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Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! #267843
11/04/2021 12:38 AM
11/04/2021 12:38 AM
Joined: Dec 2019
Posts: 72
Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

It's hard to believe that I first posted in this forum on December 5, 2019…and our trip has yet to happen. But, dare I say, it looks like after rebooking the trip twice and our flights three or four times we might actually be setting foot in the BVI next week! pirate

Since its inception our trip plan has evolved and morphed quite a bit. My partner and I will be starting off on our own for the first week, aboard a 31' monohull. Then, we will be joined by our good friends, another couple, for a second week. Finally, we will leave our friends to enjoy a week aboard alone.

None of us has ever been to the BVI. We are all in our mid to late 30s. No kids. We all share a sense of adventure, and a 27' cruiser here in Vancouver. We're all outdoors enthusiasts and enjoy camping, hiking, cycling, snorkeling, diving, good food and good times—and of course sailing.

Originally, this was to be our first bareboat charter. However, I have since skippered a charter locally when my partner's family visited and we needed a larger boat to show them around the Gulf Islands. Everything went smoothly and I enjoyed the experience very much.

I'm hoping to do as much anchoring as possible for maximum freedom, both from a schedule and location point of view.

So, given our three week timeline with the middle week overlapping, what are your suggestions? Some things I'm wondering are:

- How and where should we provision, without breaking the bank
- Our friends will be arriving by ferry from St Thomas, should we meet in Road Harbour or West End?
- Which clinic would make sense for us to get our PCR tests from? (I'm thinking Virgin Gorda, but open to suggestions and reasons)
- What are some of the absolute must see/do points of interest?
- Where/how should we rent SCUBA gear?

Some things I know we really want to see or do:

- Dive a nice intro site
- Dive the Rhone shipwreck
- Snorkel the spots with highest chance of wildlife (especially dolphins)
- Rent a Jeep or dirtbikes on Anegada and explore the island
- Kitesurf at Anegada
- Hike Mt Alma on Beef Island
- Hike North Shore trail on Tortola
- Eat good food (two of us are vegetarians)
- Sail!

For anyone who feels generous with their time and knowledge, I've put together this itinerary template to share your suggestions. Please, feel free to right-click on the sheet name at the bottom (starting with Suggestion 1) and make a copy for your own itinerary. Add any notes, names, contact info, whatever you like, anywhere on your sheet! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LeQD1IKbD4yQc0XorKg9SbMHBfxWMBZI-kJXvCPjMX8/edit?usp=sharing

We look forward to finally experiencing the BVI for ourselves, and maybe meeting some of you along the way! Thank you all for the countless bits and pieces of information I have picked up in this great forum over the last two years.

All the best,
B&M

BVI Sponsors
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267848
11/04/2021 07:36 AM
11/04/2021 07:36 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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A couple of notes that might help:
- West End ferry dock is closed to ferries so they will have to come to Road Town if they want to use the ferry
- If Canada requires a PCR test, there are several locations and the wait times are much less now. Pick one close to where you want to be (see attached)

My must do list would include:
- snorkel the Indians
- spend a couple of nights at Anegada
- visit White Bay, JVD on a quiet weekday
- sunset drink from Cooper Island

Attached Files exit test locations.jpg

JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267859
11/04/2021 09:02 AM
11/04/2021 09:02 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,494
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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To add to Jason’s list. I would hit the Bath’s midcharter when your friends are there. We always like to hike up and have lunch at the top of the baths. Make sure to take your cruising permit so they don’t try and charge you to get back to the boat.
Kiteboarder can be very good at Anegada but Eustatia Sound is also outstanding. Pick up a ball at Saba Rock.
The cheapest place to provision will be Roadtown. I would re provision at Bobby’s since it’s not terribly far from the Ferry Dock when your friends arrive and again when you drop them off. You won’t have room to provision a 31 footer for 3 weeks.

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 11/04/2021 09:06 AM.
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267866
11/04/2021 09:42 AM
11/04/2021 09:42 AM
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Re: The Baths, you may want to hit Levereck or Spanish Town and taxi to the top of The Baths. Some prefer this method, others prefer grabbing a park ball. If everyone can swim well, then the ball will work. If you have non-swimmers or poor swimmers, you'll prefer the taxi method.

For provisioning, CGB has Bobby's within a reasonable walk. Spanish Town has a large grocery store that's not that's a little farther to walk, but lot's of choices. You can walk up there and taxi back. Levereck has a small, but good basics store. We haven't been back since 2019, so several spots (Soper's Hole) were still closed and under construction from Irma. They maybe open now.

