I’m just finishing up a five-day trip to the island outpost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and I’m left with two main thoughts. First, I just don’t get the shorts with dress shoes and socks pulled up to the knee thing. Second, damn was that place expensive. The good news for me is that my expenses were covered since it was a work trip. And I found a couple gems that would help keep costs low were I to return on my own dime. But overall the cost of living in Bermuda is incredibly high. I’m stuck wondering just how the vast majority of the citizens afford to do so.
I understand that it is expensive to import just about everything to an island 700 miles off the nearest coast. There is very little local food being produced so that doesn’t help things either (though I did stumble across a farm at one point). And I’m quite sure that my cost sensibilities are skewed from life in New York City, but I’d think that such a bias would make things seem not as bad. I’d be wrong. A typical breakfast sandwich ranged in price from $4-8, and that is a takeaway sandwich from a greasy spoon (or as close as they get in Bermuda), not a sit-down place. Typical pasta dishes at the Italian place running $20 and up were about $5-10 high, at least, even for an “expensive” meal based on the quality. And we didn’t even eat in the best restaurants; I’m scared to think what those would cost.
The free internet service in the airport (pretty good performance, too) is subsidized by a corporate sponsor, Audemars Piguet, maker of luxury watches. I paid the same amount to rent a moped that I did two weeks ago for a minivan in Florida (though I wouldn’t want a full size car in Bermuda – not practical at all, plus they aren’t available to rent even if you want to.). A BLT sandwich at lunch was $16, though at least it had avocado to help justify that cost a wee bit.
And yet there are the vast majority of the folks living on the island who aren’t all that wealthy (or at least they do not appear to be). I’m sure that there are restaurants outside of Hamilton that are more reasonably priced. And I’m sure that the groceries out of town are a bit better, too. Most of the locals live out of town a bit so they at least have a fighting chance. At least we found a sushi place in town that was comparably priced to NYC (and pretty good, too; Yashi is the place).
But it is crazy expensive to be a visitor there.
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