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Travel Tips


Things You Need to Know When Traveling to Tortola


Airlines


Getting to Tortola is made easy by major airline carriers. From the US fly via San Juan to Tortola, or fly direct to St. Thomas and enjoy a ferry ride to Tortola. Airlines from the US include American Airlines, US Airways and others. International visitors will find excellent flight alternatives with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.


Departure Tax


A departure tax is levied at the rate of $20.00 per person leaving by air, $5.00 leaving by sea and $7.00 for cruise ship passengers.


Password Requirements


The following measures are to be adhered to in respect of all non-British Virgin Islanders entering the Territory:
Passports are required. We strongly recommend that all guests travel with a passport validity date of at least six months past the date of departure from the island and check specific country of origin requirements. For information on obtaining or renewing a US passport please visit the US Department of State. For information on UK passports, visit the HM Passport Office.

Visitors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest BVI Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy, or contact the Chief Immigration Officer, Immigration Department, BVI Government at: Tel: 284-494-3471 or 284-494-3701 Ext. 4700.


Requirements for US and Canadian citizens are as follows


  • A US or Canadian passport; or
  • *An original or certified copy of their birth certificate; or
  • *A US or Canadian Naturalization Certificate

* Items 2 and 3 must be accompanied by a current picture identification e.g. a driver's license with matching name of birth certificate

Banking


The following banks operate in the British Virgin Islands


  • Bank of Nova Scotia
  • Barclay's Bank PLC
  • Chase Manhattan Bank NA
  • Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
  • Guyerzeller Bank (BVI) Ltd
  • Development Bank of the Virgin Islands
  • VP Bank (BVI) Ltd.

Hours of Business- Mon- Fri: 9.00 am - 3.30 pm. Closed at weekends.


Capital


Road Town, located on the southern shore of Tortola, is the capital of the BVI. It is also the central administrative and business centre of the Territory.


Clothing


Casual dress is always acceptable, although some restaurants on the island do require 'elegantly casual' in the evenings. Visitors should not wear swimsuits or mini shorts in the streets or stores. Please ensure to cover up if you are venturing into the shops from the beach. There are no nude beaches in the B.V.I. Bring long pants and hiking shoes if you intend to hike.


Credit Cards


Major credit cards are accepted in many - but not all - establishments. There is a 10 cent stamp duty on all checks and travelers checks. An American Express office is located at Romney Associates in Road Town.


Currency


The currency of the B.V.I. is the U.S. dollar.


Customs Regulations


All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering the B.V.I. on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty. Liquor prices in the B.V.I. are so low that - even with duty added - savings can be made by purchasing here.


Driving


Valid B.V.I. Driving Licenses are required by all those seeking to drive in the B.V.I. For a fee of $10.00, a temporary B.V.I. Driving License can be obtained from the Traffic Licensing Office or Car Rental Agencies provided a valid Driver's License from another country can be produced. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road in the B.V.I.


Electricity


Voltage in Tortola and throughout the BVI is 110 volts.


Government


The Governor of the British Virgin Islands is a representative of Her Majesty the Queen and is responsible for defense and internal security, external affairs, terms and conditions of service of public officers, and the administration of the courts; it possesses reserved legislative powers in these areas. The judicial system is under the direction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which includes the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. Other bodies are the Magistrates' Court, a Juvenile Court, and a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.


Language


English is the official language.


Marriage Licenses


Prior to the ceremony the couple needs to visit Tortola's registrar's office, purchase $110 of postage stamps to declare residential status, and pay a $50 license fee. The couple must reside on the island for at least one (1) day before the ceremony takes place.


Population


16,748 increasing by 1.7 per cent per year


Telecommunications


Cable & Wireless (British Virgin Islands) provides a range of reliable services including cardphones, payphones and credit card calling facilities. Caribbean Cellular Telephone "Boatphone" offers a cellular phone service allowing you to keep in touch whether on a boat, in a hotel or on the road. VHF radio is also a widely used and Tortola & Virgin Gorda Radio can patch radio transmissions into the phone lines.


Time Zone


Greenwich Mean Time less 4 hours.


Gratuities


If no service charge is added by your hotel or restaurant, please leave 10% of the bill for good service.


Water


The tap water is safe to drink. Do not drink from rivers or streams. Bottled water is available.