Day trip to BVI - which one?

Old Apr 6th, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Day trip to BVI - which one?

I'll be taking one cruise or ferry to the BVI from St. John. I've read a lot of posts, but still unsure of whether to hit Virgin Gorda, Tortola or Jost Van Dyke. What would you do? And would you do a sail or take a ferry? Thanks for the advice!
cooncat is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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Hello -

I've done BVI daytrips twice - once with a tour/group and once on a private/chartered boat with a few friends. Here are my thoughts...

If you have the means, charter a boat w/ a captain. It will cost about $450-$500 total for an 8-ish hour trip, including gas and captain's tip, but I found having control over the itinerary to be worth the expense. Your resort / hotel should be able to recommend a captain and boat. If they're not helpful, I'll look up the name & number of our captain and forward to you.

A group/tour isn't a bad route to go if a private charter is too expensive. It will cost about $130-$170 per person depending on the boat & captain's tip for an 8-ish hour tour. Beverages on the boat are usually included in the fee. Downside: you're at the mercy of the tour guide and a set schedule to be at one island or destination.

I haven't taken the ferry to the BVI's, but I know the schedule is somewhat sporadic (i.e. ferries aren't daily and the times are a little scattered). This would be a good way to go if you plan to stay on the Island for a night. Not sure if it's the best option for a day-trip.

Regarding islands to visit... having been to all 3 and after spending a weekend on Tortola, I would suggest you spend as much time as possible on Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Hit Tortola if time allows, but I wouldn't make it a priority to stop there. Try to schedule your trip on a low or no cruise ship day. I think visiting The Baths on Virgin Gorda is a MUST, but if you're surrounded by the cruise ship crowd you might be disappointed. The Baths are rock formations that sort of form a trail around the beach. To get to the beach, you have to walk through the rocks (or swim / snorkel from a boat). It's a very cool experience, but the crowds can take away from the beauty. Jost Van Dyke is a lovely, sweet, laid-back spot. White Bay (the beach you'll most likely visit) has the best sand I've ever seen / felt - - like walking on cotton balls! When we chartered the boat, we left St. Thomas around 8:00AM, went through customs in St. John, arrived at Virgin Gorda around 10:00ish (maybe), snorkeled / swam to shore, spent an hour or so walking / wandering through The Baths, snorkeled back to our boat, stopped at Willy T's (bar on a large boat, kind of cheesy), went to Jost Van Dyke for 2 hours, headed back to STJ/STT. It was great AND we saw whales, believe it or not! (a rare occurence down there)

This is probably too much information - sorry! Feel free to post more questions and I'll try to help.

Happy Travels!

Zantastic is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Hi, while staying at tortolla we did a day trip (via ferry - cheap) to the baths and another trip to Jost Van Dyke. I would definately rule out Tortolla for the day trip between the three choices. A decision between the baths and white bay is more difficult. The baths was a very cool experience. The water was nice but the beach was a bit small and had some crowds. We hiked our way to a quieter beach after lunch, I think it was spring bay. Our trip to Jost Van Dyke was heavenly. The beach is spectacular. The water is calm, bright blue and crystal clear. I throughly enjoyed laying in a hammock and sipping on my pinacolada. Not much else to do. I'm not sure if I've helped you. Do try to swing both if you can. If not make your choice based on your interest. If you want to see something really cool/beautiful and do some hiking go to the baths. If you want to chill out on an amazing beach go to Jost.
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Thanks to you both! Zan - I'm definitely a budget traveler, so your charter idea probably won't work! I am familiar with the Baths and would love to see them - but NOT when the "cruisers" are there! Is there a specific time to try to go? Also, I read somewhere - thought it was here but maybe not, that the water in some places around JVD is polluted from all the boat fuel. Now don't laugh - I really did read this. I was all set to do a day sail to there from St. John, but somewhere I read that it wasn't worth it. Maybe just one person's thoughts. Anyway, I'll look into trips over to VG. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 11:14 AM
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We were just in St. Thomas a couple weeks ago and went on a great charter with a company called Stormy Petrel & Pirate's Penny. We started out from Red Hook in St. Thomas, then picked up some people in St. John (a total of 12 passengers on the boat). From there, we cruised past Tortola and all of the other islands until we got to Virgin Gorda. It was real interesting to hear the two crew members tell us about the various islands as we passed them by. They even allowed people to drive the boat. After going through customs in Spanish Town, we went to the Baths, where the crew took us through the rocks and told us about them. Next we headed to Cooper Island for lunch. After that we headed to Norman island to go snorkeling before heading back to St. John and St. Thomas. The day started about 7:45 and we were back to Red Hook about 5:00. It was a great way to see several islands and hear about them from locals. The cost was not cheap ($110 per person plus tip), but after researching it we found it was competitively priced. We thought it was well worth the price - even our kids thought it was the highlight of the trip.

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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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White bay is a Beautiful beach. Maybe what you read was the beach where the ferry drops you off is poluted. Though I dont remember it being so. White bay is a moderate hike or 2 min car ride from there.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Here is my point of view. Yes, White Bay is a lovely beach, but since you are on St. John it is nothing special. Also Deadmans Bay on Peter Island is even prettier. The Painkiller drinks from the Soggy Dollar Bar are great, but not worth skipping a trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. The Baths are so special, remember to bring your water camera and snorkel. Here's a tip: there is really good snorkeling to the right, explore those boulders before you get to Spring Bay. Continue walking past Spring Bay until you get to Little Trunk Bay - a wonderful beach.

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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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Virgin Gorda it is! Thanks everyone! Now - how should I get there?!
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Old May 5th, 2004, 08:04 PM
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Author Zantastic - Can you please look up the name and number of the captain you reference in paragraph 2 below.
"If you have the means, charter a boat w/ a captain. It will cost about $450-$500 total for an 8-ish hour trip, including gas and captain's tip, but I found having control over the itinerary to be worth the expense. Your resort / hotel should be able to recommend a captain and boat. If they're not helpful, I'll look up the name & number of our captain and forward to you."

The only company I have found doing day trips to the Baths from St. Thomas is Stormy Petrel with a group of 12. The other exclusive day trip charters inform me they go to BVI for the day, but not to the Baths. Thanks for your help. boomerang
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Old May 5th, 2004, 10:16 PM
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Hi cooncat,

We stay on St. John and rent our own boat and cruise the BVI at our leisure... not too difficult to navigate, and much fun to make your own itinerary and go.

Might be a viable option if the charters are too $$$.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We chartered a boat with captain in St. John last year. With 4 of us, it worked out to be about the same price as one of the organized trips to the BVI's and it was absolutely the best day of our trip.

We chartered the boat from Ocean Runner and couldn't have been happier with their service. They are located on the beach in Cruz Bay between the Beach Bar and the ferry dock. Here's a link to their website:

Have a great trip!
janepaul is offline  
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