New charter clients who are cruising the US and the British Virgin Islands for the first time often ask us about itineraries i.e. where to go, what to do, what to see and also where to EAT and drink on your sailing vacation! We thought we’d provide you with a kind of BVI 101 to cover the highlights but of course, the actual sequence in which you choose to visit them may change with the wind direction and the sea-state.
First of all, here is a selection of itineraries for the BVI, the USVI and the Spanish Virgin Islands. On this page you’ll find itineraries for first timers as well as more experienced sailors who have visited the islands regularly. Here is another good itinerary from the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA).
I’ve divided this up into sections for ease of referencing:
HOTELS AND RESORTS TO STAY BEFORE OR AFTER YOUR CHARTER
If you’re chartering from the Moorings, or Footloose or Sunsail, the obvious place to stay is at the Mariners Inn which is actually owned by the Moorings and is located inside the Moorings compound on the East side of Road Town. The accommodations have been recently re-furbished and there are neat little (expensive) restaurants and bars all inside the general area.
If you’re planning to spend a few extra days before or after your charter there are some excellent Resorts to check out: The Peter Island Resort, the Scrub Island Resort, The Bitter End, Little Dix Bay and Biras Creek Resorts on Virgin Gorda. These are all pretty high-end and are not for the faint-hearted.
For the rest of us, you can check out the Village Cay Marina and Hotel, Maria’s by the Sea, Castle Maria, Fort Burt Hotel, all of these are in Road Town. Beyond Road Town you can check out Fort Recovery Beach Club at West End, Myetts at Canegarden Bay, The Cooper Island Beach Club on Cooper Island.
Also, worthy of note are Hodges Creek Marina between the Airport and Road Town, Leverick Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda, and Long Bay Resort at West End. If you’re planning to spend some non-nautical time in St. Thomas in the USVI, Look at the Mafolie Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Sapphire Bay, Frenchman’s Reef and others.
WATERSPORTS, SNORKELING AND DIVING SPOTS
Basically you can’t go wrong in this department, the BVI is a watersports paradise. The basics are the wreck of the Rhone, the caves on Norman Island, The Indians, Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island, Guana Island, Caymanoe, Marina Cay and the Dogs, the Reefs off the Northern tip of Virgin Gorda and many, many others. For watersports information please see our dedicated section.
There is certainly no shortage of these on any of the islands. We’ve simply GOT to start with Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke island. Then we have to move on to Willy T’s in the Bight at Norman Cay. These are fixtures that have been in existence almost from the beginning of time. No visit to the BVI can be even contemplated without a visit to these famous bars. If you haven’t sipped champagne from your gal-pal’s (OR SOMEONE ELSE’S GAL-PAL) navel in a bar, Wille T’s is the place to start. What happend in Willie T’s STAYS in Willie T’s. Rum drinks are the best, Bushwhackers are the local favorites.
Generally speaking, the restaurants in the BVI are expensive and kinda ho-hum. Most bareboaters either provision ashore at on of the better supermarkets like Bobby’s or Riteway and prepare their own breakfasts and lunches and will eat ashore 2 or three days a week during their charter. In the more-reasonably-priced department, there’s Village Cay Marina where Jimmy Buffet is supposed to have written “Cheeseburgers in Paradise”, frankly there are a lot of bars and restaurants in the Caribbean that claim this fame. Recognizing that this is an eminently SUBJECTIVE issue, for better or worse,we offer up our own list of favorite restaurants and watering holes:
In Road town, try the Village Cay for every day American Style fare, nice view and reasonable. For a complete list check these out. The Resorts tend to have pretty fresh fare since everything is flown in, their more affluent and distinguished clientele demands freshness. So if you’re really picky, try Peter Island, Little Dix Bay, Scrub Island, The Bitter End and Biras Creek.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
If you’re a first timer, you should see the Baths on Virgin Gorda, do arrive early though because later on, it become a zoo, full of dinghies vying for a spot on the dinghy mooring line, day cruise groups arriving from St. Thomas and also from the cruise ships. Having said this, when it’s deserted, which is early morning in an off-season like July or August, it can be absolutely delightful. Do see the caves on Norman Island.
Do snorkel at the Indians. Do take a moorings at Marina Cay that has good snorkeling close by and the best (subjectively) Bushwhackers in the BVI – in close competition with the Cooper Island Resort – but nevertheless, the best.
Do go to Jost van Dyke and spend an evening at Foxy’s; do go to White Bay and sample a few at the Soggy Dollar Bar. Do go to Cane Garden Bay to hear the steel drum bands and sample the local food and brews. Do go to Sopers Hole (West End) to check out the excellent up-scale provisioning and clothing stores as well as the famous Pussers store and Bar.
If you can see yourself enjoying this warm, peaceful, tropical location send us an email and we will tell you even more.