Superb sailing, unspoiled beaches, and a supremely languid milieu envelope the more than 50 islands, cays and inlets that make up the British Virgin Islands.
While just a 50-minute ferry ride from their US counterpart, the BVIs seem to have been more successful in maintaining their virginity. Less traffic, less crime, and less development create more opportunities to unplug and kick back. Out door exploration comes in many forms – stroll along white sand beaches or trek through luxuriant mountains.
These islands are somewhat of a sailing hub thanks to consistent tradewinds, tame currents, and generous amounts of moorings and anchorages. Crewed charters and bareboats are readily available for new and experienced sailors.
Deciding where to hang your sunhat during your stay may be the most challenging decision you’ll make. There are lots of options to match whatever experience you hope to craft. Select from quaint inns, full service resorts, yacht clubs, no frills hotels, or even private islands. In addition, a sundry of sizes, prices and amenities are offered within those accommodation choices.
The capital of Road Town is located on Tortola, the BVIs’ largest and most populated island. On Tortola, secluded beaches and hidden coves beckon lazy, sun kissed days. Smuggler’s Cove, Josiah’s Bay, and Cane Garden Bay are a few to add to your “let’s do this!” list. Abandoned forts and plantations await discovery. If you’d rather search for treasure in the shops, Road Town has plenty to choose from. Overnight accommodations are varied, including luxury suites within a historic fort.
Pop over to Virgin Gorda for excellent snorkeling, nature walks, and laid back local bars. Tranquil coves, safe anchorages, and numerous yacht clubs make Virgin Gorda quite the sailor’s paradise. Make time to visit the Baths National Park. The magnificent boulders formed from volcanic activity are quite an eye-catcher. They also form a maze of grottos, warm pools, tunnels, and caves. The protected area includes Devils Bay, which you can get to by a series of ladders scaling the boulders. Here, excellent snorkeling can be found in the cerulean waters that lap a talc white beach.
Really get away from it all on Jost Van Dyke, home to less than 300 people. This tiny island boasts sugar mill ruins, remarkable beaches, snorkeling, and delectable local cuisine. Don’t miss getting a drink (or three) at popular Soggy Dollar Bar or Foxy’s Tamarind Bar.
The northernmost island of Anegada offers unspoiled beaches and stunning snorkeling. It also boasts the Caribbean’s third largest continuous reef, Horseshoe Reef. Stroll among stone remnants of 18th and 19th century forts, rum distilleries, and churches. Art and pottery galleries, surf shops, and interesting boutiques yield great souvenir shopping.
Avoid hurricane season and the mass of holiday vacationers by planning your trip between September and November. Perks include cheaper accommodations on these typically pricey islands. However, if you dive, suck up the cost and head down in the winter and spring months. Underwater visibility is much clearer during that time. Sailors might enjoy plying the waters in March during the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival.
For sailing enthusiasts, we highly recommend the BVIs – especially Virgin Gorda. It offers numerous yacht clubs, quiet coves, safe anchorages and some of the best luxury resorts and villas.