Your complete BVI yacht charter guide
The BVIs are one of the world’s most spectacular cruising grounds and popular all-year-round for their consistent sailing conditions, variety of boats, sheltered waters, diving spots, beautiful beaches and lively night life. LateSail’s experienced team of brokers has offered worldwide discounted yacht charters since 1999. Over the years, we’ve learned a few things and this charter guide is designed to share some of our top tips with you.
How do I get to the BVIs?
From the UK, travel to Antigua airport (ANU) with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Fly from Antigua to Tortola’s Beef Island airport (EIS) via Liat Airlines.
What are the top must-see spots?
- Willy T’s: Sail to this renowned floating bar, named in honor of the architect of the Capitol Building
- Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke: One of the region’s best beach bars with their famous Painkiller cocktail. Relax in a hammock or dance at a beach party
- Foxy’s, Jost Van Dyke: Feast on succulent BBQ, enjoy the rum and the tranquil location
- The Baths, Virgin Gorda: Marvel at the caves made from giant granite. Go early morning for a quieter snorkel
- Wreck of the Rhone, Salt Island: Dive the wrecked ship that went down in 1867, see octopuses and even a giant green moray eel
- Lobster cookout, Anegada: Make a reservation and taste the sea with fresh lobsters grilled to perfection
- The Indians, north of Norman Island: Swim and snorkel through these rock formations that look like an Indian headdress
How do I plan an itinerary?
Check out our 7 Day and 14 Day itineraries for the BVIs to making planning your yacht charter super easy.
Can I rent water toys in the BVIs?
- Kayaks from $110/ week
- Standup paddleboards (SUP) from $160/ week
- Surfing from $150/ week
- Windsurfing from $175/ week
- Snorkelling from $30/ week
- Water floats from $19/ week
What are the weather and sailing conditions?
The BVIs are a great all-year-round cruising ground with a tropical climate and trade winds and there are two seasons:
- Summer (June to November): It’s hot with an average temperature around 89ºF and the sea is around 82ºF. It can be humid with unstable weather as it’s tropical storm/hurricane season, but you’ll get deals around this time of year. Winds are southeasterly between 10 and 20 knots
- Winter (December to May): You’ll find the day average temperature around 86ºF, but it’s cooler at night around 68ºF. The seas are warm around 78ºF and the weather is stable. Winds are easterly and northeasterly between 15 and 25 knots. The famous Christmas winds can blow during the festive holiday period for days at a time
What are the local costs?
- Currency: US Dollars. There is often a surcharge if you pay by credit card
- Cruising Tax: $6/person/day (effective Aug 1, 2017, previously $0.75 or $2 depending on season)
- BVI National Park fee: $25-$65/week based on crew size
- Search and Rescue Donation: $2/person/charter
- Fishing permit (required for any BVI fishing – no spear fishing allowed): $60
- Mooring: You will still pay for marinas, but you typically end up anchoring for free or taking a mooring buoy for $20-$35
- Fuel: Will come down to how much you sail versus motor or generator use if your boat has one
- Eating & drinking: This is a luxury destination, so you can dine out on champagne and caviar 24/7 if you can afford to. If you have a budget, there are plenty of cheap eats around too
Our BVI FAQs
We are a question answering machine but here are the top three we get asked about the most for the BVIs:
Where can I provision?
Stock in advance and buy in bulk, especially the basics such as water. We recommend:
- The Riteway Food Market: Large, US-quality store in Road Town for advance provisioning
- Bobby’s Market: In four locations and free pick-up and delivery
- Amplehamper: Free delivery to your yacht in Tortola. One of the best on the island
- Tico Market: For wine and spirits
- Good Moon Farm: Offers local organic produce
What should I pack to wear?
Space is tight so we suggest: a couple of swimsuits, a few pairs of shorts, several t-shirts, three pairs of shoes (street, boat and water, although it is best to go barefoot onboard), swim cover up, windbreaker or light raincoat, hat and sunglasses with sunglass straps.
Can I take my hairdryer or straighteners?
