Getting To Summer Heights
We are with you all the way! We will meet you at your port of entry and escort you to the villa. During your journey if you have any unexpected delays or changes, we ask you to call us and we will adjust our schedule accordingly. If you have arranged a rental car, it will be waiting for you at your port of entry and you can follow us up to the villa. On arrival at Summer Heights we will show you around and help you settle in. We are always at the end of a phone if you need any advice.
The British Virgin Islands comprise around sixty tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, Tortola 12 miles long and 3 miles wide, to tiny uninhabited islets. They are located at latitude 18.25 degrees north and longitude 64.36 degrees west – approximately 90 miles east of Puerto Rico. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the north of the islands, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the south. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin and have a hilly, rugged terrain. Anegada is geologically distinct from the rest of the group and is a flat island composed of limestone and coral.
Britain has retained control of the BVI and, since the mid-1960s, the islands have moved away from the long-established agriculture-based economy towards financial services and tourism. As a modern offshore financial center (like the British controlled Cayman Islands), the British Virgin Islands now enjoy one of the more prosperous economies in the Caribbean.
Steeped in the history of the British Navy, the islands are ringed by shipwrecks; the most famous of these – The RMS Rhone – is now a national marine park, and a favorite scuba diving point.
Tortola is known as the yachting capital of the Caribbean. It has a relaxed atmosphere and is bordered, mainly in the north, by uncrowded, white-sand beaches where excellent swimming and snorkelling can be enjoyed. Road Town, the capital city, is the centre of administration. Here you will find the Botanical Gardens, Folk Museum and the Tourist Board’s Visitor Centre, along with shops, banks, post office and a wide selection of restaurants and bars. Tortola is where most visitors arrive, either by plane at Beef Island or by ferry at Road Town or West End.
A valid passport is required to enter the BVI with proof of a return or onward ticket. Visitors from some countries may require a visa – if in doubt please check with us.
Summer Heights is about a 35 minute drive from the airport, 10 minutes drive from the West End ferry dock and 15 minutes drive from the Road Town ferry dock.
The main airport is on Tortola and called the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (EIS) or more popularly ‘Beef Island’. There are no direct flights from the USA, Canada, Europe or South America to the BVI. When leaving Tortola by plane there is a $20 pp departure tax.
- Flights: Typically connect through Puerto Rico (SJU), St. Thomas (STT), Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI), St Kitts (SKB) or St. Martin (SXM).
- From San Juan to Beef Island, there are daily scheduled flights on Seaborne Airlines, Cape Air, Air Sunshine or private charter flights on
Fly BVI or or Island Birds. This is the most direct way for travellers from Canada and the USA to reach the BVI.
- From St Thomas to Beef Island, there are daily scheduled flights on Air Sunshine and Cape Air or by a private charter flight on Fly BVI.
- From St Martin, Antigua and Barbados to Beef Island there are daily scheduled flights by LIAT or by private charter flight. This is the most direct way for travellers from Europe and the UK to reach the BVI.
Most visitors using St Thomas as a gateway to the BVI, will connect by ferry to Tortola. The main ferry dock is in Charlotte Amalie, about a 10–15 minute taxi ride from the airport and a second ferry dock at Red Hook at the eastern end of St Thomas but it can take up to 1 hour to reach there from the St. Thomas airport, depending on the time of day. As of January 2014 the round trip fare is $55 pp. There is a $15 pp departure tax when leaving Tortola by ferry.
There are three ferry companies to choose from but be warned, the last ferry leaves from Charlotte Amalie around 4.30 pm and from Red Hook, around 5 pm. If your flight arrives late afternoon be prepared to stay overnight in St Thomas and take the ferry the next day.
- Smith’s Ferry (the blue boat, Tel 284-495-4495) and the Native Son Ferry (the green boat, Tel 284-495-4617) operate services to West End, Tortola and then on to Road Town. It takes 50 minute for the scenic trip from Charlotte Amalie to West End. The route takes you along the south coast of St Thomas, across the Pillsbury Sound to the north coast of St John and then through the narrow channel between St John and Great Thatch Island and so into Soper’s Hole at the west end of Tortola. Road Town Fast Ferry (Tel 284-495-2323) has a direct service from Charlotte Amalie to Road Town (no West End stop).