Are you planning an unforgettable summer vacation? Would you enjoy the pleasant summer breeze and refreshing cocktails on a wonderful seashore? No matter if you come with a big family, your partner, or as a single, you’ll certainly find the most ideal pastime on the British Virgin Islands.
Location of the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are part of the Leeward Islands located in the Lesser Antilles. They make up a big part of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region. They’re northeast of the United States Virgin Islands. The Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea surround it from the north and the west. Smaller islands: Great Camanoe, Guana Island, Peter Island, Salt Island, Beef Island, Cooper Island, Ginger Island, Norman Island and several smaller islands are scattered across the Sir Francis Drake Canal.
More than 50 islands are part of it from which only 16 are inhabited and some of them are private. Most islands are built by volcanic rocks. Its area is 153 km2, with nearly 30, 000 inhabitants and the official language is English. The capital is Road Town on the island of Tortola. Most of the islands’ rocks islands are volcanic in origin. Their highest point is Mount Sage with 521 m.
History of the British Virgin Islands
Christopher Columbo discovered the group of islands in 1493 and named them the Islands of “Saint Ursula and her 11, 000 Virgins”. First, Dutch settled down here, then Great Britain annexed the area. They only established the first settlement around 1680. The name of the islands was simply the Virgin Islands until the end of World War I. By that time the US bought the nearby Dutch West India from the Netherlands and named it the United States Virgin Islands. In 1958 the islands joined the West Indian Federation. With the end of the federation, it became an independent colony and was given an independent municipality. Foreign affairs, national defence, and a part of economic affairs are under the authority of the governor, nominated by the British Queen. The locally elected parliament and deputy governor coordinates coordinated everything else.
Beaches in the British Virgin Islands
It’s easy to spend a whole day just swimming and sipping on coconut milk on a gorgeous beach of the islands. Gentle waves and clean water are waiting for beginner surfers. Stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling are also appealing to lovers of water. Besides that, many caves, botanical gardens, and national parks attract explorers. Anyone finds their ideal beach on the islands. From milling bars and crowded beaches to hidden gulfs, there are countless opportunities.
The traits of the beaches in Tortola Island are white sandy shores, wooded groves, and yacht ports. It’s a true tropical paradise. This island is the largest and most populated part of the British Virgin Islands. Road Town is the capital, which means it provides easy accessibility for beaches and visitors. Tortola offers several dining opportunities to make the days on the beach even more enjoyable.
Jost Van Dyke: White Bay
It’s a classic Caribbean seaside with perfect sand, sailboats, and yachts in its gulf. Lively bars, refreshing cocktails, and the view of luxuriant mountains decorate this beach. It’s ideal for lovers of water sports and young people.
Jost Van Dyke: Big port
We could call Jost Van Dyke the center of the island. Its main attractions are restaurants and beach bars. Live music and special events are frequent. For example, the wood regatta race or the party on St. Patrick’s Day. People love anchoring their boats and yachts here, especially on New Year’s Eve, at the time of huge parties.
Main attractions in the British Virgin Islands:
One of the sights on the islands is the JR O’Neal Botanical Garden. Even in exotic gardening, its beauty is incomparable. It has more than 62 species of plants and several special bird species. It offers a great opportunity for a summer picnic. Many tourists visit Virgin Gorda to view the beautiful baths. Guests can swim in exotic pools and caves while enjoying crystal clear water. The rocks on the seashore indicate the island’s volcanic origin. Lava corroded granite creates wonderful formations of baths. When visiting the Island of Tortola, don’t forget to try fresh seafood in one of the coastal caves or big historical buildings.
Weather in the British Virgin Islands
The Caribbean region has the traits of all year hot and humid tropical climate. The weather is somewhat cool and dry from the middle of January to the middle of April. From the middle of June to the middle of November it’s usually hot, wet, and rainy. Wet rains and trade winds cool the islands. Hurricanes are frequent between July and October.
Bareboat sailing in the BVI
Ports in Tortola
There are amazing bays all over Tortola – sailors can choose from exceptional full-service ports. You don’t necessarily have to use these though, as you can find dozens of buoys around the island where you can tie up your boat. Let’s see the main ports:
Nanny Cay is located on the southern coast of Tortola. It is located a little over 3 kilometres from Burt Point. At this port, we have the opportunity to pull our boat from the water, among other services. Nanny Cay Marina offers 320 berths; 120 on the outer parts and 200 in the inside. They provide access to fuel and electricity in both areas. We need to pass through a narrow route for entry.
