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British Virgin Islands

Surrounded by coral reefs and limpid turquoise water, the British Virgin Islands form an astonishingly beautiful tropical archipelago. In addition to excellent scuba diving, they offer some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean. Tortola is arguably the yachting capital of the West Indies ...

Surrounded by coral reefs and limpid turquoise water, the British Virgin Islands form an astonishingly beautiful tropical archipelago. In addition to excellent scuba diving, they offer some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean. Tortola is arguably the yachting capital of the West Indies. The BVI are relatively unspoiled, though some cruise ships call at Tortola. There is no direct air service to the BVI from the continental United States, and most visitors change to smaller airplanes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is also possible to fly from St. Thomas in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.

The climate of the islands is tropical and tempered by trade winds. Showers fall throughout the year, but the wettest months are July to November.

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Destination Information


CURRENCY

The U.S. dollar is the officially recognized currency.

WHEN TO VISIT

The climate of the islands is tropical, tempered by trade winds. Showers fall throughout the year, but the wettest months are July to November. 

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Passport. Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.

U.S. EMBASSY

None. U.S. Embassy is located in Barbados, Tel. (246) 227-4000.

DIRECT DIAL CODES

To phone hotels in the British Virgin Islands, dial 1 + 284 (British Virgin Islands code) + local numbers.

EDITOR TIPS

Visiting Tortola

Although Tortola has no resorts of the required standard, it is a beautiful island that merits a leisurely circular tour. The attractive Soper’s Hole Marina, at its southeastern tip, is an ideal place in which to pause for a light meal and a rum punch.

New Years Eve at the Soggy Dollar

The island of Jost Van Dyke is the site of one of the world’s most notorious parties on New Year’s Eve. Sailors arrive from around the world and congregate at Soggy Dollar Bar — so named because patrons generally swim ashore to buy a drink. By midnight the atmosphere has become distinctly animated, and the scene is suited only to the young and the young at heart.

Movies Overlooking the Water

The private island resort Guana Island has an al fresco cinema overlooking the water, surrounded by vegetation. The amphitheater-style cinema accommodates up to 32 people, but a private screening can be reserved for the couple who wants to watch a romantic movie under the stars.

Sail the British Virgin Islands

The BVI provide an idyllic sailing ground, with numerous bays accessible only to those with their own boat. From the BVI, it is easy to sail to the USVI, especially to St. John, 60 percent of which is protected by a national park.

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