British Virgin Islands Travel Information


Country: British Virgin Islands

Language: English

Time zone: GMT-4

Currency: US$

Population: 24,900

Culinary favorite: BBQ’d lobster

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Travel Information

Need to know how warm it will be, what the time zone is and how gratuity is handled. Our handy list will give you a little bit of advance information to travel in the British Virgin Islands.

Average air temperatures

A sub tropical climate maintains even temperatures throughout the year. Temperatures range from 21-30°C (69-86°F). You can expect the hotter temperatures from June to September.

Average water temperatures

The azure waters are warm year-round, ranging from 26°C (79°F) in December though to May and 29°C (84°F) from June to November.

Wind and sea

The Caribbean Sea offers consistent easterly winds from December through June, known as the Christmas trade winds. You can expect 10-15mph winds that build in the afternoon and subside at sunset. The seas in smaller protected island chains such as the British Virgin Islands tend to have a wave height of less than one-meter. Tides are minimal in the Caribbean ranging between 10-50cm.

International airport

Terrance B. Lettsome previously known as Beef Island airport.

How to get to BVI from North America

San Juan, Puerto Rico is the main routing for passengers destined to the BVI. American Airlines is the biggest carrier with ongoing service from there to Tortola Beef Island with American Eagle. Several other airlines also fly the route and LIAT and Cape Air have service from San Juan to Tortola. Beef Island is to the east of Tortola, the two islands are connected by the Queen Elizabeth bridge. The alternative route is to fly direct to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and then take the ferry to West End or Road Town Tortola. You can catch the ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie or the Eastern end of St Thomas at Red Hook. The last ferry departs St Thomas at about 4:30pm so you need to arrive early enough to make your connection. There are three main ferry companies that run between St. Thomas and Tortola some are: Smiths Ferries (the blue boat): www.bviferryservices.com Native Son (the green boat): www.nativesonferry.com Tortola Fast Ferry (the catamaran): www.roadtownfastferry.com

How to get to BVI from within Europe

There are no direct flights to the British Virgin Islands from Europe. All flights connect through another Caribbean airport such as Antigua, St Thomas (US Virgin Island), Puerto Rico, St Kitts or St Maarten followed by a connecting flight to Beef Island Tortola. British Airways offers a daily scheduled service from Gatwick to Antigua and Virgin Atlantic fly from Gatwick to Antigua Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

National Park permit for charter yachts

$25.00 per boat/week (4 persons)

$35.00 per boat/week (6 persons)

$45.00 per boat/week (8 persons)

$55.00 per boat/week (10 persons)

Each additional person pays $5.00/week

Cruising tax for charter yachts

$2.00 per person/per day during winter (peak season)

$0.75 per person/per day during summer season (low season)

Crime

BVI is safe and tourists don’t need to be too concerned with safety. Petty theft and violence is almost non-existent on the islands.

Travel visa

There are no travel visas required by North American, European or Australian visitors to the British Virgin Islands with 30 days granted upon arrival. Guests traveling from outside North America or Europe or not holding valid US, Canadian, European or Australian passports, must check with their nearest Consulate. You require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay to enter the British Virgin Islands as well as a return ticket.

Vaccinations, insurance and health

It is advisable to check that your tetanus shot is up to date and a certificate of vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A and B is recommended (but not compulsory) to all travellers. A yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for travellers coming from zones known as infected.

Road Town’s Peebles General Hospital is the only major medical facility on the British Virgin Islands and provides free emergency care to anyone who needs it. United Kingdom citizens who are young children or over 69 years of age are also entitled to free medical care on the BVI. However, most other health care services can be expensive, especially for those requiring transportation to Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, or the mainland United States. It is advisable to purchase medical and cancellation/interruption insurance when traveling abroad on adventurous holidays.

Time Zone

GMT -4 hours

Currency

The currency used in the British Virgin Islands is the US Dollar USD. ATM cash machines are available on Tortola but once you head into the islands they are harder to find so it is wise to carry USD cash with you. Credit cards can be used for shopping at most islands. The most well known are MasterCard (EuroCard) and Visa and AMEX.

Voltage aboard/ashore

On shore:110/220v North American plug so North American can use appliances without an adaptor.

On yacht: Generally, the power supply aboard yachts is 12V DC by cigarette adapter so an AC anywhere cigarette 12 volt inverter device is a handy thing to pack if you wish to charge at all times. Yachts can also offer power from yacht electrical sockets when connected to shore power. The power supply will then be the same as on shore power.

Provisioning

The main supermarket, Riteway is found on Tortola. European imports are heavily taxed so you can expect to pay more than at home. Once in the islands it is more difficult to purchase supplies with smaller limited stores only available.

Telephone and internet services

The British Virgin Island’s country code is +1284. Many hotels and resorts have direct dialling facilities (IDD), and card phones are available in post offices and stores, the local mobile network is Digicel. More and more restaurants and cafes are now offering wifi services.

Service customs and gratuity

As in the United States it is customary to leave a gratuity. In restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, tip service staff and bartenders 15% to 20% of the check, tip checkroom attendants $1 per garment, and tip valet-parking attendants $1 per vehicle. Tip cabdrivers and other service providers 15% of the fare or bill.

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