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Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands travel advice

Practical Information

Language

The official language of the British Virgin Islands is English.

Food & Drink

With each island surrounded by flourishing marine life, it’s not surprising that British Virgin Island cuisine is focused around freshly cooked seafood. Snapper and tuna can be found in many of the beach barbecues. A real treat is the Anegada lobster – traditionally plucked straight from the water and grilled over an oil drum on the beach.

Fungi is a popular local dish made from a polenta-like cornmeal, served with fried fish and a spiced gravy. Pate can be bought on street stalls in the towns, flaky dough pockets filled with chicken or fish. Roti make a great lunch, made from flatbread stuffed with a spicy curry. It's also possible to find more international cuisine in the larger hotels and main towns. The capital, Road Town, has an array of West Indian barbecue restaurants which come highly recommended.

Once the rum producer for the Royal Navy, Pussers rum is arguably the best rum in the Caribbean, made from a blend of five West Indian rums. Sailors were once issued with a tot of rum a day when on active duty. With a hot, humid climate, there is fresh fruit year-round, which is made by locals into refreshing juices, limeade and passion fruit being particularly popular.

Tipping

Tipping in the British Virgin Islands is discretionary and should reflect the service you have received, though a service charge of 10% is typically added to your bill in hotels and restaurants.

Money

The US Dollar is the official currency. Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents. ATMs can be found on the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda and will dispense US Dollars. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and larger restaurants, but most smaller restaurants, cafes and bars only accept cash.

Suggested Clothing and other items

You are in the tropics, so cool casual cotton clothing is recommended. If you are planning to travel on regional flights within the Caribbean with local airlines we recommend packing a few essentials in your hand luggage as occasionally passengers find that their luggage is delayed.

Public Holidays

There are 13 national public holidays in the British Virgin Islands. Whit Monday, observed 50 days after Easter, is a public holiday. Hamilton Lavity Stoutt's birthday, the islands first and longest serving chief minister, is a public holiday. So too is Territory day, marking the day when the islands left the Leeward Islands rule to become a separate colony. St. Ursala's day commemorates the saint Christopher Columbus named the islands after.

  • New Year's Day
  • 7th March - The Anniversary of the Birth of Hamilton Lavity Stoutt
  • 14th March - Commonwealth Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Whit Monday
  • 1st July - Territory Day
  • 1st August - Festival Monday
  • 2nd August - Festival Tuesday
  • 3rd August - Festival Wednesday
  • 21st October - St. Ursula’s Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Travel Advice

Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

When to go to British Virgin Islands

You’ll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to British Virgin Islands.

More Information
  • Flight Time

    14 hours (via Antigua)

  • Recommended Airlines

    British Airways

  • Time Zone

    UTC -4