Planning your trip to Tortola in 5 steps

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Tortola is one of the top destinations of the British Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean. The 56 km² island is infamous for high hills, spectacular vistas, sandy beaches buffered by mangroves. It’s a place for water enthusiasts as well as for landlubbers. For a better experience, plan your trip well.

Requirements to enter the territory

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and other Caribbean countries only need a valid passport to gain entry into the British Virgin Islands. People from other countries are however required a proof of return ticket and an accommodation address. That is nonetheless only valid for a one-month stay. Above that period, a visa is required.

When to go there?

Unlike the other islands of the Caribbean, Tortola is unfortunately not a year-round destination. The British Virgin Islands are indeed hit frequently by hurricanes. The best time to go to Tortola is therefore during the dry period, between late November and May. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny. However, you need to check the weather because it may change due to tropical showers. If you are booking your trip ahead, get a trip cancellation insurance as a precaution.

How to get to the island?

The fastest way to get to Tortola is by plane. You will and in the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport, the main airport of the British Virgin Islands. If you are leaving from the neighbouring islands or land in St. Thomas, the ferry could be a cheaper mean to reach Tortola. It is also the favourite mean of transport for island hopping in the British Virgin Islands. You can also go to Tortola by cruise ship and dock in Road Town, the capital.

Where to stay in Tortola?

Accommodation in Tortola can be expensive. The best way to save money on hotels is to get package deals or to go during the during the hurricane season – risky but the rates can drop to 50%. You could also find a vacation rental on websites like Sun Villa Islands. The British Virgin Islands have also invented the Beds Afloat – lodgings in crewed yachts. Whatever type of accommodation you’ll pick, you will always need to book in advance.

What to pack for your trip?

Since the weather is hot, pack light clothes and swimwear. Don’t forget beach wear because it is offending to wear your swimsuit around although they are dressed very casually. Also, make a place for warm clothing and an umbrella in case of weather change. Bring snorkelling gear if you plan to go island hopping.

What to do when you arrive?

First thing to do when arriving in Tortola is checking in to your lodging. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport or the pier. If you want to drive around, ask your concierge for a car rental agency recommendation. You will need to pay $10 to get a one-month temporary driver’s licence – which you have to carry with yours. When you are driving around, remember to drive on the left lane!

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