How To Get To The British Virgin Islands – A Comprehensive Guide
Pro Tip: Inquire with us right now and ask for a crewed yacht with St Thomas pickup and dropoff! Get flights to St Thomas and avoid reading this comprehensive and extremely informative article on how to get to your charter in the British Virgin Islands – this is by far the easiest way (the catch – limited availability).
Over the past 3 decades, the number of arrivals to “Nature’s Little Secret” has doubled multiple times over. In recent years, we’ve been faced with a massification of tourism – places like White Bay have turned into loud and crowded areas. This is just our whining, you want to come – what’s important – don’t be a tourist, be a traveler. A respectful visitor looking to take only memories and leave behind only footprints in the sand.
The archipelago of the British Virgin Islands has long been renowned as one of the most beautiful collections of isles and cays anywhere in the world. Each of the more than 60 separate landfalls nestled among the surrounding deep blue Caribbean waters has its own distinct texture and character. As a visitor to the BVI, you’ll discover a friendly reception, incomparable beauty, and endless adventure. Boring? Let’s move on!
Getting to the British Virgin Islands:
Fly in to STT before 2pm and take a water taxi/ferry. Fly out from EIS or STT. If you’re flying from STT and your charter ends on Saturday DO NOT FLY OUT on Saturday. Ferries are notoriously late – you’ll miss your flight and will splash out on water taxi, missing your flight anyways. Fly out on Sunday. Ask us about private flights. Explanations below.
There is 1 good and 3 possible options to fly to the BVI:
1. Most Popular – Fly to St Thomas and take a ferry/water taxi
Why is that better than flying directly? STT is a relatively large international airport with a lot of flights – the fare is likely to be half of EIS. The process is smoother and as a word of advice – the BVI immigration authorities at the airport “have a reputation.”
Pro Tip: Flights landing after 2pm are cheaper because you won’t get a ferry to Tortola (last one leaving 4-ish). Use it if you plan to check out St Thomas overnight.
2. Flying directly to the BVI to EIS – Beef Island Tortola
The number of flights is increasing. Apart from San Juan (PR), there is a number of flights to/from Miami and other Caribbean locations. Not many travelers choose this option.
The British Virgin Islands’ main airport is the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (EIS). Commercial Flight to Tortola or St. Thomas is popular as various airlines serve the BVI’s airports. When booking air travel, request flights to Tortola or use the airport code EIS. The airport code for the Virgin Gorda Airport is VIJ.
In the recent years, the number of commercial flights to the BVI has increased- you can now fly from Miami and … waiting for more to be filled here
3. Flying in to Virgin Gorda
You can fly to Virgin Gorda from multiple locations, most frequented are the flights from Puerto Rico – San Juan
+4. Private charter flights :
The British Virgin Islands are ideal for taking advantage of charter flights for your initial arrival and inter-island aviation. A private jet is a great solution for people looking for a variety of places and who choose comfort, convenience, and privacy.
Private jet charters offer direct flights to the BVI’s airports, such as the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Tortola or the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. With a private jet, you can skip the hassle of commercial airports and enjoy a stress-free start to your yacht charter vacation.
Inquire with us for a yacht charter to unlock special rates.
Monarch Air Group offers private charter flights to the British Virgin Islands. The choice depends on the number of passengers, flight duration, and amenities. Midsize and super-midsize private jets cost $4,200 to $8,100 per flight hour, and heavy jets cost $7,200 to $17,800 for occasional travel.
If you’re arriving by sea, ports of entry are in Road Town and the West End on Tortola, Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, and Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda.
There are several scheduled ferry services:
- Roadtown: Road Town Fast Ferry offers a more efficient option than other ferries by providing a direct route from Tortola to St Thomas, avoiding the potential 45-minute delay of detouring through St Johns. This fast ferry service runs seasonal trips on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and selected Sundays at the Roadtown-Charlotte Amalie route- leaving at 8:00 AM and returning at 4:50 PM. For Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the ferry covers Roadtown – Anegada route- leaving Roadtown at 6:45 AM and 3: 30 PM and reaching back at 9:20 AM and 6:15 PM.
- Smith’s: Smith’s ferry provides daily service between Tortola and Virgin Gorda, bi-weekly service to Anegada, and charter service to all of the outer islands- including St Kitts and St Martin. Depending on the day, season, and flight schedule, the departure time from Roadtown and Charlotte Amalie changes, which can be checked through the website.
- Speedy’s: Speedy’s is the perfect ferry service for visitors who want to buy tickets on the spot and have a flexible schedule. The ferry takes the Virgin Gorda-Roadtown route on Monday-Saturday, departing at 7 AM,6 AM, 10 AM, 11:30 AM, and 3:30 AM. There are trips from Virgin Gorda to Beef Island– departing from 6 AM, 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 3 PM, 5:30 PM, and 8 PM. Additional trips covering St. Thomas and Charlotte Amalie can be found on the website.
Prices for a round ferry trip range from $120-$160 per person, excluding luggage fees. It is a relatively short hop from one island cluster to the other, ranging from 30 to 75 minutes of traveling time, and most ferry services offer frequent daily trips.
All vessels-even superyacht charter- and passengers must clear Customs and Immigration immediately upon arrival, and a valid passport and boat registration papers will be required. The U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are, in essence, different countries, so transfer between them is considered international travel.
With the formalities out of the way, you’ll be in great shape to begin charting the incredible seas of the BVI Islands.
By Water Taxi
Pro Tip: go to https://vi-bvi-water-taxi.com and inquire, you’ll be contacted by multiple companies
Pro Tip: Get a quote to the closest point on land you can get – West End instead of Road Town. You’ll need a land taxi anyway – this saves you hundreds of $ and time++.
