Everywhere you go in the British Virgin Islands, the true Caribbean awaits you. It is an ocean of great adventure, breathtaking scenery and crystal clear waters. Whether you're throwing out your jib sail and crisscrossing the Sir Francis Drake Channel, descending the depths to explore a century-old shipwreck, hooking into a world-class marlin or simply soaking in the radiant sun and wide skies, the BVI will reveal its secrets to you one at a time. From the white sand beaches and welcoming turquoise waters to the friendly, warm-hearted people throughout our 60 idyllic islands - the British Virgin Islands is one of the world's best-kept secrets.
Whether you're a first-time or an experienced sailor, your first mates will be the endless ocean and an inviting blue sky. The BVI is truly the center of the sailing world. With consistent winds, clear blue water, sunshine every day and islands close enough to navigate by sight, the BVI is a sailor's paradise. From the main capital island of Tortola, sailors have incredible variety in a cruising area that is about 32 miles long and 15 miles wide.
BVI Charters will assist you in reserving the right yacht and crew for your group. On offer are luxurious crewed catamarans, sailboats or powerboats complete with captain and professional crew! Sail the islands at your leisure, overnighting wherever your heart desires.
Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht-filled harbor characterize the island of Tortola, where the past of the West Indies meets the present of the BVI. The largest island in the chain, Tortola offers a variety of exciting vacation possibilities.
The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole and Trellis Bay are ideal for boaters. Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. There are also many well-equipped facilities for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and horseback riding.
Wander through centuries-old ruins such as the Dungeon, Fort George, Fort Recovery, the Mount Healthy Windmill and Callwood's Rum Distillery, which is still in operation, and explore Tortola's history at the BVI Folk Museum in Road Town.
Main Street in Road Town, the capital city, has an array of shops and restaurants; offering everything from local spices, jams, rums, and soaps to handcrafted jewelry, silk-screened fabrics, and local art.
The cuisine of Tortola reflects the island's rich cultural mix, whether it's a four-star dinner at a converted sugar mill or a delicious West Indian roti at a pastel-painted cottage. Local delicacies such as fresh lobster, conch, spicy goat, curries and Johnny Cakes make each meal memorable.
Escape to the cool slopes of Sage Mountain National Park, where traces of a primeval rain forest can still be seen at higher elevations. On the mountain ridge that runs thorough the island, observe local Caribbean life with its gentle rhythms, farms, settlements and churches. At Mount Healthy National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, rock outcroppings and vertical ghuts, or dry steam valleys, expose the deep, rich earth of this volcanic island. In Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens offers peaceful walks through pergolas and pathways covered with colorful vines, as well as a miniature rain forest and a fern house.
The people of Tortola are friendly and known for their warmth and hospitality. There are a wide variety of places to stay, ranging from campgrounds to luxury resorts and private villas. Tortola is also an ideal point from which to explore the other British Virgin Islands. Regular ferries, private and crewed yachts, and planes travel daily to the other islands of the BVI.
The dramatically shaped island of Virgin Gorda reminded Christopher Columbus of a reclining woman, so he named it Virgin Gorda, the "Fat Virgin." The third largest island of the BVI, Virgin Gorda measures eight and a half square miles.
In addition to the sheer beauty of the island, travelers are drawn to Virgin Gorda for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, safe anchorages and luxury resorts. On the North Sound, the Bitter End Yacht Club, accessible only by water, offers relaxation in an extraordinary, secluded environment. And with its spectacular setting, Little Dix Bay Resort, designed by Laurance S. Rockefeller, has its own spectacular setting.
Your privacy is ensured at one of Virgin Gorda's deserted pristine beaches, such as Savannah Bay, Pond Bay, Devil's Bay, Mahoe Bay and Spring Bay. Or visit the most popular natural attraction in the BVI, The Baths, where huge granite boulders create mysterious grottos, saltwater pools and a connecting trail that entices visitors to spend a day exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. Explore Virgin Gorda on the rugged trails that run throughout the island, and see the huge variety of unique indigenous plants that thrive in the national parks at Gorda Peak, Devil's Bay, Spring Bay and the North Sound. At the nature sanctuary at Little Fort National Park, marvel at the exotic birds as they swoop over the hills and ocean.
