Surrounded by coral reefs and limpid turquoise water, the British Virgin Islands form an astonishingly beautiful tropical archipelago. In addition to excellent scuba diving, they offer some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean. Tortola is arguably the yachting capital of the West Indies. The BVI are relatively unspoiled, though some cruise ships call at Tortola. There is no direct air service to the BVI from the continental United States, and most visitors change to smaller airplanes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is also possible to fly from St. Thomas in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.
Although Tortola has no resorts of the required standard, it is a beautiful island that merits a leisurely circular tour. The attractive Soper’s Hole Wharf & Marina, at its southeastern tip, is an ideal place in which to pause for a light meal and a rum punch. The marina has 50 slips and 26 moorings and takes vessels up to 180-feet in length. Although badly damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017, it has now been rebuilt.
New Year’s Eve at the Soggy Dollar
The island of Jost Van Dyke is the site of one of the world’s most notorious parties on New Year’s Eve. Sailors arrive from around the world and congregate at Soggy Dollar bar — so named because patrons generally swim ashore to buy a drink. By midnight the atmosphere has become distinctly animated, and the scene is suited only to the young and the young at heart.
Sail the British Virgin Islands
The BVI provide an idyllic sailing ground, with numerous bays accessible only to those with their own boat. From the BVI, it is easy to sail to the USVI, especially to St. John, 60 percent of which is protected by a national park. Yacht charter companies are chiefly based in Road Town, Tortola.
The U.S. dollar is the officially recognized currency.
None. U.S. Embassy is located in Barbados, Tel. (246) 227-4399.
To phone hotels in the British Virgin Islands, dial 1 + 284 (British Virgin Islands code) + local numbers.