Why choose the British Virgin Islands for your vacation?
With little desire for mass tourism, the BVI has remained an escape from the bustling souvenir shops and glittery nightlife associated with many Caribbean islands. The BVI has miles of serene beaches, and is considered one of the best cruising/sailing locations in the world. The crystal clear blue waters also provide a perfect setting for unparalleled diving, snorkeling, kayaking and a myriad of other adventures.
Where are the British Virgin Islands and how do we get there?
Located only 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands are very accessible. Tortola is the largest island in the BVI chain and is easily reached by air from San Juan, PR or by ferry from St. Thomas, USVI.
Which airlines service the British Virgin Islands?
With several flights daily these airlines will get you where you need to go; American, Seaborne, Delta, United, Cape Air, and Liat. The smaller airlines offer codeshare flights with many major airlines.
Do I need a passport?
US citizens are required to have a passport. Non-US citizens should check with the appropriate consulate. Everyone visiting the BVI must have a return ticket.
Are there any additional travel expenses?
Yes, there is a $20 US per person departure tax that is payable at the airport on departure. The departure tax at the ferry terminals is $15 per person.
What is the best time of year to sail or dive in the British Virgin Islands?
With average 80 degree water temperatures, every month offers incredible diving in the BVI. The trade winds offer spectacular, consistent sailing conditions from November to May. Winds are lighter in other months.
Is it customary to tip in the British Virgin Islands?
Yes, in service industries such as restaurants, bars, diving operations and yacht charters, a 15%-20% gratuity is appreciated.
Is there sales tax?
No. Products and services are not taxed in the British Virgin Islands. What you see is what you pay.
What is the diving like?
The British Virgin Islands have some of the most popular wreck diving in the Caribbean. Discover the history and hidden secrets of wrecks like the famous R.M.S. Rhone, the Chikuzen, the Beata, the Marie L., and the Pat. Crystal blue waters and spectacular coral highlight graceful creatures such as sea turtles, rays, barracuda, and even sharks making this a perfect dive location for every skill level.
Can we rent scuba gear?
Yes we have a full line of well maintained, Aqualung scuba equipment available for rent. There is no equipment rental fee charged to divers who are diving from our dive boats or on dive packages.
What is the water temperature and do I need a wetsuit?
The water temperature ranges from 78° in the winter months to 84° in the summer months. We recommend (and provide) a short, 2mm wetsuit if you tend to get cold during a dive.
What type of equipment should I bring?
Bring any personal equipment that you are comfortable using. Our dive boats are equipped with quality masks, fins and snorkels. We use 80 cubic ft. aluminum scuba tanks and provide weights and weight belts. We will have spare scuba equipment on board at no additional cost. If you do not wish to bring your own equipment, please let our office know what you will need before your trip so we can have the right sizes available.
What about photographers?
We welcome photographers and videographers. Our large dive boats are equipped with a fresh water rinse bucket and double tiered camera table that has enough room to store camera cases. We also have rental camera equipment available. (Remember to bring extra batteries.)
Can I take any scuba classes while I’m there?
Absolutely! As a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Dive Center & Resort we offer a full range of training and certification courses, including all professional levels. Please make arrangements before your vacation so that all of the necessary paperwork can be completed.
Where is the nearest re-compression chamber?
There is a chamber located nearby on St. Thomas, USVI and in San Juan, PR, both a short helicopter ride away. The BVI have an emergency helicopter on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
What is Rendezvous Diving?
Many visitors to the British Virgin Islands are here for the sailing experience. As these sailors wish not to sail back to port to meet a dive boat, we bring the dive boat to your sailing vessel. You may contact us on your boat’s VHF radio (channel 16) to make arrangements. We pick you up, take you diving and deliver you back to your boat. What could be simpler?
PHOTO CREDIT / ARMANDO JENIK
Armando Jenik is a renowned underwater photographer and cinematographer. He has lived in the BVI as a professional underwater photographer for more than 20 years. A well known photojournalist he also won 2 Emmy’s for his film work. His underwater photography is the first step in creating values about marine life.