Road Town is the capital of Tortola and the sailing centre of the British Virgin Islands. We can enter the port through the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Road Harbour has several yacht marinas providing full service and accommodation. We can find Road Reef Marina, Fort Burt and Wickham’s Cay I and II here; Road Reef Marina and Fort Burt are on the western side, while Wickham’s Cay is on the north. There are over 120 berths and downtown Road Town can be found nearby. Many sailors start their trip here when visiting the British Virgin Islands.
Cane Garden Bay
Cane Garden Bay is an excellent docking place with a beautiful beach on the northern coast of Tortola. It is easy to enter, there is a large area for docking. There are many mooring buoys, and they are all secure. If you would like to anchor for the night, you should arrive early, since the place gets full very soon. If you have a shallow-draft boat, you can find spots in the southern and southwestern parts as well. The depth of the water is between 4 and 6 metres. The bay is surrounded by marvellous mountains, and some of the local restaurants entertain their guests with live music. Many sailors consider this the best port. Read more about what to do in Tortola or Tortola sailing. Check our boats: boat rental in Tortola
Ports in Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda has a lot of great anchorages and moorings. It is an ideal starting point for exploring the smaller islands in the area or the British Virgin Islands. Here are some of them.
Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor és St. Thomas Bay
The Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is in St. Thomas Bay. It is easy to approach it, we only have to sail the marked channel. The harbour is beautiful, offering great services and marine gas. There are 100 berths, and it is possible to stay for only a few hours, a day, or long-term as well. It is close to the centre of Spanish Town. It is a very peaceful town where you can find many shops, restaurants, and bars. One of the most famous attractions of the town, The Baths, is about 3 km from here. This is a collection of granite rocks on the beach that have become large rock formations. The rocks from tidal basins, channels, and spectacular caves open to the surrounding waters.
Biras Creek is in the eastern part of Virgin Gorda. If the weather turns bad, it provides shelter. As you approach, pay attention because there is an obstacle on the south side, a mile from the resort, Oyster Rock. Fortunately, the rock is marked with a red buoy. You should pass it on the left side. Biras Creek is very popular among sailors who come to Virgin Gorda. In the evenings, you can admire the sunset or the glimmering reflection of the moon on the open water. Each one creates a very romantic atmosphere.
Deep Bay is at the north-eastern tip of Virgin Gorda. This beautiful beach is very peaceful and quiet, perfect for those who crave a little space. There are 14 moorings, but there are plans to build a port village of more than 80 berths on the north shore of the bay. The channel that leads to the bay is marked with a buoy system. There are great sandy areas to anchor on the north and south shore. Oil Nut Bay Marina provides fuel and water.
Read more about what to do in Virgin Gorda or Virgin Gorda sailing. Check our boats: boat rental in Virgin GordaFind BVI sailing routes or choose another Caribbean bareboat sailing
More information about British Virgin Islands
Rent a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands, and cruise around the British Virgin Islands
Tortola sailing itineraries
Day 1. Road Town – Parham Town 9, 38 km (5, 83 mi), Day 2. Parham Town – Spanish Town (Virgine Gorda Island) 14, 02 km (8, 71 mi), Day 3. Spanish Town – Anegada 31, 11 km (19, 33 mi), Day 4. Anegada – Scrub Island 32, 34 km (20, 10 mi), Day 5. Scrub Island – Jost Van Dyke 25, 61 km (15, 91 mi), Day 6. Jost Van Dyke – Cruz Bay 13, 75 km (8, 54 mi), Day 7. Cruz Bay – Nanny Cay – Road Town 25, 25 km (15, 69 mi).
Day 1 Nanny Cay – Peter Island, Little Harbor 6.35 km (3.94 mi), Day 2 Peter Island – Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island 10.70 km (6.65 mi), Day 3 Manchioneel Bay – Marina Cay 9.05 km (5.62 mi), Day 4 Marina Cay – Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda 17.00 km (10.56 mi), Day 5 Leverick Bay – Anegada, The Settlement 24.65 km (15.32 mi), Day 6 Anegada – Guana Island – Jost van Dyke, Little Harbor 51.35 km (31.91 mi), Day 7 Jost van Dyke – West End Tortola – Nanny Cay 16.00 km (9.94 mi)
Read more about the Tortola sailing tours.
