British Virgin Islands
A Dream to Come True: The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands on the Caribbean are no doubt among the most beautiful sea holiday places in the world. The British Virgin Islands, or simply BVI, enjoy a wonderful subtropical weather, lots of sunlight, white shores, clear seawater and a very colorful underwater life, plus the seafood is delicious and beach clubs are great. What more could we ask for? It’s no exaggeration to call a boat holiday on the British Virgin Islands a dream holiday! Dominated by pirates on seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the BVI is the right place for an unforgettable sailing holiday.
Fifty Isles, Fifty Heavens
BVI is an offshore territory of Britain in the Caribbean, to the south of Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands are also a wonderful places but the most popular destination for a sea holiday are the British Virgin Islands. BVI are a favorite of sailors as there are four big islands and fifty islets to discover by boat, and very suitable sea conditions that allow for a comfortable sail among these beauties.
The biggest of the BVI is the Tortola Island with coast lines of 20-to-5 kilometers. Tortola’s capital, Road Town, is also the capital of BVI. The other big islands of Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke also have lively centers like that on Tortola. On around fifteen other islands in addition to these four bigger ones, you see smaller settlements. The largest airport on the British Virgin Islands is the Terrace B. Lettsome International Airport, built on Beef Island, close to the eastern tip of Tortola. As Beef and Tortola are connected through a bridge, when you land on the airport you’ve already reached the capital – a happy sea holiday on the British Virgin Islands starts right away.
Discover the best marinas on the BVI coastline
Marinas on the larger two islands, Tortola and Virgin Gorda, are capable of hosting boats of all sizes. Here, in addition to water and fuel services, you can find any service you need.
You can find British Virgin Islands marinas’ service and navigation information through GotoSailing.com MapGuide, and also see your sailing distance to the closest marinas.
Best restaurants for sailors on the BVI coastline and the islands
Reviewed by sailors for sailors
The freshest and most delicious food on the British Virgin Islands is of course the seafood. You’ll notice the generous use of spices. You must try the Anegada lobster before you leave these seas. This lobster is very famous as it’s known as the best lobster of not only the BVI, but of all the Caribbean. If you consider to go there for your boat holiday on November or December, keep in mind that the last week of November is the time for the Anegada Lobster Festival, heralding the end of the stormy season. And it’s not just lobsters – on Anegada and other islands, you’ll enjoy the freshest and tastiest form of all sorts of seafood.
On the BVI you should also try ‘fungi’ –roughly the Caribbean version of polenta-, the traditional vegetable dish ‘callaloo,’ and ‘roti’, a curried meat wrap. When it comes to drinks, rum, the Caribbean elixir of happiness, certainly takes the first place. Many kinds of cocktails are made with rum, rum punch is the most common among them. Needless to say, your drinks are accompanied by reggae.
Heavenly Places to Moor
You never get enough of sailing around the British Virgin Islands. You’ll thank yourself again and again every morning for this vacation. Actually, spending all your time in a single cove on these islands is enough for a perfect holiday – but there are so many things to see… Such as The Baths National Park on the southern end of the Virgin Gorda, between Spring Bay and Devil Bay. The sands are white and the sea clear, and there are big granite rocks of weird shapes to add to the scenery. This cove is perfect to swim with a snorkel, because the rocks form puddles and caves in some places. The White Bay on Jost Van Dyke Island is among the most beautiful beaches of the BVI. The cove hides in the shadow of steep hills and a barrier reef protects it from the waves – but it has a canal that lets the boats in the cove to moor. There are nice restaurants in the cove, and fuel delivery is also available.
And Sandy Cay, between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke Island, will be an experience above all your desert island dreams you dreamed throughout your life. An incredible beach, a little hill, a few kinds of lizards and lots of hermit crabs… The mooring place on the southwest coast of the island is good to go during the day. As you trek on the little hill, we suggest to go eastwards for the best panorama. The Smuggler's Cove in the westernmost edge of Tortola is another quiet place where you can swim with sea turtles.
Pack your diving equipment!
The British Virgin ıslands is as much a sanctuary for divers as it is for sailors: diving tours operate to more than 75 spots around the islands. BVI is an excellent place to dive with the rich underwater life, sunken wrecks, crystal-clear water and year-long warm seawater temperatures. As divers well know, RMS Rhone National Sea Park is the most important diving place of the BVI. RMS Rhone was a mailer that was caught in a hurricane in 1867 and sank with its 125 mariners. The bow and stern of the ship are 100 meters apart. The wreck lies in 15-to-26 meters’ depth, is in surprisingly good condition, and makes an ideal place to dive for divers of all levels, as the water is always clear and there are no currents. If you have no training for diving, you can even view some parts of the wreck with a snorkel.
Anegada is the least populated one among the larger four islands, and it’s the only one made up of corals and limestone. The Horseshoe Reef is the Caribbean’s biggest, and the world’s fourth biggest shallow coral reef. And it’s full of shipwrecks: the island is so low that sailors throughout history have made the same mistake of not seeing Anegada until they hit the reef. About 300 shipwrecks around Anegada have made a wonderful habitat for many sorts of sea creatures, and a perfect place for snorkeling and scuba-diving. In addition to the Chikuzen wreck near Virgin Gorda, the Dog Island is also famous in the BVI for its diving places and caves. Home to the best staghorn corals of the BVI, Bronco Billy is also said to be Jacques Cousteau’s favorite diving location in the region.
Weather and Winds on the British Virgin Islands
Other than the stormy season from June to November, BVI has one of the world’s most foreseeable sea conditions, which makes it a perfect destination for sailing. The trade winds have a very regular pattern. In the British Virgin Islands the wind blows in 10-to-20 knots throughout the year, in a level suitable for a pleasant sail, and always from the east. In its strongest, it blows from the northeast with 15-20 knots force from November to January. Then it gradually starts blowing eastwards in 10-15 knots until June. We don’t recommend the June-November term for a boat holiday in the British Virgin Islands, as it’s the stormy season here.
The dry season, from January to June, enjoys a mild weather of an average 28°C temperature with little humidity, thus is the most popular time to go to the BVI. The islands are rainy from August to December, and the temperature may rise to 31°C. Seawater temperature is around 26°C throughout the year.