There is no doubt that yacht charterers intending to cruise the BVI usually completely ignore or neglect the USVI option. Yet, savvy bare boaters save money and time starting and ending their cruise in the USVI, chartering with one of the excellent St. Thomas-based charter companies. There are many pros and very few minor cons.
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• Several major airlines fly to the USVI, instead of one for Tortola.
• Numerous large jet, non-stop flights to St. Thomas to and from the main US hubs.
• No hassle and time wasted with the commuter flights to/from San Juan, P.R.
• Less chances for lost or delayed luggage upon arrival in Tortola.
• No need for long taxi rides to Red Hook to catch a ferryboat to the BVI, then another taxi cab from West End or Beef Island to base (save time and $$)
• Charter companies downtown location offer a short and safe walk to world-class shopping.
• Large US style supermarkets with familiar brands at about 25% less than the BVI markets.
Visit the best of all the VI's, St John! 85% US National Park, no honky-tonks or beach bars, quiet time enforced, numerous moorings, excellent snorkeling and hiking, and on the south side some of the least visited anchorages. No evening light pollution, great stargazing. You can arrange to pass north of St John in one direction and south in the other. Read the USVI cruising log.
Easily cruise the BVI's from the USVI. A favorite: From St Thomas, take a straight shot to Jost van Dyke and clear in the BVI Immigration right there.
Cruise the unspoiled Spanish Virgins, much closer than from the BVI. Read the Spanish VI cruising log.
• Locations close to the airport allow charterers to sail until noon and still be on time to fly home the same day.
• Yes, you will pay more in BVI cruising taxes than if you start from the BVI, but this is more than offset by savings in food, taxis, ferryboats and most of all, vacation time. The BVI authorities are well organized and, providing you do not try to clear when a ferry has just arrived, you can be in and out in 15 minutes.
• Back in the USVI, there are no fees upon return.