Updated: Jul 8, 2020
The British Virgin Islands are a magical archipelago of coral and volcanic islands that are very lightly developed. While Road Town on Tortola is a bustling hub of commerce, transportation and tourism, walking around Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke transports you back to the days of pirates. The steady tradewinds blow through, making these islands a mecca for sailors. Divers and snorkelers come from all over to explore the enchantment of their pristine reefs. I first came to these islands in 2009, on a Windstar Cruise. I fell in love with the untouched beaches, abundant sea life, lively beach bars and relaxed, casual ambience. After several additional visits, CaptK and I bought a 43 foot Motor Catamaran through the Moorings Yacht Ownership program. Now we enjoy these islands several times a year. Even with dozens of visits, I still have a list of things I have not seen, restaurants I have not tried yet and activities I want to try. I hope these photos inspire you to visit these spectacular islands. If you would like more information on the British Virgin Islands, check out my blog post, "Best Restaurants, Post Irma, British Virgin Islands" and "From Cruise Ships to Bare Boating...Our Journey".
The Painkiller is the drink of the British Virgin Islands. It was originally created at the Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay on Jost Van Dyke. It is an icy yet potent combination of fruit juices, coconut cream and dark rum sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg. To make these at home, check out the recipe in my blog post "Quarantine Cocktails".
A lounge chair under a Sea Grape Tree on a golden sand beach is my idea of relaxation perfection. This view is from the eco friendly Cooper Island Beach Club. www.cooperislandbeachclub.com
A sherbet colored sunset from Pirate's Bight, Norman Island.
The sea around these islands is teeming with colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and sting rays. Snorkeling is a fun way for the entire family to experience these marine delights.
Cooper Island is one of my favorite stops because the coffee shop serves gelato, but it has so much more than strong coffee and delicious gelato. Also, there is a solar powered brewery, an upscale gift shop, a Rum Bar and an excellent restaurant with a tilt towards Asian seafood.
Norman Island has some of the best hiking trails in the BVI. This is the view of the Indians, an excellent snorkel and diving spot from the top of Norman Island. All of the islands are accessible not only by private yacht, but by ferry or water taxi. Water taxis run regularly throughout the day from Tortola to Norman Island.
Anegada is the northern most island in the BVI. It is the only island made of coral and limestone. Unlike the other islands it is flat. The salt marshes in the center are home to wild flamingos. The north side of the island has pink tinged, sugar soft beaches that are dotted with a few beach bars and cottages. Pictured above is Cow Wreak Beach named for the cows that would wash up on shore from the ships that would sail into the reef that protects this stunning beach. Yes, you do see cows there from time to time. They belong to local residents, not shipwrecks . Anegada is accessible by a daily ferry from Tortola as well as day charters and private vessels.
Leverick Bay Beach Resort is in North Sound on Virgin Gorda. They offer cottages with sweeping views of North Sound, a large mooring field for sailors, two restaurants, a swimming pool, beach bar, two upscale gift shops, water sports rentals and a provisioning store. It is a lively place to base your explorations of Virgin Gorda. Ferries run regularly from Tortola to Spanish Town Virgin Gorda. Land and water taxies are available to take you to North Sound.
These rock formations are called the Bath's and are located on the southern side of Virgin Gorda. These giant rocks are granite that has eroded into large boulders. They form a series of tunnels, arches, pathways and tidal pools. The Bath's and the surrounding bays are a protected National Park. They are a short walk down the hill from the parking area or a swim in from a day charter or private boat to explore these unique area.
The beat food can be found in the most unlikely places in the BVI. My favorite fish tacos can be found aboard the Willy T., an old rusted frigate turned floating bar and party place at Norman Island. The drinks are cold and the fish in the tacos fresh. Plus, there is the added pleasure of people watching, I never tire of either.
The Ocean Spa is a floating temple for relaxation and serenity. Born of necessity after Hurricane Irma destroyed the original Ocean Spa, the owner, Dale Mapp hand built a floating spa with debris Hurricane Irma left behind. This is the perfect place have your muscles soothed with a massage and your mind soothed by the oceans breezes and gentle waves. For more information and to schedule an appointment go to their facebook page Ocean Spa BVI or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anegada is the lobster capital the Caribbean. Served wood fire grilled, on the beach at sunset is my favorite way to eat them. The Lobster Trap, at the mooring field, is my favorite place to eat them.
The rocky path that leads to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke.
It's always a good day for water sports in the BVI.
Conch fritters are little fried balls of deliciousness. They are diced conch mixed into a batter similar to that of a hushpuppy and served with a spicy dipping sauce. For me, they are best eaten with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the beachfront deck at Hendo's Hideout White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. www.hendoshideout.com
Norman Island is said to be the inspiration for Robert Lewis Stevenson, Treasure Island. Hiking to the top of Spyglass Hill on Norman Island gives you spectacular views of St. John, St. Thomas and St Croix USVI.
The color variations of the water alway mesmerize me.
The bubbly pool is a natural jacuzzi created by the waves. It is an easy hike from Diamond Cay, on Jost Van Dyke.
A late afternoon cocktail at Myett's on Cane Garden Bay, now part of the Pusser's Family.
Morning on Cow Wreak Beach, Anegada.
Best pizza in the Virgin Islands is without a doubt Corsairs, Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke. Vinnie, a colorful biker from Colorado, owns this Pirate Bar and Restaurant with an old fashion pizza oven. Pictured above is his pizza chef Dave, serving up one of his creations.
Capt. K enjoying the best beach bar in the world....Soggy Dollar Bar, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. Named for the condition of the money used to pay for the cocktails, because you have to swim in to this bar. I hope these photos have inspired you to plan a visit to this Caribbean paradise.