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Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

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Brooklyn, New York
posts: 8
reviews: 3
Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

I thought I would post because I took my 80 year old mother who is in fair shape and didn’t find much info on this in the forums before we left on our trip.

My mother can walk up and down stairs but she gets out of breath easily and must rest after a bit, especially going up hills. So I will write on what I found out/wish I had known etc. basing it on her capability.

Staying in Hamilton versus staying at a resort with private beach:

A large number of the resorts have steps way way down to the beach, no elevator access. Coming back up though several resorts offer a golf cart that will take you back up the road to the lobby. Call ahead and ask if you are staying at a resort. One advantage will be you can easily take the bus from the front road or cabs to where you want to go besides the resort…but cabs can get expensive, so something to think about if you are on a budget.

Staying in Hamilton has its advantages to, if walking is fairly doable. There is much more variety to go to at night, many restaurants etc. We stayed at the Rosedon which is a ten minute walk from the heart of downtown. My mother could do this walk with a short rest in between (there is a slight hill up and down each way) but even still, she preferred this location since we were right at the ferry as well. Also many buses pass by the ferry and will pick you up there and bring you up the to the terminal (which is slightly farther and up a steeper hill for two blocks). This is great as you really don’t have to walk up hills, and ALL busses and ferries in Bermuda are available to you!

Elbow beach: has a longish walk for an elderly person from the bus stop…better to take a mini bus or cab. And the public part of the beach….a private vendor rents umbrellas and chairs but he is not always there, so beware! Being older and out on the hot exposed elbow beach (no trees) is not good.

Horseshoe Beach: By bus, there is a pretty long walk down hill to get to the beach. Once you are there though there are bathrooms, umbrella and chair rentals and food very close to the beach area. If you are elderly, forget about walking back up unless you have a good heart. There is a van that will take you back up to the bus stop though, $2 per person.

Royal Naval Dockyard is very doable if large. The terrain is flat, there is shade, restaurants and benches to sit on everywhere.

Tobacco Bay: if you are elderly I would not recommend walking to this beach, even though it is 15 minutes from downtown St. George. Two very large hills. Better to take a mini bus or taxi for $6-8 bucks. It is a small nice beach with a very slight dip to it, but there is a café right on the edge, and umbrellas/food etc.

St. George….the quaint alleys, Needle and Thread, Silk Alley etc they are all pretty hilly. An elderly person could see them (slowly) by walking since a taxi won’t really fit in the small streets. BUT, I would go at dusk because it can be brutally hot to be going up and down hills. Otherwise the town square is very nice and all the shops and restaurants are on the same level terrain.

Other random thoughts for future travelers…the sun is very hot. So even a day trip somewhere I would bring a parasol or light umbrella if hats aren’t your thing or you are too hot. And bottled water. Definitely comfortable shoes.

Some people in the forums recommended the Blue Flag Taxis, they might be better for those who had difficulty walking. As I said, my mother can walk fine, she just tires and needs to catch her breath, so that’s why we did what we did.

Hope this info helps anyone travelling and curious about these issues….

Canada
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
posts: 7,793
reviews: 3
1. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Thank you, that's very helpful. Bermuda is a surprisingly hilly island and I must admit that I'm not too happy climbing hills in the heat. Rosedon is in a very good location for getting around as you said. Easy to get up to the bus terminal from the stop near the ferry dock. Some of the restaurants on Front St are up a very steep flight of stairs. Flanagan's and the Pickled Onion for instance.

USA
posts: 23,959
reviews: 3
2. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Your information and experience is useful. Bermuda is most definitely NOT ADA-compatible...which often makes Bermuda '..challenging..' for visitors (and residents) with physical mobility issues and handicaps.. Those prospective visitors with physical mobility issues or handicaps really need to do their own destination research, '..filtered..' through the degree of their own '..special need..'...one-size does not fit all.

To the best of my knowledge and discussion with local residents who are involved/interested in these issues, there are NO hotels or commercial guest accommodations in Bermuda that are anywhere near to being ADA-compliant. Elevators, ramps, etc. should NOT be assumed. To the best of my knowledge, only the two Fairmont (Southampton & Hamilton Princess) hotels have any special-purpose, handicapped-accessible rooms. Most hotels will try to accommodate guests with physical mobility issues and handicaps...but there's only so much accommodation that any can provide....and the responsibility for checking on '..access..' prior to making a reservation falls to the guest.

As noted above, Bermuda is '..hill-ier..' than many assume. There are few sidewalks outside of 'city' areas. In downtown areas of Hamilton and Saint George's and out at the Royal Naval Dockyard complex there are sidewalk 'cuts'/ramps at pedestrian crossing. There are no beaches that are handicapped-accessible. Very few (a couple/few) restaurants above the ground floor have elevators and even many located at 'ground-floor-level' have steps without ramps. Only SOME public bathrooms have handicapped-accessible facilities.

Several years ago there was a brochure/guide for handicapped travel to Bermuda published in cooperation with the Bermuda Dept. of Tourism and the Bermuda chapter of the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) but this brochure/guide is now out of print and was woefully inadequate even when it was still in print.

madsion, ct
posts: 20
reviews: 6
3. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Flanagan's Pub on Front St. did have a sign that said you could use the elevator located in the building's atrium. I didn't actually see it or try to use it, but I do remember the sign.

USA
posts: 23,959
reviews: 3
4. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Yup...Flanagan's Irish Pub & Outback Sports Bar-- http://www.flanagans.bm/ --inside the Emporium Bldg. on Front Street in downtown Hamilton have elevator access....which makes them notable, if only by exception.

East Hampton...
posts: 122
reviews: 156
5. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Hippocampus24-

Thanks for taking the time to share the information. I am sure it will be very helpful to future travelers.

Washington DC
posts: 88
reviews: 8
6. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

Thanks for this very helpful post. My husband and I recently had our 8th visit to Bermuda, which we love deeply (first time was our honeymoon 32 years ago). We stayed at Coco Reef and had a great visit. BUT I had forgotten how hilly Bermuda is and my husband (in his 70s and not in great shape) had some difficulty with that. I'm just wondering as he gets older whether there are some other places to stay on the beach that are more suited for elderly people. Cambridge Beaches is one place I've thought about.

USA
posts: 23,959
reviews: 3
7. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

CAMBRIDGE BEACHES, out along the western shore in Sandys/Somerset and PINK BEACH CLUB, out along the south-eastern shore in Smith's are probably the '..flattest..' properties, closest to the 'beach'.

Cambridge Beaches is situated back in from the main, Somerset Road (700-800 yards or so) and the public bus routes...but I'm pretty sure that they will provide an on-demand shuttle service out to the bus stop. The water at Cambridge Beaches is well protected by the broad, offshore, barrier reef system, so the water here will tend to be flat-er/calm/no surf.

Washington DC
posts: 88
reviews: 8
8. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

those sound like good places for us as we "gracefully" age.

USA
posts: 23,959
reviews: 3
9. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

My theory is that after a long, hot day at the beach, the additional weight of multiple applications of high SPF lotions/creams and all of the pink sand that clings to you as a result...plus...the added weight of salt water (H20 + NaCl) absorbed into a wet bathing suit...plus...all the energy required by the body's chemical process converting melanin from pale to tan... is what makes the walk back longer and steeper.....or at least that's my story...and I'm stickin' to it. Ya' can't mess with pseudo-science.

Edited: 12:38 pm, June 17, 2013
Washington DC
posts: 88
reviews: 8
10. Re: Getting Around Bermuda, for Elderly Persons

haha! I'm sure my husband will agree with you.