Best British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are blessed with around 60 tropical Caribbean Islands, but only 15 of them are inhabited. No matter what’s on your agenda–be it snorkeling, beach bumming, hiking, or power boating with Pirate’s Paradise Adventures–you’re guaranteed a great time in the British Virgin Isalnds. Here are 7 of our favorite British Virgin Islands destinations.
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke is a small mountainous island measuring only about 10 square miles with a year round population of about 150. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but takes its name from a 17th century Dutch pirate who used it’s beautiful harbor as a hideout. The island is home to 11 gorgeous bays, the most popular being White Bay and Great Harbour, with crystal clear, calm water, perfect for just bobbing around in, with drink in hand. Jost Van Dyke is usually quiet and peaceful throughout the year, save for the times when tourists coming from cruise ship lines flock the beaches and shops, and a few wild nights each year, like New Year’s, when the population swells to about 30,000 people thanks to Foxy’s Old Year’s Eve Party that goes for days.
Virgin Gorda, meaning “the Fat Virgin” in Spanish, was named by Christopher Columbus. Upon seeing the island, he claimed it looked like a fat lady lying on her side. It’s the third largest island in the British Virgin Islands, and one of the Sir Frances Drake Channel’s most popular tourist destinations. The laid back vibe of the island permeates the people and the tropic setting, so this is the place if you’re looking to completely unplug from the world. The Baths, which is a series of natural pools formed by giant boulders, is Virgin Gorda’s number one attraction and offers great snorkeling. A word of warning, though–if you are doing a day boat charter from St. Thomas, traveling to and from The Baths will take a few hours round trip, and depending on the ocean conditions, it can be a choppy ride. If Virgin Gorda is #1 on your agenda, plan to make that your only stop of the day (you may be able to do a second stop, but don;t count on it) so you can spend a little time enjoying the island before your ride back to the U.S. side.
Tortola, or the “land of turtle doves” to the locals, is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands. The island’s land area covers about 24 square miles, making it the prime hub of the British Virgin Islands channel. Home to 30 beautiful sheltered bays, each more beautiful than the last, Tortola offers more destinations for sun-loving, snorkeling, sightseeing and beach bar crawling. While on the island, don’t forget to visit nearby Norman Island, a small island that is believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel,”Treasure Island.” There are caves to snorkel and explore; some say there’s buried treasure hidden in those caves.
Guana Island is a privately owned sanctuary with 7 pristine beaches — 4 of which are accessible only by boat. This totally unspoiled and perfectly tended environment where you can enjoy nature’s majestic beauty is a study in total relaxation. The best spots on the island include three reefs, a salt marsh and 20 hiking trails leading through different conservation plots developed by owners, Dr. and Mrs. Jackeris. Guana Island also prides itself of having more species of flora and fauna than any island of similar size anywhere else on the planet.
Connected to Tortola by a narrow bridge is a mountainous island called Beef Island. Local legend tells of an old woman raising cows on the island, and pirates would constantly raid her farm and taking her stocks. Legend is that one night. she invited the pirates for a celebration and offered them poison-laced beef—ending their raid on her cattle. That’s how she got rid of the pirates, and how the island got it’s name. It’s the perfect setting for laying back, lazing around and worrying about nothing other than having a good time.
The fifth largest of the 60 islands comprising the British Virgin Islands, Peter Island, offers gorgeous beaches, turquoise clear waters and a one of a kind adventure. The island’s most popular attraction is Deadman’s Bay, which is a protected bay with a mile-long shoreline. The bay’s calm breeze and waters allows you to enjoy different water sport activities or meander through the different beaches, beach bars and grills found in the shoreline.
Cooper Island is another island where you can enjoy the truly laid back feel of the tropics. The soft white sand beaches fringed with coconut palms are perfect for lazing around, reading a book, sipping a rum cocktail, and watching yacht charters and other powerboats as they glide by through the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
From the beautiful to the rustic, and from the exquisite to the Arcadian, the British Virgin Islands is blessed with different islands, each with their own charms and personality. No matter what your dream island vacation, these islands deliver!