Departing from Tortola’s West End Ferry Terminal
As Tingalayo is located in the West End of Tortola, the closest ferry dock is the West End ferry terminal. From this ferry terminal you can catch a ferry to Jost van Dyke or St. Thomas.
Jost van Dyke
When you arrive by ferry onto Jost van Dyke you can either wander around the small town up the hill from the ferry dock or grab one of the group taxis that will be waiting. You can go snorkeling in Sandy and Green Cays, visit the bubbly pool in Diamond Cay or relax with a drink in White Bay at the Soggy Dollar Bar where the painkiller was first invented.
For day trips to either of the US Virgin Islands of St. John or St. Thomas, you will need both your passport and the immigration card you were given upon arrival in Tortola. Please tell the ticket agent at the ferry if you are only going for the day as you may be able to reuse your immigration card.
There are two ferry terminals on St. Thomas. The closest to the West End of Tortola is Red Hook (about a 30 minute ferry ride). The one closest to downtown St. Thomas is Charlotte Amalie (about a 45 minute ferry ride).
The one mile stretch of world famous Magens Bay is on St. Thomas. This beach has a concession stand, entry fee and other amenities. Although not a great spot for snorkeling, its gentle slope and sheltered cove make it a very good spot for swimming. It is also one of the few beaches where lifeguards are on duty.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie was founded by the Dutch in the late 1600s. It was a hub of activity and frequented by two famous pirates, Blackbeard and Bluebeard. Today it is still a hub of activity. Its main street Dronnigens Gade is home to over 400 shops – many duty free. The hawkers on the street working to bring you into the stores can be a bit overwhelming. A good place to retreat for a bit of calm and wonderful food is a local favorite, Gladys’ Cafe at the Royal Dane Mall.
Not too far away from main street is Market Square on Strand Gade. In stark contrast to its sadder past as the largest slave market in the West Indies, today you will come upon a vibrant, open air stall type market.
If you want to add a bit of history and sightseeing into your day, Charlotte Amalie offers a little of both. The Government House at 21-22 Kongens Gade was built in 1867. While it is still used as the home of the Virgin Islands government, the first two floors are open for visitors where you can see on display artwork from Camille Pissarro who was born on St. Thomas in 1830.
A few blocks from Dronnigens Gade, the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas at 2116 Crystal Gade is the second oldest synogogue in the western hemisphere. Founded in 1796 they still use sand on their floors in respect of their forefathers who did so centuries ago to muffle the sound of their prayers when hiding from the Spanish Inquisition. If you wish to explore over 300 years of Jewish history, you can continue your visit at the nearby Weibel Museum.
Blackbeard’s Castle is located at 38 Dronnigens Gade, up the hill from downtown. Although not historically confirmed to be the hideout of Blackbeard it is a lovely place to enjoy a refreshment and look at the view beyond. It is also the easier way to experience the 99 Steps…walking down the steps rather than up. Constructed from the ballast of ships coming into port, if you follow the stairs down it will bring you back toward the water.
Currently the only way to get to St John is via St Thomas; hopefully the inter-island service will be starting up again soon. If you are visiting St. John, you will arrive in their port of Cruz Bay. You will find shopping and restaurants in both Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. We have special memories of snorkeling off the sand in Trunk Bay with our young children and eating fresh mango sorbet at the small roadside stand near the top of the mountain.
Departing from Tortola’s Road Town Ferry Terminal
The other ferry terminal on Tortola is in Road Town. You will see it on your right as you come into town. From there you can catch ferries to Virgin Gorda or the thrice weekly run to Anegada. There is parking available near the terminal.
Upon arrival in Virgin Gorda, you can either grab a taxi or rent a car to get wherever you want to go.
Why not put together a picnic from the LSL Bakery in Spanish Town complete with deli sandwiches and guava tarts, and then head over to the world famous Baths for the day? The Baths is a very large grouping of giant boulders that form sea pools and grottoes. Don’t want to be bothered with toting the food – no problem, Top of the Baths is right there with conch burgers and other fare for lunch. You can also grab a taxi from there to take you back to the ferry dock.
Alternatively, go over to Leverick Bay for the day and stop off at Hog Heaven to enjoy the views and the breezes. You might even meet Michael Beans, the pirate musician of Leverick Bay.
Anegada is the furthest island in the BVI group. It is 10 miles long and 2 ½ miles wide, very flat and surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, one of the world’s largest coral reefs. Weather permitting the ferry usually departs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:45am and returns at 5pm the same day. There is spectacular snorkeling from the shore but very little shade, so plan accordingly. If shellfish is your thing, then Anegada lobster and conch fritters should be on your must try list. You can also explore the Flamingo pond to scope out the growing flock of pink flamingoes that call Anegada home.
Departing from the private Peter Island Ferry Terminal
Peter Island (has not yet reopened)
Continuing west on Waterfront Drive past Road Town, you will come to the private Peter Island ferry terminal. Peter Island is where we had our honeymoon many, many years ago. In the BVI, this island is home to a private resort. On the island they have a lovely spa and two restaurants: Tradewinds and Deadman’s Beach Bar and Grill. Dinner reservations are a must and they usually open only one of their restaurants each night. One of our favorite dinners is their Wednesday night Caribbean buffet where you can eat down by the water looking out at the famous island, Deadman’s Chest, and dance in the sand to the music of a steel drum band.
Departing from Trellis Bay
There are also ferries that go out of Trellis Bay to Scrub Island and others….our Property Concierge can share those with you if you like.