There aren't a lot of areas to anchor anymore, but plenty of balls should be available wherever you want to go at this time of the year.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267867
11/04/2021 09:51 AM
11/04/2021 09:51 AM
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Posts: 916
Virginia
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The advice you are getting is pretty spot on. The one additional thing that I would add to make things go smoothly is a tip on getting along with the BVI public, or "belongers." Always greet everyone with a "hello how are you today?" That is a friendly greeting and the icebreaker. Oh, and don't forget sunscreen! And, ahem, if anyone in your group has a thinning hair/bald spot situation have them wear a bandanna over their hairline or apply sunscreen to the scalp, said Charlie who got a scalp burn once...

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: charlie] #267868
11/04/2021 09:58 AM
11/04/2021 09:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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Originally Posted by charlie
The advice you are getting is pretty spot on. The one additional thing that I would add to make things go smoothly is a tip on getting along with the BVI public, or "belongers." Always greet everyone with a "hello how are you today?" That is a friendly greeting and the icebreaker. Oh, and don't forget sunscreen! And, ahem, if anyone in your group has a thinning hair/bald spot situation have them wear a bandanna over their hairline or apply sunscreen to the scalp, said Charlie who got a scalp burn once...

Great suggestion on the greeting! I'd recommend using Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Night based on time of day followed by How are you today if you get a response. Even if you walk into a store/bar/restaurant and don't immediately see someone, it's tradition to greet the room and you'll be surprised how many replies you get from people you don't see.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267883
11/04/2021 11:41 AM
11/04/2021 11:41 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 40
Baltimore, MD
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If there are northern swells, Bubby Pool is one of my favorites. There are anchoring options around Little Jost Van Dyke. Picnic at Sandy Spit. The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands is a must:
https://www.cruisingguides.com/books/guides


[Linked Image]

Mike in Baltimore
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: Kegoangoango] #267901
11/04/2021 02:32 PM
11/04/2021 02:32 PM
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Posts: 72
Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Thank you for the feedback, everyone.

Given our timeline and schedule, is there a route or direction that would be more or less favourable? It'd be great to break out of the Saturday-Saturday swarm, whether that means going in the opposite direction of most, or lingering. Can that work? Is it worth it?

Kegoangoango, when you say there aren't a lot of areas to anchor anymore, what exactly do you mean? Is anchoring not allowed in some areas? Or is it because they are so crammed full of moorings that there is no room? If there are free mooring are we obligated to use them, even if there is sufficient space?

GeorgeC1, just to clarify, it will be us who will be leaving our friends for the final week so that they have one week aboard to themselves. We each get a week plus the shared week. The plan is that we'll spend our last night in Trellis so that they can dinghy us ashore in the morning and we can walk to the airport.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #267902
11/04/2021 02:38 PM
11/04/2021 02:38 PM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Jason, the official ferry schedule that you posted yesterday shows ferries departing Charlotte Amalie for West End at 14:30 which contradicts what you said here about the West End dock being closed to ferries. Is this a new change then?

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267903
11/04/2021 02:40 PM
11/04/2021 02:40 PM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Is it necessary for our friends to reserve their ferry in advance, or can they just show up and buy tickets on the spot?

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #267905
11/04/2021 02:43 PM
11/04/2021 02:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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Originally Posted by bernk
Jason, the official ferry schedule that you posted yesterday shows ferries departing Charlotte Amalie for West End at 14:30 which contradicts what you said here about the West End dock being closed to ferries. Is this a new change then?

You're 100% right. West End is definitely closed. I will try to find the correct announcement letter. Rely on the calendar formatted times/locations. It came out last!

Yes, you're friends need to reserve ferry tickets.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268149
11/06/2021 11:26 PM
11/06/2021 11:26 PM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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What do you fine salts think of this rough itinerary?

00 Tortola
01 Road Harbour > Norman Island
02 Norman Island > Peter Island
03 Peter Island > Cooper Island
04 Cooper Island > Great Camanoe
05 Great Camanoe > Guana Island
06 Guana Island > Jost Van Dyke
07 Jost Van Dyke > Great Thatch
08 Great Thatch > Road Harbour > Norman Island (picking up our friends and more provisions)
09 Norman Island > Salt Island > Cooper Island
10 Cooper Island > Anegada
11 Anegada
12 Anegada > North Sound
13 North Sound (testing)
14 North Sound
15 North Sound > Trellis Bay
16 (we depart from EIS, our friends stay another week)


Anything you would definitely change?

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268174
11/07/2021 09:15 AM
11/07/2021 09:15 AM
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bailau Offline
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Maybe on Day 8 stay in Cane Garden Bay and have your friends taxi there per Manpots suggestion...

then North Sound, then Anegada, then Jost Van Dyke with testing there...if your friends are staying longer then they can go to Norman, Salt Cooper as you will have seen it in week 1?

