BVI Travel Information
The BVI are an archipelago of islands, with two main island chains separated by the Francis Drake Channel. Most of the islands are volcanic in nature with green rolling hills, but there are many natural coves, inlets and beaches found on the islands. The islands are better known as a sailors paradise. The climate and weather presents year round exceptional conditions for sailing. Further, the extensive number of historic wrecks, the spectacular marine life amongst the reefs, also makes the BVI famous for its diving
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The BVI are a prime tourist destination, but the economic activity of the island sis heavily maintained by the offshore financial center that The BVI has become. BVI sees scores of tourist year round, who visit via cruise ships, sail in or fly in to stay over on the island.
As a visitor to the BVi whether for business or pleasure, there are a few things you should know. The islands are located in the Caribbean and are part of the group of islands called the Leeward Islands. The area covered by the islands is a mere 59sq miles, and the BVI are made up of over 33 islands, some inhabited while others are privately owned. Just over 22000 people live in the BVI and most of those reside on the main island of Tortola. The main language spoken is the Queen’s English, and although the BVI is self governing, the BVI is considered an overseas territory British) and the head of state is the Queen. The main currency in circulation (paper & coin) is the USD, and not the Great Britain pound as one might expect. However, all major currencies are widely accepted. Commercial activity is simplified, credit card widely accepted, and there are a few ATMs on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
The capital town and commercial center of the islands is found on the Island of Tortola, and is called Road Town. Just over 90000 people live in the capital and on its outskirts.
The islands of the BVI are in very close proximity to the (62 miles) east of Puerto Rico, adjoining the US Virgin Islands. The remaining islands of the archipelago belong to the US as well and are so called the USVI. The USVI are much more active and bustling with tourist activity where as The BVI tends to be less active and more laid back.
The local head of government is the premier, and politics play a key role in governance passed on by the European settlors is the wide range of religious denominations based on Christianity, and includes a large base of Methodist, Anglican and Catholic.
The BVi are in securely linked to the British Commonwealth and the customs and practices of the locals reflect that of the British. Greeting by locals are common, and the handshake is best suited to greet strangers, although the more welcoming native may plant a kiss or tow on the cheek. Dress is conservative at best, and casual wear is acceptable for most occasions, except where noted. Swim wear is to be worn on beaches or within resorts only and should not be worn alone in public commercial areas.
In order to get to BVI, entry requirements are return or onward ticket, a valid passport or acceptable form of ID, some countries require a visa for entry into the BVI.
British, Australian, Canadian, American and other EU nationals do not require a visa for entry to BVI. The general length of stay permitted by immigration officials is one month or 30 days, extensions are granted upon application on islands.
The BVi operates on a 110 volts AC, 60Hz where American two-pin plugs are used.
There is one hospital on the British Virgin Islands and when necessary cases may be transferred to hospitals in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or mainland USA. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK; treatment for persons aged 70 or over and school-age children is normally free on presentation of proof of UK residence. Other visitors are charged for all services and are advised to take out medical insurance.
BVI has a wide range of accommodation choices, but overall, the British Virgin Islands are quite an expensive destination. For some, this is the necessary price of saving a Caribbean gem from over-commercialization. Accommodation can range from private islands where guest indulge in ultimate luxuries and enjoy complete privacy. Best known is Richard Branson's Necker Island, which sleeps up to 26 guests, while Little Thatch is a 22-hectare (54-acre) retreat with just one cottage. Then there are hotel, a wide range of them from luxury resorts to boutique cottages and inns. All accommodation bills are subject to a 7% accommodation tax. Vacation rentals with self catering options are popular amounts more clientele. Villas, houses and cottages are available on nightly, weekly or for longer periods. Boats and camp grounds re also options for the adventurers.
Well with a roof over the head, we now have to eat and drink, and there is no shortage of fine dining establishments in the BVI, mostly locate don Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke islands.. There are roadside stops, local bars, bistros, restaurants and BBQ joints where local and international dishes can be found.
All islands pride themselves on the food which is a clear example of eth islands’ heritage and its culture. Islands specialties in the BVI fungi (a cornmeal and okra) soft cake is the primary side dish, normally accenting a local dish of seafood or fish.
Then there is the pate, a pastry that is either fried, baked or grill, and filled with spicy meats seafood, veggies’ or a combination of all. The Seafood dishes, including lobster (the Anegada lobster is reputedly the best in the Caribbean), whelks, fish chowder mussel pie, conch stew and shark. To wash down the culinary delights of the BVI, there are a wide range of locally appointed rum punches and rum cocktails. There is a local spirit called Pusser’s Rum so named as it was originally produced for the pursers of eth Royal Navy. The legal drinking age is 18 and the adult suffrage age is 16.
To all food and beverage services, establishments add between 10 and 15% in service charges. Additional Tipping is at the discretion of the client.
The lifestyle of the BVI islanders does include a healthy party styel. Afterhours, the Night comes to life. There are many events (nightly) and functions at the hotels which normally include live bands ore music. More common are bars and hotspots with live music, DJs mostly on Virgin Gorda and Tortola but the island of Jost Van Dyke is guaranteed year round entertainment. It is the port at which sailors, 1boaters and yachtsmen tend to culminate at the end of day, and during the day as well.
Outside of bars, beach fetes, there is a cinema on the island of Tortola with current US based premiers and shows.
Shopping hours on the island are from Mon-Sat 0900-1700. Local arts and crafst ar eteh popular items purchased by tourist visiting and there are many souvenir shops which sell carved wooden items, straw-work, jewellery made from conch (pronounced ‘konk’) shell, rum, local spices and sauces and the attractive batik material, designed and made locally.