Daydreams about leaving last winter’s brutal cold behind do come true. Consider our top five things to do in the fifty plus isles of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Imagine sailing without time tables within the archipelago, stopping only to enjoy the pleasures of gorgeous beaches or the best dive sites in the southern isles.
Plan to drink several killer cocktails as the sun sets in paradise every single day. The temperature in the British Virgin Islands is always comfortable and warm, so bring plenty of beach wear. Anegada’s shores or Smuggler’s Cove and Cane Garden Bay on Tortola are on the short list of favorite places to visit.
Perhaps the most idyllic BVI vacation is enjoyed from the deck of a private yacht that sails and docks at your command. The key to enjoying a yachting vacation for many is to engage a crew to do the serious work of sailing. For others, learning to sight sail in BVI is something they want to do. Addison Yacht Charters offer catamarans, mega yachts, motor and sailing yacht vessels with a full crew, just a skipper, or bareback sails for experienced passengers.
Tortola offers an array of pleasures, including great bars, full moon parties, fire jugglers and festivities of all kinds. Keep the lunar calendar in mind: full moon parties are a little-known special event. These parties occur each month on the full moon. Bars and restaurants in the Tortola party zone throw open-door parties with bands, beverage specials, dancing, and much more. Since many of the best parties are thrown at small establishments, ask locals about their favorite full moon party spots. Most of BVI’s twenty-nine thousand residents live in Tortola, and both business and commercial centers are located here.
Cane Garden Bay, popularized by Jimmy Buffett in his 1978 song “Mañana,” is a one-mile beach that is part of the popular party zone. To the south of Cane Garden Bay are clusters of holiday villas. Along North Coast Road on the west end of Cane Garden is the oldest (and also family-owned) Caribbean rum distillery. Arundel rum has been produced here for more than three hundred years. Daily tours allow visitors to view copper vats and aging casks that are used to make some of the world’s best rum. Nearby, a small distillery store sells rum and sells a series of four sample shots for a dollar.
Sage Mountain Park surrounds the highest peak in the Virgin Islands. Sage Mountain rises 1716 feet above sea level. Hikers enjoy seven trails in the ninety-two acre park. Although the park is not a rainforest in the strictest sense—it receives less than one hundred inches of rain a year—it has many typical characteristics of the rainforest. Colorful frogs and lizards are everywhere in the cool and damp area. Hikers enjoy the sight of coco plums, ferns and mahogany trees and a perfect view of both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.
A BVI sailing vacation is much more than revelry in Tortola, of course. It’s about exploring the small islands like Jost (pronounced yoast). Jost is only four square miles of land surrounded by breathtaking clear turquoise blue seas, but reputation precedes it. In the 1960s free-spirited era, sailors docked on Jost and enjoyed a bar built by Foxy Callwood, a popular Calypsonian. Musicians like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones made Jost a popular place to get away from the madding crowd of civilization.
Only twelve miles away from isles in the chain, Anegada looks and feels different from its neighbors. The terrain is flat and appears almost like desert at first glance. A small number of restaurants made of a stucco-like material and several streets of guesthouses form the center of the island. Toward the water, large flocks of coral pink flamingos congregate. Anegada beaches are considered the most beautiful in the world, including Flash of Beauty or Loblolly Bay. Seaside restaurants offer enormous Anegada lobsters which are most frequently grilled on an oil drum or open fire. The annual lobster festival offers visitors an opportunity to eat their fill of these delicious crustaceans. Plan to eat conch chowder and fritters while marveling at the slight pink cast to the sand. Commercial airlines connect Tortola and Anegada but, if you’re traveling by private yacht, there is no need to consider anyone’s schedule but your own.
Remote and undeveloped islands and cays are known as BVI’s out islands. These wonderful small islands are homes to wildlife sanctuaries, homes of the world’s wealthy and famous, or refueling stops for yachtsmen and sailors. Many of these out islands are reached only by private vessel or yacht. When venturing into the out islands, it is possible to glimpse pods of orca whales and other amazing sea mammals. Some of the smaller out islands are for sale: for example, Ginger Island, a 238-acre island, is for sale in its entirety.
Before considering beautiful natural sights on land, think about where to dive first. Aquamarine-colored water surrounds the British Virgin Islands and visitors discover new underwater treasure every day of the year here.
Diving is rated as one of the top things to do in BVI. Scubadiving.com reports that BVI is one of the best places to dive or snorkel in the world. Just below the surface of incredibly clear waters is an entirely new world of coral reefs, lava tunnels, pinnacles, and caves filled with treasures to explore. Combine diving and snorkeling with a sailing vacation and swim among brightly colored reef fish, sea turtles, eels, angelfish and placid nurse sharks at your leisure.
Arrange diving or snorkeling equipment rentals ahead of time and have them delivered to your private vessel. The crew you’ve engaged can suggest dive sites or plan to dive with you. A private yacht vacation includes everything from prepping your dive to replacing empty tanks as needed.
Now you know our top five things to do in the British Virgin Islands. Every activity and destination is best paired with the luxury of a private yacht charter!