Information & Facts
Business attire in the British Virgin Islands is fairly formal
and conservative; a lightweight suit is appropriate for most
meetings, unless in an informal outdoor setting where smart slacks
and a shirt is more appropriate. Handshaking is customary for
introductions between both men and women; women are considered
equals in the business world and should be treated as such.
Business cards are exchanged on introduction. Being late for
meetings is considered offensive despite the laid back impression
of the island, although meetings are usually fairly unstructured.
The language of business is English, and hours of business
generally from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
The British Virgin Islands have a sub-tropical climate with high
humidity, although temperatures are moderated by trade winds.
Temperatures in summer average from 79-88°F (26-31°C) and between
72-82°F (22-28°C) in winter. Rainfall is erratic with occasional
The international dialling code for the British Virgin Islands
is +1 284. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant
country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). No area codes are
required. A GSM 900/1900 network covers the islands. Internet cafes
are available throughout the islands and many hotels provide
Internet connections. Phone boxes are widely available and accept
coins and phone cards, which can be purchased in most shops.
In the British Virgin Islands, it is considered impolite to take
photographs of the local people without asking their permission
Travellers to the Virgin Islands over 18 years do not have to
pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 227g of tobacco and wine
or spirits up to 1 litre.
Electrical current is 110 volts, 60 Hz. Plugs are the
same as in the US with two-pin flat blades and one with a third
round grounding pin.
There are regular ferries between the various islands. There are
car rental agencies on each island, but as they are expensive and
drivers with valid licenses from their home country will need to
obtain a BVI license for $10. There are flat-fare taxis
There is a risk of dengue fever in the British Virgin Islands,
so visitors should protect themselves with insect repellent.
Limited medical facilities can be found on all the main British
Virgin Islands and there is one hospital located in Road Town,
Tortola. There is no hyperbaric chamber in the British Virgin
Islands for diving emergencies, and complicated medical conditions
are usually referred to the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or the
USA. Comprehensive medical and travel insurance is recommended.
English is the main language spoken on the
The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided
into 100 cents. Most establishments on the larger islands accept
credit cards and travellers cheques, but on Anegada it is best to
have cash. Banks and exchange facilities can be found in Road Town,
Tortola. ATMs are available in Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
Travellers need a return or onward ticket and all the documents
required for their next destination, as well as sufficient funds.
As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all
travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico,
Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a
passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the
United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be
required by immigration authorities.
The British Virgin Islands have a low crime rate, but sensible
precautions should be taken regarding valuables, especially on
beaches. The islands are susceptible to hurricanes particularly
during the months between June and November, but tropical storms
can occur throughout the year.
Local time is GMT -4.
For good service, a 10 to 15% tip is usual in the British Virgin
Islands. Hotels often add a service charge to the bill, usually
between 10 and 12%, so it is best to check before tipping. Bellhops
and porters usually expect $1 per item of luggage. Taxi drivers are
not usually tipped as most own their own vehicles.