Getting there & away
Cruise ships call at Road Town’s harbor on Tortola. One or two ships typically arrive each day during winter, and their passengers quickly overwhelm the small settlement. Many passengers flock via taxis to Cane Garden Bay beach, or else they hop on the ferry to Virgin Gorda to take a look at the Baths.
Smith’s Ferry (494-4454; www.smithsferry.com) and Native Son (495-4617; www.nativesonbvi.com) alternate departure times in traveling from Road Town to downtown Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas, first stopping at West End (round trip US$45, about 60 minutes). Road Town Fast Ferry (494-2323; www.roadtownfastferry.com) makes the trip to Charlotte Amalie direct (round trip US$49, 50 minutes).
Ferries travel from West End (Tortola) to Red Hook (St Thomas) four to five times daily (round trip US$45, 30 minutes) with Native Son (495-4617; www.nativesonbvi.com). Ferries also travel from West End to Cruz Bay (St John) three times daily (round trip US$45, 30 minutes) via Inter-Island (495-4166).
Inter-Island makes limited runs between Jost Van Dyke and Red Hook (St Thomas) via Cruz Bay (St John). Ferries sail the route twice daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (round trip US$50, 45 minutes). Inter-Island also operates between Virgin Gorda and Red Hook (St Thomas) via Cruz Bay (St John), with service once daily on Thursday and Sunday (round trip US$60, 75 minutes).
Everyone needs a passport to enter the BVIs; some nationalities also need a visa. Officials might ask to see a return ticket and proof of funds, though that’s rare. It can take a half hour or so to clear customs. There’s no reason why, other than it’s just a slow-moving process. If you’re arriving on a ferry from the USVIs, you’ll clear through a customs house (494-3864; www.bviports.org) near the dock; there are customs houses in Road Town and West End on Tortola, and on Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.
The BVIs have three airports. Terrence B International Lettsome Airport (EIS; 494-3701) is the BVIs’ main airport; it’s a modern facility at Beef Island, off Tortola. Virgin Gorda Airport (VIJ; 495-5621) is a small facility with a restaurant, and Captain Auguste George Airport is a tiny facility on Anegada for charter flights.
There are no direct flights to the BVIs from the USA, Canada or Europe. Flights connect through hubs in the Caribbean, usually via Puerto Rico, St Thomas or Antigua. Some airlines flying to/from the BVIs:
Air Sunshine (495-8900, 888-879-8900; www.airsunshine.com) San Juan
American Eagle (495-2559, 800-433-7300; www.aa.com) San Juan
Cape Air (495-2100, 800-352-0714; www.flycapeair.com) San Juan
LIAT (340-774-2313; www.liatairline.com) Antigua