A complete guide to sailing in the BVI – Part two: The top places to visit in the British Virgin Islands
In part one of our complete guide to sailing in the BVI, we looked at the basics you’ll need to know before you charter around one of the Caribbean’s most popular sailing grounds, including what the weather is like, how to get there and the best anchorages (according to us!). In part two, we take a look at the top places to visit in the BVI while on a yacht charter holiday, with the help of our friends, from The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board.
Top places to visit when sailing in the BVI
The postcard ready views across Virgin Gorda are truly spectacular, both during the day and at sunset. Head south to Devil’s Bay National Park and explore The Baths, where the beautifully clear, sparkling water is the perfect location to spot a range of colourful fish and sea life while enjoying a chilled snorkelling or swimming session.
Head north and take some time to visit the BVI Art Reef, a phenomenal 80ft WWII barge, The Kodiak Queen, that has been transformed into an artificial reef and underwater art gallery. For those with PADI certification, head down to the hull and dive through the now flourishing coral. Further north, head up to Virgin Gorda Peak where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views out over the glistening Caribbean sea from the highest point on Virgin Gorda.
Well known around the globe for the annual Anegada Lobster Festival held in November, Anegada is a charming island located at the northernmost point of the BVI, scattered with a number of secluded beaches, bays and coves that attract tourists throughout the year.
Head north east from Scrub Island and sail to Anegada’s northern coastline where you can anchor off Cow Wreck Beach to swim and snorkel before heading further east to Loblolly Bay. Moor overnight and enjoy a spectacular sunset before spending the morning exploring the miles of white sands that are lapped by sparkling cobalt sea and sitting on some of the cute pastel chairs that line the shoreline.
For keen divers, head to Horseshoe Reef for a spot of scuba diving, where you can discover some of the many shipwrecks that line the ocean floor, including the HMS Astrea, a 32-gun Royal Navy frigate that was wrecked off the coast in 1808.
Jost Van Dyke
A popular spot for those sailing in the BVI thanks to the vast range of anchorages available, Jost Van Dyke is one of the BVIs’ smallest islands and is an ideal place to head if you’re looking for quirky tourist attractions, sheltered bays and some of the Caribbean’s nicest people. Inland, explore the old sugar mill ruins or head to the east of the island and discover a quartet of stunning cays littered with verdant flora and fauna and edged with pure white sands.
For those looking for some fun in the sun while sailing in the BVI, choose from a selection of lively bars, including The Soggy Dollar Bar located in White Bay, or Foxy’s – a short sail from the Diamond Cay National Park.
The largest of the Islands, Tortola is a must when sailing the BVI, with a host of activities for all the family to enjoy. Anchor off of Smugglers Cove or sunbathe on the white sands at Apple Bay on the south west coast of the island, or explore the Larmer Bay ruins on the northern coast. If fishing is your thing, delve into the protected anchorages at Soper’s Hole or Brandywine Bay, where you can catch a range of exciting tropical species including Blackfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Sailfish.
For keen rum enthusiasts, take some time off the water to visit the Callwood Rum Distillery where you can sample and purchase some of the delicious rum made on the island. If you’re looking for a spot of retail therapy, head to Nanny Cay, a popular marina with a selection of quaint boutiques, gourmet restaurants and a supermarket for provisioning.
One of the southernmost locations in the BVI, Norman Island is an ideal place for a relaxing day, taking advantage of the beautiful Caribbean weather while exploring one of the locations said to have inspired the writing of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The island is dotted with pretty little coves and secluded bays and has often been referred to as ‘a yachtie’s dream’ thanks to its sheltered anchorages and crystalline cobalt water, ideal for discovering the local marine life, including dolphins and sea turtles. If you’re looking for a unique and exciting experience, sail along the west coast and visit Willy T’s located off the shore of The Bight.