British Virgin Islands Travel Guide
Both good and bad, the BVI is the “Charter Capitol of the World”. The sailing is short and easy and there seems to be a bar or restaurant in every bay. While you can find a few quiet, out of the way coves, most people in the BVI want a week of partying, sailing, snorkeling, and beaches as they follow a typical circuit around the islands.
Historically, the Arawak tribe first arrive around 100 BC, but were displaced by the aggressive Caribs (the tribe that gave the Caribbean its name) in the 15th century. Christopher Columbus arrived during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. He named the islands after the legend of Saint Ursula and her 10,000 Virgins. In the following years, various European nations fought for control of the islands while it became a notorious pirate haven. The Dutch finally settled Tortola in 1648 and the English took control in 1672. Sugar cane was introduced and slaves were brought in to run the plantations until 1840 when they were emancipated.
Although I did a two-week bareboat charter back in 2007, it has been the 6 plus years running a charter business in the Virgin Islands that has given me an extensive knowledge of the BVI.
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
During a week-long charter the highlights are snorkeling the Indians and Caves at Norman Island, which was the inspiration for “Treasure Island”, before getting wild on the Willy T in the evening. Almost everyone loves spending an afternoon relaxing at Cooper Island beach resort after snorkeling the RMS Rhone shipwreck. The exploration around the gigantic boulders at the Baths make it a world class site. Also on Virgin Gorda is the North Sound, where I could spend 3-4 days if allowed. Anegada is unique since it is not mountainous and is
more of a ten-mile-long sand bar and way more laid back then the other islands. Finally, there is Jost Van Dyke, my favorite BVI island, with Sandy Cay, the Bubbly Pool, the Soggy Dollar bar, dinner at Corsair’s, and finishing the day off at Foxy’s. Of course, there is a whole lot more to do in the BVI, but just be prepared to have lots of boats sharing each anchorage with you as they party their vacation away.
My biggest dislike about the BVI is the fact that customer service is atrocious compared to US standards. If you want to try and get in with the locals saying good morning, afternoon, or evening will go a very long way.
Below you can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel videos I made for the British Virgin Islands. Also, you can read all about the BVI in my blog posts located below the video.