We went to the BVI for 2 weeks in May.
The experience was incredible, but it also came with its challenges due to COVID.
Getting all the paperwork submitted to get to Tortola was the hardest part. I’ll explain later.
The great part was sailing a brand new Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 loaded with all the latest technology. The Boat had been sitting at BVI Yacht Charters waiting for a year and a half to be sailed. The new Garmin electronics were fantastic. The water maker, generator, and electric heads worked perfectly. Diving and snorkeling in “The Dogs” and other locations were the best of the 4 trips we’ve taken as in some places we were the only ones there!
The hard part: dealing with the COVID protocol.
CVS was the easiest and most reliable place to get the COVID test.
All information for each visitor has to be uploaded to the BVI Gateway portal. This includes passport information, COVID test results, charter company invoice * or hotel information,
etc. Before you arrive at the ferry, you should receive approval through the BVI Gateway. If you don’t, you can’t board the ferry. The staff at BVI Gateway are overwhelmed with all the documentation, so ours did not come through before we arrived at the Ferry.
Fortunately, we arrived a couple of hours early. We were in a sweat, as we had not received approval!
HELPFUL TIP 1: Some helpful people at the ferry told us the best way to contact the authorities at BVI Gateway was via the Facebook messenger page on BVI ALIVE.
HELPFUL TIP 2: If you take the ferry from St Thomas, they only run 1 per day to Tortola at 4 pm. From Tortola to St Thomas they run once per day at 8 am. Plan accordingly.
HELPFUL TIP 3: * Make sure that everyone who is going to be joining you on your trip is named on the invoice from the charter company. We had friends join us for the second week and their names were not on the invoice, so they had a nail-biting time getting their approval to enter as a result.
HELPFUL TIP 4: Have your phone ready to get the certificate and save it to make sure it is easily accessible. While the ferry is a short ride, they tested everyone again upon arrival. Patience and about 3 hours sitting on the ferry.
After arriving, checking in with the charter company and taking possession of your boat, we had to quarantine for 24 hours until we received the results of our BVI COVID test, during which time we could not leave the boat. We were given a tracker which we had to return to a police station before being allowed to venture ashore.
We stayed on the boat the first night. (Bring some food or order pizza delivered to the boat.) We went to Peter Island the next day to grill burgers and hang out. (Cooper restaurant
is closed for dinner.)
Day 2 Baths and round to spend the night at Leverick Bay. Some recommend Spanish Town for turning your tracker in, but that is a painful exercise to get to the police station; it’ll take all day and an expensive cab! Instead snorkel “The Dogs”. Then to Anegada. Go to Anegada Hotel for late lunch and turn in your tracking device by asking for the 1 policeman on the island. He comes to the hotel to collect it. Easy Peezy!
We needed another test 3 days before heading home. Jost Van Dyke next to the school house was an easy walk. Made an appointment by calling. After, we had an awesome breakfast at Tipsy Shark next to the dive shop. We also went on a dive from there, and we got an exclusive deal!
We had a great time as there was no issue with getting mooring balls, scheduling dives last minute or getting in restaurants. We’re glad we went two weeks because 1 would have
too much interference with all the requirements.
People there were excited to have the business. Also, bring plenty of cash.
Even Customs was having issues with credit cards.
Hope this helps anyone planning a trip to the Beautiful BVI!