We returned to Bermuda on a cruise this year after living there 44 years ago and we found LOTS of changes. More and faster traffic, new buildings, more people, and fewer genuine Bermudans with their distinctive accent.
The #1 main change is that the ships no longer dock at Hamilton or St. George. Though the new dock at King’s Wharf is modern and nice, there is just not the ambience of looking out your window or balcony and seeing the real Bermuda towns and being able to step right out into the hustle and bustle of the streets. King’s Wharf is a manufactured place, not the REAL Bermuda. The real shame about the advent of the King’s Wharf “culture” is how this seems to be affecting St. George. When we lived there, the streets of St. George were busy with tourists at all hours of the day and night. The White Horse Tavern was hopping till late at night and shops were thriving. Right now, you can tell that St. George, with all its quiet charm, is struggling. Townspeople told us tourists come early and leave early and they don’t come in great numbers as in the past when the ships docked there. There is so much to see in and around historic St. George and I think many tourists may be missing things like St. Peter’s Church, Ft. St. Catherine, the quaint town square with its stocks, the Perfumery, meandering streets, etc. St. George is the epitome of the old Bermuda. Don’t miss it. Take the ferry or bus to the far eastern end of the island and enjoy.
Bermuda is a such a lovely place with so much to see. The transportation system is fast, efficient, and pretty much on-time. You really don't need any excursions here. It is very easy to explore on your own. We bought a ferry/bus 3-day ticket - very reasonably priced - and used it to get all over the island. Just be careful when stepping off the curb! Remember that they drive on the LEFT side of the road, a hold-over from the days of British rule.
We walked a lot so we could visit some of the more out-of-the-way places. Par-de-Ville Park in Hamilton is beautiful and Ft. Hamilton is worth the climb for a fantastic view of Hamilton’s harbor. A bus ride along the South Shore gives you a great sense of the island’s beauty. Don’t forget to stop at Gibbs Hill lighthouse and climb to the top for a bird’s eye view of the shoreline. And go to at least one beach to sample the pink sand and hunt for sea glass. John Smith beach is a lovely and quiet place if you want to avoid the crowd at Horseshoe Bay, Warwick Bay, etc. And don't miss photo ops at the many moongates around the island!
It was great to not have to worry about money exchange rates. Bermuda accepts USD. Be aware that prices are pretty steep. If you are budget conscious, plan on bringing snacks and water bottles in your backpack or you will spend a bundle for food on the island. We talked to people who dropped $50 on a small lunch at a restaurant near the South Shore.
As former Air Force people, we enjoyed the ride on #6 bus that took us through parts of the old Kindley AFB. Many of the military buildings are gone but many are being renovated and repurposed and I applaud all those who are making this possible.
In short, the island is still beautiful, the flowers are fantastic, the beaches are pristine, the people are friendly, and shopping is still good. Bermuda is a place that should be on your bucket list.
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