Things to Do in British Virgin Islands
Casual is the name of the game for the four-mile-long (6.4-km) paradise known as Jost Van Dyke, the smallest island in the British Virgin Islands. Visitors indulge in the waterfront, the protected anchorages, and the many beachside bars and restaurants, including the Stress Free Bar with its famous lobster feasts. Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts enjoy the island's diverse marine life, while the area is also popular among yachters, boaters, and those yearning to enjoy a seclusive experience on one of its many coral sand beaches.
With only 300 year round residents keeping the paradise island relatively empty, Jost Van Dyke is recommended as a short-stay option for those visiting the British Virgin Islands. Many travelers opt to spend an evening on the island's much-heralded Harbor Bay.
If you’re in the Virgin Islands, make your way to Virgin Gorda to explore the beautiful Baths laden with exotic pools and grottoes. Swim and snorkel in crystal-clear waters among sheltered sea caves and mammoth boulders. The area also includes the sandy stretch known as Devil’s Bay.
Surfs up in the jewel of the British Virgin Islands, Cane Garden Bay. Located on the northwestern coastline of Tortola Island, this fabulous portion of the beach close to Road Town is a favorite amongst water sport enthusiasts. From surfing, boating, jet skiing, boogey boarding, to good old fashioned swimming, the Cane Garden Bay’s spacious and well protected anchorage is a premiere destination for the anyone who likes getting in the water.
The area is not just known for its laid back beach life style, but glaring on shore activity as well, with a plethora of restaurants, clubs, pubs, and music, such is the case with Quito’s Gazebo, where owner Quito Rymer will perform wonderful dance ensembles for his much entertained customers.
With the addition of the diverse and very large Myett’s (restaurant/pub/reception hall) Cane Garden Bay is now also a popular place to get hitched; with many patrons and newlyweds celebrating there after getting married down by the water.
Yachties and Caribbean sailors are a regular fixture at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke, in the British Virgin Islands. This legendary bar is reputed as the birthplace of the BVI’s signature cocktail, the Painkiller made with the iconic Pusser’s British Royal Navy rum. The bar’s name comes from its remote location on the sands of White Bay, accessible only by boat. There’s no dock, so patrons simply toss anchor in the protected bay and swim to shore, rendering their dollars soggy in the process. Its arguably one of the most popular and quintessentially Caribbean ways to spend an afternoon in the islands, swinging in a hammock, lounging in a beach chair, and sipping strong boat drinks.
People travel the entire world in search of tropical paradise, when all along it’s been sitting right here—hanging out in plain view. Here on tiny Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, yachties, bar flies, sunseekers, and divers all gather together on a white sand cove that’s back by a turquoise sea. Grab a snorkel and swim through schools of small, silvery fish, or watch as pelicans swoop through the sky in search of an easy meal. After splashing in the shallow waters, order a plate of conch fritters from one of the beachside restaurants, or sip on a frozen “Painkiller” cocktail at the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. The name, it’s said, is derived from sailors who would swim to shore and purchase drinks with wet bills—which is still a tradition that visiting yachties casually enjoy to this day. To stretch your legs between drinks and meals, stroll the length of White Bay and scramble around the rocks, taking in views of the natural harbor that’s dotted with sailboats and yachts. Even for all of its beauty, however, and renowned tropical fame, Jost Van Dyke remains unpretentious and true to its casual roots.
Virgin Gorda may not be as well known as other British Virgin Islands, but its natural beauty is worth the off-the-beaten-path adventure. While you’re there, don’t miss the geological wonder known as the Baths, where you can swim and snorkel in grottoes and tide pools.
As the main harbor in the archipelago, the British Virgin Islands Cruise Port in Road Town is a popular destination for Caribbean cruise liners and a gateway to the region. After passing through the Tortola Pier Park (located next to the terminal), travel by ferry between the other BVIs or spend time enjoying the beaches and bays of Tortola Island.
At only 10 miles (15 km) long by 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, Anegada is affectionately referred to as the ‘drowned’ land for its numerous salt ponds and sunken feel, a mere 28 feet above sea level. If one plans to go to Anegada, they would enjoy miles of white sandy beaches and would eventually spot a Caribbean Flamingo, amongst other wildlife and plant life such as the Anegada rock iguana, Caribbean lobsters, not to mention a variety of fish, turtles, donkeys and cattle, making Anegada a priority destination for zoologists and botanists.
Between Pomato Point and Setting Point is an anchorage that is a favorite amongst sailing and yachting enthusiasts. There is also a wide selection of nearby places to enjoy Caribbean cuisine and drink. For a romantic moment, the sunset over the Setting Point Anchorage is a sight that will stay with you until the end of your days.
What is a vacation to the British Virgin Islands without a visit to one of its plentiful and majestic natural sites? Although one of the islands smaller attractions, what J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens lacks in size it makes up for in sheer beauty and exotic horticulture, with over 62 unique species of plants, its own Cacti Garden, and all engulfed by a virtual palm forest.
The garden also sports a variety of animal life and birds that is a treat for any enthusiast. Feel free to have a picnic or just grab a seat on one of the sites many available seating options and just relax in the way only this popular Caribbean hotspot lets you.
With the highest point located at an astounding 1,716 feet above sea level, Sage Mountain National Park is considered a hikers paradise, complete with majestic overlooks, tropical trees and 29 acres of an exotic forest that has been untouched for over 500 years.
Aside from Sage Mountain’s plentiful views and guided trails and maps along the way make the experience all the more easier; there is a roaring tropic wildlife full of Bo-peep tree frogs, lizards, a variation of crabs and ever-elusive bananaquits.
Exotic trees and plants are also in abundance, including guavaberry you can find through the Central trail, elephant ear vine in the semi rain forest area up the Northern trail, not to mention scattered fig tree, bulletwood, white cedar, and mahogany.
More Things to Do in British Virgin Islands
With its white-sand beaches, forested groves, and yacht-filled harbors, Tortola is the epitome of a tropical paradise—without the isolation. This island is also the the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands and home to the capital of Road Town, meaning that it is easy to access and full of visitor amenities.