Reopening guide to the British Virgin Islands for travelers
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As of May 15, 2021, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have been open to tourists. As Caribbean islands enforce and adapt to vaccine requirements and loosening travel restrictions for adults and kids amid the pandemic, The Points Guy will walk you through everything you need to know to enjoy these warm island destinations.
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What You Need to Visit the British Virgin Islands
The Government of the Virgin Islands has updated its protocols as of Oct. 1. Vaccinated travelers must receive the second COVID-19 vaccine dose no less than two weeks before entry and the vaccine must be approved by the World Health Organization.
Vaccinated travelers will still need to pre-register for a rapid antigen test via the Hummingbird portal. Proof of vaccination and results of a negative PCR test or antigen rapid test taken within the previous five days are also required. Fully vaccinated travelers must also take an antigen rapid test upon arrival.
Visitors also must have travel insurance. The insurance should include minimum approved coverage for COVID-19 medical costs including hospitalization, doctor’s visit and prescriptions, medical repatriation and quarantine accommodation costs.
All individuals are required to wear masks in BVI and will be issued a $100 fine for non-compliance, according to the U.S. Embassy. Further, you can face a $5,000 fine for violating quarantine and a $2,000 fine for intentionally damaging a quarantine tracking device.
The British Virgin Islands is currently under a Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest advisory due to greater likelihood of risk, according to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
What’s open in BVI?
Pretty much everything is open in BVI.
Restaurants, bars, resorts and beaches are all open for business. Weather is generally great in BVI, so you can enjoy the bulk of your meals outdoors. BVI Tourism has a list of recommended restaurants and bars where you can dine on the islands. Make sure to bookmark this page before your trip — there are a ton of great recommendations.
Whether it’s scuba diving or exploring Smuggler’s Cove on the island of Tortola with its powdery white sand beaches, there’s no shortage of ocean activities in BVI. There are a wide variety of land activities to do as well including eco-tours, hiking and national parks to explore.
Where to stay in BVI?
There’s no shortage of places to stay in BVI — here’s a look at some points options.
Marriott loyalists can stay at the Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. This hotel is a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and has private villas, a spa and a handful of on-site restaurants. A standard room for a January stay starts at $598-629 per night before taxes and fees. It is a category 8 hotel which will set you back 70,000 points per night for off-peak days, 85,000 per night for standard and 100,000 per night for peak. Note that come March 2022, Marriott is switching to dynamic award pricing, and will do away with its existing award charts.
How to get to BVI?
Mainline U.S. carriers don’t currently operate flights from the mainland U.S. to BVI. That said, you can fly to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico or St. Thomas (STT) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and hop on a regional flight to Tortola (EIS) near Beef Island. You can fly Air Sunshine, Cape Air, Silver Airways and InterCaribbean Airways from these airports to Tortola.
Many of these airlines have partnerships with major U.S. airlines. For example, Cape Air and Silver Airways have partnerships with American, JetBlue and United. Depending on the airline, you may be able to book your connecting flight to BVI as a part of a larger itinerary from your home airport.
On Google Flights, we found a roundtrip ticket in January for $839. The trip is from DCA to SJU via JetBlue and SJU to EIS via Silver Airways.
Alternatively, you can fly to the USVI and take an inter-island ferry to BVI. The BVI to USVI ferry resumed operations as of April 15. The ferry runs between St. Thomas in USVI and Tortola in BVI.
Even with updated protocol and requirements for vaccinated travelers, visiting the British Virgin Islands is well worth it. You’ll be greeted with miles of pristine beaches and incredible resorts. And let’s be real, who doesn’t need that right now?
Additional reporting by Liz Ramanand.
Featured image by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images.
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