Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Getting from St Thomas to Tortola
I've stayed in STT and gone in the morning. I completely agree, however, that staying aboard the night before makes departure day much more relaxed. By the way, I've also stayed in STT the night before flying back out, which also takes the pressure off turning the boat in and making the proper ferry back over. I've also stayed ashore on Tortola and taken an early ferry the next morning to fly out of STT, knowing there were a few before my flight.
While a little more expensive, I'm going to seriously consider flying right into Tortola next time. I always forget what a serious pain the ferry is. From checking in to hoping your luggage is in the pile on the dock to waiting in line at customs, its a real welcome to the third world and you're not mentally there yet. Other than cost, the big downside to flying into Tortola (technically Beef Island, TUPJ) is connecting in San Juan. I don't like connections when I have a charter schedule, but I always pack strictly in carry-on to limit the concern that my luggage doesn't show. If you can, carry your luggage aboard the ferry too. You'll know you have it and no one has gone through it.
If you do the ferry, when you see you are getting close to the island, be sure you are standing downstairs near the door you came in. You want to be as close to the head of the line at customs as possible. They will process BVI citizens first, understandably. But even a ferry that may only be half full will take well over an hour, probably more like two, to clear customs. You don't want to be at the end of the line.
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