Bermuda has long been a favorite destination for older travelers, particularly in the wintertime, when golf, ecotours, and cultural programs take center stage. While scores of substantial discounts—on public transport, museums, groceries—are offered to resident seniors, unfortunately these are not available to visitors. However, the island’s moderate temperatures, easygoing lifestyle, and numerous accessible leisure activities make it popular among senior travelers, and costliness is often not a deterrent to this increasingly active and well-heeled demographic.
The best dedicated program for senior travelers to the island is offered by Elderhostel, through the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) (17 Biological Ln., Ferry Reach, St. George’s, tel. 441/297-1880, fax 441/297-8143, www.bios.edu). Based at the station for the past quarter-century, the year-round program includes accommodations, cafeteria-style dining, field trips, lectures, and evening entertainment for $200 a day. Five weeklong courses range from a study of Bermuda homes and gardens to local history and heritage to an inside look at the cutting-edge global “science in Bermuda shorts” that goes on at the world-famous station. There is also a “Walking Bermuda’s Railway Trail” course, in which hostelers take in the flora, fauna, geology, and cultural history of Bermuda along the way—there is also an intergenerational course in which grandparents can sign up with a grandchild for summer snorkeling expeditions. Special-interest groups can design their own programs, and more than one program may be taken consecutively. All participants should be able to walk a mile (longer for the “Walking Bermuda” course), enjoy a long bus tour, and feel comfortable on short, smooth boat trips. Access to the lecture hall and dining area is up a single flight of stairs. To register, contact Elderhostel, 11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111-1746, tel. 617/426-8056.
The November–March period offers a program of daily events geared to visitors of all ages, though these are particularly popular with seniors. Included are glass-blowing demonstrations, bagpipe skirling ceremonies, gombey revues, guided walking tours of Hamilton, St. George’s, and Somerset Village, and historical reenactments in St. George’s. In any season, older travelers who wish to steer clear of scooters should opt for a multiday transportation pass that allows unlimited use of ferries and buses within the designated time frame. One-day, three-day, seven-day, and monthlong passes can be purchased at Visitor Information Centres and the Hamilton Bus or Ferry Terminals.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition