www.escape-bvi.com An Adventurers Guide To The British Virgin Islands
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Facts About The British Virgin Islands

Facts for the BVI

Here are informative and interesting facts you should know about the BVI. They will help ensure you have a safe and fun stay in the Islands.

Immigration/Travel Information:

The principal requirement for entry into The British Virgin Islands is a valid passport. Visitors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest BVI Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy, or contact the Chief Immigration Officer at the Immigration Department of the BVI Government at: Tel (284) 494-3471 ext. 4700 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2538.

Note: Bona fide visitors may be granted entry for up to one month at the ports of entry, provided that they possess return (or ongoing) tickets, evidence of adequate means of support and pre-arranged accommodations during their stay. Visitors wishing to stay longer will need to apply for an extension from the Immigration Department in Road Town, Tortola or at the Government Administration Building in Virgin Gorda.

Climate:

The average year-round temperature is 80-90 F with sub-tropical balmy weather and breezes year round.

Time:

Standard Time Zone: UTC/GMT minus 4 hrs.

Capital:

Road Town, on Tortola Island (estimated population 2,500)

Language:

English (main), Spanish

Currency:

The currency of The British Virgin Islands is the $U.S. dollar. Major credit cards are accepted in many- but not all establishments. There is a 10¢ stamp duty on all checks and travelers checks.

Customs Duties:

All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering The British Virgin Islands on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty.

Driving:

A valid British Virgin Islands Driving License is required by all those seeking to drive in The British Virgin Islands. A temporary British Virgin Islands Driving License ($10.00 fee) can be obtained from the Traffic Licensing Office or Car Rental Agencies with a valid Driver License from another country. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Minimum age for Car Rentals is 25.

Car Rentals:

There are a number of car/jeep rental agencies in Road Town, Cane Garden Bay and the West End.

Bike Rentals:

A bicycle must also be registered at the Traffic Licensing Office in Road Town for a cost of $5.00. The license plate has to be affixed to the bicycle.

Taxi:

Taxi service is readily available.

Ferry:

Ferry service allows easy island hopping to Virgin Gorda (BVI), Peter Island (BVI), Jost Van Dyke (BVI), Anegada (BVI), St. John (USVI) and St. Thomas (USVI).

Peak Season:

The peak tourist season for the Islands is from December to May, but this has more to do with the weather in North America and Europe than it does with the reliably balmy Virgin Islands weather. It's therefore best to visit outside this period, when you can expect room rates to be about two-thirds of those charged during the busier months. An additional draw is that the calmer weather between April and August tends to keep the waters clearer for diving.

Sales Tax:

There is no Sales Tax in the BVI.

Departure Tax:

$20.00 per person leaving by air
$5.00 leaving by sea
$7.00 for cruise ship passengers

Hotel Tax:

There is a 7% Hotel Accommodation Tax payable by guests who stay for six months or less in hotels, apartments, houses, cottages, villas and similar accommodations.

Cruising Permits:

A Cruising permit is required for all cruising in The British Virgin Islands.

SEASONAL RATES: (December 1- April 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $2.00 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person per day.

OUT OF SEASON RATES: (May 1 - November 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $0.75 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person per day.

Dive, day charter and sport fishing boats should contact The British Virgin Islands Customs Department Tel: (284) 494-3475 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2533 for current cruising permit requirements.

Fishing Permits:

The removal of any marine organism from British Virgin Islands waters is illegal for non-BVIslanders without a recreational fishing permit. Contact The Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour, Tel: (284) 468-3701 ext. 2147 for information.

Marine Conservation Permits:

The use of National Parks Trust mooring without a permit is illegal. Call the National Parks Trust Office at (284) 494-3904 for information.

Marriage License & Regulations:

For information on getting married in the islands, contact the Registrar's Office, P.O. Box 418, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands or phone (284) 468-3701 ext. 5001 or (284) 494-3492.

Pets:

Pets are allowed entry into the Territory only after an import permit is issued by the Department of Agriculture. For regulations governing animal importation, contact the Department of Agriculture, Paraquita Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Tel: (284) 495-2532 or Fax: (284) 495-1269.

Medical:

An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory in The British Virgin Islands. Peebles Hospital has surgical, x-ray and laboratory facilities; there is a private plastic surgery clinic as well several private medical centers.

Drugs:

The possession, sale, use or distribution of illegal drugs in the BVI constitutes a criminal offense punishable by law and conviction on drug charges can lead to stiff fines and jail sentences.

Dress:

Bathing suits and other beachwear are considered appropriate on the beaches, at the pool or on a boat. It is not considered appropriate attire when shopping downtown. For the most part, day and evening dress is casual.

Exports:

Fish, rum, sand and gravel, fruits and vegetables

Imports:

Foodstuffs, building materials, machinery and equipment, motor cars, beverages

Tourism:

The major economic activity, accounting for some 45% of the national income; approximately 400,000 visitors per year.


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