Often you may end up on islands where phones are unavailable. The easiest form of communication is through VHF radio. You can call for help or even radio in dinner reservations.
Channel 16 for distress and hailing (then switch),
Channel 68 or 6 for general conversation ship-to-ship,
Channel 3 for weather,
Channel 12 for charter company-to-yacht operations,
Channel 27, 84 for Radio Tortola (4-4116), and
Channel 25, 85, 87 for Virgin Islands Radio (6-8282)
Restaurants 16 or 68.
Be cautious if you decide to rent a car and drive in the BVI. Things get a little interesting. Although the country drives on the left side of the road (like other British Territories), cars are imported from the US. So steering wheels are on the left side as well. Confused yet?
Since cars are also purchased in the US, driving distances are marked in miles.
Also take heed when driving through the steep hills. Locals tend to drive fast through treacherous curves. Roads are narrow and very winding.
Since most visitors to the BVI are sailing, it is wise to say that you cannot sail to the US Virgin Islands if chartering a boat without proper paperwork. The USVI are so close, sometimes even closer than other BV islands, but you can be fined quite a bit if you don't heed to these rules.
Seeing as almost everything is imported into the BVI, costs are pretty steep. There are generally few restaurants on each island (all catering to foreigners), allowing them to charge exorbitant prices. Even walking into a local grocery store is a shock.
Try to pack goods in your suitcase so that you won't have to buy as much here.
When playing in the water, whether windsurfing or diving or snorkeling or just swimming around, please remember that coral is very fragile and takes decades to grow back. Although some critters can harm you if you touch them (e.g. the very obvious spiney sea urchins), most are harmed more by you touching them.
It's also highly illegal to take beach souvenirs in the BVI's, so don't expect to bring that lovely conch shell home with you! Adopt the no-footprints-when-you-go attitude, and use your cameras and your memories for souvenirs, so others for many generations can enjoy these perfect islands after you leave.
Do you know a place where people don't lock their houses when they are out? What about a luxurious hotel where you don't get a key to your room? Where cars aren't locked and you never have to worry about the stuff on the beach while you are in the water. Where the police headquarters are closed in the evening?
Welcome to the BVI. No unemployment. No poor people. No guns. No crime. God, it must be boring being a policeman here ;)
Better bring some cash to the BVI. ATMs don't always work on the islands and while most restaurants and shops accept credit cards, taxi drivers, beach bars and even some petrol stations want cash! Also don't forget to keep some money to pay for your departure tax (see Transportation Tip).
We had a problem with the locals wanting to jump in the back of our jeep.
One day we stopped at a stop sign and one jumped in. He wanted to show us something,
he said. He showed us how he could climb a tree and get us a coconut to drink.
Of course, them he wanted money.
Although the Virgin Islands area quintessential water sports territory, spear fishing is not permitted in the BVI and the use of SCUBA equipment to capture or remove any marine animal or coral is against the law. Even in the adjacent USVI, there are rules about spear fishing as it is illegal to spear fish for lobsters in all Territorial waters and it is illegal to use or possess spear fishing equipment anywhere within National Park boundaries (most of the National Park is in the vicinity of St. John)
CIGUATERA which is a serious disease which is carried by many reef fish in the BVI.
After reading one writer, I feel I must respond. There are dangers in the water. Sharks are around but rarely if ever attack. Sea urchins abound and can cause a nasty infection. My sister-in-law spent two days in the hospital in Roadtown after dislocating her shoulder when a large wave capsized the dinghy. Another friend got stung by fire coral while snorkeling and ended up in the hospital on a respirator for a week. BVI is spectacular, but know the dangers berfore indulging.
The first I knew that there were scorpions on Tortola was when my fiance picked up my reef walker shoes and accidentally dropped one and a scorpion fell out! There ARE scorpions, so make sure you shake out your shoes and other clothing before putting them on! Also, I was told that there were big spiders in the rain forest, but wasn't warned that they also like to hang around at the beach and in villas! We had cane spiders bigger than a man's hand as well as a tarantula on our pool deck.
I was just there, and I was told by locals that spear fishing and any kind of fishing is illegal in the waters around the islands, as the waters are full of coral and many of the fish are poisonous... Also there is a high metal count in many of the fish due to dumping in deeper water, Mercury is high. If you want to fish, you'll have to go out on a boat (charter) and do some deep sea fishing (about $450 a person ) and You'll be sure to catch a big one!
Taxi's: This island infrastructure is designed for sailers who get around by boat or dinghy. Therefore getting a taxi here is expensive, the BVI is not like many remote island locations where you can sometimes get a deal on transport, every taxi ride is a small fortune. Expect to pay $10 to go 200 yards (up an insanely steep hill), and $40 to go seven miles. This is a tiny price to pay for time in paradise, but just be forwarned- you will need more cash than you think! Walking in the BVI is an option, but the extremely hilly terrain makes this unpleasant with even a few bags or groceries (although the locals do it every day). You can also hitch rides for free as the locals do.
Be aware that many of the nicer restaurants on the BVI are closed during the summer as this is their off period. We found this the hard way when we drove around Tortola trying to find some of the higher rated restaurants.
The roads are in good driving condition but narrow . Driving is on the left. It is very hilly and there is one curve after the other.
The picture discribes it somewhat.
This is a lavish full-service resort that should satisfy most honeymooners' dreams of a romantic...more
Well Bay, Beef Island, VG1120, Caribbean
Good for: Business
Deadmans Bay, Tortola, , Peter Island, 00801 2409, Caribbean
Good for: Business