British Virgin Islands

The sands are of a striking chalky white, the seas a shimmering crystalline blue and the sunsets second to none – welcome to the British Virgin Islands, one of the world’s most illustrious havens for sun-seeking hedonists. Typically the privileged domain of moguls, models and millionaires, this smattering of lushly forested islands offers countless secluded bays, pristine coral reefs and an infectious Creole vibe that will sweep you off your feet and into a hammock before you can say: “another rum cocktail”.

British Virgin Islands Tours & Travel

All our British Virgin Islands trips

Beach, Caribbean

British Virgin Islands Sailing

7 days from

Explore the Caribbean on a British Virgin Islands sailing adventure. Sail, snorkel, laze on idyllic beaches and cruise...

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Gorda beach boats, Carribean

Family Sailing Caribbean Paradise

8 days from
USD $1,825.98*
CAD $1,846.02*
AUD $1,871.74*
EUR €1,331.25*
GBP £1,147.44*
NZD $2,274.51*
ZAR R17,255.64*
CHF FR1,639.29*

Take the family on a magnificent British Virgin Islands sailing tour. Snorkel the aquamarine seas, laze on the blinding...

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British Virgin Islands Highlights

About British Virgin Islands

At a glance

Trips Available:
2
Capital city:
Road Town
Population:
27,800
Language:
English (population 12,600)
Currency:
USD
Time zone:
(GMT-04:00) Atlantic Time (Canada)
Electricity:
Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code:
+1-284

Best time to visit British Virgin Islands

Essentially there exists no bad time to visit the British Virgin Islands: just good and better. Blessed with balmy nights, cooling trade winds and average afternoon temperatures that tend to hover around the mid-twenties, the weather is pretty idyllic year-round. This being said, the winter months of December to May are the driest, with rains on the increase during the summer months and peaking in September. Hurricane season is from June to November, but they aren’t a very frequent occurrence.

Geography and environment

The 60+ islands comprising this tropical archipelago come in two varieties: steep volcanic rises with a typically rugged terrain (the great majority) and smaller, relatively flat, coral islets. Only 16 of these are inhabited (and some of these privately owned). At a paltry 550 metres, Tortola’s Sage Mountain is the territory’s highest point and Anegada – commonly referred to as ‘the Drowned Island’ – the lowest lying.

Top Picks

Top 5 cocktails of the British Virgin Islands

1. The Painkiller

The British Virgin Islands boast some seriously fabulous fruity rum cocktails – the most legendary being The Painkiller. Essentially just dark rum mixed with orange and pineapple juice and topped with shaved ice, a dollop of coconut cream and sprinkle of nutmeg, the drink is so-named for its ability to dull morning pains invariably incurred from downing too many of these the night before.

2. The Bushwacker

An icy blend of rum, vodka, Kahlua, Baileys, amaretto and chocolate, this milkshake makes for one delectable dessert – albeit one you’ll want to steer the kids well clear of.

3. Beach Tomato

Not quite as common as The Painkiller and Bushwacker but fare more potent, the Beach Tomato is a heady fusion of banana rum, pineapple and orange juice, Cointreau and generous lashings of Bacardi 151. Despite the name, it doesn’t include tomatoes.

4. Limin’ de Coconut

All across the Caribbean, ‘limin’ is Creole slang for hanging out. So think of this as you spending some quality time with a coconut. If that sounds a bit too Tom Hanksy for your liking, know that you’ll also be becoming acquainted with 1½ oz of light rum, 1 oz of lime juice and a glass full of crushed ice. This one also doesn’t include tomatoes.

5. The Honesty Cocktail

Just up from Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, perched above chalky white sands with exquisite views over turquoise waters, is the aptly named ‘Ivan’s Stress Free Bar’. Things are so stress-free at this bar that instead of a bartender there will sometimes just be a note saying: ‘make your drink, start your tab, pay it when you leave.’ So this is the place to put tomatoes into your cocktail if you really want to.

FAQs on British Virgin Islands

Domestic beer = $3
Coffee in a café = $5
Meal in an inexpensive restaurant = $15
3-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant = $85
Treated and desalinated by the British Government, the tap water on the islands is drinkable.
Credit cards from the major companies such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted in some establishments.
A handful of ATMs exist in Tortola and Virgin Gorda that are hooked into international networks (Cirrus, Plus, Exchange etc.).
1 Jan – New Year’s Day
3 Mar – HL Stoutt’s Birthday
10 Mar – Commonwealth Day
18 Apr – Good Friday
21 Apr – Easter Monday
9 Jun – Whit Monday
14 Jun – Sovereign’s Birthday
1 Jul – Territory Day
4 Aug – August Festival
24 Oct – St Ursula’s Day
25 Dec – Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2014. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/peru/public-holidays
As the British Virgin Islands primarily caters to high-end tourism, tipping is customary in pretty much all cases from taxi drivers to bell-hops. Most restaurants and hotels will add a 5-10% service charge to bills, but if the meal or service has been particularly good, it’s still appropriate to leave a 5% tip.
Internet access exists in many resorts and hotels and there are a few internet cafés in the larger towns. Wi-Fi subscription services can be bought from BVI Marine, which provides wireless access at all harbours.
Mobile phone coverage in the islands is excellent and roaming agreements exist with some international companies.
Toilets are of the western-style, flushable variety, though pay attention to signs requesting that used paper be put in the wastepaper basket instead of flushed.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: No - Not required
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

British Virgin Islands Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for British Virgin Islands

1. Be considerate of the British Virgin Islands’s customs, traditions, religion and culture

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts

4. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive

5. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals

6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children

7. Never touch or remove coral from reefs. Also, avoid buying souvenirs that have been illegally removed from the reef.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The British Virgin Islands: The Hometown Lowdown Guide to Travel and TastePaul Spicer
Hurricanes & Hangovers: And Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies From the Coconut TelegraphDear Miss Mermaid
Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
Travels with Myself and Another Martha Gellhorn