Norman Island was one of the inspirations for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island”. Spanish galleon pirate ships were rumored to have buried their “pirate booty” around the island in the 18th century.
Pirates Bight Bar & Restaurant
Great “West Indian” style local cuisine. Happy hour is started with the boom of a cannon. Located in “The Bight”, the most protected bay on the island.
One of the top snorkel spots in the BVI. Located at Treasure Point in Privateer Bay. The 3 shallow caves offer spectacular rock formations, crystal clear calm water, and abundance of tropical fish and sponge formations. The holes in the top of the caves let sunlight through giving an aquarium like snorkel experience.
The William Thornton II, better known as the “Willy T”
(The new Willy-T is on the way. Unfortunately Hurricane Irma destroyed the old favorite).
Known by this name because these rock pinnacles look like an Indian bonnet located off Pelican Island. The area is a shallow crystal clear experience for snorkelers and divers to see not only reef fish, but ocean fish as they swim by. Pelicans dive bomb the bait fish as these ocean fish chase them. There are large coral colorful heads and canyons from the steep pinnacles rising out of the water.
This island is home to the luxurious Peter Island Resort & Spa which is currently undergoing rebuilding after damage from Hurricane Irma. Peter Island is largely undeveloped, offering miles of paved paths for walking. Here you’ll find dramatic views of other islands from the top, a quiet long white beach to enjoy on one side of the island, and a darker and more secluded beach on the other side. A local steel drum band plays every Sunday afternoon with a West Indian brunch. Deadman’s Bay gets it names for the pirates that Blackbeard left on nearby Dead Chest island, who subsequently drowned swimming to Peter Island. This is where the phrase “15 men on a deadman’s chest” comes from.
Salt Island is the location of the RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Rhone shipwreck, one of the first iron ships built. It sank in a hurricane in 1867 on the western end of the island. The wreck currently lies in 20-80 feet of water and is heavily encrusted with colorful corals and sponges. The support beams of the bow are exposed and look like Greek columns and the massive propeller can be seen while snorkeling. The movie “The Deep” starring Jacqueline Bisset was filmed here.
This “Fat Virgin” was named by Christopher Columbus. Spanish Town and Leverick Bay are quaint local villages with many Caribbean style shops and restaurants.
This is the most famous natural attraction in the BVI. Volcanic boulders which seem to have shot straight out of the earth make a natural water pool and stunning grottos. There are hidden rooms and clear water snorkeling around the rocks. After walking to the top you can enjoy a nice cold cocktail at “The top of the Baths” restaurant while enjoying the magnificent panoramic views of Virgin Gorda.
This large and protected bay is surrounded by the northern end of Virgin Gorda, Mosquito Island, Prickly Pear Island, Eustatia Island, Saba Rock and Necker Islands. The area is a boater’s paradise given many protected anchorages and water activities. There are many high end resorts in the area, including Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock, and Oil Nut Bay. Mosquito and Necker Island are owned by billionaire Richard Branson and Eustatia Island is owned by Google founder Larry Paige. There are several beaches for activities and snorkeling galore. Enjoy looking for the encrusted cannons on the Eustatia Reef.
The Bitter End Yacht Club and Saba Rock (Currently in the process of rebuilding after Hurricane damage)
Oil Nut Bay
This brand new exclusive 300 acre resort is on the furthest eastern point of Virgin Gorda. This resort offers yachting visitors safe dockage and use of the facilities. The restaurant on the beach serves lunch and you can stroll along the long beach facing the nearby Eustatia reef where you can snorkel or just sit under a palm tree with a cocktail.
Anegada is known for its long white sand deserted beaches and Caribbean lobsters. Nicknamed the “Drowned” island, this coral reef island differs from the rest of the BVI as it is not volcanic in origin. Anegada is 10 miles long by 2 ½ miles wide with its highest point being 28 feet. It’s surrounded by a horseshoe reef that is 18 miles long, making it the third largest reef system in the world. The reef offers spectacular snorkeling and calm waters provide an abundance of Caribbean lobster served to you by the warm people of Anegada.
Cow Wreck Beach
This beach was named for a ship that sunk off the coast in the early 1900’s. The vessel was carrying cow bones that were slated to be ground for fertilizer. If you look close enough when you snorkel the long barrier reef, you just may see them! Cow Wreck also has a beach bar and restaurant. Literally just turn left at the cow skull on the corner of the road and you will find yourself at this remote beach.
Loblolly beach is the home of The Big Bamboo Restaurant & bar. A colorful and lively atmosphere, this large open air dining room and bar is surrounded by an abundance of seagrape trees. Enjoy snorkeling and Glen’s famous Anegada rum punch.
