What makes Bermuda a unique country to travel to?
Bermuda is a British overseas territory with a stable democracy and developed economy. Tourist facilities are widely available.
By comparison to the United States, Bermuda has a low to moderate crime rate. Recent crime statistics are available at the official website of the Bermuda Police Service. Valuables left unattended in public areas, in unsecured hotel rooms, or on rental motorbikes are vulnerable to theft. Criminals have been known to target visitors on motorbikes and at popular tourist attractions, and purse snatchings (perpetrated by thieves riding motorbikes) and muggings have occurred in the past. The back streets of the City of Hamilton have been the setting for nighttime assaults, particularly at night after the bars close. Travelers should exercise caution when walking after dark or visiting out-of-the-way places on the island as they can be vulnerable to theft and assault, and because narrow and dark roadways can contribute to accidents.
Travelers should note an increase in gang presence and illegal drug activity in Bermuda. There have been no reports of gang violence targeted towards visitors to Bermuda, although gunfire between gang members has occurred throughout the island.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in Bermuda, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Bermuda, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Bermuda’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Having a prescription for an illegal drug in Bermuda, such as marijuana, will not protect you from prosecution for possession of that illegal drug. Bermuda Customs routinely boards visiting cruise ships with drug sniffing dogs and will arrest persons found to have any illegal drugs in their cabin. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bermuda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and/or heavy fines.
If you are arrested in Bermuda, authorities of Bermuda are required to notifythe U.S. Consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate of your arrest.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Adequate medical care is available for routine procedures, though extremely expensive. The hospital performs general surgery and has an emergency room and intensive care unit. Serious or complex medical programs will likely require medical evacuation to the United States. Most Bermudian health care providers including the local hospital do not accept overseas insurance and will expect payment at the time of service.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Bermuda you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic in Bermuda moves on the left side and the roads are very narrow, often with no defined shoulder. The maximum speed in the city of Hamilton is 25 kph (15 mph) and 35 kph (21 mph) on the rest of the island. Under Bermudian law, non residents are not allowed to own, rent or drive four-wheeled vehicles. Non residents must rely on taxis, the local bus system, or rented motorbikes. Traffic is moderate. Road accidents – particularly involving motorbikes – are common and can result in serious injuries or death.
Rental motorbikes are readily available, and the required helmet is provided. However, visitors should carefully consider the significant risks of riding a motorbike. Motorbikes provide the greatest road peril in Bermuda; local operators tend to abuse the speed limit and will often pass on the left or right side with no warning. Those unfamiliar with driving on the left side are likely to find the roundabouts and regulations for yielding at junctions confusing and dangerous. In addition, vehicles often stop on the side of the road, blocking one lane of traffic. Main roads, while generally in good condition, are extremely narrow and tend to be bordered by heavy vegetation or stone walls. Taxis are readily available. The local bus system serves the length of the island and stops close to most beaches, hotels, the downtown shopping area, and other points of interest. In addition, water ferry service to a variety of stops around the island is available seven days a week and is a very safe and enjoyable mode of transportation.
For specific information concerning Bermuda’s drivers permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Bermuda Department of Tourism offices at 675 Third Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017 Tel: (800)_223-6106.