Bermuda on a Budget
January 1, 1970
I’ve been to Bermuda a few times over the past few years as part of my time on cruise ships and it is a gorgeous little island. However it can also be quite expensive, so here is a little guide to exploring Bermuda without breaking the bank too badly. Most of my experiences are based around Royal Naval Dockyard and Hamilton, but the island is small enough that it’s very easy to travel to the other side in just a few hours.
While there are taxis available to explore the island, buses and ferries are by far the cheaper option. Both options are readily available but have their own advantages and downsides.
The ferry is definitely the best way to travel around Bermuda, with the main ferry port being Hamilton. If you’re looking to travel to the other towns of the island, the ferry is the fastest way to go, and also has great views across the crystal clear water. They are quite frequent but it does depend on the season, so remember and grab a schedule from any one of the terminals.
The buses are a great way to get to the beaches, and to travel throughout everyday Bermuda. Yet they can be cramped, so unless you know exactly where you want to go, the ferry would be the best option. I’d advise buying your tickets beforehand to make it easier on the bus.
One downside to both of these options, however, is that they became far less frequent in the evening and there are no night buses.
During the day there are plenty of activities and places to visit. In Royal Naval Dockyard there are quite a few shops in the nearby Clock Tower Mall selling locally produced items such as jam, fudge, rum cake, and glassworks. The Glassworks shop also has a larger shop nearby that does free glassblowing demonstrations.
Beaches like Snorkel Park and Horseshoe Bay are quite popular in Bermuda, but even when not on a budget, Church Bay is the beach I would go to. It’s less advertised and always much quieter, I’ve never seen more than 3 or 4 groups of people there at any one time, and it’s also easy to get to by bus. Make sure you tell the driver you want to stop there as the bus can get very packed!
Church Bay is also a great place for snorkelling, especially off to the left of the beach. The waves can be quite rough though so it’s best to be wary. There are also no places to eat near by, but there is a quick fix for that below under Food and Drink. So if sunbathing and a bit of snorkelling is all you want to do for a few days, then this will cost just the bus fare, and whatever food and drink you want to bring.
‘Gorgeous views at the top of the stairs, leading down to the beach’
Near Snorkel Park there is also a mini golf course, which is great fun, and has a well-stocked bar! There isn’t much shade on the course, so no one would blame you for going back to the bar every few holes. If you are looking for a chilled out activity for an evening it is also open at night, with glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
For those a little more adventurous, Blue Hole Park is a good place to go for some cliff jumping, or the Crystal Caves, also near Blue Hole Park. The Caves are probably the most expensive attraction on this guide at $30 for both caves.
A great park to visit if you don’t have a lot of time is Par-La-Ville Park, very near the ferry terminal. Though there are many cafes, a lovely place to get some take out food for a picnic in the park is the Devils Isle Cafe. The park also happens to be right next to cute little post office, for you to send your postcards back home.
On a budget, Bermuda’s little towns are great to just walk around and see all the daily life, and chat to the friendly locals. You never know where you might find a quiet place to go for a swim or a unique little spot off the usual track.
Food and Drink
Where I spent most of my money in Bermuda was on food and drink, especially drink. Pretty much all of the bars will have large ‘holiday style’ cocktails on the menu and a selection of beers. One of my favourite bars to go to, with friendly staff was Flanagan’s Irish Bar in Hamilton. All the usual drinks but with some great Guinness and Whisky, and a great selection of pub food.
All over the Naval Dockyard and Hamilton, there are lots of bars and cafes to cover everyones tastes. In the Dockyard, if you don’t mind spending a little more one day, there is a fantastic pizza restaurant, Cafe Amici, or a British themed pub called The Frog and Onion.
However, if you want to stick to your budget, there is a great sandwich place in the local pharmacy that also does great chicken and chips. This is a fantastic option when visiting places like Church Bay or just going to a park.
The two main bars to drink at in the Dockyard and go for a swim are Snorkel Park and Calico Jacks Floating Bar. While Snorkel Park has a beach to enjoy, Calico Jacks Floating Bar is a pirate themed bar equipped with its own ‘plank’. Both of these bars are also open in the evening, with Snorkel Park staying open until much later. However the queues for the bars are always quite long, but there is a great club atmosphere, with late night food also available.
If you ever find yourself in Bermuda, and don’t want to spend too much money, I hope this has helped in any small way. Remember it is very hot and unless you are very careful you will get sunburnt! Take care and enjoy travelling!