Tips on What To Do in British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands has long been associated with sailing, from the pirates of yesteryear to the yachters of today. But the calm easterly breezes and 60-some isolated cays of the British Virgin Islands especially stand out. Recent travelers most like the sailing-related activities, such as island hopping to chalky-sand beaches or diving in the clear water.
Shopping is available but limited on the British Virgin Islands. Those looking for a few souvenirs should head to Road Town on Tortola.
- With its small bays and hidden coves, once havens for pirates, the British Virgin Islands are among the world's loveliest cruising areas. The islands mainly attract those who like to sail, although landlubbers will delight in the beaches. Despite predictions that mass tourism will invade, the islands are still an escapist's paradise. " -- Frommer's
- Overrated Road Town. The capital is a relatively charmless collection of hotels and docked cruise ships. After you register with customs, head to the north end of Tortola or to another island completely." -- Forbes Traveler
- The Virgin Islands are a paradise for almost any watersports you can imagine - diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, parasailing -- as well as fishing, sailing and hiking. See the individual island accounts for details of companies offering anything from snorkelling day-trips to weeklong sailing courses." -- Rough Guides
Pick a mood, and the British Virgin Islands has a beach to accommodate. Snorkeling is popular along the sands of Anegada, as well as off smaller Cooper Island. Lovers like the remoteness of Tortola's Smuggler's Cove along the western coast. Enjoy the spice of rum pumping through your blood stream? Try out the establishments along White Bay in southern Jost Van Dyke or Cane Garden Bay, Tortola.
- Palm-fringed Dead Man's Bay is particularly conducive to a romantic picnic." -- Fodor's
- Most beaches do not have any refreshment stands so it would be wise to bring at least water." -- Wikitravel
- Alcoholic beverages can be sold any day of the week, including Sunday. You can have an open container on the beach, but be careful not to litter or you might be fined." -- Frommer's
Located on Virgin Gorda's southwest shore, professional and leisure travelers agree that a trip to the British Virgin Islands must include some time at the serene and picturesque rock formations known as "The Baths." Vacationers enjoy climbing through the granite formations to spend an afternoon in the sandy clearing at a small clear-water beach. But as it is one of BVI's most popular sites, many suggest you arrive early to beat the crowds.
- Hundreds of massive granite boulders strewn across the southern coast of Virgin Gorda create this snorkeling paradise. During high season, get there early to avoid the crowds." -- Forbes Traveler
- Explore the grottoes, hike the entire boulder path, and make sure to snorkel around the rocks if it's calm." -- Concierge.com
Many vacationers experience the British Virgin Islands aboard a boat -- and not a cruise ship, either. Yachting and sailing are one of the main activities on the British Virgin Islands, and encompasses some of the other activities the locale is known for (from diving to island hopping to beach-side nightlife). Writer's say most rent boats or charter yachts in Tortola.
- The British Virgin Islands are the yachting capital of the Caribbean, if not the world, and getting into that lifestyle -- sunning, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, beach-hopping, and always dropping anchor in time for happy hour -- is what the islands are all about." -- Concierge.com
- The reigning capital for sailing is Tortola. … On-site are about 300 well-maintained sailing craft available for bareboat rentals and perhaps 100 charter yachts." -- Frommer's
- Note that the removal of any marine organism from BVI waters is illegal for non-British Virgin Islanders without a recreational fishing permit. Call the Fisheries Division at Telephone 284/494-3429 for information." -- Rough Guides
The crystal waters surrounding the British Virgin Islands are great for novice and skilled scuba divers and snorkelers. Professional travelers especially recommend the waters off the southern islands of the archipelago. There, vacationers will find R.M.S. Rhone shipwreck (also known as the Rhone National Marine Park and located in the waters between Salt and Peter Islands). Other popular snorkeling sites include Pelican Island, Cooper Island, Monkey Point and Guana Island.
- The BVI's are an underappreciated dive destination. There are dozens of good sites, and the conditions are ideal: little current, relatively shallow profiles, 60-to-120-foot visibility." -- Concierge.com
- RMS Rhone. This English steamer went down off the coast of Salt Island in 1867 and is now one of the most famous shipwreck dives in the world. Peruse hundreds of artifacts, as well as the occasional moray eel or octopus." -- Forbes Traveler
Some of the smaller British Virgin Islands have creative names like Fallen Jerusalem, George Dog, Prickly Pear or Ginger, and make for a story-filled island hopping experience. If you're a skilled sailor and can afford the expense, writers suggest renting a bareboat (a chartered boat where you're responsible for supplying necessary crew and provisions) to tour the remote cays. Amateur boat lovers can hire a captain in Tortola's harbor, or take the inter-island ferry.
- Explore Remote Anegada Island. … The entire island is surrounded by white-sand beaches, and the population is only about 250 people, so you can often walk for miles without seeing anyone." -- Frommer's
- Norman Island. Reputedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island,' thousands of perfect afternoons have been spent sailing around here. Spend some time in the Caves looking for Long John Silver's treasure, then paddle up to the floating William Thornton Bar." -- Forbes Traveler
If you like a casual night scene with a sandy backdrop and plenty of rum, the British Virgin Islands comes highly recommended. The busiest areas are in Road Town on Tortola, as well various spots around Jost Van Dyke. Besides that, writers suggest more adventurous travelers try a beach bar on one of the BVI's more secluded cays.
- The BVI's best nightlife is adjacent to protected waters like Jost Van Dyke's Great Harbour, Virgin Gorda's North Sound and Spanish Town, Norman Island's Bight, Tortola's Cane Garden Bay, and Beef Island's Trellis Bay." -- Concierge.com
- Like any other good sailing destination, Tortola has watering holes that are popular with salty and not-so-salty dogs. Many offer entertainment; check the weekly Limin' Times for schedules and up-to-date information. The local beverage is the Painkiller, an innocent-tasting mixture of fruit juices and rums. It goes down smoothly but packs quite a punch, so give yourself time to recover before you order another." -- Fodor's
Plan Your Trip to British Virgin Islands
- Top Things to Do in British Virgin Islands
- Best Hotels in British Virgin Islands
- Map of British Virgin Islands
- British Virgin Islands Photos