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British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands
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The British Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory consisting of 36 islands on the north-east of the Caribbean Sea. Only 16 islands are inhabited. The capital city is Road Town.

The tropical climate of the Virgin Islands with trade winds brings the hot weather with minor temperature changes during the year. Due to often storms, it is not recommended to visit the islands from December to April.  

The official language is English. The majority of the population are the Christians (Catholics, Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Sea resorts on the Virgin Islands are ideal both for extreme tourism and calm beach holidays. Clean beaches and clear waters of an uninhabited Scrub island are good for ecological tourism. There is a diving club on the island and boat trips are arranged for the tourists.   

Those who love nature should visit the Jost Van Dyke island where anyone can see the dolphins, visit a bird reserve, scuba dive and  enjoy the diversity of the sea world.

Anegada island is the most popular destination for the divers. This is an island of the coral origin and  over 200 sunken ships are lying underwater near the coasts. Besides diving, one can swim in salty water basins and sunbathe on secluded beaches.

The most popular resorts among the tourists are Tortola island and Virgin Gorda island. On these islands, there are historical and cultural monuments, reserves and museums. The tourists can go hiking, scuba dive and have a yacht trip. 

Get in

By Plane

There are no direct flights from CIS and EU countries to the British Virgin Islands. Besides, the airports of this oversea territory do not accept large planes. The tourists have to decide about the flights themselves. British Airways, Air France, DELTA and Liat offer transit flights from the countries of the European Union. Traveling to the islands by plane, the tourists will have to make several stops in the USA, Puerto Rico or in the U.S. Virgin Islands and then they can get to the islands by private plane or by sea.              

By Sea

There is a ferry route from Puerto Rico and  U.S. Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islands. 

Visa

The citizens of the European Union countries can stay on the Virgin Islands for 30 days visa-free.

The citizens of CIS countries must obtain a visa to travel to this oversea territory. The tourists must fill in the electronic form on the website of the Migration Service of the United Kingdom and submit the documents to the Embassy or the Consulate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It is obligatory to come to the visa center personally.

Normally, the documents for a visa are processed within 10-21 working days.

A visitor visa is valid for 90 days. 

Customs

There are no restrictions concerning the import and export of currency. However, any amount of money must be declared as well as gold.

The tourists can bring in the following goods duty-free:

  • a limited amount of alcohol and tobacco;
  • clothes, shoes and personal belongings;

It is strictly prohibited to import:

  • perishables;
  • certain medications;
  • the products of plant and animal origin (without a special permit);
  • pets (without an international vet certificate and identification badge, mark or microchip).

The tourists are not allowed to export:

  • corals, plants and animals;
  • antiquities including the objects found on the bottom of the sea. 

Cuisine

The cuisine of the islands borrowed cooking traditions of Europe, Asia and Africa. Almost all local dishes are prepared with seafood and fruits.

There are not so many meat dishes on the British Virgin Islands but we can recommend a pork mix Sauce.

If you look for something special, try clam fritters Conch and fish fillet with fruits and vegetables Old Wife. The foodies will enjoy the taste of Patu, a bread roll with meat or seafood filling.

For the first course, the tourists can order a thick soup Callaloo with stewed vegetables, meat, seafood and greens. Vegetables, fried bananas and grain and okra porridge Fungi are served as side dishes.

The fruits are in abundance on the islands. Treat yourself to paw-paw, pineapple, passionfruit, guava, mango and Indian figs.

The traditional drinks are black tea and herbal Bush tea, coffee, soda drinks and fresh fruit juices.

When it comes to alcoholic drinks, you should try the local Cruzan rum and Pusser’s rum. 

Money

The official currency on the British Virgin Islands is US dollar which is equal to 100 cents. 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins and 1 dollar coins and bank notes from 1 to 100 dollars are in circulation.

The tourists can exchange the currency in the offices of large international banks and in special exchange offices.

Cashless payments are accepted only on the large islands and in touristic zones. Credit cards are not accepted outside big cities.

There are TAM s in large cities of the islands.   

The tourists can cash traveler’s checks in bank offices. It is better to have checks in US dollars to avoid additional costs.

VAT is not charged on the sales on the British Virgin Islands. 

Details of interest

Sightseeing on the British Virgin Islands

The first place the tourists should go is the capital city Road Town. A sightseeing trip around the city includes the visit to HM Prison which is the oldest building in the capital city; the African Saint Phillip’s Church, the ruins of the Spanish Dungeons Fort. In the city, one can see the examples of the colonial architecture, visit Fort Burt and Fort George.

A special attention should be given to the O’Neal Botanic Gardens founded in 1986. The Gardens occupy a territory of 4 acres and have a status of the National Park. There one can see rare water lilies, have a walk in the Orchid house and Christmas garden. 

Inquisitive tourists can visit the North Shore Shell museum which contains a collection of fishing boats,  fishing tools and thousands of sea shells.

The foodies can take an excursion to the Kalwood distillery where a local rum is produced. Everyone can participate in rum tasting.

On the Tortola island, the tourists can visit the Sage Mountain National Park and see the Sage Mountain surrounded by the tropical island. There is also the Mount Healthy National Park covered with the fields which were sugar beet plantations in the past.

The only marine national park on the British Virgin Islands is Rhone National Marine Park. The main purpose of the park is to preserve the reef ecosystem and the remains of the wrecked ships of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The lovers of wild nature will enjoy their trip to the Fallen Jerusalem island and Prickly Pear island.  There one can see rare birds living in special bird reserves.

We also recommend visiting the Dead Chest National Park on an uninhabited Dead Chest island and the Cam Bay national Park on the Great Camanoe island.

Souvenirs on the British Virgin Islands

On the British Virgin Islands the tourists can buy the following gifts and souvenirs:

  • magnets with landscapes and sights of the islands;
  • paintings of the local artists;
  • crafts;
  • local rum;
  • T-shirts;
  • models of pirate ships.