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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in bermuda
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North America : Bermuda
Bermuda consists of about 138 islands and islets, with all the major islands aligned on a hook-shaped but roughly east-west axis and connected together by road bridges. In terms of terrain, the islands comprise low hills separated by fertile depressions, and interspersed with a complex set of waterways.
The inhabited island chain actually comprises the southern sector of a circular atoll; the remainder of the atoll comprising submerged or inter-tidal reefs. As a result the northern shores of inhabited islands are relatively sheltered, whilst the southern shores are exposed to the ocean swell. Consequently most of the best beaches are on the southern shore.
As an island of the North Atlantic, Bermuda has a quite different climate to that of the Caribbean, with which it is sometimes erroneously linked. The best time to visit Bermuda is from Spring through to Autumn.
The islands have ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes. As a result drinking water is collected on the roofs of all buildings (by law), and in special catchment areas. Bermuda has a mild, humid subtropical maritime climate though gales and strong winds are common in winter. The hurricane season is from June to November.
Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for the infant British colony of Virginia. The first industry on the islands was growing of fruit and vegetables to supply the early American colonies. The islands took a carefully unofficial role during the American War of Independence, with much of Washington's armaments coming from a covert (and likely locally complicit) raid on the islands armoury. After US independence and during the Napoleonic wars, Great Britain found itself without access to the ports now on the US east coast. Because of this situation and Bermuda's convenient location between British Canada and Britain's Caribbean possessions, Bermuda became the principal stop over point for the British Royal Navy's Atlantic fleet, somewhat similar to Gibraltar.
The American Civil War and American Prohibition both added considerably to the island's coffers, with Bermuda forming an important focal point in running the blockades in both cases. During the second world war, a large US air base was built on the islands and remained operational until 1995, and the islands served as the main intercept center for transatlantic cable messages to and from occupied Europe.
Tourism to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence was soundly defeated in 1995. For many, Bermudian independence would mean little other than the obligation to staff foreign missions and embassies around the world, which can be a strong obligation for Bermuda's small population.
One of Bermuda's few taxes is its steep import tax. The 22% tax applies to EVERYTHING that is brought onto the island. Each person is allowed a $100 exemption, but if a visitor is deemed to be carrying more than that amount he/she will be subject to the tax.
The only airport in Bermuda is Bermuda International Airport. There are daily flights from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, together with less frequent flights from other US and Canadian cities. The only flight from Europe is a flight from London which operates four times a week.
Arriving passengers will need to pass through immigration and customs, and non-residents must have a return or onward ticket. Importation of narcotics and weapons (including all forms of guns) is strictly prohibited, as are any live marine animals.
The airport is situated adjacent to Castle Harbor, between Hamilton and St George. If you are arriving on an inclusive tour, then your tour operator will probably have arranged onward transportation to your hotel by private bus. The airport is well served by local public buses, but unfortunately these will not accept luggage. Taxis are available at the airport; depending on time of arrival and destination they may cost up to $50. Hire cars are not available (see 'Get Around' below).
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Bermuda receives many visits from cruise ships during the summer months, with most ships operating from the ports of Baltimore, Boston, Bayonne, New York, Norfolk, and Philadelphia on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The same immigration and customs rules apply as for arrival by air (above).
There are three different locations cruise ships may stop at in Bermuda, and some vessels visit more than one of these in a single cruise:
The islands benefit from an excellent and frequent bus service, which connects all parts of the islands to Hamilton. The buses are used equally by locals and visitors. When catching a bus look out for the pink and blue painted poles which denote bus stops; pink indicates buses to Hamilton; blue from Hamilton. Note that buses will not accept passengers with significant luggage.
There are also passenger ferries which ply the waters of Hamilton Harbour and the Great Sound, and are a great way of getting to Somerset and the Dockyard. Transportation passes valid on both buses and ferries are available for unlimited use for periods of 1 to 7 days and cost $12.00-$45.00.
Taxis are another easy way of getting around the islands. They are available at taxi stands on Front St. in Hamilton, at the major hotels or by phone. All taxis are fitted with a meter and charge $4 for first mile plus $1.40 for each subsequent mile.
Until the arrival of the US military during the second world war, cars were entirely banned from the islands. Even now hire cars are banned, and only residents are permitted to own cars. Motorized bicycles or mopeds are available for hire and heavily used by locals and tourists as well. If you wish to use mopeds, rentals are very common and priced competitively, but beware: "Road Rash" is a very common affliction affecting one too many tourists.
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Even if you have no interest in history, take 1/2 a day to visit St. George, a quaint and picturesque town which has barely changed since the 19th century. In fact, the United Nations declared it a World Heritage Site as it is the oldest, continually inhabited British settlement in the New World.
As well, take 1/2 a day to go to the Royal Naval Dockyard. After the loss of its naval bases during the American Revolutionary War, the British Royal Navy relocated the headquarters of its Atlantic Fleet here from 1812 to 1957. The old limestone storage buildings, keep and fortress has been wisely redeveloped by the Bermuda Government into a tourist attraction and shopping centre.
Go to one of Bermuda's lovely pink sand beaches. Horseshoe Bay in Southampton is beautiful, with bathroom facilities, beach rentals, and concessions. Other popular beaches include:
Highly recommded is the Bermuda Maritime Museum in the old keep.
Dolphin Quest - Learn about and swim with the dophins at the beautiful facility at the RN Dockyard (approximately BMD $175 for 30 minute swim).
Because of Bermuda's steep import tax, all goods sold in stores that come from off the island carry a significant markup. Bermuda's currency is the Bermudian dollar, and is broken up into cents. It comes in all the same denominations as US currency, except for a more widely used dollar coin and a two dollar bill. The currency is directly tied to US currency, so USD $1 always equals BMD $1, and US dollars are accepted everywhere in Bermuda at par. Bermudian dollars are not, however, accepted in the United States.
Bermuda has two "national drinks":
Both drinks are compartively very sweet.
Accommodations in Bermuda are very expensive. There are many exclusive and four star accommodations such as:
There are also a wide variety of B&B style accommodations and smaller guestroom hotels (with kitchenettes) such as The Rosemont Hotel and the Oxford Guesthouse. Accommodation is roughly BMD $100 per night.
There are no cheap hotels or hostels in Bermuda.
Bermuda has one college - Bermuda College. http://www.bercol.bm/
Work in Bermuda is never in short supply...for Bermudians. The government would like to keep it that way, and makes it extremely difficult for foreigners to get work permits. For the vast majority of positions, excepting solely merit-based jobs such as corporate executives, the employer must prove that he or she has searched throughout Bermuda to find an employee, without success, before hiring a foreigner. Work permits are issued for a small number of years, after which the search process must be repeated.
The principal language spoken is English. Some Portuguese is also spoken, because of a significant number of immigrants from the Azores.
While violent crimes are rare, petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching does happen, especially during tourist season and when cruise ships are docked. Mopeds are very frequent targets for theft; make sure that you properly lock up any rented moped when leaving them unattended. Using common sense and keeping an eye out is usually sufficient to deter most thieves.
Although it should go without saying, Bermuda can get very hot during the day, meaning a bottle of water is very handy for those venturing more than a short distance from their hotels.
Bermudians are generally very friendly people, and it is considered good manners when greeting someone, whether it be a shop assistant or the Premier, to wish them a Good Morning / Afternoon / Evening, and to do the same when leaving them.