Our British Virgin Islands Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. No matter how often you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from Terrance B. Lettsome Airport and Taddy Bay Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

    We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in the British Virgin Islands such as the Baths National Park, Callwood Distillery, and Rhone National Maritime Park. You’ll also learn about the most popular towns and villages in the British Virgin Islands such as Road Town, Spanish Town, Belle Vue, and The Settlement. It’s all compiled in this British Virgin Islands Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to the British Virgin Islands.

    1

    What are the main towns and villages in the British Virgin Islands?

    The 4 main British Virgin Islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. About 50 miles east of Puerto Rico, they’re in the Lesser Antilles and are part of the West Indies. Christopher Columbus first visited the islands in 1493. The islands became a notorious pirates’ haunt in the 16th century before being conquered by the British in 1680.

    Today, tourism is the main source of income of the tropical islands which are home to white-sand beaches and lively coral reefs. The area is also renowned as a first-class sailing destination. The main towns of the British Virgin Islands are Road Town in Tortola, Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda, Belle Vue in Jost Van Dyke, and The Settlement in Anegada.

    Road Town

    Road Town is the capital city of the British Virgin Islands, located on the south coast of Tortola – the largest island of the group. Road Town has a population of about 15,000 and is served by the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport and by many ferries. It’s home to historical buildings such as Her Majesty Penitentiary on Main Street and is a famous yacht chartering place.

    Spanish Town

    Spanish Town is the main town on Virgin Gorda, the easternmost island of the group. Also known as The Valley, Spanish Town is the second largest town on the British Virgin Islands. It features good shopping facilities and has a small airport – Taddy Bay Airport. A top activity here is bareboat sailing. The main attraction of Virgin Gorda is The Baths National Park, just south of Spanish Town.

    Belle Vue / Great Harbor

    Belle Vue / Great Harbor is the main village on the south coast of Jost Van Dyke, the smallest island of the group. It features lively shopping, dining, and after-dining venues, and, hence its English name, is one of the busiest harbors in the British Virgin Islands. Bubbly Pool, Diamond Cay National Park, and White Bay are among the most popular things to see on Jost Van Dyke, while scuba diving and snorkeling are the highlight activities.

    The Settlement

    The Settlement is the only village on Anegada, the northernmost British Virgin Island and the only low-lying coral island of the group. The Settlement is also known as The Village and features a few shops, restaurants, and hotels. The island has a small airport, Auguste George Airport. Scuba diving and snorkeling are the main activities in Anegada. Sailing here requires good navigational skills due to the many reefs surrounding the island.

    2

    When is the best time to travel to the British Virgin Islands?

    The British Virgin Islands have a tropical rainforest climate, with average temperatures ranging between 23°C and 27°C year-round.

    • The rainiest time of the year is between September and November with about 14 rainy days per month. January–August sees an average of around 10 rainy days a month.
    • Hurricanes occasionally hit the islands between June and November.
    • December–April is the most popular time to visit the British Virgin Islands, but it’s also peak season when hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
    • Even so, September–November is the best time to visit the British Virgin Islands. You may have a few more rainy days, but temperatures are good, and you’ll be able to avoid the summer crowds, and hotel and flight prices are normally lower.
    3

    British Virgin Islands basics

    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 110 V – 60 Hz
    • Currency: United States Dollar (U.S.$)
    • International dialing code: +1 284
    • Emergency telephone number: 999
    4

    How to get to my hotel in the British Virgin Islands?

    Terrance B. Lettsome Airport

    Terrance B. Lettsome Airport (EIS) lies about 9.6 km east of Road Town on Beef Island. Beef Island is a small island linked to Tortola by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Nowadays, Terrance B. Lettsome Airport is only served by flights within the Caribbean islands. The closest international airports serving EIS are Cyril E. King Airport in Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Terrance B. Lettsome Airport has 1 passenger terminal served by 1 runway. The terminal features a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities like free Wi-Fi and banking and currency exchange services. Here are the transfer options to help you get to any destination on the island:

    • Taxi stands are right outside the Arrivals exit.
    • Automobile rental agencies’ desks are inside the terminal, next to the Arrivals exit.

