We will be spending a week on St. John, next year. How feasible is it to do a day trip to one of the British Virgin Islands?
You'll have no problem finding day trips to the BVI from STJ. We like to charter a power boat with a captain and set our own agenda but there are large tour boats that have a predetermined stops planned. Be sure to have passports as they are required for all persons visiting the BVI. It's a fun day. I recommend it.
It's very easy to do one. We went through New Horizons when we went. It was a good trip...but a little too "tour groupish" for me. I'd go back to Jost next time...but on a different boat.
You do NOT need a passport with this company until Jan 08..but other companies are different...so check before you go.
I recommend chartering a power boat with Captain and try to keep the group to your own group of 2-6. We were there 7/21-7/28 and used John Brandi and here is a link to his website:
Don't be fooled by his website. He gives a great trip, has a great personality, is knowledgable about the area, is able to get you through both BVI and US Customs easily and quickly and will take you where you want to go or make suggestions to you about where to go. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed our one day trip with John and do not hesitate to recommend him to anyone.
Easy enough to do and quite fun. Lots of options for a daysail with snorkeling stops included or take a public ferry. Jost or Virgin Gorda are the most visited, although Tortola is certainly worth a visit also.
I should mention that we never got to the BVI until our third trip to STJ. We'd intended to go sooner, but there was always so much that we wanted to do and see on STJ that we never left the island.
Thanks for the info, are there regular ferrys or do we have to go through a charter? Also which island would you suggest?
It depends on what you want to do. You can take the ferry to Tortola, Virgin Gorda and I believe Jost Van Dyke. Tortola is larger and closer but not as scenic as JVD or VG. If you have never been to any of the BVI you probably should either go to the Baths on VG or JVD (white bay and great harbor). The Baths are unique and you will not find anything like it on St John. There is a restaurant at the top called Top of the Baths with a freshwater pool where you can take a dip and rinse the salt off. They can get crowded however, so try to pick a day when there is no cruise ship in Tortola. JVD is beautiful and I am a huge fan of the Soggy Dollar Bar, but since you will be on St John where there are also beautiful beaches I would recommend going to VG. You might find a trip that goes to the Baths and also has a stop or two along the way. I believe you need your passport to get back into St John, not necessarily to get into the BVI.
There are numerous options available from ferrying solo to sailing to powerboat. I alway recommend Captain Nautica and you can check out their operation at www.captainnautica.com. Cheers!
saffie11-If I am not mistaken, if you are a US citizen, you will need a passport after 1/1/08, but it makes it easier to clear BVI and USVI customs and immigration if you have a passport now. One of the things we heard before we went in July was that if you went on one of the large charter boats they (the charter company) will require you to have a passport now, because they do not want the hassle of having to get someone cleared through BVI immigration and customs and likewise getting cleared back through USVI customs and immigration who did not have a passport. That process would hold up the entire boat. We discovered that if you go with a Captain who routinely takes trips to BVI and if you have a passport, and if one of your party does not have a passport, but instead has a birth certificate and photo ID, the Captain can still get the entire party cleared very easily at BVI and getting back into USVI. It's still best to go ahead and get a passport since it will be needed after 1/1/08 or some date in Jan '08.
If you're mostly interested in getting to one of the BVI and spending time there, the ferries are the way to go.
Here's a link to ferry schedules:
The Jost scene is primarily a beach bar scene on beautiful beaches. Virgin Gorda's main attraction is the Baths, which are pretty spectacular. A few other lovely beaches with good snorkeling also on VG. I'd pass on Tortola if you're just going for a day trip.
I live on St. John and go to BVI several times a year -- sometimes for just the day, sometimes for a quickie getaway. Imagine that -- I live on St. John and get away occasionally. Don't really need to, but enjoy BVI.
It is VERY EASY to get a ride over.
Loads of choices, sail or power. Obviously, power is going to be a lot faster and give you more time ashore.
Or, you can charter your own boat from Cruz Bay, bareboat. Well, I can do it, since I know the waters so well.
Info on www.stjohntravelforum.com. Click on the charter companies.
Incidentally, you can go to any of the information kiosks, tell them what kind of trip you want, and when you want to go, and the price you are looking for, and they will know exactly who would be best for you. One is across the street from the post office, one at Mongoose, and one at The Marketplace. Just walk into one of them on your first day, and you'll get something. Guaranteed.