Not surprisingly, Virgin Gorda has been luring people for centuries. Discover the island's African and Indian heritage; trace its Spanish history at the ruins at Little Fort National Park; observe the British influence in Spanish Town and at the Cornish Copper Mines on the island's southwestern tip, where ruins stand sentinel against the azure sea.
Experience the island's exquisite cuisine, a wonderful combination of all its influences, and explore the variety of shops offering local arts and crafts, as well as gifts, resort wear and souvenirs.
Virgin Gorda can also be experienced on a day trip. Spanish Town has its own airport, and a regular ferry runs between Road Town, Tortola, and Spanish Town. Another ferry takes passengers from Trellis Bay on Beef Island to Leverick Bay, the Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek.
Jost Van Dyke
There's no better way to end a day than with a rum concoction on the terrace of one of the small hotels and guest cottages along Jost Van Dyke's south shore. Especially after a dinner of Jost Van Dyke's famous lobster-reputed to be the best in the Caribbean.
You can watch the sun disappear into the surf that breaks on the reef surrounding Jost Van Dyke. For centuries ships have been lost on this treacherous reef, but these wrecks provide a boon for today's visitors. They are home to countless exotic fish and marine life, making Jost Van Dyke a paradise for scuba divers and snorkellers.
Jost Van Dyke is an island of coral sand, and its beaches are the loveliest in the Caribbean. And they're so deserted, chances are you won't see another set of footsteps on the sand. But you can always find a shady spot at a beach side bar to sit and sip a cool drink.
The only coral island in the volcanic BVI chain, Anegada is definitely unique. The Spanish named it Anegada, the "Drowned Land." Measuring 11 miles by three, its highest point is just 28 feet above sea level. The island is surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, the third largest continuous reef in the Eastern Caribbean at 39 miles long, containing both a patch reef and barrier reef.
Cow Wreck Beach, Flash of Beauty, Bones Bight and Windlass Bight are but a few of the beautiful beaches where you can relax under the shade of a coconut palm or seagrape tree. The secluded, powdery white-sand beaches are protected by the sheltering reef and the points that sweep out from the shore: Nutmeg Point, Setting Point and Pomato Point.
Bubbling up from the coral bed, clear springs support a variety of wildlife. Loblolly, seagrape, frangipani and the turpentine tree flourish here, along with feathery sea lavender and wild orchids. Saltwater ponds, mudflats and mangrove swamps are home to an array of exotic birds, including sandpipers, ospreys, terns, kaloo birds, blue herons and frigate birds. In the ponds near Nutmeg Point, flocks of flamingos gather. On the nature trail at Bones Bight, catch a glimpse of the rare rock iguanas native to Anegada.
For snorkelers, the reef offers a maze of tunnels, drops and caves boasting a rich marine life. Schools of mojarra and needlefish thrive in the sandy bottoms, while green sea turtles swim in the sheltered waters. Beyond the reef, spectacular sights await scuba divers. Angelfish, stingrays, triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang and horse-eye jacks inhabit the drowned holds of the numerous Spanish galleons, American privateers and British warships that have been wrecked here. Anegada has all the facilities needed for most water sports, as well as bonefishing and sport fishing.
On land, you can read the island's history in the maze of stone walls that surround the Settlement, the main town. In the East End, ancient conch burial mounds and islands attest to the presence of the Arawaks, who called Anegada home nearly a thousand years ago. At the Anegada Museum, maps reveal the location of over 200 wrecks, while cannons, musket balls and ships' timbers are part of the recovered booty. Listen to tales of buccaneers, drowned ships and hoards of gold still undiscovered.
Getting to Anegada is easy. There are regularly scheduled flights from Tortola's Beef Island Airport, and charter flights from St. Thomas and Virgin Gorda. Or bring your boat and find a good anchorage at the Setting Point. To get around the island, there are taxis or jeeps and minivans you can rent. A small number of hotels and campgrounds are available. At restaurants, dine on lobster, reputed to be the Caribbean's best, or relax with one of the island's special rum concoctions - the Rum Teaser or Wreck Punch.