This is perhaps the best option, especially for charter groups who do not wish to wait for scheduled ferry travel. There is a multitude of water taxi operator services from St. Thomas (in the U.S. Virgin Islands) to the BVI islands:
- Ocean Dreams: Ocean Dreams water taxi service operates transfers from Charlotte Amalie (near the airport) or Red Hook Area (Sapphire Marina) with vessels as large as 71 feet. The one-way private water taxi transfer (for a group of 6) from Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay costs $1200, including the docking fees. So, this 30-minute sail costs $200/person and is subject to weather conditions. You can also rent Ocean Dreams for Red Hook to Cruz Bay; this 15-minute sail costs $300 for 6 people- meaning $50 per person.
- Dolphin Taxi: The fare for the STT (St. Thomas) airport transfer to Red Hook is $19 per individual. Dolphin’s chauffeur will greet passengers at baggage claim, and the trip takes 30 minutes. Drop-offs and pickups occur at the National Park Visitors Center for the journey from Red Hook to Cruz Bay (an additional $10 per person for Westin drop-offs). The travel time is approximately 15-20 minutes, costing $59.
- Chillout Charters: The route from American Yacht Harbour (Red Hook, St. Thomas) to Nanny Cay costs $960 for a group of 6 people and a fixed price of $630 for 5 or fewer passengers. Chillout Charters provides 10% discounts for a round trip; a round trip with 8 passengers costs $1280, including all fees. Another popular water taxi drop-off/pick-up choice is Crown Bay Marina, Charlotte Amalie, which is a 5-minute drive from the airport. It will cost $360 from Nanny Cay each way- meaning if you are taking a round trip, it will cost $720 more than the regular round trip package. This option is weather-dependent, and if the waters are rough, Chillout Charters may switch to Red Hook. One-way Trip Summary (Red Hook to Nanny Cay – processing fees inclusive) 6 pax = $960, 8 pax = $1,270, 10 pax = $1,580.
American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook is the most common St. Thomas pick-up location. Why? Because it’s closest on a straight line, saving distance navigate.
Red Hook is roughly a 30-minute taxi ride from St. Thomas airport. From there, the water taxi option can get you to Tortola or any surrounding islands, such as Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Scrub Island, Peter Island, or Guana Island.
Most of the water taxi operators can pick you up and take you directly dock side to your charter yacht company, a yacht at anchor, a hotel, or a villa. They will take care of all the BVI Customs and Immigration paperwork while you relax on board with a cold drink in your hand. This makes for a very smooth, fast, and relaxing transfer. Yachts for charter ensure zero waiting periods in queues while boarding the busy, crowded public ferries or long customs and immigration lines.
Water taxis are pricier than scheduled ferry services. It can go as high as the $200 mark per group, depending on the pickup and drop points, group size, times, etc.
Hotels in the BVI Islands
There is a multitude of stylish, luxury accommodation options in the BVI. Below is just an indicative selection based on our experience and that of our guests.
Nanny Cay Hotel in Tortola is nestled in a tropical oasis garden setting in the heart of Tortola’s favorite marina. Room rates for double rooms range from $140-$225 per night in low seasons and $170-$250 in high season.
Sebastian’s On The Beach in Tortola is situated right on the beach. With a wonderful restaurant that features a fusion of Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine, the deluxe suites of this hotel go around the $145-$235 mark.
Rosewood at Little Dix Bay is a dreamy resort on a huge beach, with four diverse restaurants, spas, fitness centers, and other luxury amenities to wallow in. This luxury resort’s rooms, suites, and villas have a starting price of $895, which reaches up to $3600 during peak season (December).
Hotels in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Olga’s Fancy in St. Thomas is in historic Frenchtown, close to downtown and convenient for Charlotte Amalie. A favorite of crewed yacht charter people, each lovingly decorated and bright guest room -priced from $119 to $ 230- has a fabulous panoramic view of the bustling Harbor, Hassel, and Water Islands, and all the way to St. Croix on the horizon.
The Buccaneer in St. Croix, features a golf course, tennis courts, a spa, many shopping opportunities, and several fine dining options. However, these amenities come with a hefty price- room charges are $476-$2168, depending on the season.
Secret Harbour Beach Resort is possibly the best beachfront resort in St. Thomas, situated on the quiet east end. It features spacious beachfront and hillside apartment-style accommodations with personal outdoor space and a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, watersports rentals, boating excursions, scuba diving, tennis, fitness center, and more. The prices start from $327 and reach a maximum of $588 during peak season (December).
Yacht charters in the British Virgin Islands
With beautiful isles, a lively party atmosphere, and a genuine Caribbean welcome from the locals, The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are the ideal location for a luxury yacht charter vacation. The islands, locally known as “Nature’s little secrets,” are easily the best yachting vacation in the Caribbean and arguably one of the best in the world. Warm weather year-round, consistent trade winds and line-of-sight navigation make the BVI a sailor’s paradise.
This beautiful country comprises over 60 islands and mostly unspoiled cays, with fabulous white sand beaches, plentiful marine life, crystal clear waters, and a relaxed island vibe. There are the spectacular boulders of Virgin Gorda and the picturesque village and beaches of Jost van Dyke, along with the diversity and seclusion of the other 40 sister islands, islets, and cays.
There is no better way to explore the delights of the BVI than by brand new charter yachts comprised of the latest motor yachts and sailing yachts. Yacht charter companies in the BVI often provide pickup services from St. Thomas, where a representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your awaiting yacht. This eliminates the hassle of navigating public transportation or finding a taxi, ensuring a stress-free start to your yacht charter experience. As there are plenty of islands to hop on, yacht charter experts cater personalized itineraries for the guests. The area offers sheltered waters with minimal tidal currents, few unmarked hazards, excellent navigation aids, and short hops to new destinations.