The best way to travel to the British Virgin Islands

Traveling to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) can be an adventure in itself, with two main options to consider. Whether you choose to fly directly to Tortola or to St. Thomas with a ferry connection, each route has its own advantages. Here’s a detailed guide to help you decide the best way to get to the BVI.

Flying Directly to Tortola

Flying directly to Beef Island Airport on Tortola (EIS) is the simplest option, though it can sometimes be more expensive due to limited flight availability.

Key Points:

  • Airport Code: EIS
  • Flight Routes: All flights to EIS connect through Miami, Florida (MIA), San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), Saint Maarten (SXM), or St. Thomas (STT). Most commonly, you will connect through Miami or San Juan.
  • Flight Experience: The flight from San Juan to Tortola typically uses smaller aircraft. On one trip, we were on planes that held only seven passengers, with luggage transported on a separate plane.


Runway on Beef Island, BVI
The single runway on Beef Island, BVI.


  • Taxi Ride: Upon arrival, you will need a taxi to your hotel or charter company. Taxi fares range from $10 to $50 and the trip can take around 30 minutes. Taxi rates are per person and set by the government. Check taxi fares here.

Flying to St. Thomas and Taking the Ferry or a Private Water Taxi

Flying to Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas (STT) and then taking a ferry to Tortola offers more flight options and can be more cost-effective.

Key Points:

  • Airport Code: STT
  • Flight Availability: St. Thomas has more flights and you are more likely to find routes with only one connection.


  • Taxi Ride: After landing, take a taxi to the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock. The ride costs less than $10 and takes about ten minutes.
  • Ferry Ride: Ferries run regularly to Tortola, typically taking about an hour. It’s a scenic and beautiful journey. Ensure you take a ferry to Road Town if that’s your destination. There are several ferry companies:
  • You can also get a private water taxi from St Thomas to anywhere in the BVI. While you are taken directly to your charter company in the BVI, most water taxis will want to meet you at Red Hook in the USVI. From the airport to Red Hook is quite a long taxi ride.

Which Option is Best?

Direct to Tortola (EIS)

  • Pros: Simplest and most straightforward, ideal if you have a lot of luggage.
  • Cons: Typically more expensive, with fewer flight options.

Via St. Thomas (STT)

  • Pros: Generally cheaper with more flexible flight options.
  • Cons: Involves an additional ferry ride, and another taxi ride, which may extend total travel time.

Via St. Thomas (STT) via Private Water Taxi

  • Pros: Easiest way to get through customs, beautiful way to enjoy the islands, takes you directly to your charter company in the BVI.
  • Cons: More expensive. Usually requires a long taxi ride in the USVI.

Comparison Table:

Criteria Tortola (EIS) St. Thomas (STT)
Total Travel Time Usually involves one more flight connection One less flight connection, but adds a ferry ride. Travel time can vary based on layovers.
Cost Usually more expensive Cheaper, even with the $55 round-trip ferry cost. Lower taxi costs on Tortola.
Simplicity Easiest option with all air travel More adventurous, see more of the islands with the ferry ride.


  • For Simplicity and Convenience: Fly directly to Tortola (EIS).
  • For Cost and Flexibility: Fly to St. Thomas (STT) and take the ferry.

No matter which option you choose, your journey to the British Virgin Islands is sure to be the start of an unforgettable adventure!

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