We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

USA
Level Contributor
94 posts
2 reviews
US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

After reviewing a few similar forum posts on this subject, and many other travel company websites (which downplay the problems), the main question in my mind remains RELIABILITY:

is it cutting it too tight for one day travel, or should one definitely plan an extra travel day before and after a resort stay?

We're currently making final plans for a late November 1 week stay in VG North Sound.

Arrival:

- if via SJU to Tortola EIS in mid-afternoon, and including a possibly long customs wait, then it is too late for a ferry connection to the north side of VG; so we're looking at overnighting in San Juan or Tortola

- if via STT, a mid-afternoon landing (possibly delayed) makes us miss a ferry out of Charlotte-Amalie to VG

Departure:

- ferry to STT and transfer to the airport cuts it very tight to make the flight

- ferry to EIS looks OK, but Cape Air to SJU is expensive

I am looking for experiences and suggestions. Thank you. Would you plan your overnight near SJU, STT, or EIS?

Thank you.

ACB
Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Virgin Gorda
Level Contributor
2,792 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

What time is your return flight?

The STT ferry route is the least expensive route. It is easy and reliable to boot. If you miss the direct STT to VG ferry on arrival, there are fairly easy backups via STT and then on to VG.

My family regularly does it in one day. All that being said, Old Town San Juan is a fun overnight.

Are you renting a car?

USA
Level Contributor
94 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

Thanks for your reply ACB.

My question was a general one, putting together a tight chain of schedules, and the probability of one delay upsetting the rest ... and nobody wanting to take responsibility. I had this happen to me in the Greek Islands, but at a time when I had more time flexibility.

We're scrambling to adjust after Continental just canceled our non-stop reserved flight to SJU in Nov. And it appears that Cape Air SJU - EIS is the same high price, whether or not booked as a separate flight or together.

As it looks now:

- arrival: probably at 1:30 into STT or 4:30 into EIS, trying to make it to North Sound in time for dinner; having just carry-on luggage, does it make sense to walk the 3 km from STT airport to the ferry dock?

- departure: wanting to leave at mid-morning from North Sound, flying out possibly around 4pm from EIS or 3:45 from STT; wonder whether to connect in Spanish Town or EIS / RoadTown (taxi fare?)

Looks like we have information and reliability at the start and end of the travel, little for the intermediate ferry connection. We're not asking anyone here to play travel agent, just looking for feedback from "end users" like us. Hoping for the best, but preparing for eventualities: mechanical problems causing delays, boats getting filled up, choppy seas causing seasickness, ...

Australia
Level Contributor
361 posts
22 reviews
3. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

Based on the specific times you provided:

Flying into Beef Island seems to be easier in your case and I don't see why would you need to overnight. You have 6pm North Sound ferry to get you to your final destination well in time for dinner (unless it's cancelled due to less than 4 passengers and then you need to take the 8pm one, but then you can always eat in Trellis Bay/Beef Island area). Departing at 12pm ferry to the Beef airport, lunch and check in for 4pm flight. No point connecting through Spanish Town, taxi fares (you need 2 rides - one in VG, one in Tortola) will cost you at least $50 per person and won't save you much time. This link has taxi fares at the bottom of the page

http://www.bvitourism.com/taxi-services

St Thomas tends to be cheaper but making it to VG (particularly North Sound can be time consuming). I assume you checked ferry schedules here www.bestofbvi.com/info/info_bviferry.htm and it's bit more complicated but still doable. I've never heard of anyone walking from the airport to ferry dock, it's too hot for that! If you arrive on 1:30pm flight, you can take 4:15pm RTFF ferry to Road Town (approx 1hr), then 6pm-ish Speedy's to Spanish Town (30 mins) and taxi over to Leverick or Gun Creek in North Sound. If you are staying in Biras or Bitter End, you would need to arrange for their respective comp ferry (10 mins ride) to pick you up from Gun Creek (ie. Biras has 6:45pm and then it's at 9:45pm, but maybe they can send one in between).

Or, if you arrive on Tue or Thu, best is to take 5pm Speedy's from St Thomas directly to VG and arrive in Spanish Town at 6:30pm

Leaving through St Thomas - you would need to leave Spanish Town at 8am to connect to 10am ferry in Road Town. There are other possiblities which I'm sure you will discover when studying the ferry schedule. Always leave enough time 1-2hrs for possible ferry delays / cancellations when catching a flight in St Thomas. Boats don't get filled up, but they are far from reliable when it comes to respecting the schedule and of course mechanical problem is always an option. I avoid certain companies like a plague when I'm on the schedule and so fat it worked fine for me. You can figure out from my suggestions who do I consider more reliable. Best of luck, and don't worry - we don't mind playing travel agents (at least sometimes).

British Virgin...
Level Contributor
840 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

And remember, if you ferry back to STT, allow enough time to go through Customs twice.

ACB
Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Virgin Gorda
Level Contributor
2,792 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

One last question: What days of the week are you traveling?

USA
Level Contributor
94 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

Thanks for the helpful comments. Yes, I do see that ferry schedules vary by day of the week. And that ferry via STT would be less expensive than flying SJU to EIS. Our timing:

- going to VG would be on a Saturday late Nov; so would our two routes need to allow 1-2 hrs extra for customs in STT or in EIS?

- coming home would be on a Sunday or Monday early Dec; with customs in EIS or STT harbor+airport?

I read that the ferries wait to fill up with passengers, also make unscheduled stops. Fine by me, when I have sufficient time. Do they keep and disclose statistics on departure & arrival delays, like airlines do? Would be nice to know whether their standard deviation from schedule is; on a scale between less then 3 minutes for Swiss trains and several hours for Greek ferries.

Years ago, island hopping in Greece, I was told that keeping time is not important for them, that I should just "relax and enjoy the sunshine". Which makes me wonder: if we leave ourselves time for an overnight, would we still find a reasonably priced budget accommodation in EIS, STT, or SJU without pre-booking?

Boston
Level Contributor
6,905 posts
38 reviews
7. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

On the way to the BVI you would clear customs in Roadtown when you arrive, then on the way back, if you take the ferry to STT you will clear when you arrive by ferry and then again when you get to the airport because STT is a pre-clearance airport. If you fly from EIS you will clear in San Juan.

In my experience the ferries are pretty reliable. You will be able to get there in one day, but if there are any flight delays, then you may not. Since you are not coming in on a day there is a direct STT-VG ferry, you might consider taking the flight to EIS and the North Sound Express. When you add in the ferries and taxis, it may not be a price difference.

Virgin Gorda
Level Contributor
344 posts
30 reviews
8. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

On Sat there is a direct STT to VG ferry, which leaves at 3:30PM

Otherwise use the 4:15 Roadtown Fast Ferry and connect with Speedy Ferry at around 6 PM

You should have no problem making the 3:30 PM with a 1:30 PM arrival at STT by air.

Edited: 15 August 2011, 01:16
9. Re: US to VG North Sound: air + ferry + transf in 1 day?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 October 2012, 14:17
Get answers to your questions about Virgin Gorda
Recent Conversations