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Getting to the BVI from the USVI: Ferry vs. Water Taxi

For BVI Charter Yacht Vacations, most yachts pick-up and drop-off in Tortola, BVI (airport code EIS). If you fly into Tortola BVI, you arrive in the middle of the best cruising area, and it's only a short land taxi to your yacht. However, fights to St. Thomas, USVI (airport code STT) are often more frequent, require fewer connections, and it's only a short distance to the BVI by ferry or water taxi. Many travelers choose to fly through St. Thomas, USVI and take either a water taxi or ferry to board their yacht in the BVI, but it's important to consider the logistics and costs to do so.

Travelling by Water Taxi

Booking a water taxi offers a private transfer customized to your flight arrival and departure times, and are the best option when your flights do not align well with the ferry schedules. Most water taxis pick-up and drop-off in Red Hook, St. Thomas, and will pick-up/drop-off directly at your yacht anywhere on Tortola, BVI, in under 1hr. Some will even pick-up and drop-off at other islands in the BVI for an additional fee. You generally clear BVI customs at West End Ferry Terminal on Tortola, and the Captain of the Water Taxi can process this while you wait aboard the water taxi. Upon return to the USVI, you will clear customs in Cruz Bay, St. John, before continuing on to Red Hook, St. Thomas. Red Hook, St. Thomas, is about a 30-minute land taxi ride to/from St. Thomas airport.

Compared to a ferry, a water taxi typically saves you time with a more direct route that is customized to your flight arrival and departure times, as well as less wait times in customs and immigration. It's also a more private transfer, with complimentary beverages, and no large crowds and line-ups to board the ferry. However, it is more expensive than the ferry, and an estimated cost is approximately $175-$190/person for water taxi each way, plus $45-$60/person for customs fees each way. The land taxi from St. Thomas airport to Red Hook is approximately $25-30/person each way. Some discounts are given for larger groups over 5 guests, and kids under 2 years old are generally free.

Please see a list of recommend water taxis below. You can simply click on the link below and request a quote for your trip. Please also consider the type of vessel when choosing your water taxi, as a vessel with an enclosed interior space can offer protection if it happens to be raining during your transfer. Island Time Chillout Water Taxi

Travelling by Ferry

Many travelers prefer to take the public transportation route by ferry to Tortola, BVI, as it's the more economical choice. Most people take the ferry from Charlotte Amalie Ferry Terminal vs. Red Hook Ferry Terminal, as there are more ferries going to Tortola, BVI, and it's only a 10-minute taxi ride from the airport to Charlotte Amalie Ferry Terminal (and $15/person) vs. a 30-minute land taxi ride to Red Hook Ferry Terminal (and $25-30/person). The ferry is approximately 1 hour long, and upon arrival in the BVI, every passenger onboard the ferry must proceed through customs and immigration. Please expect to wait 20-35 minutes in customs and immigration upon arrival. After arriving at the ferry terminal, a taxi will be waiting to take you to your private yacht, which typically costs about $15-25/person depending on where your yacht is located. It is worth noting that some ferries have loud engines and the ferry can be quite the new experience if it is your first trip to the BVI. Ferry costs are approximately as follows, but subject to change and depend on the ferry company you use.

  • Adult One-way $60

  • Child (3-11) One-way $50

  • Infants (0-2) One-way $15

  • Senior Ages 62+$50

  • Plus a minimal charge for extra bags and port fees

Arrival and Departure Fees

All travelers are required to pay an environmental levy of $10 per person upon arrival into the BVI. All travelers are required to pay a $20 per person departure tax upon their departure from the BVI.

The ferry companies are constantly updating their schedules and depending on when your flight arrives, you may have the perfect amount of time to board a ferry shortly after you land in St. Thomas. Please see the ferry companies listed below to arrange your travel.

Travelling etiquette

When you arrive in the BVI, you will be required to proceed through Customs and Immigration and present your passport and the declaration form given to you by the ferry or water taxi. Like many other countries, the Immigration officers are required to ask you your intended length of stay and the purpose of your trip, and can often behave rather serious and strict. It's best to just answer their questions politely, and be mindful that jokes and comments, or any inappropriate behavior is not well tolerated. Some officers may be more strict than others, and it is best to proceed with patience.

Soon after, once you step onboard your charter yacht, the real fun begins!

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