A Charterer’s Guide to the British Virgin Islands

Among the best sailing destinations in the Caribbean are the British Virgin Islands. It is, quite frankly, a yachting paradise, not least because of its fantastic weather all-year-round, pristine white-sanded beaches, and bountiful landscapes and coves. There are 60 islands here, virtually untouched, beckoning for you to explore them. And no direct air service from the mainland means the beach spots here are some of the least developed and most exclusive islands in the whole of the Caribbean. 

Really, if it’s a secluded, off-the-beaten-path kind of vacation that you prefer, and one that precludes crowds dancing to loud fist-pumping electronic music, then the British Virgin Islands might be the perfect yachting destination for you.

Go snorkeling, go scuba diving, or just remain anchored, basking under the balmy temperatures while having deep conversations with the people you love. The possibilities are nearly endless! Hop between one uninhabited island or two, dine in one of the local seaside restaurants, or sail to the nearby coral-filled waters of Anguilla to have a picnic lunch. A BVI charter will allow you to do all that and more. 

We know you’re checking your schedule now. But before you do—before you actually go and charter a yacht—we’d be remiss not to dedicate an article on exactly what kind of adventure awaits in the British Virgin Islands. So without further ado, here’s our roundup of things to do on the British Virgin Islands—be sure to create your itinerary accordingly!

1. Ocean Activities

Of course, there is an abundance of ocean activities to be had in and around the BVI. From diving and snorkeling to surfing or even dolphin watching, if it’s an activity that’s ocean-related, you can do it here! Why not learn how to kitesurf? The BVI will be the best place to learn the sport! Indeed, the BVI is widely considered to be the best place to kitesurf—or to learn how to kitesurf—because of the spectacular views, calm winds, and balmy weather. You can sail to Anegada and participate in—or even just be a spectator of—the Anegada Kite and Paddle Festival, which attracts many water enthusiasts each year. There’s music, there’s entertainment, there’s food, and a lot of kitesurfing competitions to keep one enraptured until sundown. 

2. Visit the Baths of Virgin Gorda

This is one of the things you should not forget to do when you charter a yacht in the BVI! The Baths of Virgin Gorda beckon from a distance like rocks that fell over and have been frozen in time. It is a geological puzzle how they’ve come this way, but there they are anyway, for you to appreciate and stare at in wonderment. And, it gets even better as you approach, because you’ll discover a mesmerizing series of pools and caves between the towering boulders that lean against each other. Step out and explore the secret spaces! There is a reason why this otherworldly place at the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda is the most famous landmark in the BVI.

3. Dine at Tortola

If you want to have a unique and totally satisfying Caribbean street food experience, then we would suggest—and in fact insist—you visit Tortola, the busiest island in all of BVI, for an authentic and mouthwatering culinary adventure. At the main city road of Tortola, you’ll undoubtedly be surprised by the plentiful food options on offer that will gratify even the most inveterate foodie. Treat yourself to a sumptuous Roti, a layered pastry, cooked on a flat iron griddle, filled with spicy, savory, and curried meats. Or have yourself a sorrel tea, a wonderful and otherworldly-tasting tea made from sorrel, the kiwifruit-like herb that sprouts from the grounds of Tortola each spring. 

4. Visit Anegada

Anegada, another must-see island stop for charter guests of the BVI, doesn’t merely have one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, it’s also got 300 wrecks for avid divers to explore. Indeed, if you enjoy seclusion, then Anegada has got it in spades. Head over to the waterfront Lobster Trap in Setting Point where they serve the best seafood in the world. Try the world-famous Caribbean Lobsters—enjoy lobster straight from the trap! Trust us, you won’t get lobster this good anywhere in the world. Visit Anegada—hell, spend a night or two (or even three!) at this remote, mystical, and once off-limits island—and take a selfie with the pink flamingoes roaming about its various salt lakes. There’s simply so much to do in Anegada, and so little time to do it, but you definitely have to keep a tour of this island in your itinerary or you’ll be woefully missing out.

6. Check Out the Willy T

There’s a reason why the Willy T Floating Bar and Restaurant, popularly referred to as the “bistro on the briny,” is on a lot of people’s bucket-list when on tour at the BVIs. This decommissioned old tanker that’s been converted into a floating bar is down at the harbor in Pete Island, and we’ve been hearing that the fish tacos they serve are to die for. It is truly one of the most iconic spots in the British Virgin Islands, and for good reason. It is, after all, like a country unto itself, anchored by a beautiful beach, serving beers and burgers galore. The place can be rowdy towards the end of the day, but, trust us, you should definitely add this spot to your itinerary and discover for yourself what the fuss is all about.

7. Visit the Sea Turtles of Smuggler’s Cove

Just at the western end of Tortola is a secluded and lightly-trodden island called Smuggler’s Cove. It’s the perfect escape from all the previous Tortolan street food revelry. Go snorkeling here, visit the silvery-sanded beach, or just remain anchored and appreciate the azure waters and paradisiacal scenery. Smuggler’s Cove is definitely one of the most peaceful hideaways in the BVIs, and it deserves a spot in any charterers itinerary.