The best way to travel to the British Virgin Islands

There are two ways to get to the British Virgin Islands. The first is to fly directly to Beef Island Airport on Tortola (airport code:EIS). The second is to fly to Cyril E. King airport in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands (airport code: STT) and then take the ferry to Tortola, BVI.

Flying directly to Tortola

This option is the simplest but sometimes more expensive as it’s a small airport with only one runway.

Runway on Beef Island, BVI

Runway on Beef Island, BVI

Use your favorite travel website (I like Kayak.com) to check airfares from your home airport to Beef Island, Tortola (EIS).

All flights to EIS come from San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), Saint Marteen (SXM) or St Thomas (STT) but you will most likely connect in San Juan. The flight from San Juan to Tortola will be in a small plane. On one trip they put us in very small planes. Each plane held 7 passengers. All our luggage went in another airplane.

You will need to take a cab from the airport to your hotel or charter company. This could be any where from $10-$50 (you can check fares here) and may take around 30 minutes.

Flying to St Thomas and taking the ferry

There are a lot more flights into St Thomas (STT) than Tortola. You are more likely to be able to find a trip with only one connection.

Once you get to St Thomas you will need to take a taxi ride to the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock (less than $10 and about ten minutes.) Ferries run regularly to Tortola. Note that you will most likely want a ferry directly to Road Town not the West End, but this will depend on where your hotel or charter company is located. You can check the ferry schedules here.

The ferry ride is about an hour long and it’s a beautiful ride.

Which is better?

If you are nervous and want the easiest and simplest option, flying directly to Torola (EIS) is the way to go. If you have much luggage, this is probably the way to go too.

If you want the cheapest option or you want more flexibility and flight options, flying to St Thomas (STT) and taking the ferry is the way to go.

Tortola (EIS) St Thomas (STT)
Total Travel Time Probably one more plane connection than STT. One less plane connection, but one more ferry ride. Maybe a bit longer, depending on if you decide to spend any time in STT or not.
Cost Usually more expensive. Cheaper. Even though the ferry can be $55 roundtrip, you will probably save in taxi costs on Tortola.
Simplicity It’s simplest to fly straight to EIS – then it’s all air travel and your bags are shipped all the way to your destination. Are you going sailing for an easy, simple vacation? This way you get to see more of the islands!

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