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Other Islands , BVI - Frequently Asked Questions
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Other Islands , BVI | Frequently Asked Questions

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

What is the population?
In 1991, when the last census was taken, the population of the British Virgin Islands was 16,108. For 2007, it is estimated to be around 23,000.

How big is the country/island?
The British Virgin Islands are made up of 36 islands, islets and cays, which total about 59 sq miles. Tortola comprises 21 sq miles; Anegada, 15; Virgin Gorda, eight; and Jost Van Dyke, four.

Can I drink the tap water?
Most tap water is desalinated salt water, which is safe to drink. Some places use cisterns. If in doubt, bottled water is readily available.

What are the best things to buy here?
There is no duty-free shopping in the British Virgin Islands. For local souvenirs look for pottery, hand-screened fabric, paintings by local artists, Sunny Caribbee spices and chutneys, Pusser's sportswear and nautical items, rum, stamps and jewellery, particularly pieces made with larimar, a light-blue Caribbean stone.

Are there nude beaches?
There are no nude beaches. Public nudity is illegal in the British Virgin Islands.

What are the main industries?
The main industries are tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block and offshore financial services.

What is the drinking/gambling age?
The legal drinking age is 21.

There are no casinos in the British Virgin Islands.

What native dishes should I try?
Local dishes to try include Anegada lobster, whelks (similar to escargot), conch (pronounced konk; on its own or in fritters, paté, soup or salad), roti (curried meat or vegetables wrapped in an East Indian flat bread), fungi (a cornmeal and okra pudding) and paté (a baked- or grilled-style pita bread filled with spiced meat, seafood or vegetables).

Can I use my calling card from here?
Directory assistance:
Operator, 0
International enquiries, 110
Local enquiries, 119

AT&T: Service is available from pay phones (may require a coin or card deposit) and at select hotels, airports and cruise docks using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards, American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 1-800-872-2881 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts.

You can also dial 1-800 CALL USA to use US calling cards, major credit cards or to make collect calls.

BT: Dial 1-800-744-1144, input your account number and PIN, then dial the number you require.

Canada Direct: Service is available on public pay phones with calling cards from Bell, MTS, Aliant, SaskTel and Telus. Dial 01-800-744-2580 to reach a Canadian operator directly.

MinutePass Plus: no service available

Sprint: Dial 1-800-877-8000. Listen for the tone, then dial 0 + area code + phone number + #. (Pressing # is optional.) Wait for the tone and enter your Foncard number. Calls can only be made to the US (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Saipan/Mariana Islands).

For more information see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.

How should I dress to go out?
Dress in the British Virgin Islands is casual. If you plan on dining at upscale restaurants, however, smart casual is more appropriate. Beach attire should only be worn at the beach or around the pool.

Can I use my hair dryer and electric shaver?
Electricity is 110 AC, 60 Hz, which is the same as in North America.

How much should I tip?
Tip about 15%. Although some hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge to the bill, it is customary to leave an additional 5%. If the service charge is 15% there is no need to leave more. Tip porters and bellhops $1 per bag. Although tipping taxi drivers is generally not necessary, for exceptional service you may wish to tip 10-15%.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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