Planning a Trip
The B.V.I. Tourist Board Office (tel. 284/494-3134) is in the center of Road Town near the ferry dock, south of Wickham's Cay I. Here you'll find information about hotels, restaurants, tours, and more. Pick up a copy of The Welcome Tourist Guide, which has a useful map of the island.
Close to Tortola's eastern end is Beef Island, the site of the main airport for all of the British Virgin Islands. This tiny island is connected to Tortola by the one-lane Queen Elizabeth Bridge. For more information on getting to Tortola by plane or by ferry, "Getting There," in section 1, above.
Taxis meet every arriving flight. Government regulations prohibit anyone from renting a car at the airport -- visitors must take a taxi to their hotels. The fare from the Beef Island airport to Road Town is $15 for one to three passengers.
By Taxi -- The best driver we've found on Tortola is O'Dean "Mr. Quick" Chalwell. What he doesn't know about his island isn't worth knowing. Call Quick's Taxi Service at tel. 284/496-7127. For other taxi options in Road Town, dial tel. 284/494-2322; on Beef Island, tel. 284/495-1982. Your hotel can also call a taxi for you; there is a taxi stand in Road Town, near the ferry dock. A typical fare from Road Town to Cane Garden Bay is $25; from Road Town to Josiah's Bay on the north coast, $20.
By Bus -- It's better to use taxis unless your budget is limited. If you wish to travel by bus, the Scato's Bus Service (tel. 284/494-2365) operates from the north end of the island to the west end, picking up passengers who hail it down. The bus runs Monday through Friday from 8am to dusk; it's most crowded in the morning when the school kids are picked up. Fares are $2 to $5.
By Car -- A handful of local companies and U.S.-based chains rent cars. Itgo (tel. 284/494-2639) is located at 1 Wickham's Cay, Road Town; Avis (tel. 800/331-1212 in the U.S., or 284/494-3322 on Tortola; www.avis.com) maintains offices opposite police headquarters in Road Town; and Hertz (tel. 800/654-3131 in the U.S., or 284/495-4405 on Tortola; www.hertz.com) has offices outside Road Town, on the island's West End, near the ferryboat landing dock. Rental companies will usually deliver your car to your hotel. All three companies require a valid driver's license and a temporary B.V.I. driver's license, which the car-rental agency can sell to you for $10; it's valid for 3 months. Because of the volume of tourism to Tortola, you should reserve a car in advance, especially in winter.
Remember: Drive on the left. Roads are pretty well paved, but they're often narrow, windy, and poorly lit, and they have few, if any, lines. Driving at night can be tricky. It's a good idea to take a taxi to that difficult-to-find beach, restaurant, or bar.