Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Caribbean Islands (
-   -   To Scubamom OR anyonelse (

owa Aug 14th, 2006 12:05 PM

To Scubamom OR anyonelse
Hi, We are going to Biras Creek for a week, but I have four extra days to spend in the BVI's. We will be arriving on Tortola around 8pm from San Juan.

I would like suggestions for the four days. I initially thought we would just stay on Cane Garden Bay and take a day trip to at least Jost Van Dyke. Now I'm thinking maybe I would like to stay there for three nights. I'm thinking we cannot make it to JVD the night we arrive in Tortola. Is that too much moving around? Is it better to go for a day trip or stay some nights? Or are there other suggestions for the 4 nights? We have been to Peter Island, but all of the other BVI's are new to us.

I would really appreciate any help. Thanks, Owa

poss Aug 14th, 2006 03:46 PM

I wonder whether Guana Island might be a nice complement to Biras Creek. Much less busy than Cane Garden. I've not been to Guana, but I'm not fond of Cane Garden. (We like quiet, laid-back, relaxed places. Trying to decide for our next BVI trip whether to do Peter Island or Guana. (We love Virgin Gorda, but hope to try something new.) Happy Travels!

ScubaMom Aug 15th, 2006 04:10 AM

8 pm arrival presents a problem (We have the same problem from S. Texas!) Generally, you need to stay somewhere that provides airport transfers like Biras, Guana, Peter Island, and Little Dix or you'll need to overnight on Tortola. We always start our BVI stay with one of the above. Then take the ferries to "jump ship" to another resort or hotel.

Have not been to JVD, but if you end your stay there, make sure you can easily get back to the airport for departure. It will no doubt take a ferry and taxi ride to do that from JVD.

We don't usually stay on Tortola more than a night, going or coming.

Guana would be a good destination as poss suggested. Other than that, you could stay at a villa on Virgin Gorda.

mnag Aug 15th, 2006 08:46 AM

I think it would be too much to get to Tortola at 8pm and stay overnight and then take all your bags and go to JVD for 3 days and then come back with all the luggage to Tortola to take a ferry to Biras Creek. I would suggest you stay on Tortola and do a day trip to JVD. White bay is beautiful. This way you can spend a day or two on Tortola and explore the different beaches.

ejcrowe Aug 15th, 2006 10:21 AM

Owa, Tortola really is a great place if you want to daytrip it to Jost or take a few snorkeling trips.

Guana isn't a bad idea--there's pretty good snorkeling right off the main beach, with good hiking all over the island. You can also be dropped off by boat at a couple of other beaches good for snorkeling and be picked up at a specified time. I honeymooned on Guana and just loved it!

owa Aug 15th, 2006 03:56 PM

Thank you so much for all of your replies and suggestions. ScubaMom, maybe I should do what you do and start our stay at Biras Creek the night we arrive to Tortola from SJU. Does that make more sense? I think you are all correct about "moving around" too much. Plus, we will have to leave on a 740AM flight from Tortola to SJU.

Thanks again everyone for helping me. Owa

ScubaMom Aug 15th, 2006 06:59 PM

Yes, do Biras first since they will definitely do a transfer to the resort.

We are on the same early morning departure that you are (ACK!) and after much debate, decided to end our stay at Peter Island since they'll get us to the airport in time. Otherwise, we'd probably spend our last night on Tortola.

I remember the days when we could leave at noon and get home at midnight, but that was in the days before all the airline schedule cutbacks.

owa Aug 16th, 2006 05:06 AM

Thanks ScubaMom for the reply.