Virgin Gorda sailing itineraries
Day 1. Bitter End – Necker Island 3, 00 km (1, 86 mi), Day 2. Necker Island – Long Bay 8, 00 km (4, 97 mi), Day 3. Long Bay – George Dog – St. Thomas Bay 8, 95 km (5, 56 mi), Day 4. St. Thomas Bay – Fallen Jerusalem – Cooper Island, Manchioneel Bay 11, 40 km (7, 09 mi), Day 5. Cooper Island – Biras Creek Marina 20, 50 km (12, 74 mi), Day 6. Biras Creek – Eustatia 8, 55 km (5, 32 mi), Day 7. Eustatia – Saba Rock – Bitter End 1, 05 km (0, 7 mi)
Day 1. Bitter End – Prickly Pear 1, 55 km (1 mi) Day 2. Prickly Pear – Anegada, Setting Point 23, 65 km (14, 69 mi) Day 3. Setting Point – Trellis Bay, Beef Island 35, 30 km (21, 93 mi) Day 4. Trellis Bay – Great Harbor, Jost van Dyke 23, 90 km (14, 85 mi) Day 5. Great Harbor – Scrub Island 25, 60 km (15, 91 mi) Day 6. Scrub Island – Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor 8, 40 km (5, 22 mi) Day 7. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor – Leverick Bay – Bitter End 27, 70 km (17, 21 mi)
Read more about Virgin Gorda boat tours
Sailing tours to the BVI
Day 1. Antigua, English Harbour – Jolly Harbour 21, 00 km (13, 05 mi), Day 2. Jolly Harbour – St. Kitts, White House Bay 89, 10 km (55, 36 mi), Day 3. White House Bay – Saint Berthelémy, Gustavia 89, 60 km (55, 67 mi), Day 4. Gustavia – Anguilla, Sandy Ground 65, 80 km (40, 88 mi), Day 5. Sandy Ground – Virgin Gorda, The Bitter End 138, 65 km (86, 15 mi), Day 6. The Bitter End – Cooper Island, Manchioneel Bay 23, 95 km (14, 88 mi), Day 7. Cooper Island – Norman Island – Tortola, Nanny Cay 21, 90 km (13, 61 mi)
Day 1. Antigua, English Harbour – Jolly Harbour 21, 00 km (13, 05 mi), Day 2. Jolly Harbour – St. Kitts, Cristophe Harbour 81, 60 km (50, 71 mi), Day 3. Christophe Harbour – Sint Eustatius, Oranjestad 49, 90 km (31, 01 mi), Day 4. Oranjestad – Saint Martin, Marigot, Marina Port Royal 76, 20 km (47, 35 mi), Day 5. Marigot – Anguilla, Sandy Ground 26, 80 km (16, 65 mi), Day 6. Sandy Ground – Virgin Gorda, Biras Creek 137, 60 km (85, 50 mi), Day 7. Biras Creek – Beef Island, Bluffy Bay 24, 00 km (14, 91 mi), Day 8. Bluffy Bay – Peter Island, Great Harbor 11, 20 km (6, 96 mi), Day 9. Great Harbor – Salt Island 7, 35 km (4, 57 mi), Day 10. Salt Island – Saint Barthelémy, Gustavia 182, 85 km (113, 62 mi), Day 11. Gustavia – St. Kitts Marine Works 64, 00 km (39, 77 mi), Day 12. St. Kitts Marine Works – Nevis, Tamarind Cove Marina 28, 60 km (17, 77 mi), Day 13. Tamarind Cove Marina – Montserrat, Little Bay 57, 10 km (35, 48 mi), Day 14. Little Bay – Antigua Nonsuch Bay – English Harbor 69, 10 km (42, 94 mi).
Day 1. Puerto Rico, Fajardo, Puerto del Rey Marina – Cayo Icacos 12.40 km (7.70 mi), Day 2. Cayo Icacos – Culebra, Ensanada Honda 39.20 km (24.35 mi), Day 3. Ensanada Honda – Saint Thomas, Crown Bay Marina 37.20 km (23.11 mi), Day 4. Crown Bay Marina – Saint John, Cruz Bay 19.30 km (11.99 mi), Day 5. Cruz Bay – Jost van Dyke, Great Harbor 14.10 km (8.76 mi), Day 6. Great Harbor – Tortola, Frenchman’s Cay 8.65 km (5.37 mi), Day 7. Frenchman’s Cay – Peter Island, Little Harbor – Nanny Cay 16.25 km (10.10 mi).More about sailing to BVI, BVI sailing itineraries, or choose from another Caribbean sailing destinations