After greater than two years, Bermuda has lifted its strict COVID-19 rules for international arrivals.
Until now, all visitors had to indicate a negative pre-departure test, and unvaccinated travellers also needed to take a test 4 days after arrival.
As of today, Bermuda has dropped its requirement for pre-departure testing, arrival testing, and day-four testing. Nevertheless, unvaccinated visitors must still provide proof of medical insurance that covers COVID medical expenses. All visitors must also apply for a Travel Authorisation, but there are plans to drop this requirement soon.
Why Bermuda needs to be in your travel bucket list
With its iconic pink sand beaches and teeming reefs, Bermuda is a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers from the US, Canada and Europe. In 2019, tourist spending brought €560 million to the island. With COVID restrictions in place, this plummeted to €72m in 2020.
Despite dwindling visitor numbers, Bermuda’s tourism industry didn’t rest in the course of the pandemic. Recent hotels, including St Regis Bermuda, cropped up while grande dame Cambridge Beaches took the chance to have a multi-million-dollar facelift.
The island also became more accessible than ever. In 2021, British Airways’ London to Bermuda service switched from Gatwick to Heathrow, meaning more connections with Europe.
With direct flights from London taking seven hours, and a time difference of just 4 hours (UTC -3), Bermuda is tempting for holidaymakers wanting a tropical beach escape – and even those in search of a beach-based workation. The island’s Work from Bermuda scheme permits you to stay and work remotely on the island for as much as 12 months.
Able to soak in island life? Here’s why it’s best to head to Bermuda in 2022 and 2023.
Need to travel more sustainably? Bermuda has you covered
Sustainability is a hot topic for travel in 2023 – and it’s baked into Bermudan culture
“We were already fascinated by sustainability before other destinations needed to,” says Tracy Berkeley, interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “There’s such a respect for the island,” she adds.
At just over 53 km-squared, the island have to be fastidiously regulated to protect its limited land mass and delicate marine ecosystem – not to say the natural beauty that sustains its tourism industry.
Beyond their status as a visitor attraction, Bermuda’s reefs provide priceless protection against coastal erosion and flooding by acting as natural breakwaters. The island is heavily invested in protecting the reefs’ ecosystem by banning fish pots and spearfishing, protecting parrotfish against fishing, and curbing invasive species equivalent to lionfish with an annual hunting ‘derby’.
No-wake zones are also in place to guard the island’s green turtles from fast paced boats and jet skis. Once hunted for his or her meat and thought of endangered, their population is now thriving.
Most recently, the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) drafted a plan to designate 20 per cent of Bermuda’s waters as fully protected marine protected areas, supporting sustainable fisheries management goals.
Nowhere are Bermuda’s conservation efforts more pronounced than Nonsuch Island. A 60-year rewilding project has restored the island’s wildlife to a ‘pre-colonisation’ state. It now shelters several critically endangered species, including the Bermuda petrel or ‘cahow’, which is being brought back after greater than 300 years of getting been thought extinct.
Though Nonsuch is closed to public access, the Bermuda Railway Trail offers a nature escape for hikers and cyclists. The railway was opened within the Nineteen Thirties after cars were banned for fear they might deter tourists in search of peace and quiet. Now abandoned, its scenic 30-kilometre route offers top-of-the-line ways to explore the island.
Though cars are not any longer banned, gas automobile rentals aren’t permitted on the island and residents are only allowed one automobile per family or household. Electric cars can be found to rent – though be mindful of the 35kph speed limit.
Divers are drawn to Bermuda’s underwater caves and shipwrecks
These careful conservation efforts have made Bermuda a paradise for divers.
Often called the ‘Shipwreck Capital of the Atlantic’, the island’s submerged vessels provide habitat for an abundance of marine life. A minimum of 300 wrecks are scattered across the island, probably the most iconic of which is Mary Celestia.
The 225-foot US Confederate Army steamer sank in 1864 while attempting to break the Union’s blockade of the South in the course of the American Civil War (Bermuda sits slightly below 1,400km off the coast of North Carolina). Intact bottles of wine, perfume and cologne were found on board as recently as 2011.
Ringed by 320 square kilometres of protected coral reefs, Bermuda has no shortage of natural habitats for marine life, too. Expect to see blue angelfish, parrotfish, spiny lobster and trumpetfish – and don’t miss the so-called ‘Cathedral’, a spectacular underwater cavern where lobsters, schools of snapper and parrotfish hide. When you’re lucky, it’s possible you’ll even encounter humpback whales.
Bermuda also advantages from a more temperate climate than its neighbours to the south within the Caribbean. This shields its corals from mass bleaching events brought on by rising ocean temperatures.
To learn concerning the island’s wealthy marine habitats on dry land, head to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for interactive exhibits and history on the infamous Bermuda Triangle.