SAILBOAT LIVING: What better way to experience the islands than from your own private yacht! During your sail in paradise, become an active member of a sailing crew in one of the world’s top yachting destinations. With the guidance of our captain, take the ship’s helm, raise sails, set anchors and learn how to maintain a safe ship. Your on board naturalist will provide informal talks on reef ecology and other topics throughout the week. We are offering a multi-sport adventure! Two tandem sit on top kayaks, a SUP (stand up paddle board) and water toys.
Our pace will be leisurely with each day enjoying the exquisite beauty of a new anchorage among the scenic chain of volcanic islands. Our double hull catamaran offers stability and comfort and she’s fast too! Each stateroom provides ample storage and a queen size bed for two people to share. Most women opt to sleep under the stars on our spacious deck or trampoline or you may share a stateroom (you will be assigned another group member to share a stateroom if traveling alone).
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE: On Day One. Please arrive to the TMM Charter dock by 10:00am and plan on departing from the BVIS anytime after 2:00pm on our last day. We will provide a group taxi to the airport onour last day leaving the docks by 1:00pm.
Our program begins at the TMM Charter company in Road Town Tortola on TBA at 10:00am which will require that you overnight on Tortola the night before. Over the years, people have decided to extend their stay in the Caribbean by arriving a few days early and/or staying a few days after our sail. Renting a car and exploring the beaches and local communities of Tortola or just relaxing poolside are nice additions to our active vacation. As a reminder, the terrain is hilly and driving is on the left side of the road.
Here are a few suggestions on accommodations that we can offer:
Maria By the Sea Located in the heart of Road Town, with shopping restaurants and the waterfront near by, several of our guest have enjoyed Maria’s. Located near the TMM charter company
Sebastians on the Beach beach front hotel on Little Apple Bay; beautiful beaches and several restaurants nearby; (opposite side of island from TMM charters).
AirBnB options on Torotla
Back to Nature~Almost like Camping “Tiny House” Located in beautiful Brewers Bay on the north shore of Tortola. We recommend a rental car to visit nearby Cane Garden Bay. Snorkeling steps away in Brewers Bay but no facilities such as restaurants or stores.
Hotels around Tortola including Hotel Castle Maria: inexpensive small hotel not far from TMM Charters, the location of our sailboat.
For More ideas on accommodations visit Tortola~Places To Stay
GETTING TO THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: There are several options for travel to Beef Island International Airport (EIS) in the British Virgin Islands, Tortola. In the past, clients have routed through San Juan, Puerto Rico as well as St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We suggest that you check online or consult your travel agent. Before booking, please check in with Blue Water Ventures for an update on the trip’s sign up status. More flight details here: Flights
GETTING AROUND TORTOLA: Taxi’s are readily available at the airport and will cost roughly $15 per persin for transfer into Road Town. There are several car rental agencies (Avis, Hertz, National and Dollar). Expect to pay $60-80 for a Suzuki Samurai and $10 for a temporary driver’s license. Tortola has very little street crime and is a relatively safe area to explore on foot. However, the terrain is very hilly. Expect a cardiovascular workout! Remember, people drive on the left side and livestock (cows, goats, chickens) may wander onto the main roads.
APPROPRIATE DRESS: Many people of Tortola are conservative and we ask that you respect a casual, but appropriate dress code. We will discuss this topic further on board. As a reminder before your trip, please cover up bathing suits if going into a public areas such as streets, shops, beach bars or restaurants.
CLIMATE: May is relatively dry in this region of the Caribbean. However moderate rain fall is always a possibility in the tropics. Temperatures should be reasonably pleasant with day time highs in the upper 80’s and upper 70-80. Easterly trade winds often prevail keeping the temperatures pleasant.
You may want to bring a shorty wetsuit (2.5-3mm) although most people are comfortable without a wetsuit this tIme of year. Another great option is a top/bottom combination of Mysterioso found at most kayak shops. Mysterioso products may be purchased online at REI or Kayak Connection in Santa Cruz (831-479-1121).
MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: As new information unfolds regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we will update this link as we learn new requirements if any, for travel between The BVIs and the United States. As new protocol evolves (such as the use of face masks during certain activities), we will update information here.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to the nature of this program sharing accommodations, we will require everyone to submit proof of the COVID-19 vaccination. We encourage eligible travelers to be fully vaccinated by getting their Covid-19 Booster Shot. As of April 14th, 2023, our BVI program no longer requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to our departure. This decision was made based on the general trend in the eco-adventure travel industry with updates from the CDC regarding COVID-19. However, during our travels if anyone is exhibiting flu or COVID like symptoms, we will require that you take a COVID 19 test. We plan to bring a supply of testing kits, however please bring several personal kits. If someone tests positive, you will be isolated from the group until arrangements can be made for your evacuation from our program. All costs of an evacuation is the responsibility of each participant. Now more than ever, it is important to secure Travel Insurance You may purchase through this link or choose a company of your choice.
MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS:The British Virgin Islands does not require any specific immunizations for entry from the USA. However, The Center For Disease Control has issued a set of recommendations for travel to the BVI’s. In general, any travelers should be up to date on vaccines to include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. There may be additional travel recommendations, so we encourage you to check with your health provider and The Center for Disease Control British Virgin islands Link for the latest travel updates. If possible, one should receive their travel immunizations 4-6 weeks prior to travel for maximum benefit. As of October 2022, the British Virgin Islands has lifted all travel restrictions issued by the CDC
Please visit The Center for Disease Control for updates and suggestions before you travel. All medical precautions are the decision of each participant.
GET READY FOR SNORKELING: It is helpful if you test out your snorkel gear ahead of time. You want to be ready to go and feel comfortable with your gear before we slip into the Caribbean!! If you are buying new gear, you should prep it beforehand. There is a film on new masks that can be removed with nongel, non whitening “cheap” toothpaste. Here’s a link on how to clean your mask. A dive shop where you purchase gear can help you with pRoper fit and cleaning method. You may also buy a small bottle of drops that helps to clean the masks (bought at your dive shop).
IMPORTANT UPDATES ON SNORKEL GEAR: We have recently learned about the potential dangers in full face masks. Apparently, in some models CO2 builds up inside the mask leading to blackouts, potentially fatal. Here are just a few articles regarding the dangers of full face masks: With that said, Blue Water Ventures is banning the use of full face masks while we snorkel in the BVIs and on all of our snorkeling programs. We use fins and sometimes kick into some current or enjoy long snorkels. You may argue that you did your own research and purchased the top of the line full face mask. However, we can not assume this risk nor ask our guides to shadow anyone in the water who chooses to wear a full face mask. Full face masks can not be used.
CORAL SAFE SUNSCREEN: If you have had a chance to look over our website packing list, you will have noticed several brands of Coral Safe Sunscreens. There are many out there, some that claim to be safe but actually are not. A key ingredient to avoid is oxybenzone, harmful to marine life. Two brands that we personally like are: Raw Element and Stream2Sea, although there are other good brands on the market. Review this link for more details: Coral Safe. We truly appreciate your consideration of coral safe sunscreen to help reduce our impact on the fragile marine ecosystem.
SEA SICKNESS PREVENTION: If you are prone to sea sickness, we highly recommend bringing some form of prevention. Medications such as Bonine or Dramamine are usually effective although drowsiness or thirst can be a side effect. Many clients have been very happy with Scopalimine patches that requires a prescription. Your local pharmacist or physician can advise you. Many health food stores will recommend herbal remedies such as Motionease for sea sick prevention and we have found this brand quite effective. In the past, several clients have successfully used “sea bands” which employ a pressure point on the wrists rather than medication. Sea Bands have no side effects and can be purchased at most dive shops or online at Prevention.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: While sailing experience is not required to participate in this program, good, general health is recommended. For those who enjoy a lot of activity, there will be plenty of opportunities to hike or beachcomb on shore as well as hours of snorkeling. All hikes are optional. Please call us ahead of time if you have any questions about health concerns.