    Taddy Bay Airport

    Also known as Virgin Gorda Airport, Taddy Bay Airport (VIJ) is right east of Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda Island. Its runway is unpaved. Like Terrance B. Lettsome Airport, it’s only served by a handful of airlines from other airports within the Caribbean. Taxi cabs and automobile rental agencies can be found within the terminal.

    Ferries to/from the British Virgin Islands

    You can get to the British Virgin Islands by ferry from Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s a bit more complicated to get to the British Virgin Islands by boat from Puerto Rico, the journey takes many steps as there’s no direct ferry available. Ferries also link all the British Virgin Islands, so if you arrive by plane on Tortola Island, you can then reach the other islands by boat.

    5

    How to get around the British Virgin Islands?

    Travel tips

    • The best way to explore the towns and villages is on foot.
    • For longer distances, renting a automobile is the most convenient choice for getting around the 4 main islands. The roads are not particularly in good condition – expect potholes, live animals, narrow unpaved roads, and so forth. Note that you only need a valid drivers license from your home country to be able to drive up to 30 days here. If you stay longer, rental agencies can help you with the paperwork to get a temporary local drivers license. If you visit during the high season (December–April), it’s best to book a automobile a few months ahead.
    • Taxi cabs are available but they’ll cost you more for traveling throughout the island. Many of them are 12-seater vans.
    • Getting from one island to the other by boat is favored by vacationers in the British Virgin Islands. Public ferries between the main islands of the group are readily available. Note that there are 2 ferry piers on Tortola: one on the West End linked to Jost Van Dyke and Saint John (U.S. Virgin Islands), and one in Road Town linked to Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Saint-Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands).
    • Private water taxi cabs are more expensive, yet they offer a great private way of getting around the British Virgin Islands.
    • If you have NauticEd Bareboat Certification, chartering a bareboat is a fantastic way to explore the archipelago. Otherwise, you can also charter a crewed boat for one day or more.
    6

    What are the main annual events in the British Virgin Islands?

    BVI Summer Festival

    • August
    • The British Virgin Islands Summer Festival is a celebration of the abolition of slavery that dates back to 1834. It’s a carnival filled with street parades, a beauty pageant, live music, a horse race, and other fun events.
    • Where: Road Town in Tortola is the best place to attend this festival

    BVI Music Festival

    • May
    • Held on the Memorial Day weekend, the British Virgin Islands Music Festival is the largest event of its kind in the archipelago. International artists and bands playing all types of music, from funk to calypso and from reggae to rock, perform on Cane Garden Bay Beach for 3 days.
    • Where: Cane Garden Bay Beach, Tortola

    BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival

    • March
    • One of the largest regattas in the Caribbean, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival brings together more than 150 sailboats competing in races around the islands. The races are defined by boat class. Expect fun parties at the end of each race day.
    • Where: Road Town
    7

    What are the main landmarks in the British Virgin Islands?

    The Baths National Park

    Located at the southern tip of Virgin Gorda, the Baths National Park is a beach area covered with huge granite boulders. Between the rocks are patches of white sand and secret rock pools. Trails featuring rope handrails help you navigate through the boulders, and food and beverages are available at the top of the Baths.

    Callwood Distillery

    Callwood Distillery at the southern end of Cane Garden Bay, on the north coast of Tortola, is one of the Caribbean’s oldest continuous pot distilleries. You see how rum is produced and stored in original storage casks before sampling and purchasing. There’s an art gallery and gift shop on site.

    Rhone National Marine Park

    Submerged 9.6 km southeast of Road Town, the RMS Rhone gave its name to a stunning underwater park. The UK Royal Mail Ship sunk off the coast of Salt Island in 1867 and has become a popular dive spot for intermediate to advanced divers. Other dive spots in the park include Blonde Rock, Painted Walls, and Rhone Reef.

    Road Town Main Street

    Not only is Road Town Main Street the main shopping and dining hub on Tortola, but it’s also lined with historical buildings. Stretching for about 1.5 km between Station Avenue and Waterfront Drive, you’ll find here the Mail Office built in the mid 19th century, Saint George's Anglican Church, Britannic Hall, and the Virgin Islands Folk Museum.

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top

    Maps