St. Thomas to Tortola

Old Apr 24th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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St. Thomas to Tortola

Our trip this year will include a one-week sail on a catamaran leaving from Tortola. We will have to fly from Western Canada to St. Thomas and are wondering about the feasibility of the ferry vs the plane. I am a bit anxious about flying in a small plane. Does anyone have any comments for me that might help in our decision making. Thanks a lot.
Micah3 is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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You may want to post the question or at the very leasr search the archives on the BVI Forum at

The subject has been discussed repeatedly.

The consensus is there is no concensus - half the respondents swear by taking the ferry between STT and Tortola and the other half favor flying. The deciding factor generally seems to depend on the timing between a person's scheduled arrival in STT and if there's a specific need to be on Tortola by a given time - they opt for the mode of transportion that best works for their scheduling. Of course, those with a "fear of flying" advocate taking the ferry and those who are prone to seasickness prefer to take the plane (FYI -the ferry ride is not particulary rough or uncomfortable). By the way, there's about an equal number of people who don't like small planes and people who are afraid of ferries.

Personally, I like flying in small planes but it's not for everybody. In your case, if you are a "bit anxious" about flying in a small plane why not just take the ferry?

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Old Apr 24th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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I second RoamsAround's recommendation of - it's a wonderful forum.

I go to the BVIs from Colorado and while I enjoy the small planes, I prefer the route through St. Thomas. It's more direct and I've been on a plane or in airports long enough without having to add the (sometimes) stress and hassle of San Juan Airport into the picture. The ferry from St. Thomas is very convenient and a lovely way to ease into 'island time'. If you're already planning on sailing, I doubt seasickness would be an issue, although it really wouldn't be anyway as the boats are pretty sizeable.

If you do find yourself flying into San Juan and taking another flight to Tortola, Cape Air is a wonderful little airline - yes, their planes are very small, but the service is excellent. American Eagle's planes are larger, but the inconvenience of checking in and the frequency with which they cancel flights makes them less reliable, in my opinion.

Hope this helps! When are you going?
seasweetie is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I have to agree with RoamsAround. You do what is more comfortable.

I have done this trip. I went to St. Thomas for my honeymoon and I like you was nervous about little planes as well, I can't stand them. The flight however is only about 20 minutes and as soon as you are up in the air you are right back down on the ground pretty much.

The ferry doesn't run as quickly time wise, it is a longer ride and it only runs on certain days of the week as we found out.

Since we had a time frame, we chose to fly and as I can totally relate to your anxiety it really wasn't that bad.

Once you get to St. Thomas you go down to downtown Charlotte Amalle and catch what they call the fast ferry to Tortola.

That is about a 20 to 30 minute ride depending on how fast the boat is going. Make sure you have your passport as they do send you through customs upon arrival at Tortola.

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 08:44 AM
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I wouldn't think about flying into Tortola at all. If there is anything seen more frequently than colorful fishies on all the beautiful reefs, it is ferries to/from St. Thomas to Tortola! They are frequent, the ride is short and MUCHO cheaper than flying. If you are chartering out of the West End or Roadtown area, go to to search out the ferry schedules. Trust me, forget the plane ride, and spend the money you save on a big fat lobster!
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