The British Virgin Islands – the stuff dream holidays are made of


Photo credit: DSC_0452b via photopin (license)

If you are gonna dream, dream big.

Good advice, and when you are ready to really push the boat out – literally, in this case – there are few better places to start that the British Virgin Islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Picture-perfect white sandy beaches? Check.

Warm temperatures all year round? Check.

But there’s more – and perhaps the ultimate way to experience your very own Caribbean dream is to charter a yacht and explore the area yourself. Visit Norman Island – allegedly the very place that provided Robert Louis Stevenson with the backdrop for Treasure Island. Have no fear – pirates no longer rule the waves here and modern day versions are not waiting to sell you a Hollywood style tour either.

What you will find is clear waters and calm seas – and that sand.

While on the water, chances are high that you’ll spot whales and dolphins from your vessel – indeed both can often be seen from the shore.

Consisting of over 50 beautiful islands, the BVI is one of the most exclusive parts of the region and also one of the least-developed. This comes at a price; but it is one worth paying to keep the throngs away and save the islands from the horrors of over-commercialization.



Photo credit: RMS Rhone via photopin (license)

On dry land you’ll find lush green mountains that invite further exploration and the miles of coastline include large tracts of coral and a number of renowned shipwrecks.

Feeling peckish? The seafood served in restaurants on the British Virgin Islands is of course superb and the local speciality here is the conch. You can try it at one of the beach bars or if you want to eat in a more sophisticated environment head for one of the excellent establishments along Virgin Gorda or Tortola.
Oh and in case you were wondering you’ll need dollars, not pounds – even though it’s got British in the name.
Make sure you venture away from the beaten track, too – many of the best places are some distance from the docks where the cruise boats arrive.

Here are some tips for the different islands:

  • Tortola – come for the cliffs and incredibly white beaches – Cane Garden Bay is the starting point for hikes up Sage Mountain, the highest point in the BVI.
  • Virgin Gorda has the best-looking beach in the British Virgin Islands called The Baths with unique grottoes amidst gigantic granite boulders – but you’ll not be alone. It is however ideal for yachters with plenty of mooring spaces and yacht clubs.
  • Jost Van Dyke is so laid-back it feels like it could fall over at any moment, and has wonderful Caribbean food and drink on offer as well as good fishing and diving opportunities
  • To get away from the daytrippers head for Anegada – apparently an almost undiscovered gem which offers spectacular diving to unexplored shipwrecks
  • Green Cay and Sandy Cay are also borderline undeveloped and well worth stopping at.
  • Little Harbor Beach is an ideal place to chill out with restaurants and shopping close by at Great Harbour.

Finally take note of the local customs and culture:

  • Scrub up when you go out – Virgin Islanders dress casually but conservatively and wearing a bathing suit anywhere besides the beach marks you as a tourist – and a bit of an idiot, quite frankly.

Tempted? It might be time to let your dream become reality by chartering a yacht in the Caribbean then!

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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