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When visiting Bermuda, you will quickly discover that car rentals on the island are non-existent. Only residents of Bermuda are permitted to drive cars, and citizens are limited to owning one car. As Bermuda has a smaller land mass, there really isn’t too much room for many vehicles. Limiting the amount of cars on the road reduces the volume of traffic, particularly coming in and out of the main city of Hamilton. Many visitors aren’t used to driving on the left side of the road, plus the roads tend to be a bit narrow and winding, so it is as much a safety precaution as anything. Thankfully, there are many ways to get around Bermuda and I’m going to show you how!
Rent a Scooter
Let’s start with my favorite way first – you can rent a scooter. Scooters are driven by tourists and Bermudians alike. We rented our scooters from Smatts Cycle Livery as it was located directly next door to our hotel, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. As neither of us had much experience with driving scooters, we were given a quick safety lesson and we were showed how to operate them. After a quick ride down the road and back, we were pretty much ready to go. Riding a scooter around Bermuda can be dangerous at times as there are many roundabouts, narrow roadways, and steep hills. Please operate a scooter with plenty of caution. I would advise against renting one if there are high winds, or if the roads are slippery from the rain. Keep in mind that other motorists will pass you on the road – don’t worry, they’re used to tourists riding scooters around and they’ll go around you. Rental scooters don’t go quite as fast as a regular scooter, plus visitors tend to drive more slowly than Bermudians. Take a map with you to navigate your way around (there were some available for free at Smatts when we picked up our scooter). Be sure to fill the scooter back up with gas before you return it, as there can be additional charges if you don’t.
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When we rented our scooters, we drove around the city of Hamilton (including a two-lane roundabout! Eep!) and eventually made our way to Spanish Point. We didn’t have much time on the scooters as we rented them on our last afternoon in Bermuda, and we decided against renting them earlier in the day as it was really windy at that time. However, for a couple of hours, we had a blast riding all over town.
Taking the city bus in Bermuda is actually quite easy, and there are bus routes running all over the island. This form of public transportation is safe and reliable. You can easily look up the bus schedule online. Rates are based on where you are traveling, and you can purchase tokens from the bus station. You can also buy a visitor transportation pass for one, two, three, four, or seven days (monthly passes are even available). With the transportation pass, you can ride on the buses or the ferries for an unlimited amount of times. For visitors, a one day pass is $7.50 so it is really inexpensive to get around. We took a bus from the Central Terminal in Hamilton (on Washington Street) to the Crystal Caves. It was very straightforward and we politely asked the driver if he could let us know when we were at the correct stop.
Another great way to get around is by using Bermuda’s ferry service. There are four ferry routes that travel between Hamilton and several perishes in Bermuda. You can easily get to the Royal Naval Dockyard, Southampton, and St. George’s by ferry. While we never used the public ferry, we did use a free ferry service for guests of the two Fairmont hotels, which ran between both properties. This was a great option for getting to Horseshoe Bay Beach as a complimentary shuttle also ran between the hotel and the beach.
Taxis are available to drive you anywhere you’d like. Taxis are also very expensive to take around the island. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you! This might be a very convenient way, but it will cost you. We did take taxis to and from the airport, as well as on a couple of other occasions. Our taxi drivers were always very friendly and helpful. When we were picked up at the airport, our driver gave us a great introduction to Bermuda as we drove towards our hotel. We were able to chat and ask the taxi drivers any random questions that we may have had, and they happily answered them for us. And when we were picked up by the taxi at the airport, he was holding a white sign with my name on it. That was pretty awesome.
There are plenty of ways to get around Bermuda without having to rely on a car. You could even walk around some places or rent a bicycle, if you aren’t planning on traveling too far. Plus, it was really fun to rent scooters, go for a ferry boat ride, and figure out how to take public transportation on the city bus.
Have you ever rented a scooter while traveling, or have you used a country’s public transportation system?