I've started looking at villas, and condos on Virgin Gorda. I'm finding they are quite inexpensive. One even allows free car usage. Are these decent places? I'm a little amazed and don't know if I should be concerned or not. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks, Owa

poss Aug 16th, 2006 05:31 AM

Scubamom: I hope you'll post an update on Peter Island after this upcoming (when?) visit. Even tho snorkeling is our main passion, I'm still thiniking of making PI our next BVI trip. I'd like to hear, though, that the accommodations have been renovated, and I'm still having trouble deciding which category to book. Quiet and privacy are very impt to us. I wonder if we'd have the kind of privacy we like in those beach units. (And I also wonder whether we'd hear surf noise-- which I dearly love in the day, but not at night.) I like the idea of the high-up view on those non-beach units (and of course the lower price), but I'm concerned abt noise (music, etc.) from the restaurant-- and abt privacy there too. In short, I'll look forward to your always-helpful in-put. Have a great time!

Owa: Now that we've "discovered" Virgin Gorda, I want to return as often as possible-- always splitting our 10 days half in a villa, half somewhere else (LD, PI,Guana) The villas on VG-- and the great beaches all over the island-- are wonderful. There've been lots of detailed posts on Fodor's and on Traveltalkonline. We prefer Mahoe Bay, but many others love Springberry/Guavaberry (I can't remember the exact name: You'll find it easily on a search here.)

ScubaMom Dec 20th, 2006 04:04 AM

poss... we just returned from Peter Island and can say that it is just as delightful as ever, if not more so. The service was better than ever and they now have "Stephen" the beach bartender who is happily running around taking orders.

We stayed in a Beachfront Suite which yes, are very private, especially the upper units (we run the A/C, so no surf noise and probably would not hear much even if we didn't use it). The Ocean View rooms at the "point" are the most quiet of that category if you stay in one of those.

Menus were great and we sure didn't lose any weight during our stay!

We also visited Biras briefly and were amazed at the new furnishings in and around the resort. Pillow top beds, fluffy down pillows, and the Arawak Pavilion has gorgeous new furniture.

Biras Cuisine wonderful as always - award winning.

poss Dec 21st, 2006 11:40 AM

Scubamom: Thanks for your reply to the PI question. I'm hoping that our Caribbean trip next December will be split between Mahoe Bay on VG and the other half at Peter Island. (We remember anchoring in there decades ago when we used to bareboat.) I'm still not sure I understand how the lanais at PI can be private. Can people not see onto them when they stroll the beach? We've just returned from Caneel and one of the things we really love abt that place (in addition to the great snorkeling!) is the total privacy of the lanais (some of them). But we've been thinking abt PI for a number of years, so next year we'll probably take the plunge. Only thing I've got to figure out is the logistics, viz. how to move between VG and PI with the least trouble. DH is less and less willing to be inconvenienced to take a vacation. "Ease" has become an ever-higher priority. (He's in his late 70's and I don't blame him one bit!)
Glad you enjoyed your recentest. And thanks for being such a faithful poster.

ScubaMom Dec 21st, 2006 11:54 AM

The Beachfront Suites have lawns and scrubs in front of them with a couple walkways to a wooden deck and boardwalk to the beach, so they are very private. We prefer the top units for the most privacy .

Getting from VG to Peter Island is easy - take the public ferry from Spanish Town to road town, a quick short taxi ride to the Peter Island dock and away you go. Maybe take an hour or so.

poss Dec 21st, 2006 12:32 PM

Wish we could manage the combo without having to do Tortola at all, i.e. with just one nice direct flight, Miami-Virgin Islands (as of course is possible with St John). I know that PI does a St Thomas pick-up/drop-off once or twice a week, so that gets us to PI. And I know that PI makes a run at least once a week to VG. I just can't figure out how to get from VG back to St Thomas for return flight. Magic carpet is the solution; will request one for Christmas.

ScubaMom Dec 21st, 2006 01:03 PM

It is much easier to fly in and out of Tortola; often the slightly higher fares to EIS will be less than flying into St. Thomas, hoping your plane arrives before the ferry leaves for the BVI (otherwise you'll overnight in St. Thomas) and enduring the stop at immigration in West End Tortola, etc. The last time we did that was just that... our last time! Too much hassle and trouble and tiring.

