British Virgin Islands - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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Flight Time to the British Virgin Islands from the UK
Approx 10 Hours
The British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It consists of over 50 islands and cays located in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Originally part of the Dutch Empire, the Islands were acquired by Britain in 1672.
The British Virgin Islands comprise about 50 small Caribbean islands; around 15 are inhabited. They are located a few miles east of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the north of the islands, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the south.
The largest islands of the group are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. Road Town, the capital and largest town, is situated on Tortola.
Brief History of the British Virgin Islands
The Islands were first settled by Arawak Indians from South America in around 100 BC. They settled the Islands until the 15th century when they were removed by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named.
In 1493, The Islands were sighted and named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas. The Spanish Empire acquired the Islands in the early 16th century, mining copper on Virgin Gorda. The Dutch established a permanent settlement on Tortola in 1648. In 1672, the English arrived in the region, and annexed the Islands, removing the Dutch populations from Tortola in 1672, and from Anegada and Virgin Gorda in 1680. The English introduced sugar cane to the Islands, which was to become the main crop, and source of foreign trade. Slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations. The Islands prospered economically until the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States significantly reduced sugar cane production.
Information provided by Wikipedia
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Tales of old-fashioned piracy, smuggling and daring raids on gold-laden galleons whisper around the British Virgin Islands like a tropical breeze. Much quieter and less exploited than their US counterparts, the islands glint like Blackbeard's jewels on the sparkling blue Caribbean, offering secluded bays and idyllic views to those who wash up on their shores. This is the real Treasure Island.
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Virgin Islands Visa Requirements
Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK passport holders need a passport, but no visa is necessary for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible.
Getting Around In the British Virgin Islands
Getting around any of the Virgin Islands is fairly easy. All of the islands have bus service and/or a regulated taxi service. Upon docking at Cruz Bay, taxis, rental cars, and scooters are available.
With plenty to explore on all the islands, car rental agencies are recommended. From the lush rainforest to the quaint Christiansted, driving the St Croix island is both scenic and a visual pleasure. Stick to the left-hand side and with a good handful of sharp curves, take your time navigating the roads. Remember that you're on "island time."
Generally car rental rates will be comparable to the mainland U.S. (about $500 per week or $80 per day). If you make advanced reservations, the rates are generally lower. Take out the insurance if you plan to go four wheeling up the steep mountain roads. Throughout St. Thomas, there are colored directional signs to major destinations.
By taxi and bus
Upon landing at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, one could rent a taxi or take buses to Charlotte Amalie, or to Red Hook, either of which have ferry service to Cruz Bay, St. John. You can "bargain" for most things on the islands, but the taxi and bus rates are regulated. Taxi rates are published by the Virgin Islands Taxicab Commission.
Taxi rates are charged per person one way. For example, a one way trip from Charlotte Amalie to Magens Bay is $10; round trip for four people will cost $80. If you plan on visiting multiple destinations, renting a car might be more economical.
Sailboat rentals at Red Hook will allow you to get around by water. If you plan to sail to the British Virgin Islands, a passport is required as of 2007. Although passports are not required for American citizens to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) has made the documentation requirements must stricter.
On St. John, get the best idea of the island by chartering a boat for a full day. By doing this not only will one get a wonderful day of snorkeling in, but also see the island from a local's perspective.
There is a ferry boat that transports cars between Red Hook, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John. The dock is separate from the passenger ferries. The sign is really small, so if you can't find the dock, ask the workers by the passenger ferries.