The British Virgin Islands are well known as the “sailing capital of the Caribbean”. Sailors delight in the ability to easily navigate from one island to the next often by sight alone. Steady tradewinds, sun-soaked scenic anchorages too numerous to count, and pristine white sand beaches are the envy of marine enthusiasts worldwide. The protected Sir Frances Drake Channel offers a clear and well marked path through the crystal clear aqua marine waters allowing island hoppers to safely take in the sights and sounds of neighboring ports.
In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue… on his second voyage for the Spanish Crown, he discovered the British and US Virgin Islands. Tortola, the largest island in the BVI was first coined “Santa Ana” by Columbus himself. Locals might disagree about this historic lore, but the name Tortola (Spanish for turtle dove) did not come to be until the British take over.
Mountains rising from volcanic activity and white sand beaches surround the highest populace in the BVI. Almost 24,000 people live and work in and around the principal settlement of Road Town. Tortola is well known for its historic sites, beaches such as Smuggler’s Cove and Cane Garden Bay, and marine activities like sailing, surfing, scuba diving & kite boarding.
Not to Miss in Tortola: Sage Mountain State Park, Smuggler’s Cove, Rhone National Marine Park, Nanny Cay.
BVI tourism didn’t take hold until the 1960s when a few enterprising young fellows recognized an untapped gold mine. Virgin Gorda was central to this mission with the development of Rockefeller’s Little Dix Resort. Today Virgin Gorda is one of the BVI’s main tourist destinations highlighting geologic wonders like “The Baths” – a vast field of volcanic boulders which houses tidal pools, tunnels, grottos and arches. Ferry services and small airlines service the island.
Not to Miss in Virgin Gorda: The historic Copper Mine, The Baths, Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock
Named after a pirate, Jost Van Dyke’s rugged scenery and folklore are sure to awaken your adventurous spirit. With about only 300 permanent residents, this tiny island is full of history, lore and secrets. Favored local cuisine includes barbecue, fresh fish and lobster. Don’t miss the Great Harbour party on Halloween and New Year’s Eve – yachts from all over the world stop over to join the adventure and fun.
Not to Miss in Jost Van Dyke: Great Harbour, try “The Painkiller” at the Soggy Dollar bar.
Anegada is the BVI’s coral atoll, the only island that is not formed from volcanic activity. Although it is the second largest island in the archipelago, it is the most sparsely populated of the main isles. Tourism and commercial fishing keep this island afloat. Fisherman on Anegada provide most of the catch for the rest of the British Virgin islands as a whole. It’s miles of shore flats also make it a popular destination for bone fishing. It is home to the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean – the fourth largest on Earth! Visitors access the island via a small airport, ferry or private boat.
Not to Miss in Anegada: Horseshoe Reef, secluded sandy beaches, Bones Bight, Nutmeg Point