Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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I was planning to pack a few food items, tea, spice, maybe some noodles, dry items, granola bars where ever they fit, nothing in large quantities (dozen+ candy bars). I see you have to have an IMPORT FORM. They will confiscate these items?
I've been on trips down there were we brought in almost all food for the week including coolers with meat (I think the limit is something like 40 lbs of meat per person max.) You can just declare it on the standard customs form. The charge was minimal. Probably fewer people do it now with airline baggage fees ramping up. You might want to bring some of your grocery receipts if you have them.
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post #32 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Looks like meats are now prohibited, but other imports just drive a 5% to 15% import duty.

Robes, have a great time! You've planned well, but be careful. BVI does not work like a swiss watch, you have to go with the flow and the flow is slow. Sometime is just isn't flowing. I swear, the more you plan the worse it gets.


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post #33 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

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Looks like meats are now prohibited, but other imports just drive a 5% to 15% import duty.

Robes, have a great time! You've planned well, but be careful. BVI does not work like a swiss watch, you have to go with the flow and the flow is slow. Sometime is just isn't flowing. I swear, the more you plan the worse it gets.
The more rum you swallow, the better the system seems to work.
That's why they offer free shots at the St Thomas airport!!!!!
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post #34 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

A couple of Painkillers will fix just about anything!!
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post #35 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Looks like meats are now prohibited, but other imports just drive a 5% to 15% import duty.

Robes, have a great time! You've planned well, but be careful. BVI does not work like a swiss watch, you have to go with the flow and the flow is slow. Sometime is just isn't flowing. I swear, the more you plan the worse it gets.
From the BVI Customs website...

Customs - Importation of Food
Yacht owners, charter guests, and visitors may bring food into the British Virgin Islands. For the time being, however, because of the worldwide threat of Hoof and Mouth and Mad Cow Disease, a law is in effect which bans the importation of any meat products unless an application is submitted to the Department of Agriculture for approval. Approved permits cost $25.00. For more information, please call the Department of Agriculture at 284- 495-2532. Visitors coming from the North America with meat products for consumption during their stay will not have to fill out the application, if they are bringing less than 40LBs of meat.

Good quality, fresh foods are available in the British Virgin Islands from several grocery stores and provisioners on a year-round basis. BVI import duties charged on food products range between 5% and 15% of the invoice value.

For more information on import regulations and tariffs, please contact the BVI Customs Department Phone: (284-494-3475). Open from 8:30am to 6:30pm


Although I've never been, I think it could save you quite a bit on food if you do indeed pack a cooler of frozen meat... and depending on your airline perks you have (I'm Delta Diamond), the cooler could be part of your free luggage allowance.
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post #36 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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So if you stay under 40 pounds of meat, no application needed.
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post #37 of 45 Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

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So if you stay under 40 pounds of meat, no application needed.
Well that should be enough then.

Food is a bit pricey there, but there are online services where you can place an order before you depart, pay with your credit card and tell them when to meet you at your boat. You fully customize like a shopping list and aren't button holed into those silly charter food packages. They work with all the charter companies.

For what you might save, I would never want to deal with the coolers and forms. Having one bag slung over your shoulder is a serious advantage when dealing with "the islands". Picking multiple heavy items in and out of cabs, on ferries, through customs, etc, sounds very cumbersome to me.

Maybe bring something you absolutely must have and can't get.


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post #38 of 45 Old 03-16-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Well that should be enough then.

Food is a bit pricey there, but there are online services where you can place an order before you depart, pay with your credit card and tell them when to meet you at your boat. You fully customize like a shopping list and aren't button holed into those silly charter food packages. They work with all the charter companies.

For what you might save, I would never want to deal with the coolers and forms. Having one bag slung over your shoulder is a serious advantage when dealing with "the islands". Picking multiple heavy items in and out of cabs, on ferries, through customs, etc, sounds very cumbersome to me.

Maybe bring something you absolutely must have and can't get.
Another alternative to consider: I much prefer to inspect the food that I buy instead of having someone who doesn't care pick out the first thing they find. So we passed on pre-ordering and planned to go to RiteWay the night before. We were so wiped out from the day of travel that we didn't make it out that night, so we went out at 7am the morning of our departure. RiteWay's main location was an easy 5-minute walk from the Sunsail/Moorings facility, and we were back in plenty of time for our 9am chart briefing. We had three of us to lug the groceries back. Each of us carried 2 gallon jugs of water, and we had daypacks to put the food in. However, we did not provision heavily - we were only buying food for lunch every day (mostly cold cuts and stuff). Heavier provisioning would have probably required a cab ride.

The RiteWay store was a little higher priced than mainland supermarkets, but not by as much as we expected.

Some people don't want to do any of this shopping while on vacation, so the services are nice for them. But my wife can be picky about brand names and condition of fresh produce, so this option was much better for us.

One warning: Although RiteWay's flagship location is a nice sized store, their selection was spotty for certain food items. For instance, the deli counter was completely out of roast beef, turkey, and some other cold cuts. The only meat we could find that we liked was ham, which obviously could be a problem for some people. Some of the advance purchase services claim that by ordering ahead you avoid out-of-stock problems, but I'm not sure the laid back island people would be that diligent. I'd appreciate comments on this from those who have actually used their services.

Also, RiteWay has affiliated stores on the other islands. Selection is pretty good for small stores. Prices seemed to be a little higher on the more remote islands, but still cheaper than eating out.


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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

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...........Some of the advance purchase services claim that by ordering ahead you avoid out-of-stock problems, but I'm not sure the laid back island people would be that diligent. I'd appreciate comments on this from those who have actually used their services.....
I'll give them credit that its hard to avoid out-of-stock issues. They are on a island.

However, we did not have a significant issue. I would say 98% as we ordered. It's a little hard for me to imagine being that brand specific in my requirements when traveling to another country. However, most brands were US and arrived exactly as the website identified them.

As for produce, our bag of apples and potatoes on this last trip were fine. Lettuce too as well as limes. Large tomatoes didn't last a day, but grape tomatoes lasted longer.

Beer, wine, tuna, bread, butter, eggs, snacks, chicken, cookies, etc, were all great. We fully provisioned for all breakfasts, most lunches and about 3 dinners.


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post #40 of 45 Old 03-17-2013
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I like Conch Charters but getting you on your way in a timely fashion can be a challenge for them. I'll be there again two days from now. I'll try to post about my experience this time.
I have to eat my words. Conch is doing a top notch job. Almost ready to shove off. Should be ready by 10:30! Well done Conch!

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