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  #1  
Old 10-02-2009
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Flights In for BVI Charter - St. Thomas or Tortola?

Hi all, I am ready to pull the trigger for a trip in late June 2010 (thanks saildoggie). I am looking at flights in and out of the BVIs and I noticed that flying in to St Thomas saves about $200 per seat. I was told there is a ferry that brings you to Sopers Hole, so it should work.

My question is: What do you all usually do? Fly in to Tortola and take the long ride or come into St. Thomas?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Bill
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Old 10-02-2009
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My vote - St Thomas

We fly into St Thomas. Cheaper flights, better timing/connections for us and we feel like our vacation starts the minute we land in STT. Ferrys run roughly every 30-45 min, so never a problem to catch one, and if you come in too late to catch the ferry, then a hotel in St Thomas is not such a bad thing either.

If you're doing a Voyage charter (I'm guessing because the the Saildoggie mention) then STT to BVI via ferry to Sopher's Hole is the best bet.
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Old 10-02-2009
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Great info. Thanks MMR.

Monte - we're hoping to do the same as you guys next summer. If you see an out of control Bene or Jene coming at you - bear off fast.
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Old 10-03-2009
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We've done both. In all honesty, I think it's a toss up. STT is cheaper, but then you've got to pay for the ferry. Also, some of the inbound flights to STT cut it pretty close on getting the last ferry of the day, so you might have to spend the night in St. Thomas. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing--any excuse for a meal at Cuzzin's is a good thing in my book. You've got a lot more flight choices into STT. For EIS, you're pretty much going through San Juan or Antigua.

I suspect I will alternate, just to be different. If it were my first trip, I'd pick STT or EIS based on which flights worked better for my schedule. I've generally sailed with The Moorings in Roadtown, which is marginally closer to EIS than Soper's Hole. If you are chartering from someone closer to the west end of Tortola, then STT and a ferry is a pretty clear win.

If you do go the STT route, pay attention to where the ferrys are starting and ending. On our last Moorings sail, we got a ferry from Charlotte Amalie direct to Roadtown. CA is only about 15 minutes from the airport. If you leave from Red Hook, you've got a pretty long taxi ride to the ferry terminal. On the Tortola side, Soper's Hole is not so convenient if you are sailing out of Roadtown, but great for points west.

If you take a ferry from CA, there's a very good bar/restaurant upstairs at the CA ferry terminal. Their Ginger Beer is home made and unfiltered, so If you are into that, I highly recommend one--or even better, a Dark and Stormy.

One final tidbit: We had to wait in a pretty long line for C&E at the Roadtown ferry dock last time. In the sun.
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Old 10-03-2009
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Bill

we've come in the day before to St Thomas, just in case the US side of air connections are jumbled. No rushing and like MS Chuckles, the vacation starts when we leave the house...

ALl the best and enjoy, we like the local made pina coladas, never had a bad one on the islands...
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Old 10-13-2009
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I flew into Tortola last time, and don't plan on doing it again. Had issues with flight times, arrival times, it just was a mess!

Jason
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Old 10-14-2009
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Will let you know how it goes as we have boat chartered for 2 weeks starting Nov. 1st.
Part of the crew is flying into Road Town the night before, cost savings of airline tickets flying Friday was cheap enough to pay for room, meals & drinks with money & time left over for shopping (keeps the wives happy). Sleep aboard Sat allows time for all the crew to arrive and provision before charter begins on Sunday. Has worked well in the past and with charters down they thru in the sleepover for free!!!!!! I like that word.

fair winds
jay
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Old 10-15-2009
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St Thomas it almost always the better point to enter on a cost basis. Beef Island get you on Tortola faster but typically that is through PR and you want to avoid that place if possible.

Problem with STT that time of years is that is outside the normal "Tourist" season and most Ferry's stop around 5. Best to arrange flights that will arrive at STT by 3:00. While the Ferry dock you will want is near by... delays in getting a taxi out is typical as they fill the vans to max capacity before they send them out. Make sure your driver knows WHICH Ferry dock your going to or you could end up in Red Hook.

If you do have to stay in St. Thomas overnight... take care. Many locations are less than safe including the area around the ferry docks in Charlotte Amalie. Some "resort" area may be safer and typically not much more expensive. You may even want to consider spending the night on St. John and take the morning ferry to either Road Town or West End.
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Old 10-15-2009
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Ferry Schedule

I flew into CA a few years ago and caught a ferry to Tortola. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed and I arrived in Charlotte Amalie after my planned ferry had left. I stopped by the tourist station in the airport and got the published schedule and asked for any changes. No problem I had just enough time to catch the last ferry. Unfortunately, when my taxi arrived at the ferry dock it had departed 15 minutes ago (25 minutes ahead of schedule). I then tried to catch the last ferry at Red Hook only to miss that one also. After discussions with the taxi driver I learned that the ferry schedule is a lot like the "code of the pirates" more of a guideline than actual rules. I wound up spending the night on CA and had a great time. I am not stating a preference just a heads up on a possible situation. Good luck and have a great time.
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Old 10-15-2009
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"Code of the Pirates" is about right for the ferry schedule. There's lots of rivalry between ferry companies, and they will intentionally vary the schedule to mess each other up. It's best to be flexible in both directions. For example, we don't usually buy round trip tickets, because you never know if the ferry you come back on will be the company you expected.

They're also pretty aggressive about grabbing your bags and trying to get you on their particular ferry. If someone tries to get you onto a particular ferry, make sure you ask _very_ specific questions about the routing if you care one way or another.

OTOH, the adventure is part of the fun.
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