Our advice is to leave expensive jewellery at home, together with fake nails (they break immediately), false eyelashes (they fly immediately), loads of makeup and your hair-dryer, curling tongs or straighteners.
What’s the best yacht charter type?
At LateSail we pride ourselves in finding the best price and the best fit for you. We’ll help you evaluate charter types, whether bareboat, crewed, or by-the-cabin. Here are some of the key factors to consider for each charter type:
Hone your sailing skills on a variety of yacht models and enjoy ultimate freedom and flexibility without committing to yacht ownership. You’ll find competitive deals too. Search bareboat charters >>
Relax in luxury with a permanent yacht crew providing an excellent customer experience and local knowledge. This is more than adding a skipper, as there is a keen focus on service and high quality food and drink (typically all-inclusive). Prices vary and yachts can offer wakeboarding, windsurfing and diving. Find out more>>
Perfect for lone travelers or couples looking to relax for a week without the responsibility and cost of hiring a whole yacht. For most cabin charters you’ll be waited on and do as little as possible. There are also options if you’re looking to gain extra sailing experience or even a sailing certificate at the same time. Find out more >>
When should I call LateSail?
We list thousands of real-time offers on LateSail.com, but we can also search for you or tell you about the extra deals we have that aren’t online. The more detail you can give us about dates, destination and yacht size, the more deals we can find you. You’ll want to think about some of the following points:
When should I charter?
High season has the best weather and sailing conditions, but also higher prices and more crowds. The Caribbean offers good sailing and temperatures year-round, but can be humid and wet in low season. Between July and October in the Caribbean you’ll find low season rates and a number of companies also offer 10 days for the price of 7. Make sure you consider flight availability and price in the overall budget for your sailing trip.
What else do I need to consider?
It’s not just the beaches, marine life and night life you need to consider. We recommend researching the sailing conditions as big seas and winds can be exhilarating and fun for some sailors, but a relaxing week away with line-of-sight sailing might be more what you had in mind. The BVIs are perfect for short hops between islands and relatively easy sailing. Another thing to consider would be the food preferences of your crew, as a week of Caribbean food could sound like heaven for some, but it might be food hell for others!
Which boat is right for me?
Consider the year of build and don’t rule out well-maintained older models, as a new yacht could have teething issues if straight into charter from the factory. Look at the number of heads and yacht size you need for your crew, especially if you have booked a skipper. Check the equipment list against your experience. Then you need to make the most important decision about whether to sail catamaran or monohull.
Interior space and shore access
In the shallow waters of the BVIs, catamarans help you get closer to shore. They also have greater wide, open interior space, which is great for families. The two hulls and cabins offer greater privacy for couples, while many choose catamarans for their easy navigation from cockpit to saloon. Remember that while catamarans give a stable ride in calm seas and a restful night’s sleep, they can crash into the waves when it is windy.
Performance and speed
Purists love monohulls for their sailing performance and speed. The classic nautical “V shape” reduces water resistance at the bow and gives a very sharp turning radius. It is also worth considering that a catamaran offers very easy handling, with an engine in both hulls.
Catamarans are more plentiful in the Caribbean, but be aware you’ll need more space to berth a catamaran. In high season, finding a marina berth will be more difficult and can be costly.
When is the best time to book a charter?
Fleet operators are receptive to lower offers when it becomes increasingly likely that the yacht may end up unbooked on the quay. Remember that flights can be more expensive last minute. Call us 4-6 weeks before you wish to charter.
We may be called LateSail, but we’d be quick to admit there are benefits to booking early as well as last minute. Early booking discounts typically vary from 5-15%, and can usually be combined with boat show or repeat customer discounts. To take advantage of the early booking discounts, we recommend, we recommend booking at least 6 months in advance.
Name your price and LateSail Price guarantee
Great customer service and the best value are the foundation of LateSail’s business. Our ‘Name Your Price’ service allows us to check your budget across the whole charter market to find you the best match. We also offer the LateSail Price Promise – we guarantee to find you the best price and will better any other deals you find. Name your price >>
We look forward to your call
Our expert broking team is here to take your call. Get in touch today>>