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Hamilton, Bermuda

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Hamilton, Bermuda: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Hamilton?

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Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Hamilton responded:

"Bermuda is friendly and easy to live in. It is very expensive, but also surrounded by beautiful water and scenery. It takes some adjustment to live on an island that is only 22 miles long and about 2 miles wide, with only 62,000 people. The culture is an amalgam of Bermuda, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The island is still affiliated with the UK and has certain traditions that come from that history. There are many organizations on the island to help you meet people, learn the history and culture and take advantage of the many activities available. The International Women's Club of Bermuda has members from all over the world, including Bermudians. There's also a NOMAD visa for those who can continue to work remotely for their employer/business in their home country, but want to live in Bermuda for one year," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

"Bermuda is a beautiful Island, its paradise. Blue water, long summer days with lot's of parties and entertainment. The locals and residents are generally friendly. It is clean and the systems generally work. The biggest downside of Bermuda is the cost of living. It is a very expensive country. Accommodation and food form the largest cost. Private schools are not cheap either," said another expat in living in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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What type of social life can someone expect in Hamilton?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Hamilton, they replied:

"Bermuda is a relatively quiet place to live, not a place with multiple nightclubs or dancing venues," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

"As a small Island with a lot of clubs and you can pick what works for you e.g. expensive or reasonable, night clubs, coffee shops and restaurants etc. Due its size, you tend to see similar faces every time you go out and most people are friendly. As for dating, the pool is limited thus not many options for eligible single partners, but not impossible," said another expat in living in Hamilton, Bermuda.

"Expats come and go, it's important to have friends in different groups so that you always have a circle of contacts," remarked another expat in Hamilton.

"Very friendly locals. Beautiful beaches. This place is paradise, but very expensive," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

What advice to expats in Hamilton have about housing?

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"Expats are not allowed to own property in Bermuda unless its of a certain value which is really expensive. Renting is the only option. Apartments are very expensive and if you get a reasonable price, most likely the apartment is small," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

What are medical services in Hamilton like?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Hamilton, they replied:

"Healthcare is expensive. Some companies bear the insurance cost, but majority you have to pay your portion of insurance. There is co-pay in almost all private doctor visits and services are expensive," said another expat in Hamilton.

What do I need to know about living in Hamilton?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Hamilton, they said:

"Always keep in mind that you are an expat, a visitor in someone else's country. Take the time to understand how things got the way they are before making any judgement. You will make Bermudian friends as these people are extremely generous and outgoing. They all love talking politics and about social context so it is a great opportunity to learn about the history and culture. There are a tons of social events, especially in summer season. Go out and meet people," remarked another expat in Hamilton.

"I would say they had to make sure to get a very good package before even considering coming. Everything here is MASSIVELY expensive. Hold out for the best deal you can, as often, what is first offered is negotiable. Bear in mind that if coming here from the UK, health insurance is mandatory as there is no NHS here, and even the most basic health insurance package is costly. Rents are phenomenal, as are the cost of utilities," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

"It's too expensive. Rent, food and utilities run quite high. There is a lot of political unrest. In spite of all the outward friendliness "good day" to each person you pass on the street there is a lot of underlying tension. If you are not a church goer, or not into sports it is difficult to meet people outside of the work place. It also gets quite damp in the winter. If you are not Bermudian you are considered a threat and an enemy. Drugs and violence have entered this small island," said another expat in Hamilton.

"Don't, unless you have a very good remuneration package, with a housing allowance of at least $2500. You will not be able to rent ANYTHING for less than that, and a decent appartment will cost $5000 up. Everything is VERY expensive, especially food. The island is VERY small, and you will get "island fever" and need to leave periodically. This is also quite expensive as there are no cheap flights off the island. Go and have a look first, and be prepared for culture shock," added another person living in Hamilton.

How do I meet people in Hamilton?

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When we asked people living in Hamilton about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"I came to Bermuda with my wife and our two young daughters. I was working a lot although my wife started socializing through the MAMA group in which she made few very good friends," remarked another expat in Hamilton.

