British Virgin Islands Overview
Home to the traditional Caribbean mainstays: rum, palm-laden beaches and plentiful, sun-spatted white sands, The British Virgin Islands are every bit the archetypal tropical paradise. In lively Virgin Gorda you’ll find a real millionaire’s playground, home to uber-rich Richard Branson, but somehow devoid of the exuberant commercialism you might expect. The wind-battered Copper Mine National Park is the perfect spot for a picnic overlooking the pummelling blue sea, but most of all the islands have become a haven for sailors, who arrive amongst the dozens of islands in their droves, beach hopping, and leaving a horizon forever scattered with pricey yachts.
Lively Tortola’s spiky peaks are British Virgin Islands party capital, hosting a choice of two lively full moon parties. Guesthouses and mountain villas offer affordable alternatives to the pricey beachside resorts, and the distinctive island cuisine is still going strong. The minuscule oasis of Jost Van Dyke Island is another free-spirited Caribbean gem. Home to many bars and no banks, it’s an essential stop off point for swathes of yachtsmen passing through. Even the biggest streets on Jost Van Dyke are part of the sandy beach.
The Horseshoe Reef surrounding Anegada is the final resting place of hundreds of boats, many of which you can explore with a snorkel over the bountiful reef. Beaches with names like Flash of Beauty and Loblolly Bay welcome sunbathers onto their untainted white sands, while the untouched and strikingly clear water surrounding them are as attractive to divers and water sports enthusiasts as the coast’s magical, coconut lined shores. The islands highest point is less than 10 metres above sea level, giving a true ‘lost on a desert island’ feel.
Many come to British Virgin Islands solely for the sailing. If you’re not lucky enough to have your own sails, the islands are also a popular charter destination, and a great stepping off point for long term trips around the whole of the Caribbean. It’s just as easy not to leave, with an awe-inspiring party scene and relaxing hammock culture that washes the blues away.