Anegada Reef Hotel, Potters, Neptune’s Treasure, & Whistling Pines
The local restaurants in Anegada cut steal drums in half & make it a grill. Wood is then chopped from local pines trees and the freshly caught lobster from the morning is cooked to perfection. Drizzle warm butter over it with a side of West Caribbean beans & rice with your feet in the sand under the moon light for a once in a lifetime dining experience.
Jost Van Dyke
If the north swell is running, the Bubbly Pool becomes a natural jacuzzi. Access this natural feature by a lovely walk through the mangroves.
Sandy Spit is a small island which lost its only palm tree during Hurricane Irma. Locals are planting new ones and soon the island will look like the old “Corona Island” which you can walk around in two minutes.
Foxy’s is the most famous beach bar in the Caribbean. Started as a shack in the 1960’s that would be open for one day, this beach soon grew to be one of the top busiest New Year’s Eve party spots in the world. Jimmy Buffet is rumored to have written several songs while sitting at Foxy’s.
Beach Front Bars
Beach front bars, such as Ivan’s Stress Free Bar (from Kenny Chesney’s song) and the Soggy Dollar Bar are popular in Jost Van Dyke. The Soggy Dollar is named after the patron who swam ashore with money in his pocket and is home to the famous “Painkiller”. Sidney’s Peace and Love is one of the few places you still get to drink on the honor system and put your money in a jar.
Cane Garden Bay
Located on the west side of Tortola. This large bay has many beach bars including the famous Quitos, where Quito Rymer plays his music live. The song “Paradise” is written all about the BVI. The long beach provides magnificent sunsets. When winter conditions are just right surfers flock to the bay. Myett’s restaurant and bar serves West Indian food and Caribbean drinks for everyone while the crowd enjoys live music.
Bomba Shack, Apple Bay
In winter months, a north swell is common making Apple Bay a surfer’s paradise. Whether you are surfing or chilling, you can swing by The Bomba Shack. Decorated with colorful plywood, graffiti and tacked up undergarments, this beach side shack is one of the most famous Caribbean places for an adult only full moon party. Locals brew up “Bombas Mushroom Tea” and “Bombas Rum Punch” and there is a party till dawn.
This bay offers an ideal pick up and drop off location, because it is just across from Beef Island international airport. The view from this bay in the eastern side of Tortola is home to the airport and looks at tiny Marina Cay, Great & Little Camanoe, Scrub Island and Guana Island. Trellis Bay offers a “family friendly” full moon party and the unique Aragorn Studio who’s metal sculptures are lit up during the full moon party with entertainment from moko jumbie stilt dancers, limbo contests, fire jugglers and local musicians.
This tiny island sustained major damage after Hurricane Irma and is in the process of rebuilding.
Tortola’s capital city is situated in the horseshoe shaped bay of Road Harbour on the south coast of the island. “The roads” is a nautical term for an area that isn’t as protected as a harbour, but a place where ships can come in, which the city gets it’s name from. Road Town being the capital city has lots of shopping and dining to offer visitors along with banking and other amenities.
Mount Sage National Park is a 96 acre protected area to the southwest of Road Town and is Tortola’s highest peak, 1,1716 feet. The vegetation is semi-rain forest. There are many hiking trails to enjoy. The park provides spectacular views of many BVI islands along with the USVI islands of St. John and St. Thomas.
Most of Tortola’s popular places for top notch cuisine is open again now that most of the Hurricane damage has been cleaned up and establishments are being rebuilt. This information will be updated as we get more information.
Nanny Cay Village
Home to a large upscale expanding marina, hotel, shops, and restaurants, Nanny Cay Village is an up-and-coming nautical village in Tortola. Located between Road Town and West End, the marina hosts many of sailing’s top international events such as the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) & the popular BVI Spring Regatta. You’ll find “yachties” from around the world gathered here. Recently an outer marina has been constructed to accommodate more visiting yachts.
Also known as West End, this quaint area of Tortola is currently being restored to its former glory after major damage from Hurricane Irma and one of Tortola’s two ferry terminals (with arrivals and departures from St Thomas, USVI) will have a new custom and immigration office soon.
Having a hard time visualizing your crewed yacht vacation in the BVI? Take a look at a 7-day sample itinerary to get the ideas flowing and plan your trip.
“Must Sees” in BVI
While everything in the BVI is stunning, there are a few things not to be missed. Take a look at our favorite anchorages, restaurants, beach bars and shore excursions.