British Virgin Islands
A smattering of charming islands and cays scattered like emeralds across the blue, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have long enticed sailors to their shores with their tranquil, clear waters, fair winds, natural splendor and rum-soaked bars. Ideal for family cruising, diving expeditions and adventure seekers, the calm winds and short distances between islands make the BVI the quintessential Caribbean paradise.Download British Virgin Islands Guide
Tortola delivers the first picture-perfect glimpse of the BVI. Drop anchor at Soper's Hole Marina, the once-upon-a-time headquarters of pirates and buccaneers, now a sparkling superyacht stop complete with colorful boutique shops, warm wooden walkways, and Danish breakfast joints. Apple Bay is a sublime surfing paradise, boasting some of the best waves in the area. Take a private lesson and learn to glide on water, or find pure relaxation in the shade of the Banyan trees.
This darling gem of an island offers protected anchorage, a white sand beach and superb snorkeling and diving sites. Take the kayak along the shoreline or visit the Cooper Island Beach Club.
Steeped in history, the one-mile-by-one-mile Salt Island is known for being the site of the infamous Wreck of the Rhone. This iron ship sank in 1867 and is now an excellent snorkeling and dive site. The once-inhabited island is now completely deserted but is worth a visit for a hike and an excursion to the salt ponds.
This classic Caribbean island's past visitors include Christopher Columbus, Blackbeard and Sir Francis Drake. As a prestigious private resort, Peter Island invites you to spend the afternoon immersed in spa bliss. Soak in a heavenly lavender-hibiscus mineral bath, enjoy a diamond-rose massage, or indulge in a citrus drench body wrap. Afterwards, linger on one of the five picture-perfect private beaches and go snorkeling along White Bay.
Steeped in pirate lore and rife with tales of buried treasure, Norman Island is said to be the real-life Treasure Island that Robert Louis Stevenson made so famous. Rocky headlands, secret bays and hidden cays set the scene for taking a tender to shore and snorkeling through the caves close to The Bight. Spend the day snorkeling, exploring and learning all about the fascinating history of Norman Island. Wander the plantation ruins or kick back on the fine white sands by the Pirates Bight Restaurant.
JOST VAN DYKE
Jost Van Dyke is a an oasis of white sands, sun dappled waters, and casual grace. Known for its casual lifestyle, waterfront restaurants and bars, protected anchorages and fine beaches, Jost Van Dyke truly is the "barefoot island." Tender to Sandy Cay, where the long stretch of pristine, white-sand beach is often uninhabited. Snorkel around the cool caves, home to a plethora of marine creatures. Lounge in a hammock and sip a rum punch while the Calypso beats play.
The remote Anegada is the second-largest island in the BVI and is the northernmost of the archipelago. Formed of coral and limestone, this island is flat and low, in contrast to its volcanic and more mountainous brothers and sisters. Here you'll enjoy miles of pristine beaches, and divers will delight in the 18-mile Horseshoe Reef, the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean.
A picture of natural splendor, in North Sound the ocean becomes your playground and the horizon melds with the sky in a vision of pure blue. Bright and bountiful villas look flush against the oceanic backdrop, and the protected anchorage ensures fair winds and soft sunshine throughout the day. Many spots around the North Sound are only accessible by boat, so take the tender from Gun Creek to Biras Creek for a breathtaking view from the hilltop. Spend some time here visiting the small islets known as The Dogs; the three islets are national parks and offer excellent snorkeling and diving.
Virgin Gorda, with its swaying palms and sugary sands is the third-largest island in the BVI. Close to Devil's Bay is The Baths, a pure white beach strewn with giant granite boulders housing gin-clear rock pools. This archeological wonder was carved from volcanic rock by many centuries of weathering. Ladders, steps and handrails guide you above and under the grottos, tunnels and arches. Explore Prickly Pear National Park, where cactus-covered hills roll to meet the North Beach. Grab a bite at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda overlooking the water.
This 8-acre island was uninhabited until 1937 and carries with it an interesting history, having once also been owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila, during which time it was referred to as "Cuervo Nation". Today it is the site of the famous Pusser's Marina Cay Resort.
Scrub Island is a blissful retreat offering the perfect sign-off from a week of boundless adventure in the BVI. Take a diving trip to explore historic wrecks in the silent navy depths, or hike up Big Scrub to see the tiny volcanic island from a different vantage point. Discover natural healing at the Ixora Spa — perched on a hill with balmy blue views. Lose yourself in amazing Ayurveda treatments, heady frangipani massages, and purifying papaya scrubs. Take a couple's spa journey where healing hands also bring with champagne. As the sun sets, celebrate with a candlelit dinner on the beach with spiced lobster, rum-marinated shrimp, mango cheesecake and lashings of Caribbean rum and fine wine.