From the BVI Beef Island airport, take the North Sound Express to Spanish Town; transfer to Peter Island as described in my message above.

poss Dec 21st, 2006 02:10 PM

Thanks for response, Scuba Mom. In the 40 years we've been going to the Caribbean, maybe the worst experience was the one we had two years ago--trying to get from San Juan to Tortola. Everything went wrong and we didn't get into Tortola until very late at night; fortunately Little Dix met us, so the last leg went smoothly-- but only the last leg. (And we were on ours!) I think that's why my husband is so resistant to the idea of having to go San Juan to Tortola (the return trip was fine, by the way). We may need to go that route though; I'm not sure there's any real alternative. Have you ever been picked up by PI in St Thomas? Or returned? Or do you know folks who have done it that way? I think frequent flyer tickets allow one to do Miami-St Thomas one way, Tortola-San Juan-Miami the other way. So maybe that'll ease the travel aggravation. I used to balk at the hefty rates that Rosewood charged for their private ferry service, but I've come to really appreciate it. Getting older and tireder is no fun-- but snorkeling sure is!!!!

StanKase Dec 21st, 2006 02:21 PM

owa: I will wait until you return to post our 8 night stay at Biras Creek. Maybe we could compare notes. My guess was correct. When I arrived the renovation of the suites including the Master Suites were almost finished. By now they are likely all finished. Landscaping was maybe 70% complet when we arrived but 90% completed by the time we left.So you should see it 95% by now. We returned on 12/13. If you want the best snorkeling lefyt in the B.V. I.'s Michell is the owner/Captain of a very nice 35+/- power boat. He says the only really living coral systems in the B.V.I.'s is around Norman Island and Copper Island. It is a private charter unless you get more guests to join you. He takes up to 6. The cost is $650 for 4 hours (9-1 or 1-5) but the morning is best.Biras has snorkel trips but to spots were 80-90% of the coral is dead (bleached) or dying. Cooper and Norman are too far for them to go in a 90-100 minute trip.We went on that trip 3 times and the only spot that was fairly good was Nail Nut Bay so make sure you get on that trip. it can be a bit rough out there in that bay so a life preserve is desirable. But, with Mitchell you could get 1 hour at each island or a bit more to snorkel.We found out about where the decent coral was on our next to last day and he was booked.

owa Dec 22nd, 2006 02:14 AM

Stankase, Thanks so much for the information. I will cut and paste. I'd really like to hear more about Biras as we aren't going until May (leaving for two weeks in Vieques and Culebra on 7 January). Maybe we should do Norman and Cooper while we are on Tortola. If I'm correct, that would be closer. Where are you going next? Happy Holidays, Owa

ScubaMom Dec 22nd, 2006 07:50 AM

We've been going to the BVI since 1991! Never had a big problem making it all the way to EIS other than one time when we were late for our flight, American Eagle said all the seats on the last flight were gone, but I called our travel agent and he managed to crowbar two seats for us on it. When I went back to AA to get our boarding passes, they looked up the record number and said "How did you do that"? HA!

Otherwise, the ONLY time we've gone through St. Thomas included an overnight (or two) stay simply because we'd be doing that anyway if the plane was late arriving, or the ferry wouldn't arrive early enough to make our outgoing flight.

All in all, we find it far easier just to fly right into the BVI. And am always sure to try to get to San Juan long before the last flight leaves. (or we'll overnight in the Best Western at the San Juan airport like we did last trip a month ago... hotel is redone and nice enough for a quick overnight stay).

poss Dec 22nd, 2006 08:01 AM

Thanks, Ma! And Happy Holidays.

ejcrowe Dec 22nd, 2006 09:06 AM

StanKase, have you snorkeled Cooper Island yourself? It's one of only two places our daysail stopped last year and I found it more colorful than any place else I've snorkeled. It would be useful to me if you've snorkeled that area if you could compare it to other places on VG or Tortola or Anegada.

I really hope I didn't offend you with my last comment about your snorkeling standards--I love to snorkel but still consider myself just a casual one. It doesn't make or break a trip for me like it seems to for you, so I imagine that any place you find above average I would just flip for!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:22 PM.