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British Virgin Islands (BVI) – General Overview

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) provides every type of traveler with a variety of things to do. They are made up of 60 plus islands making it a destination for fishing, sailing, sun soaking, and romantic getaways. However, it is not a stop for the cost-conscious.

The Islands fall into two types 1) flat coral islands and 2) steep volcanic islands. There are outstanding beaches, incredible views, and romantic wedding possibilities. BVI’s most popular islands are Tortola, Virgin gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Beef Island, Great Camanoes, Little Camanoe, Peter island, Norman island, Saba Rock, Necker Island, Little Thatch, Cooper Island, and Salt Island.

Most Popular Beaches

Virgin Gorda – Is surrounded by giant boulders, some as big as houses. You can climb between them to swim in pools or follow the shore north to more private quieter bays. The island is 8 ½ miles long and the third largest in the island chain. There are many restaurants on the beach and the Copper Mine is near by. Plan on the lingering lifestyle to take hold of you!

Tortola – Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, or horseback riding take place on the deep blue waters of Tortola. This is the largest of the BVI’s, and is the hub of the chain. Accommodations range from beach cottages to plush posh hotels. There are many shops along the beach as well as restaurants.

Anegada – Many years ago ships were lost on this treacherous reef that provides today’s visitors something to remember. They are home to exotic fish and are a paradise for underwater lovers. The island is made of coral sand, is the home of the best Caribbean lobster! There are small hotels and guest houses along the south shore and plenty of shad to enjoy the drinks of the local pub.

Traveler Facts

Travel & Transportation

There is no nonstop service from the continental US, Canada, Europe or South America. Connections are made through San Juan, Puerto Rico, or St. Thomas.   There are three airports on BVI – Tortola (TOV), Virgin Gorda (VIJ), and Anegada. The major airport is the Terrence B Lettsome Airport (EIS).

BVI is 4 ¾ hours from New York City, and 10 hours from Los Angeles. Sea ports are located in Road Town, West End on tortola, Great harbor on Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda.

There are roads that lead to all the BVI’s, and there are connecting airports which make travel a little easier.

Entry Requirements - All American travelers must have a passport and photo ID. You must also present return tickets and upon entry no more than 60 days are granted. Extensions are possible by contacting the Immigration Officer at the Immigration Department’s main office. It is wise to check the British Govt’s website at http://www.britainusa.com for current visa info.

Languages Spoken / official language - English is the official language spoken.

Currency – The United States dollar is the currency used in BVI.

Tipping & Taxes - Taxes in BVI are as follows: 7% hotel tax, 10% service charge, $10 departure tax by air, and $5 by sea.

Tipping is 10-15% if it isn’t included on your bill, no tips are required for taxi drivers unless they go above and beyond the call of duty, and $1 per bag for bell hops.

Taxes – Voltage is 110/120 Volts. These socket types may not be identical to US Canadian sockets and may require an adapter. Many do not accept the taller blade and the third grounding pin. For further reference to outlet sockets in BVI check:

Immunizations & Health Issues -There are no required immunizations for entrance.

British Virgin Islands Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information

Cost

If neither party is a citizen of Barbados: US $75 and US $12.50 in Barbados postage stamps.

Barbados Marriage License Laws:

Marriage license secured from the Ministry of Home Affairs

No waiting period

If you are staying at a resort, consult with the manager or wedding coordinator to help you make arrangements to secure your marriage license.

Barbados Marriage License Fee:

US $75 cash and US $12.50 Barbados postage stamps for the wedding plus US $10 for the marriage certificate Identification Needed for a Barbados Marriage License :

Valid passports
Proof of divorce or death certificate
Copies of applicable marriage certificates
Letter from the Marriage Officer

Parental consent for parties under 18 (minimum age to marry is 16)

Tourism Office Information

BVI Tourist Board

DeCastro St

2nd Floor AKARA Building

Road Town Tortola

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLAND

Tel: 284-494-3134

Fax: 284-494-38866

Email – info@bitourism.com

Website: http://www.bvitourism.com

Other British Virgin Islands Websites

Climate Information (When is the Best Time to Travel)

BVI is a sub tropical climate with a temperature range of 77-85 degrees F. Because of the winds, temps usually drop 10 degrees at night. These winds blow at a constant speed most of the year except for hurricane season. BVI is exposed to tropical storm winds of up to 100 miles per hour or greater. Rainfall averages 40 inches per year and some mountainous areas over 70 inches. The wettest months are September to December and driest are February to April.

Map of the British Virgin Islands

Local Attractions & Must Do’s

Many of the Islands have charters available to see the sights. There are many beaches to relax by and enjoy a tropical drink on the sandy beach. Many of the beaches offer snorkeling and scuba diving amongst the colorful waters and vivid life under water. There are some historical sites as well, for instance the Callwood Distillery which is on of the last of its kind in BVI.

Mt. Healthy National Park is a symbol of the sugar plantation era in BVI and has intact remains of a stone windmill part of an 18th century sugar plantation.

Most Popular Hotels

Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a 5star hotel located on Virgin Gorda. This is a posh resort situation on a 500 acre crescent shaped beach, one mile from the airport.

Sugar Mill Hotel is 4 star and located on Tortola island. This is a small island resort set in a tropical forest and is just steps away from the water. There are 23 rooms and are set among the restored ruins of a sugar plantation.

Beef Island Guest House ranks number 1 on weretostay.com. There are four fan-cooled rooms each with a private bath. Continental breakfast is included. This is a Bed and Breakfast and is located on Trellis Bay Tortola island.

Heritage Inn is also on Tortola and is a 4 star hotel. It is voted best sunset view in the BVI. There are 9 rooms, each are suites, and English and Spanish are spoken languages on site.

Biras Creek Hotel is a 4 star hotel. It is a stone castle with 32 rooms on 150 acres of ground. There is a salt-pond bird sanctuary and cottages each with a private outdoor shower, and sheltered terrace.