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268184
11/07/2021 09:45 AM
11/07/2021 09:45 AM
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Kegoangoango Offline
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The beauty of the BVIs is you can easily change your plans. Go in with your plan and be flexible. The only comment I have is that your first few days have very little sailing. For some, this is what they want, but for us we want to sail. We hopscotch around to use the days for sailing. We’ve done things like first sail to Peter, then to Leverick, then back down to Norman, etc. you do have to have the right winds, but we wptry to sail 4+ hours a day.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268201
11/07/2021 11:37 AM
11/07/2021 11:37 AM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Thanks! Definitely some things I need to consider here…

Where would you guys recommend we go for the full moon Friday? Anything happening anywhere around that?

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268203
11/07/2021 12:10 PM
11/07/2021 12:10 PM
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When is it in your schedule (what day)?

Don't know your group dynamic but having been to most of the full moon parties at harbors around the BVIs we prefer to just enjoy FM in some harbor like Setting Point Anegada. In June we also wanted to avoid crowds so as to not trip a return test to the US for 1 of our 8 crew...

IMHO that sail from Anegada to JVD is the best run which is why I suggested the tweak above.

Cane Garden was a favorite of ours and has great provisioning at Bobbys right at CGB...

Do you have Scotts guide to cruising the islands?

Last edited by bailau; 11/07/2021 12:11 PM.
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bailau] #268269
11/08/2021 02:15 AM
11/08/2021 02:15 AM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Full moon Friday is Day 7, which would currently have us somewhere around JVD.

Sadly, I do not have the guide. I haven't been able to find it locally in Vancouver and it was too late to order online. I'm hoping I can find a copy once we arrive.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268315
11/08/2021 11:43 AM
11/08/2021 11:43 AM
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bailau Offline
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So Foxys will have a large full moon party...you need to check whether Friday or Saturday

You could always go to Great Harbour JVD and anchor and make it a game time decision...or even Little Harbour or Diamond Cay and taxi over. Alternatively if weather permits we usually like mooring West Side of White Bay. Personally we try to avoid them and Foxys is certainly showing its age. If you go there bring bug spray.

I would reiterate Kegoangoango and have a plan and be flexible...

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268320
11/08/2021 11:56 AM
11/08/2021 11:56 AM
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Virgin Gorda, BVI
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Originally Posted by bernk
What do you fine salts think of this rough itinerary?

00 Tortola
01 Road Harbour > Norman Island
02 Norman Island > Peter Island
03 Peter Island > Cooper Island
04 Cooper Island > Great Camanoe
05 Great Camanoe > Guana Island
06 Guana Island > Jost Van Dyke
07 Jost Van Dyke > Great Thatch
08 Great Thatch > Road Harbour > Norman Island (picking up our friends and more provisions)
09 Norman Island > Salt Island > Cooper Island
10 Cooper Island > Anegada
11 Anegada
12 Anegada > North Sound
13 North Sound (testing)
14 North Sound
15 North Sound > Trellis Bay
16 (we depart from EIS, our friends stay another week)


Anything you would definitely change?


Day 10: Cooper Island -> Anegada is quite a long sail. Not saying that's a bad thing just want you to be aware

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268338
11/08/2021 01:02 PM
11/08/2021 01:02 PM
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Folsom Lake, CA
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Latadjust Offline
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Well, since it's your first trip, I'm sure that, like most of us here, you'll love it and return for many more. So, planning it out is fun for a rough guide, but be aware that the weather will probably pin you down for a day or two every week to 10 days (it's fun to hang out in North Sound or The Bight when this happens) and don't stress out if you don't make it to all your hoped-for stops because you'll be back so save a couple!, be flexible as said above, and don't get in a hurry - in the boat nor in the restaurants! Plus, you might want to veg a day here and there. Also to echo above, when you walk into a shop or restaurant, greet the staff or proprietor with a smile and "Good morning (afternoon, evening, whatever), how are you today?"

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: VirginGordaResident] #268339
11/08/2021 01:06 PM
11/08/2021 01:06 PM
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Posts: 137
Folsom Lake, CA
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Latadjust Offline
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[

Anything you would definitely change?
[/quote]

Day 10: Cooper Island -> Anegada is quite a long sail. Not saying that's a bad thing just want you to be aware[/quote]

You'll want to arrive with the sun high enough to see the reefs and shallows, check out BVI Pirate's sailing instructions to Anegada.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268341
11/08/2021 01:23 PM
11/08/2021 01:23 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 654
Kannapolis, NC
ndfaninnc Offline
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LINK for BVI Pirate


Go Irish!!

Bill
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #268373
11/08/2021 04:08 PM
11/08/2021 04:08 PM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Having a plan and being flexible is the plan : ) I'm treating it more as a guide.

Based on the responses here and my gut feeling, I'm leaning away from the full moon bar party scene.

Besides greeting the locals in the above mentioned fashion, are there any other customs we should be aware of to ensure a great time for all?

