The British Virgin Islands is welcoming tourists — here’s what you need to know
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The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is open to tourism, including Americans. Starting May 15, 2021, vaccinated travelers will be subject to looser entry restrictions. These travelers will still be required to undergo two COVID tests but can skip mandatory quarantine.
When these protocols go into effect, vaccinated tourists will need to provide a negative PCR test taken within five days of arrival and will be tested upon arrival into BVI. Travelers will also be required to show proof of vaccination at the border.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting BVI during the coronavirus pandemic.
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British Virgin Islands: Open to tourists
As discussed in the introduction, BVI is currently open for American tourism but with strict entry protocols. BVI will introduce easier entry measures on May 15 that will allow travelers to skip quarantine provided they’re vaccinated, bring a negative COVID test that’s no more than five days old and test negative at the BVI border.
Americans wishing to travel to BVI before May 15 are subject to the current COVID-19 entry protocols — even if vaccinated. These restrictions require travelers to obtain a negative COVID PCR no longer than five days before arrival, fill out a registration form at least 48 hours before arrival and pay a $175 fee. This fee covers the cost of an arrival test and a second test taken four days after arrival. Travelers must quarantine at an approved facility until the second test result is received and be required to wear a tracking device.
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. Further, all travelers are required to purchase travel insurance.
Remember, all U.S.-bound travelers are required to obtain a COVID test within 72 hours before returning to the U.S., regardless of the country they’re returning from.
What’s open in BVI?
Now for the good news: 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. There is no curfew in place either, though anyone operating a boat in BVI waters must do so between 12:30 am. and 10:00 pm.
BVI Traveller has a list of recommended restaurants and bars you can dine at on the islands. Make sure to bookmark this page before your trip — there are a ton of great recommendations.
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. Cash rates start at over $550 per night after-tax, or you can redeem 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Wyndham has a more budget-friendly option near Tortola. The Wyndham Tortola BVI Lambert Beach Resort will set you back 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points or just $138 per night after tax on many dates.
There are also plenty of independent resorts and hotels spread throughout BVI. You can book many of these properties for well under $200 per night this summer.
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 Peurto 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 VI Airlink from these airports to Tortola.
Many of these airlines have partnerships with major U.S. airlines. For example, Cape Air has partnerships with American, JetBlue and United. Silver Airways has interline partnerships with American, Alaska and Delta.
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.
Alternatively, you can fly to the USVI and take an inter-island ferry to BVI. The BVI to USVI ferry resumed operations on Apr. 15, 2021, and runs between St. Thomas in USVI and Tortola in BVI. Ferries operate once-daily round-trip service for the immediate future.
If you want to use miles, your best bet is to book an award ticket to San Juan or St. Thomas and then book your connecting ticket or boat connection separately. The Big 3 U.S. carriers offer service to both San Juan and St. Thomas.
Even with the new restrictions for vaccinated travelers, the British Virgin Islands isn’t as easy as it used to be — but it’s 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?
Featured image by BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock.com
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