Travel Tips & Information

Travel Tips for the British Virgin Islands

© dta Travel Tips

The reason the BVI remains one of ‘Nature’s Little Secrets’ is due, in no small part, to the fact that there are no direct flights to the islands from either the US, Canada, South America or Europe.

All flights to the BVI must connect through another Caribbean airport such as San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Kitts or St. Maarten/St. Martin.

The BVI’s main airport - the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (airport code EIS) is located on Beef Island, a small island that is linked to Tortola by a road bridge.

If you are making your reservations to the BVI on the Internet, remember to request flights to ‘Tortola’ or type the airport code, which is EIS.

If you are travelling on to Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Peter Island, or Jost van Dyke - check with your hotel, resort or villa to make sure that a charter flight or ferry service will be available if you arrive after 4pm.

The most direct way to arrive to in the BVI is via San Juan, Puerto Rico (airport code SJU). A very frequent, and usually reliable, connecting service is offered by American Eagle. You can also fly with Caribbean Sun, Cape Air, and Liat.

If you arrive via St. Thomas, you can either arrange a charter flight to Tortola, Virgin Gorda or Anegada or you can take one of the frequent ferries that travel between downtown Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook, St. Thomas and Tortola. This can be a great way to arrive in the BVI – as you feel as if your holiday has started early when you sit on the top deck of the ferry watching St John, Jost Van Dyke and Little Thatch pass by before you arrive in Tortola.

Getting to the ferry is very easy - just take a taxi from St. Thomas Airport and tell the taxi driver that you need to take the next ferry to Tortola. When you arrive, purchase your ticket from the company in the ticket hall that has a ferry leaving at the most convenient time to you.

Don’t forget that ferries from St. Thomas to Tortola only operate during daylight hours - so the last ferry is usually around 5pm. You may need to make arrangements to stay the night in St. Thomas and catch the ferry the next morning. Ferry service starts at around 7:30am.

The following companies provide ferry service between St. Thomas and Tortola if you want to contact them directly prior to your arrival in St. Thomas:

Smiths Ferries 284-495-4495
Native Son 284-495-4617
Road Town Fast Ferry 284-494-2323

Travellers from the UK (from London, Gatwick) and Canada may find it easiest to travel directly to Antigua and then take a connecting flight to Tortola on Liat, Caribbean Star or Caribbean Sun.

Limited service is also available from St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Kitts, and Barbados.

Charter Airline Service can be arranged from almost anywhere in the Caribbean. The following charter airlines provide service between the BVI and many Caribbean destinations:

# Air Sunshine Inc 284-495-8900

# Bohlke International Airways 340-778-9177

# Caribbean Wings 284-495-6000

# Flight Adventures International Ltd. 284-495-2311

# Fly BVI Ltd. 284-495-1747

# Island Birds 284-495-2002

# Island Helicopter Int 284-499-2663

Entry Requirements for the British Virgin Islands

For a US & Canadian citizen a passport is preferred however you may also use an original birth certificate accompanied by a valid photo ID such as a driver's license. However, be aware that from December 31, 2006 as a result of the US government’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires all US citizens to re-enter the United States with passports, passports will be required by all visitors entering the Territory.

European citizens need a valid passport to enter the British Virgin Islands. However visitors that are residents of certain countries, require a visa in order to enter the BVI. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest BVI Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy, or contact the Chief Immigration Department, BVI Government at Tel: (284) 494-3471 or 468-3701 ext. 4700.

Caribbean citizens from some islands may need to obtain a visa to visit the British Virgin Islands. Visitors from these Caribbean islands need to have a visa in order to enter the BVI. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest BVI Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy, or contact the Chief Immigration Department, BVI Government at Tel: (284) 494-3471 or 468-3701 ext. 4700.

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