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New to the British Virgin Islands? Relax and let us share some of the island highlights and you’ll soon know the top spots for a breathtaking yacht charter itinerary.
There are four main islands, which make up the BVIs: Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost van Dyke. These are joined by more than 50 smaller islands and cays, giving an impressive number of places to explore.
It’s easy to find solitude in the Caribbean and enjoy this destination just as it was hundreds of years ago. There are just 28,000 people living in this British territory and, most live on Tortola. Around 15 of the region’s smaller islands are uninhabited and you’ll soon find an empty beach to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, even on those islands with residents.
We’re sharing our top 20 yachter charter spots, moving through the flow of the islands in a clockwise direction:
- Guana Island: Just north of Tortola is the private Guana Island, an 850-acre expanse edged by seven white sand beaches. With a 30-guest resort, the island doesn’t offer public facilities for sailors so keep in mind if you plan to anchor in one of its bays for the night. Don’t let this put you off as it’s a wonderful spot and worth the effort.
- Great Camanoe: East of Guana are the islands of Great Camanoe and Little Camanoe, which are both beautiful and uninhabited. Great Camanoe has Cam Bay on its eastern shore, with a great shallow reef, calm waters for swimming and a system of lagoons which is great for bird-watching.
- Scrub Island: Most of this island is uninhabited but it is home to the Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina (with 55 slips). The island has three pretty beaches and is virtually vehicle-free.
- Great Dog: On your way to Virgin Gorda is Great Dog and the rest of the Dog Islands, which give excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving at Chimney, Bronco Billy, Wall-to-Wall and Joe’s Cave. There are a lack of beaches and moorings but it is fairly easy to anchor.
- Mosquito Island: Off the coast of Virgin Gorda, Mosquito Island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, who plans to turn it into an entirely eco-friendly resort. You can find good snorkeling to the west of Anguilla point as well as at Honeymoon beach.
- Prickly Pear Island: Prickly Pear is a national park, with a good beach bar, great snorkeling and anchorages at Vixen Point and Cactus Point.
- Necker Island: Also owned by Sir Richard Branson, Necker Island is a completely private resort, but you can explore it and enjoy snorkeling as far as the high water mark.
- Eustatia Island: This small private island has been voted one of the most beautiful islands in the world. From here you can explore the Bitter End Yacht Club as well as Saba Rock.
- Fallen Jerusalem Island: This small island is covered with boulders but does have one small and spectacular beach. Weather conditions make it very difficult to reach by boat, so it’s best left to very experienced sailors, but it is beautiful. To the south you’ll pass Round Rock on the way to Ginger Island.
- Ginger Island: This larger small island is uninhabited, but a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. It has the incredible Alice in Wonderland reef, places to anchor and Alice’s Back Door with beautiful coral and plenty of sea life.
- Cooper Island: Home to Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island has a small beach club resort and about five privately owned properties. Manchioneel Bay has crystal clear waters and good space for mooring- just arrive early to secure a spot.
- Salt Island: Named because ofr its salt ponds, Salt Island is renowned for the famous Rhone Wreck, which is great for diving and snorkeling. Visibility is great and there are anchorages in Salt Island Bay and Lee Bay.
- Peter Island: Home to the idyllic Dead Man’s Bay and its mile-long sandy beach, this is a private island with restricted access but you can drop anchor, visit part of the beach, drop in on the Peter Island Resort Spa and sail to nearby Dead Man’s Chest.
- Norman Island: Near the boundary with the US Virgin Islands, this uninhabited island’s unique shape gives it plenty of geographical interest. It features the popular Bight, or deep inlet with the Pirate’s Bight Bar and restaurant. The caves are also excellent for snorkeling and exploring.
- Pelican Island and the Indians: The Indians are actually a set of spectacular rock formations towering above the water near Pelican Island. They boast excellent snorkeling and the perfect photo opportunity. Pelican Island is home to the Rainbow Canyon dive spot, which also has good shallows and great for novice snorkelers.
- Great Thatch: This uninhabited island has an interesting ruin to explore, although it’s quite a rugged hike to get to it. It also has a small beach on the south west side of the island. Little Thatch Island lies close to Frenchman’s cay, which is virtually connected to Tortola.
- Great Tobago and Little Tobago: On the northwestern edge of the BVIs, the Tobagos are dark and dramatic, with foreboding cliff lines leading to the sea. They are great for birders, as they are the only place where the frigate birds nest, and the Mercurious Rock can be enjoyed by experienced divers.
- Little Jost van Dyke: Off the eastern edge of its larger namesake, Little Jost has good white sand beaches ripe for spending the day bathing. You can anchor here and snorkel or dive, although be warned it can have heavy swells as well.
- Green Cay and Sandy Spit: Off the eastern side of Jost van Dyke, Green Cay has great diving and snorkeling, while Sandy Spit is a picturesque tiny Caribbean island rising out of the sea, surrounded by a white sand beach and crystal clear waters.
- Sandy Cay: About a mile off the coast of JVD, Sandy Cay is another idyllic tropical island, known for its heavenly snorkeling and swimming as long as the seas are calm.
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