Best Ways to Travel to the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a stunning tropical paradise in the Caribbean, known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. One of the first questions that arises when planning a charter vacation in this destination is how to get there. Here we will explore the various ways to get to these islands.
The main international airport in the BVI is the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS), which is located on the far eastern tip of Tortola. American Airlines recently announced they will begin operating direct flights from Miami (MIA) in June 2023, making the BVI very accessible from south Florida. From other US hubs, most flights connect through San Juan, PR (SJU).
Upon arrival you will need to pay a $10 Environmental levy at customs. When leaving the BVI by air, there is a US$50 tax for all passengers ($15 departure tax, $5 security charge departure tax and a $30 airport development fee). However, this is generally included in the ticket price.
St. Thomas, USVI is very close by and there are many flights to this airport (STT). From here it is a short trip by water to Tortola either by ferry or water taxi (more details below). Airlines including American, United, Delta, Jet Blue, and Spirit offer direct flights from major eastern hubs including New York, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and Charlotte.
There are also charter flights on small planes from San Juan and St. Thomas. This can be a good option for a group traveling together.
Photo by Dietmar Lichota.
Another very common way to reach the BVI is by taking a ferry from St. Thomas to Tortola. There are two main ferry terminals on St. Thomas, one in Charlotte Amalie, about 10 minutes from the airport, and the other at Red Hook at the eastern end of the island, about 30-40 minutes from the airport. The ferries arrive in Tortola either at West End or in Road Town. Check with your broker to confirm which ferry terminal is closer to your charter yacht’s location.
The primary ferry companies operating between St. Thomas and Tortola are:
Expect to pay around $60 per adult one-way plus baggage fees for the ferry. When you arrive in Tortola, you will first go through Customs and Immigration where you need to pay an Environmental and Tourism levy of $10 per person. Upon departure there is a $20 departure tax.
Photo by @jah9teen.
Private Water Taxis
For those who prefer a more personalized and luxurious travel experience, private water taxis are a great option. Your water taxi can be arranged in advance and includes pre-clearing your arrival with BVI Customs. They generally offer complimentary drinks, always appreciated upon arrival in the tropical climate. This service is of course more expensive than a ferry, but it provides a very comfortable and pleasant method of arrival at your destination.
There are a number of water taxi companies operating between the USVI and BVI, including:
Depending on the size and level of comfort of the vessel booked, expect to pay approximately $125-$170 per person each way for the water taxi fare. There is a separate international processing fee of about $60-$65 per person each way to cover the costs the water taxis incur crossing the border. (The ferries pay lower fees and build it into their ticket price.)
No matter how you choose to travel there, the British Virgin Islands is a destination that’s definitely worth the journey. If you haven't already, take a look at our Virgin Islands fleet!