British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands have long been a favorite destination for sun worshippers from all corners of the world. Blessed with about 60 very different tropical Caribbean islands (of which only about 15 are inhabited) this humming archipelago offers a huge variety of fun and exciting activities–all involving sun, sand, and azure blue seas. Meet just a few of our favorite islands that make up this beautiful paradise.
Just 24 square miles comprise Tortola, the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands. It is home to Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. Being the biggest island, tourists have a lot of options when it comes to dining, accommodations and activities.
Tortola is home to more than 30 beautiful sheltered bays, each offering fun under the sun. Laze the day away in a hammock, snorkel warm, tropical reefs, boat from beach bar to beach bar or see it all from 600 feet up while parasailing. Another activity in Tortola that you might take pleasure in is shopping. Road Town is buzzing with duty free shops, boutiques, souvenir shops, farmers and crafts markets, and the area is famous for excellent prices on watches, jewelry, and of course, rum.
Take a trip back in time when pirates and privateers ruled the seas by heading over to Norman Island, an uninhabited, privately owned island believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s bestselling novel, Treasure Island. Rumor has it that many a pirate hid his treasure among the island’s many caves and offshore reefs. The years have been kind to Norman Island, surrounding it with some of the world’s most amazing snorkeling while preserving it’s original and natural charm.
Jost Van Dyke
To the west of the BVI cluster is a mountainous island called Jost Van Dyke (pronounced “yost”), which measures roughly about 8 square kilometers, and about 3 square miles. Although the island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1943, it takes its name from a 17th century Dutch pirate and privateer, Joost Van Dyk, who used its many harbors as hideouts.
The smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands, Jost Van Dyke’s population is roughly about 150 full time residents. However, this island is anything but sleepy! Home to White Bay and the world’s most famous beach bars including Foxy’s, Soggy Dollar, Ivan’s Stress Free Bar and One Love, the population swells during the day and everyone enjoys the party. Enjoy a sip of the world famous and official BVI cocktail, the “Painkiller” at Soggy Dollar while relaxing on this breathtaking paradise. Jost Van Dyke offers the perfect combination of a laid back island vibe and great party atmosphere.
The Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay is Jost Van Dyke’s most unique attraction, which is basically a natural saltwater Jacuzzi; the bubbles are formed as the waves crash in through its narrow passage.
Upon seeing the island’s likeness to a volumputous woman lying on her side, Christopher Columbus blessed this island “Virgin Gorda” in 1493. Measuring at 10 miles in length and 2 miles in width, Virgin Gorda is BVI’s the third largest island.
The slow pace of life on the island makes Virgin Gorda a great choice for a peaceful vacation where you truly get away from it all. Getting to the island can either be by airplane or boat, while getting around on island is done open-sided safari buses, car rental, taxis, or by boat, if you want to travel in style.
The Baths, located at Virgin Gorda’s southern end, is a series of natural pools formed by giant boulders. A colony of saltwater-filled rock grottoes assemble along the long white sand beach allowing exceptional snorkeling. Great hiking is also found on Virgin Gorda. The Virgin Gorda Peak National Park offers hiking paths that crisscross the park’s large stretches of undeveloped land. The peak, which takes about 20 minutes to reach, offers idyllic views of the sweeping bays and the countryside below.
The only inhabited coral island in the BVI archipelago, Anegada, is endowed with picturesque natural formations; reefs, ponds, peninsulas, and deserts perfect for both land and water activities of your pleasure. Christened by Christopher Columbus as “the drowned island,” the island’s highest point only measures 28-feet above sea level. The island also is responsible for over 300 shipwrecks over a period of time.
Horseshoe reef, the 3rd largest coral reef of the world, is found here on Anegada. Horseshoe reef is home to several ancient islands made of conch shells, mangrove trees, and extensive mudflats great for shallow water fishing. The famous Pomato Point Restaurant is found in this very reef, which boasts of a one room museum filled with shipwrecks; cannons, cannonballs, rum bottles, teapots and 18th-Century coins, all found in and around the reef.
If you bird watching is your thing, Anegada does not disappoint. The Flamingo Pond at the South Shore around the island’s West Point is the island’s largest salt pond and home to a variety of wading birds including colorful flamingoes, Blue Herons, and several species of Stilts and Terns.
Five very different islands, all part of the same island chain. Choose the kind of vacation experience you want, then choose the islands in the British Virgin Islands to meet your expectations.