It’s largely believed that the Britain Virgin Islands (BVI) are safe to visit. But that’s not to say that there isn’t a chance of a serious mishap.
As a traveler, awareness and preparedness is part of ensuring that you’re also a safe traveler. That includes avoiding wearing flashy clothing and jewelry, always keeping your belongings near you, and not walking alone in unpopulated, dark areas.
Latest on the Safety of the British Virgin Islands
The U.S. government’s current travel advisory for the British Virgin Islands is at level 1, which means exercise normal precautions.
The UK government maintains that crime is low in the British Virgin Islands but advises foreign travelers that serious incidents such as robberies or drug-related gun crimes can occur.
In the case of an emergency while visiting BVI, contact the police by dialing 999 or 911. You can use 311 for non-emergencies.
Terrorism in the British Virgin Islands
BVI has not reported acts of terrorism in recent years. However, there is a heightened threat of terrorism against the United Kingdom’s interests from groups motivated by conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
You can find information regarding potential terrorist attacks and advice on how to stay safe abroad using the UK Counter Terrorism Policing website.
Illegal drug offenses in the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands take criminal drug offenses seriously.
Small quantities of marijuana can carry hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. And drug trafficking is punished severely.
Always pack your own bags when traveling, and avoid carrying someone else’s belongings to prevent accidents.
Using an ATM while traveling always comes with risks.
In the British Virgin Islands, if someone approaches you while at an ATM saying they can help you avoid local bank fees, kindly tell them to get lost.
Scammers can use a card skimmer to steal your account number and then watch you enter the pin so they can drain your account later.
Every time you enter your pin code at an ATM, cover the keypad with your hand to avoid the eyeballs of a thief.
June to November 2023 – Natural disasters and extreme weather
Hurricane season in the Caribbean begins in June (sometimes earlier) and lasts until late into November.
If you plan to travel to BVI during those months, you will need to monitor the US National Hurricane Centre and the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
The DDM recommends that you download the BVI weather alert app to keep up with the latest concerning hurricanes and other severe weather.
The British Virgin Islands Red Cross will provide you with accurate guidance in the case of extreme weather, including hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and tsunamis.
Popular scams in the British Virgin Islands
Tourist scams are a drawback to traveling abroad. But, if you’re on alert, tourist frauds are easy to avoid in the British Virgin Islands.
A common scam is that locals from the BVI will ask you to take a picture, and when you return the camera, they will drop it on purpose and blame you.
A rule of thumb is never to take someone’s picture using their camera while traveling to any country.
Taxis that overcharge
Uber and other rideshares may not be available in the British Virgin Islands, which leaves you with taxis.
Check to ensure that the taxi driver has started the meter and knows the route beforehand so that you know approximately how long the trip will take.
Guessing games gone wrong
Street tricks and games seem fun, but sometimes there are nefarious reasons for asking you to choose the correct box.
But, as the crowd gathers for what seems like a harmless game, locals use the distraction to pick the pockets of tourists.