Experience the Sailing Capital of the World: The British Virgin Islands!
5 Top Things to Do in the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are comprised of about 60 islands, located just a few miles East of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The place to be on a private crewed yacht charter sailing vacation in the BVI is sunning on a luxury yacht or comfortably relaxed on the trampoline of a grand catamaran. See a Sample Itinerary!
Each time when our guests ask us, "Which is your favorite island in the BVI's?", we pause and think about it really hard. That's a tough question! There's so much to love and enjoy that we've worked here for 18 years aboard a yacht! Island hopping and exploring ashore is a way of life here in what is fondly known by locals as Nature's Little Secret! So, for today, let's just talk about the Top 5 Things you have to see and do while you are aboard your BVI luxury crewed yacht charter sailing vacation:
#1 The Baths: Exploring through the graceful grottoes and granite boulders of Virgin Gorda, or "The Baths," is undeniably the most notable experience you can have in the British Virgin Islands. Most people who do come to the area do so to visit The Baths, but just in case you're still deliberating, let us stress the fact: This is THE must-see of the BVI archipelago. Here the beach shows evidence of the island's volcanic origins with house-sized boulders of granite, perfect for climbing. You'll want to spend time hiking & exploring natural tidal pools, tunnels, arches, and scenic grottoes that are open to the sea. Travelers who take the trail from the Baths to Devil’s Bay can experience the Cathedral, where boulders lean on each other from above, creating small pools with stunning shafts of light peeking through.
Tip: The Baths can get crowded during the season, so try to choose a day when there aren't many cruise ships in port and go early in the day. Don't miss having Edith make you a special Pina Colada at Mad Dog's Bar at the top of the trailhead leading down to the Baths.
#2 Snorkel The Caves: Want to look for treasure on an uninhabited island? Norman Island has a documented history of pirate booty being stowed upon the island and partly found in the caves. Your charter boat will pick up a mooring just outside the entrance to the Caves. Grab your snorkel gear and jump in to see a beautiful array of fish and bright coral. The number #1 question: Is it scary? No, not really. One cave is deep enough that you can swim back into darkness, the second is a mere indentation in the rocks and the third, while being the smallest is where the treasure was found and the most interesting. Also visit: The Indians, a set of rocks located nearby that feature excellent snorkeling and shallow water dives. When you tire of the water, then head to shore for a cocktail at the newly restored Pirates Bight Restaurant & Bar then race on to celebrate the end of a perfect vacation day with a jump from the second floor of the nearby floating bar, The Willy T.
Tip: We like snorkeling The Caves in the afternoon when the light is reflected on the cave walls. Choose going to The Indians if the water is calm and plan on hitting both Pirates Bar and The Willy T before dinner hour aboard your crewed luxury yacht. (You can always go back after dinner!)
#3 The Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy's Tamarind Bar & Restaurant: Yes, we know. That's two places to see, not one! Both beaches are almost always jumping with activity, dancing, and great food. You'll find that most yacht charter crews will encourage you visit both because they are SO much fun! On Jost Van Dyke, White Bay is one of the best beaches to relax with a drink the bar is said to have invented called the Painkiller in hand and people watch at the Soggy Dollar Bar. What's a Painkiller you ask? It's a coconut, pineapple and orange juice concoction drowning in dark rum and topped off with a little nutmeg.
Adjacent in Great Harbor is the world-famous Foxy's Tamarind Bar & Restaurant. Part of the charm of Foxy's is, well, Foxy Callwood himself, a true storyteller like no other. He’s a jokester, a prankster, and a funny comedian. Give him a few minutes of your time and you'll realize that he's the incredibly intelligent & highly entertaining "mayor" of the island. On any given day, you’ll find him strumming the guitar and telling jokes to the crowd gathered at the bar—most of which you could never repeat in mixed company. Don't miss Foxy's popular store & gift shop. The quantity & turnover of items they sell from week to week is astounding!
Tip: Have your yacht charter Captain drop you off for a couple of hours on the beach at the Soggy Dollar Bar. Then rendezvous at an agreed time for a quick dinghy ride over to Foxy's. This is easily a half-day of fun time ashore to stretch your legs before sailing to the next island on the following day.
#4 Dive or Snorkel the Wreck of the RMS Rhone, one of the world's top shipwrecks to explore. It sailed for the last time on Oct. 19, 1867, and sank near Salt Island during a hurricane. Now, the site of the wreck and its surrounding waters are known as the Rhone National Marine Park as a go-to dive for intermediate to advanced divers in 80 feet or an easy snorkel for beginners in 30 feet. Some of the scenes from the movie The Deep were filmed here and this dive is still teeming with live coral & tropical fish.
Tip: Since you are most likely to be anchored there, you could go briefly ashore at Salt Island to explore the salt ponds after your dive. The harvesting of salt was once an annual tradition on Salt Island going back to the days of Queen Victoria in 1867 when the residents would gather once a year to harvest the salt from the lake on Salt Island. Visiting adjacent Cooper Island is a great day stop for a sampling of conch fritters and a rum bar tasting, but we don't recommend it for an overnight anchorage during the winter months.
#5 Sail to Anegada: Beautifully secluded Anegada is a Caribbean vacationer's dream with more than 300 wrecks to dive on and explore on this coral atoll, matched by plenty of stretches of uncrowded silvery sand, shallow gin-clear water and flocks of flamingos. Anegada is known for miles of white sand beaches and the 18-mile long Horseshoe Reef, one of the largest barrier coral reefs in the Caribbean, and the fourth largest on Earth. It's quiet & sleepy and less visited than the other islands.
Tip: Our favorite thing to do is to rent scooters & spend a day splashing in the gin-clear water of Cow Wreck Beach and/or snorkel at Loblolly Beach, then wrap up a day of perfection with a casual barefoot-on-the-beach lobster dinner at the Anegada Reef Hotel! Make sure to order your dinner early in the day so that the kitchen will have plenty of time to catch and prepare your meal.