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Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

Plymouth, Michigan
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Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

I'm planning my first trip to Tortola and I'm a little nervous about making a decision on our flight without some input from local or those who've experienced the logistics of getting there.

We'll be flying from the midwest to Tortola on a Sunday early next April. We'll fly out on the earliest possible flight which would give us these options:

Option A:

Arrive in St. Thomas at 1:35 pm

Ferry to Tortola

(It appears that there are several Sunday departure options between 2:45 pm - 5:30 pm... Can someone confirm whether this should be the case in April?)

We'd then rent a jeep or taxi to CGB.

Option B:

Arrive in Tortola at 4:32 pm

Rent a jeep or taxi to CGB

Option A is about $270 less than Option B. Multiply that by 3 people and that's substantial. But, if there is any question of whether we would have trouble getting to and on a ferry between the islands, I don't want to take any chances of not making to our hotel in CGB that evening. Part of that cost differential would be eaten up by ferry costs as well.

Can you give me any advice or other considerations before I make a decision?

THANKS!!

Morristown, New...
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1. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

I do Option A several times a year. And if you multiply your savings by 3, you have pretty much paid for your rental vehicle for the stay. The biggest consideration is the RETURN. What time is your flight out of STT?

east longmeadow, ma
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2. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

Hi Treasuretheday,

This question comes up pretty frequently, and everybody has their own pro/con list when talking about flying directy into EIS, or into STT and then ferrying. I personally like the convenience of flying into Tortola, but only when it doesn't come with an outrageous premium. In your case, even backing out the ferry and taxi costs, the savings will be in the $500 dollar range for the 3 of you.That would be enough to make me fly in and out of STT! To answer your question, with a 1:35 arrival, you might be able to catch the 2:45, and definitely the 3:30 or later ferries ( barring any crazy airline delays!). At any rate, you'll be in CGB that evening.

As far as the return, for me this where the convenience issue comes up. It seems like the ferry and afternoon flights never line up so good for me. I can always make my flight, but I always seem to have to take an earlier ferry than Ii would like, to ensure that I don't miss my flight.

A couple of tips: Buy your ferry tickets one way, the small amount you save buying round trip, may put some serious restrictions on your return. Upstairs at the ferrry terminal in S.Thomas is the Petite Pump Room, a great spot for a cold beverage or snack while waiting for the ferry. Reserve your Jeep with Jerry's in the West End. They will meet you at the ferry, take you to their office (2 min.), and off you go. Hope this helps.

Plymouth, Michigan
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3. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

Thanks so much for your input.

It looks like we'll be able to get a return flight out of STT at 3:25 pm which seems realistic if we have to ferry over that day, I think

Boston
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4. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

I agree with the above two posters. The other thing you might want to look into is if it is possible to fly into STT and out of EIS. We have done this a couple of times and it takes all the anxiety out of leaving and having to catch the ferry and make sure you get your flight, etc. However, a 3:25 flight is doable, but if it is on Sat make sure you have enough time as it takes a while to clear customs (2X).

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

We just booked the same itinerary...flights into Tortola from Atlanta were $250 and 2 stops more than our nonstop into St. Thomas. We'll be traveling in 3 weeks.

Plymouth, Michigan
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6. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

Thanks for the advice... that was just what I was looking for!

I just booked our flights, Option A, into St. Thomas. Our return flight from St. Thomas leaves on a Monday at 3:25 pm.

The next decision is whether to rent a jeep at the ferry dock or rely on taxis to/from CGB. During our 8 days, we'll also want to explore several of the other beaches on Tortola and take ferries to Anegada, Virgin Gorda and St. John. It seems to me that with all of that exploring, taxi fares for three people would get pretty expensive. Would you recommend renting a jeep and, if so, how much should I expect to pay?

Thanks so much!

Boston
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7. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

We always rent from Del in CGB but we don't get a car for the entire week as we spend a couple of days in CGB without one quite easily. Taxis are expensive though. For a small jeep I think we paid $40 per day or something like that and you will need a jeep because there are steep hills and switchbacks and if it rains the roads get slippery.

If you want one for the entire trip, I would get one from someone close to the ferry - are you coming in to Roadtown or West End?

Since you are in the BVI, I would skip St John and go to Jost Van Dyke instead. The beach at White Bay is as nice as the beaches on STJ and you will not have to clear customs, It is a really fun day as well. Just google Soggy Dollar BAr and you will see what I mean.

east longmeadow, ma
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8. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

Assuming your coming int the West End, the taxi fare is $36 ea. way to Cane Garden Bay or $72 round trip. The $72 is likely to be more than the daily rate for a jeep so you might as well grab one in the West End and have the freedom that comes with it. I recommended Jerry's in a previous post, there is also a small Hertz outlet next to the Jolly Rodger. Others may meet you at the ferry, but I've always been happy with Jerry, so I just stick with him when arriving by ferry.

One caveat, some people find the driving in Tortola to be intimidating/challenging. "Wrong" side of the road for U.S. drivers (although most vehicles have the steering wheel on the left) and windy steep roads with multiple switchbacks. I've always found it fun driving there, some may not. Also, Saffies suggestions are great, but I think $40 per day in season is a bit optimistic, more like $50-$60 per day.

Boston
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9. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

We always go at the end of April and that is about what we paid for a Jeep from Del, but that was also two years ago - last year we went to VG and it was $50 per day. I looked at Jerry's website and it is $50 for summer rates for a 2 door suzuki jeep but I don't know when it changes from Winter to Summer. Here is the website:

http://www.jerrysrental.com/

10. Re: Flight to St. Thomas + ferry vs. fly directly to Tortola

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