i'll admit it. when len suggested we return to bermuda for our third time, there was no arm-twisting involved. simply a quiet "yes" with eyes lowered as snoopy's happy dance took flight in my stomach. for this southern gal, bermuda is an extreme. a adventure in the posh and pretentious, so i wasn't quite sure i'd fit in. however, it didn't take me long to grasp the local love and feel at home in the land whose clocks remain slow and gentle. bermuda needs no convincing, only a plane ticket and the will to forget everything as you know it.
my first adventure was in 2010, our honeymoon. len had spent many years vacationing here, but it was my first voyage to the land of pink sand.
mode of transportation: scooters. i can't remember the last time i rode a bike or do anything which required balance. but it's true; once you learn how, you never lose it. bike = scooters - same difference.
there is no better way to get around bermuda than by scooter. remember it's a british overseas territory and the 'wrong' side of the road applies, but other than that, you'll save tons of money.
spend change on exciting adventures (like diving or sunset sails or louis vuitton bags)!
accommodations: erith guesthouse near hamilton, the capital city. about a 5 minute scooter ride from downtown, this former private home has 8 guest rooms including a suite which worked well for the clan. it's very quiet, secluded and you basically have the place to yourselves.
reasonable rates at approximately $225 per night for suite.
we're back. again, no twisting required, but this time, no children. the way god intended.
this time we hung our scooter helmets in a private residence on scarrington lane. everything being relative, renting guesthouses is less expensive that the hotel rates, but there had to be a more economical way. in this private residence, we had everything (and more) than the guesthouses or hotel properties could provide: private entrance, one bedroom and bath, full kitchen, grill and lounge area, and a pad for our scooters, plus a view overlooking the hamilton harbor.
at $120 a night, we hit the jackpot.
so, we've visited two times and we believe the third time will be the charm. we've learned lots and if you're a first time traveler to bermuda, these things you need to know:
1. think ahead. for this upcoming trip in june 2014, we started looking for accommodations in january 2012. we booked the week we wanted by late spring, 2012.
2. watch (far in advance) for sale fares. sometimes, you'll luck up and get a break. our second trip, we snagged a flight for around $275. this year, no specials in almost a two-year span. we booked airfare from atlanta in march for around $527 each.
3. stay with locals. bermuda accommodations is your best source. they rent everything from studios and lofts to entire homes to islands. fiona is helpful and will go to great lengths to satisfy your time frame and budget. you pay a deposit to hold the date, usually the first night's rent. for this property this year, we reserved for $225 (our nightly rental is $120 which we booked in 2012; today's rent is listed at $198). upon arrival, you pay the homeowner the balance (cash or travelers checks only). plus, fiona connects you with your personal driver for pick up and drop off at the airport, so that's reserved before we land. and wow, does melvin know the inside island scoop!
if you want luxury and money is no obstacle, i vote for the fairmont hamilton princess. two reasons: it offers high tea and mark twain counted it among his favorite island spots.
4. travel by scooter. taxis are expensive and you can't rent cars. only residents can own and drive vehicles. plus, scooters offer the freedom to come and go as you like. gas is approximately $4 per liter, and one tank might last your entire visit. we rent from oleander cycles. they'll pick you from your accommodations to rent cycles and pick up cycles at the end of your stay. you'll have to do a quick spin around the parking lot so they can make sure you can drive, but then you're off. they offer one rider/two riders. a week's rental, approximately $250. we booked online and saved 10%.
5. see bermuda from the water. this rings true for every coastal city, country, port, canal, or mountain lake. you must see the land from the water to truly appreciate its grandeur. a sunset cruise. a sail. a dive. a jet ski.no matter what, if you miss doing this, you might as well stay home.
6. do your research. finding up-to-date information on bermuda can be challenging. check out fodors like i did for this trip. online articles are very scarce, and although their monthly calendar is up-to-date, the tourism board didn't offer any help. reach out to companies on facebook and ask direct questions there. i got answers consistently from the fairmont, but no one else. the earlier you start, the better prepared you will be.
7. keep up with two coots travel. we'll be blogging in real-time this june. we'll share prices, quality, value and the best companies with which to deal. so if bermuda is in your sights within the next year, our information should help you do some great planning. we're on a budget and so are you. we'll help you experience breathtaking bermuda without breaking the bank.