St. John is a no-brainer, since it’s only 20 minutes by ferry from Red Hook. But Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke are also easily accessible from either Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie, and only take a few minutes longer to access. Many people day-trip there to check out the sights, sounds, and tastes.
Tortola offers Cane Garden Bay, a stunningly picturesque beach, plus famous restaurants like Mrs. Scatliffe’s and incredible SCUBA diving. On Virgin Gorda you’ll find The Baths, a world-renowned beach area with grottoes and ponds surrounded by huge boulders. And Jost Van Dyke is a popular place to go hike, lay on the beach, and more importantly, drink. The Soggy Dollar bar is the best-known place to imbibe.
The slow ferry to Tortola leaves Charlotte Amalie approximately 17 times a day, and costs about $50 round trip. The trip takes about one hour. Some ferries stop at both West End and Road Town, but others only stop at West End, so make sure you ask in advance to make sure you get to where you want to go. There’s also a fast ferry that leaves four times a day and costs $45 r/t. You can also get to West End, Tortola from Red Hook (4 times a day) and from Cruz Bay (St. John) to West End (also 4 times a day).
To get to Virgin Gorda, catch the ferry from Red Hook at 8am on Thursday or Sunday. It stops at Cruz Bay St John before proceeding to Virgin Gorda. The cost is $70 r/t.
Inter-Island Boat Services operates a ferry to Jost Van Dyke from Red Hook, at 8am and 2pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The trip takes about 45 minutes, costs $60, and stops at Cruz Bay. Catch the 8am ferry if you’re only going for the day, and return on the 3pm boat. Dolphin Water Taxi also goes to Jost. They have daily departures at 8:30 am from Red Hook, for $110 round trip.
To get the latest ferry schedules, either ask your hotel concierge, or pick up a copy of St. Thomas This Week. The magazine lists the schedules near the middle of each issue.
And don’t forget: if you’re going to any of the British Virgin Islands, bring your passport. It is a foreign country, and they do check!!