En español | We cruise past Skittle-colored houses, turquoise water and lush green shrubs dotted with bright pink hibiscus. I snap pictures from the back seat and let my husband. J.P., acclimate to Bermuda’s narrow, winding streets and other-side-of-the-road driving. There are stares and the occasional friendly toot as we tool around the island: The navy-and-pink Twizy we’re in demands attention.
The Renault Twizy, an electric minicar, feels like a cross between a golf cart and a scooter. It’s a four-wheeled, covered vehicle, but the passenger rides behind the driver with legs on either side of the driver’s seat. In late 2016 the Bermuda legislature gave tourists the thumbs up to rent the bug-eyed, bulbous-shaped vehicles, giving visitors, who are not allowed to rent cars, a personal transportation option beyond mopeds.
On a bright July morning, our Twizy is delivered to our hotel, the Loren at Pink Beach, which is equipped with a battery-charging station for electric cars. We decide J.P. will drive, and he gets a quick tutorial, which is pretty straightforward, given the vehicle's bare-bones interior.
There’s an ignition slot, turn signals, lights, wipers, a button to select drive, neutral or reverse, and a simple electronic display that shows your speed and charge level. There’s a Bluetooth speaker, but no radio, charging ports or AC. There’s also no trunk, pockets or cubbies to stow anything, so after I climb into the back, J.P. hands me our towels and a small bag of sunscreen and other supplies, which I hold in my lap.
We tootle around Harrington Sound and meander — the Twizy tops out at about 50 mph, but Bermuda’s speed limit keeps us closer to 20 — our way to the Crystal Caves, a subterranean cave with dramatic formations of stalactites and stalagmites. While we wait for our tour to begin, we have a coffee on the patio and watch other visitors circle around the Twizy curiously.
When we emerge from the underground tour, the sky has turned gray and a light rain dribbles down. J.P. opens the scissor doors, which lift straight up, and we realize the car’s no-frills approach extends to windows — there are none. But as we head toward Tobacco Bay on the northern edge of the fish-hook-shaped island, we stay completely dry.
With its clear, shallow water, Tobacco Bay is a popular spot for snorkeling. We opt for a Dark ’n’ Stormy under an umbrella at the bar and watch a group of local kids plunge into the water from the 15-foot-tall columns of limestone rocks that separate the bay from the ocean.
The rain stops and we head toward St. George, the first permanent settlement on the island. J.P. easily slides the Twizy into a small parking spot and we wander the cobblestone streets to King’s Square, the main center that features replicas of old stocks and a whipping station.
After a lunch of fish tacos at Wahoo’s Bistro, we walk across the street to St. Peter’s Church, which is believed to be the oldest continuously used Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere. With exposed cedar beams, rough wooden pillars and candlelit chandeliers, it has a simple beauty. The church’s graveyard, which includes a walled-off area once reserved for black slaves, offers a fascinating glimpse into life on the island.
We study a map and decide to head to Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, a secluded, out-of-the-way reserve on the eastern edge of the island. After being occupied by the U.S. military during World War II and then NASA in the 1960s, it was reopened to the public in 2011. As we reach the edge of the reserve, the on-again-off-again rain ends its indecision and it begins to pour. We turn around and on our drive back to the hotel are occasionally pinged with rain through the open windows. We pass soaked tourists on mopeds, and neither of us complains.
Back at our hotel we plug in our minicar and decide the Twizy — safer and drier than a scooter — was the perfect way to explore the island for a day.
Where to Stay
The Loren at Pink Beach and the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club are two beautiful, high-end properties where you can rent minicars (you can also find them at other hotels or rent them through Current Vehicles).
For accommodations that are a little less pricey, try the Reefs Resort & Club: Located on the western side of Bermuda, it has a gorgeous beach.
Where to Eat
Art Mel’s Spicy Dicey. Bermuda is known for its fish sandwichs and Art Mel’s are by far the most famous.
Woody’s. This roadside stand is known for its fish sandwich served on raisin bread toast.
Wahoo’s. This St. George spot serves island fare like Bermuda fish chowder. Be sure to snag a seat on the waterfront patio.
Village Pantry. This charming restaurant in the Flatts Village, about 10 minutes outside of Hamilton, features health-conscious fare that includes Poke bowls, flatbreads and vegetarian options.