CAMERAS: Your Blue Water Ventures guides will photo document your trip and we will send a photo link to you. Over the years, we have preferred the Olympus Tough Underwater Camera with the round lens rather than the square lens. Other clients have been extremely happy with the Cannon or Fiji underwater cameras. GoPro cameras work extremely well with their wide angle setting that could get some fun affects while undersail, but are less effective for distance. Be sure to review your equipment prior to arrival. We will gladly offer any guidance on your equipment that we can.
MEALS: Healthy, well balanced meals will be prepared by your Blue Water Ventures staff on board. Help in food prep is always welcomed, although not expected. Vegetarian meals can be arranged upon request. You are welcomed to bring personal snacks or alcoholic beverages on board. Soft drinks or juice will be provided each meal. We will go ashore one evening to sample some Caribbean cuisine (dinner and drinks are on your own this evening). Please specify any dietary restrictions or allergies by email.
INSECT REPELLENT: A few mosquitoes and sand gnats may be encountered in the BVI’s. Avon Skin so Soft is the best defense against sand gnats and a strong pump style repellent is good against mosquitoes. A layer of light weight, light in color clothing is good defense against insects. Generally, there are few insects while on board.
CLOTHING: Loose fitting cotton or quick drying nylon work well in the tropics. Lighter colors seem more comfortable in the heat. Jeans take too long to dry out and are not recommended. Laundry is done by hand as needed by each participant.
ELECTRICAL OUTLETS: The boat comes equipped with a 110 volt electrical plug which should accommodate recharging digital cameras or other appliances. Our Catamaran has a CD player so bring your favorite tunes.
TAKING SHOWERS: Freshwater is a limited resource aboard our floating home. There will be plenty of water for consumption, but leisurely freshwater showers will be restricted. Bathing can also be accomplished using salt water and biodegradable soap followed by a quick freshwater rinse.
PASSPORTS: Everyone is required to have a current passport for entry into the British Virgin Islands . It usually takes 6-8 weeks to process a passport. You may visit your local post office to obtain/ submit a passport application.
Please make several photo copies of your passport (one to keep at home, one to bring with you and you may send one for our records if you wish).
LUGGAGE: Several medium or one large soft duffel bag works well. Large, hard shelled suitcases are difficult to store on board and are not recommended.
MONEY: US dollars are used as exchange throughout the British Virgin Islands. The only costs you’ll have on board is personal liquor, one dinner or lunch on shore, tip for our crew (see below) and any non-scheduled excursions you may opt to take. Meals, accommodations and airport transfers as you arrive into Tortola are your responsibility. An airport departure tax of $20 is your responsibility as you leave the country. Some airlines include this when booking your ticket.
HOW TO REACH OUR GROUP: In the event of an emergency, family or friends back home would call the TMM Charter Company at: 1- 284-494-2751. A message would be sent to us. We will have a cell phone on board which may be used by purchasing minutes from the TMM office before we set sail. Calls are approximately .50-75 centers per minute/
CELL PHONES AND WIFI CONNECTION: Most of you will have cell service while in the BVIS. You may want to call your provider before you depart to see what the fees are for calls and texting. Another option is to set up a Skype account on a “smart phone” or laptop before arriving to the BVIs as the boat now offers a wifi though connection via Skype tends to be patchy. Phone apps such as Facetime and WhatApps should work when WIFI is available.
TIPPING: It is customary to tip the captain and crew of our sailboat at the end of the week. $100 per participant would be an appreciated tip. We will pool tips on the last day of the trip.
ILLEGAL DRUG USE: The BVI government has very severe penalties for the use of illegal drugs. Do not bring illegal substances into the BVI’s or purchase/use them during this program. Products containing CBD oils or THC are illegal in the BVI’S and should not be brought through customs. For an update please review CBD in other Countries and scroll down to the Caribbean.