The British Virgin Islands are some of the most sought after islands in the world, attracting thousands of sun worshippers, yachties, beach bums, surfers, and mermaids each year. This group of 60 islands is home to some of the world’s greatest beaches and waters for sailing. Before you pack your bikini and captain’s hat, here are 22 things you should know before you go to the BVIs:
1.The BVIs are a British Overseas Territory and as they’re part of her majesty’s crown, you’ll need a passport to travel there.
2.Although technically British, the currency is the US dollar and most imports come from the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) so it doesn’t feel very British.
3.What does feel very British is the fact that they drive on the left side of the road (as they do in the US Virgin Islands. Try to figure that one out!).
4.Most of the islands have VERY steep roads with quite a few hairpin turns so drive carefully!
5.There are four main islands in the BVIs: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada, although Tortola is the MAIN main island.
6.If you’re flying into the Virgin Islands from the US, St. Thomas is usually a much cheaper option. Tortola is then just a short ferry ride away.
7.Most people travel to the BVIs to charter a boat and sail the islands. You can sail your own if you have the skills, or take on a captain and crew as well.
8.If you’re relying on ferries, check, double check, and triple check the schedule. Check it online and call to verify (especially on ferries that run on a limited schedule to the outer islands).
9.Island time is a very real thing in the Virgin Islands, but here’s what it really means: THEY can be on island time (late) but YOU cannot. Plan to arrive early for ferries, excursions, appointments, etc. but don’t be in a big rush if they’re not on time.
10.The islands are fairly close together so it’s possible to see quite a few islands in just one week.
11.Tortola, the main island, is where you’ll most likely pick up your charter or enter the BVIs. It’s a decent sized, hilly island with some pretty beaches. The north shore gets good surf in the winter months.
12.Virgin Gorda is famous for the Baths, but don’t miss Savannah Bay and Saba Rock. Read this post for 6 things to do on Virgin Gorda.
13.If you want to hang out at the places Kenny Chesney sings about, head on over to Jost Van Dyke. The Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy’s are legendary. Read this list of my 9 favorite beach bars on Jost Van Dyke plus this post for the rundown on what else there is to do on the island.
14.Anegada is most known for its snorkeling and lobster. I say go for the tents on the beach alone.
15.Some of the best snorkeling in the BVIs is found around Norman Island, particularly a spot called The Indians.
16.The drink of choice in the BVIs is the famous Pain Killer (really anything with rum). It was created at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the 1970s.
17.Mosquitos can be pretty bad, especially on some of the out islands (looking at your Anegada!) so pick up bug spray where you can.
18.There are some crazy amazing resorts on some of the smaller private islands if you’re looking for a complete getaway.
19.It’s not unusual to see chickens, cows, donkeys, or goats roaming around so drive carefully!
20.On Anegada (and some places on Jost Van Dyke) dinner is by reservation only and you’ll have to order in advance so plan ahead!
21.When leaving the BVIs, you’ll have to pay exit taxes. Depending on where you’re leaving from and how long you’ve been there, it’s usually between $24-40.
22.The name of the game is casual in the BVIs. I never went anywhere a bathing suit wasn’t acceptable, and certainly not a sundress/cover up.
So those are a few things to know before you head out to the BVIs. If you have any questions about planning your trip or what to expect, come on over to Facebook and ask away!