Latadjust, I appreciate the heads up, but I fairly regularly do 10+ hour days going between Vancouver and the Gulf Islands here, so I'm used to and enjoy long sails.

Jason, re West End ferry being closed, I also noticed there is a Hummingbird portal specifically for those arriving by ferry at the West End (https://westend.bvi.care/). What's the deal with that?

Thank you for the link, ndfaninnc!

Last edited by bernk; 11/08/2021 04:08 PM.
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268374
11/08/2021 04:11 PM
11/08/2021 04:11 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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Originally Posted by bernk
Jason, re West End ferry being closed, I also noticed there is a Hummingbird portal specifically for those arriving by ferry at the West End (https://westend.bvi.care/). What's the deal with that?

West End is open. It's used by private boats and water taxis just no international ferries. They still need the portal for those international arrivals.

Last edited by JasonHelmbrecht; 11/08/2021 04:11 PM.

JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268491
11/09/2021 12:36 PM
11/09/2021 12:36 PM
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Posts: 257
Virgin Gorda, BVI
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Originally Posted by bernk
What do you fine salts think of this rough itinerary?

00 Tortola
01 Road Harbour > Norman Island
02 Norman Island > Peter Island
03 Peter Island > Cooper Island
04 Cooper Island > Great Camanoe
05 Great Camanoe > Guana Island
06 Guana Island > Jost Van Dyke
07 Jost Van Dyke > Great Thatch
08 Great Thatch > Road Harbour > Norman Island (picking up our friends and more provisions)
09 Norman Island > Salt Island > Cooper Island
10 Cooper Island > Anegada
11 Anegada
12 Anegada > North Sound
13 North Sound (testing)
14 North Sound
15 North Sound > Trellis Bay
16 (we depart from EIS, our friends stay another week)


Anything you would definitely change?


For Day 13 North Sound (testing) - How do you plan to get from North Sound to Spanish Town for the testing? You can taxi, but it would be minimum $60/round trip. I would recommend grabbing a ball or spot on the dock at Leverick and organizing a rental car (which will also be $60 and give you more flexibility to explore VG by land). The company will drop it off and pick it up for you from Leverick if you ask.

After picking up the rental car you can get tested first thing in the morning (opens at 9am I believe but it's always best to show up early), then hit The Baths by land. Go to Hog Heaven for lunch and back to the boat.

Or after lunch go to one of VG's incredible beaches (Savanah Bay or Spring Bay are two of my favorites). And then back to Spanish Town and CocoMaya for dinner - a really good tapas restaurant with an even better beach vibe.

Then the next day in North Sound you can cruise over to Saba Rock or Oil Nut Bay for a new location. Take the dinghy over to Prickly Pear for a beach day or out to Eustatia Reef for some snorkeling. You can also launch your kites from the beaches on Prickly Pear

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268496
11/09/2021 01:10 PM
11/09/2021 01:10 PM
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Vancouver, BC
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bernk Offline OP
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Thanks VGR, this is helpful feedback. I was indeed planning on taking a taxi, but what you say makes a lot of sense.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268523
11/09/2021 03:11 PM
11/09/2021 03:11 PM
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Posts: 822
Manhattan Beach, CA
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Day 14---call AA and extend another 2 weeks.

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bernk] #268533
11/09/2021 03:46 PM
11/09/2021 03:46 PM
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I dont know about now but back in June testing at VG was jam packed and JVD was no line for us...

Staying at Leverick with taxi down to Baths and then Coco Maya is money...that is our go to route

Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: bailau] #268535
11/09/2021 03:54 PM
11/09/2021 03:54 PM
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Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,329
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Originally Posted by bailau
I dont know about now but back in June testing at VG was jam packed and JVD was no line for us...

Staying at Leverick with taxi down to Baths and then Coco Maya is money...that is our go to route

People over the weekend said JVD had over 50 people tested the day they were there. So much less stress on the system here if people that can do a rapid test just bring their own. Plus it gives you an opportunity to retest without getting quarantined for the last 3 days of your trip (and possibly longer).


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Please, help me plan our first time in the BVI! [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #268539
11/09/2021 04:04 PM
11/09/2021 04:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,194
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
Traveler
bailau  Offline
Traveler
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,194
Washington DC
Originally Posted by JasonHelmbrecht
Originally Posted by bailau
I dont know about now but back in June testing at VG was jam packed and JVD was no line for us...

Staying at Leverick with taxi down to Baths and then Coco Maya is money...that is our go to route

People over the weekend said JVD had over 50 people tested the day they were there. So much less stress on the system here if people that can do a rapid test just bring their own. Plus it gives you an opportunity to retest without getting quarantined for the last 3 days of your trip (and possibly longer).


Rapid test is plan for Dec trip...


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