"Golf is a major way of meeting new people on this island as there an abundance of clubs, but be warned, they are expensive if you plan on making yourself a member of one. Otherwise, there is beach volleyball on Elbow Beach, or various other sports like running clubs etc. If you're not into sport, and are male, or a brave female, just turn up at The Hamilton Princess on Friday evenings in summer and get yourself a drink at Happy Hour prices and join the drunken crowds that populate that place. You'll soon meet new friends, only they may not remember meeting you the next day," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

"Defintely not the American Women's Club, they have stopped taking newcomers, don't even advertise any more. Best bet would be church, a sports activity or volunteering," said another expat in Hamilton.

"Women should join the Internation American Women's Club. It isn't just for Americans, and has members from all over the globe, mostly Americans, Brits and Canadians, and some Bermudians. And excellent way of meeting other women and finding out about everything you need to know in order to live on this surprisingly challenging (if beautiful) island. There is also a British Wives group. My advice - take it slowly and don't say anything to anyone you wouldn't want them to repeat," added another person living in Hamilton.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Will I be able to find a job in Hamilton?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Hamilton, they reponded:

"Jobs are mostly in reinsurance and hospitality. Through agencies and contacting companies directly," said another expat in Hamilton.

"There are alot of chefs and waitresses working out there who are mostly expats. Bermudians do not like to work unsociable hours, so do not seem th be interested in these type of jobs. There are also lots of English nanny's and hairdressers. The agencies normally find the staff which the Bermudians can not fill," added another person living in Hamilton.

"Mostly Insurance, Reinsurance, Banking, and Nursing. There are also opportunities for Hairdressers, Beauty Therapists etc. A lot more expats are now from the Phillipines and Asia," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

"Reinsurance and banking. At one time it was tourism, but there is nothing of old beautiful Bermuda left so that has fallen off. Jobs must be secured prior to relocating. Most jobs are for Accountants," said another in Hamilton.

"Banking and insurance and tourism in that order. Lots of unskilled hotel work but very badly paid. Lots of opportunities for hairdressers and beauticians, but also badly paid. Foreigners can't come here and look for work. You need a visa and a job before you come. And there is a limit, quite strictly enforced, as to how long foreigners are allowed to stay - although it does depend on how valuable you are to your company," explained one expat who made the move to Hamilton.

What is life like in Hamilton?

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When we asked people living in Hamilton what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"I found family, religion and social events to be a very high priority to most people. Also, in this country where the cost of living is extremely high, finances (money) is also a priority to many people. Many Bermudians work two or three different jobs to make ends meet and to afford a house. I also found public holidays to be very important social and family events, especially Cup Match (2 day at the end of July, start of August). This one is probably more important than Christmas/NYE," said another expat in Hamilton.

"Life revolves around the company you work for primarily, and the friends you make there through social events. Secondly sports associations (squash, golf etc.) and for ladies the American Women's Club and its events," remarked another in Hamilton.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Hamilton accepting of differences?

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"The is racism in Bermuda. Many do not like expats, but I personally found that the racism was even worse between black and white Bermudians. Still, all expats have their own stories and personally, I did not really experience intense form of racism. In terms of diversity, there are around 10,000 expats in Bermuda from all around the world, with a majority of British, Americans and Canadians. The sentiment Bermudians have towards these people is ambivalent as some think expats take jobs off Bermudians," explained one expat.

"Unfortunately, Bermuda has a real need for expat, or " guest workers " as we are called, due to the island's tiny size and lack of locals to fill the jobs. Trouble is, they DON'T want us and waste no time making you aware of that, by articles in the local paper, The Royal Gazette, or by just plainly saying so. Make no mistake, you are NOT welcome," said another person in Hamilton.

"They are quite diverse. However, they do not embrace their differences, there is a lot of racial tension. The locals really dislike the expats," remarked another expat in Hamilton.

"The blacks and the whites tend not to mix much socially, except perhaps in the churches. There is a quite noticeable level of resentment on the part of the blacks towards the whites, and the politics is uncomfortable at times, although not physically threatening at all," explained one expat living in Hamilton.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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GET A QUOTE

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