Our final travel leg was from Miami to Beef Island BVI, via San Juan PR. We wanted to fly directly to The BVI to avoid dealing with ferries between USVI and Tortola, and we thought it would be interesting to have a connection in Puerto Rico since we hadn’t been there before. But we almost didn’t make it out of Miami!
At 0706, at the Miami Airport Marriott hotel, John awoke with a shout for me to hop in the shower right away – we had overslept!! Holy crap!!! I leapt out of bed (literally) and was showered, dressed and seated on the airport shuttle at 0728. For folks who know me, that timing is nothing short of miraculous. We’re not sure what happened to our alarm, all we know is that it didn’t go off at 0600 as we expected. Yikes…thank heavens John woke up – that was a close call!
After checking-in at the Miami airport, we made it through security with no issues and then had the relaxing breakfast we expected to have at the hotel at 0645. As I was enjoying my third cup of tea, it occurred to me that I hadn’t combed my hair….oops!
Our flights were coordinated to meet up with Jeff & Peggy at the San Juan airport, the couple who are joining us for the charter. We found them at the little bar, looking very happy to be headed on vacation. The final leg from PR to BVI was a 30 minute hop on a very small plane, a Saab 340 from Seaborne Airlines. As we circled on approach to Beef Island, John & I had fun trying to point out to each other which island was which. Touchdown on a sunny, breezy afternoon about 28C. Woohoo!
We had wanted to bring in some food items with us and weren’t too sure what to expect on arrival. Their official website has BVI Entry Requirements that says:
Yacht owners, charter guests and visitors may bring food into the British Virgin Islands. For the time being, however, because of the worldwide threat of Hoof and Mouth and Mad Cow Disease, a law is in effect which bans the importation of any meat products unless an application is submitted to the Department of Agriculture for approval. Approved permits cost $25.00. For more information, please call the Department of Agriculture at 284-495-2532. Visitors coming from the North America with meat products for consumption during their stay will not have to fill out the application if they are bringing less than 40 lbs. of meat. Good quality, fresh foods are available in the British Virgin Islands from several grocery stores and provisioners on a year-round basis. BVI import duties charged on food products range between 5% and 15% of the invoice value. For more information on import regulations and tariffs, please contact the BVI Customs Department Phone: (284-494-3475). Open from 8:30am to 6:30pm.
Not that we didn’t trust online information, John asked a couple of sailing forums if anyone had some recent experience, and there was a consistent recommendation to use The TravelTalkOnline.com Forum for The BVI. We had not heard of this site before. It is very basic, but seems to be very popular and full of good information.
We did end up bringing some spices in a couple ziplock bags, tea bags, and some Costco prepackage nuts.
After we got through the short lineup, the customs officer asked her routine questions, we told her what we brought, and she gave us a huge smile when she discovered we had visited the previous year. Yes – we assured her we were thrilled to be repeat visitors.
Ahhh…it was great to taste a Carib Beer again!
As sometimes happens in Road Town, there was a power outage just as we headed to The Pub for dinner. No worries, they had candlelight and the waitress advised us they could still prepare anything on the menu, except blended drinks. We enjoyed some great conch fritters for appetizers, and our meals were all really tasty. Returning to the hotel, there was still enough time for a nightcap on the balcony. This is the life!