variety of shops, bars, hotels and restaurants. The city is also blessed with markets, gardens, stalls, beaches, squares and plazas with wide streets, boulevards and walkways.
Saint George is the second town and former capital of Bermuda. St. George is described as the oldest, continually inhabited English settlement in the new world. It was founded in 1612 and served as the capital of Bermuda until eclipsed by Hamilton in 1815. Because of a shift of business and government to Hamilton, St. George did not have its streets and buildings demolished and rebuilt as in Hamilton and therefore looks very much like it did 250 years ago. In fact, because of its many heritage buildings, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 1990s.
In Bermuda there are many thing to do and places to see:
- Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish. Beautiful pink sand beach bordered by rocky areas suitable for snorkeling. Probably the most photographed Bermudan beach. The surf can get rough at times here. There are bathroom facilities, beach rentals, and food concessions. Lifeguards in summer.
- Elbow Beach, Tribe Road #4, Paget Parish. Another beautiful pink sand beach between Coral Beach, Elbow Beach and Coco Reef hotels.
- Tobacco Bay, St. George Parish. A boulder-sheltered sheltered warm-water beach which can become quite crowded with cruise ship passengers. Can be reached on foot from St. George square or shuttles are readily available. Another walk will take you to Fort St. Catherine. Rest rooms, food concession.
- John Smith’s Beach, Hamilton Parish. Nice pink sand beach. Summer lifeguards. Usually a mobile food concession.
- Shelley Bay, North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish. Lots of shallow water and a large playground make this great choice for families with small kids. Not far from Flatts Village and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. Restrooms, beach rentals, food concession.
- Chaplin Bay / Stonehole Bay
- Bermuda Maritime Museum in the old keep at the Royal Naval Dockyard.
- Dolphin Quest, Royal Naval Dockyard. Learn about and swim with the dophins at the beautiful facility at the RN Dockyard (approximately BMD $175 for 30 minute swim).
- Snorkel Park, Royal Naval Dockyard, Phone: 234-6989. A limestone tunnel through the keep’s wall puts you on the beachfront for snorkeling or water sports.
- Town of St. George. A scenic UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest, continually inhabited British settlement in the New World. It boasts small winding streets with typical British Colonial architecture with fountains, gardens and squares, cobbled streets and plazas.
- Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo, 40 North Shore Road, Flatts Village, Phone: (441) 293-2727. Daily 9AM-5PM (last admission 4PM). Centerpieced by a 140,000 gallon replica coral reef, this one of Bermuda’s main attractions. Over three hundred birds, reptiles and mammals and 200 species of fish. Adults $10, Seniors $5, ages 5 to 12 $5.
- Crystal and Fantasy Caves, Wilkinson Avenue, Baileyâ€™s Bay, Phone: 441-293-0640. Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM (last admission 4:00). Two quite different caves to see.
- Spittal Pond (This was heavily damaged by Hurricane Fabian in 2002 and the process of fixing the trails and trees is still ongoing.)
- Devil’s Hole Aquarium, Harrington Sound Road, Hamilton, 441-293-2727. Small but fun. “Fish” for reef fish with bait, but no hooks. Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM. Adult $5, ages 5-12 $3, under 5 $.50.
- Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, 40 Crow Ln, East Broadway, Pembroke, just outside of Hamilton, Phone: 441-297-7219.
- Bermuda National Trust Museum known as the Globe Hotel
Traditional Bermudian fare was noted for being typically uninspiring, as are most Anglo-Saxon cuisines. The only two relatively uniquely Bermudian dishes were salted codfish, boiled with potatoes, the traditional Sunday breakfast, and Hop n’ John, a simple dish of boiled rice and beans.
Local specialties include:
- Cassava pie. Farine is an alternate base. Normally only eaten at Christmas.
- Bay grape jelly. Bay grapes were introduced as a wind break. Although, like Surinam cherries and loquats, they are found throughout Bermuda, and produce edible fruit, none of these plants are cultivated for agriculture in Bermuda, and their fruits are normally eaten from the tree, primarily by school children.
- Bananas are often eaten on Sunday mornings with codfish and potatoes.
Restaurants can be found all over the island, with the largest concentraction in the city of Hamilton and St George town. Also, there are several at some of the hotels which are outstanding, although pricey. At Elbow Beach Hotel, Cafe lido is excellent, and Southampton Fairmont Waterlot Inn, although sometimes crowded and noisy, has excellent dining.
Bermuda is expensive. Because of Bermuda’s steep import tax, all goods sold in stores that come from off the island carry a significant markup.
The best time to visit Bermuda is from Spring through to Autumn. Although the island is an associate member of the Caribbean Community, it is not actually in the Caribbean Sea and has a different climate. It is much farther north, but the warm waters of the Gulf Stream help give it a quasi-tropical atmosphere.
The islands have ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes. As a result drinking water is collected on the roofs of all buildings (by law) and in special catchment areas, and stored in tanks under the ground for each home or property. Bermuda has a mild, humid subtropical maritime climate though gales and strong winds are common in winter. The hurricane season is from June to November.
[Photo 1: Residential scene in Bermuda. By LegrospaumÃ©. Photo 2: Horseshoe Bay Beach. By coolskiper, CC Some rights reserved. Text partly derived from Wikitravel. This post is released under the CC license]