Bermudians drive on the left and car rentals aren't allowed, leaving visitors with the options of mopeds, bikes, taxis, ferries and the cotton-candy pink bus system. Sure, those scooters are cute and you'll be tempted to rent one, but we suggest thinking twice if you're a newbie. The roads are narrow and winding, and you'll find yourself spending a good deal of time getting out of the way of speeding locals who don't care whether they pass on the left or right -- to say nothing of that cumbersome left-side driving detail.
If your mind is made up to take a scooter, you should still consider a taxi for evening outings and rainy days. You don't need a driver's license, but you do need a helmet and insurance (the rental company includes both in the rental fee). You also must be over the age of 16. Ask about multi-day prices (about $60 for two days, $81 for three); otherwise, plan on $38 for a one-day rental (scooters built for two will run $55-$65). Rentals are available from Oleander Cycles on York Street. Conventional bikes (livery cycles to the locals) are rentable for about $20 a day at just a few shops throughout the island (contact Oleander for the closest location carrying livery types) -- but since Bermuda is known for its steep hills, it might prove to be a bit of a challenge. If you don't want to splurge on renting a bike helmet, bring one from home.
The pink buses travel along all major roadways making stops every 15 minutes, except Sundays and holidays when it's every hour or not at all on some routes -- and it's really not a bad way to sightsee. That's the good news. The bad news is they'll eat into the time you have on the island. Using the Orange Route buses, the trip to Hamilton takes an hour -- though an express bus will cut the time by 20 minutes. You'll need exact change in coins (or tokens) for the fare box (St. George's to Hamilton, for example, is $4, ages 5 - 16, $2, under five, free). Transportation Passes for one or three days are also available for unlimited use for all zones for $12 and $28, respectively. For $2, hop on the year-round St. George's Mini-Bus from 7:30 a.m. to midnight for getting around St. George Parish and St, David's Island. They leave from King's Square -- but you can flag them down along the roadway.
Time-saving ferries crisscross the Great Sound between St. George's and Hamilton (1 3/4 hours) and King's Wharf (1 hour) for $4 (kids pay $1), but cash is no longer accepted. Tokens are available at the Hamilton Ferry Terminal, the Hamilton Visitors Service Bureau and the Central Terminal, also in Hamilton. Take mopeds and bikes onboard for routes for an additional $4. Schedules are posted at the landing.
Taxis are plentiful but pricy (the first drop is $4.50). If you want to use one for sightseeing, we suggest taking ones that have blue flags on their hoods. That means the driver is government-qualified. Fares increase by 25 percent between midnight and 6 a.m., Sundays and holidays. There is a taxi stand in King's Square, close to Water Street and the Cruise Ship Terminal.
Note: The Visitors Service Bureau in King's Square (Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is where to get bus tokens and Transportation Passes, maps and other information before setting out. Also available here is the Heritage Pass, priced at $25 per person, which gives you access to six cultural attractions within a 7-day period: the Bermuda National Gallery, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, Bermuda Maritime Museum, Bermuda National Trust, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute and all forts.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Legal tender is the Bermuda dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. BD$1 = US$1. U.S. currency is normally accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels, but currency from Britain, Canada and other foreign countries is not. Exchanging money is easy, whether it's at an ATM or a bank. The Bank of Bermuda and Bank of Butterfield are in St. George's, open Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Both have ATMs. For more currency exchange information, visit www.oanda.com.
Note: Bank of Bermuda's ATMs can only take four digit-PINs.