The Air Option
If arriving by air, Tortola, or more precisely Beef Island which is right next door and connected by a bridge, is home to the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport (EIS). Flights come into EIS from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua or St. Martin/Sint Maarten.
If you are arriving or connecting through Europe, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate direct flights from London to Antigua and several companies operate air shuttles from Antigua to EIS. Air France operates a direct flight from Paris – Charles de Gaulle to St. Martin/Sint Maarten and both WinAir and Liat operate shuttles from St. Martin/Sint Maarten to EIS.
If you are arriving or connecting through the US, although there are no direct flights to EIS from the continental US, you can arrange a connection flight from either Puerto Rico or St. Thomas.
Some helpful airport codes: Antigua (ANU); Paris/Charles de Gaulle (CDG); Tortola (EIS); Puerto Rico (SJU); St. Thomas (STT); St. Martin/Sint Maarten (SXM)
Tingalayo from Outer Space
The Air/Ferry Option
Many people prefer the air/ferry option for traveling to Tortola.
There are many flight options into St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. During the season there are direct non-stop flights from New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Upon arriving in St. Thomas, instead of taking a shuttle flight over to Tortola EIS, you can start your vacation a bit early and take the ferry.
The ferries depart St. Thomas for the West End of Tortola at two different locations – Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook. You have the option of a longer taxi ride and a shorter ferry ride or a shorter taxi ride and a longer ferry ride. The Charlotte Amalie ferry terminal is closer to the airport so the 10 minute taxi ride there is a bit shorter but the 45 minute ferry ride across is longer. The reverse is true for the Red Hook ferry terminal. It will take about 45 minutes to get to Red Hook in a taxi and then your ferry ride to the West End is only about 20 minutes. If you are a bit hungry after your flight both terminals have food and drink options. The Petite Pump Room at the Charlotte Amalie terminal has even been known to serve drinks to the upper level of the departing ferry from their outside deck.
You can check online to see their various schedules but it has been our experience that they often don’t run to the published schedule. With several ferry companies operating out of each terminal they work together and make do. Since all the ferries operate only during daylight hours, the last ferry usually leaves around 4:30pm.
To catch a ferry, there will be someone organizing taxis upon your leaving the baggage area of the airport in St. Thomas. Tell them that you want the next ferry to the West End of Tortola. The taxi driver will place your luggage in the back of the taxi van and gather other individuals that are headed to the same place – this is normal procedure. Upon arrival at the ferry terminal, he will charge you a per person price rather than the fare price that you may be used to elsewhere.
You will need to show your passports when you purchase your tickets at the ferry terminal. All luggage, except hand held, must be checked in at this time and there is a small fee per bag.
The larger ferries are all slightly different in construction but many have an indoor area on the first level and an upper deck that is open to the air.
Tortola has two ferry terminals – the West End ferry dock and the Road Town ferry dock. But as Tingalayo is located on the West End of Tortola it is faster and more convenient to disembark at the West End.
If your flight is scheduled to arrive after the last ferry departure, there are private prearranged shuttle boat services available to take you across. You can get more information on these from our Property Concierge.