British Virgin Islands, BVI

British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is situated on Tortola, the largest island, which is approximately 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands have a population of about 28,000, of whom approximately 23,500 live on Tortola

Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. It features several white-sand beaches, including Cane Garden Bay and Smuggler’s Cove. Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, has a harbor dotted with sailing boats and is known as a yachting hub. In the island’s southwest, forested Sage Mountain National Park offers trails and sweeping views over neighboring cays.

The Northern coast has the best beaches on the island, including Smuggler’s Cove, Long Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Brewer’s Bay, Josiah’s Bay, and Lambert beach. In addition to beaches, marine activities such as sailing, surfing, scuba diving, kite boarding, and windsurfing are available. Many tourists visit the historic sites and hike in parks. The island is visited regularly by large cruise ships.

Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus named the island Tórtola, meaning “turtle dove” in Spanish. In fact, Columbus named the island as Santa Ana. Dutch colonists called it Ter Tholen, after a coastal island that is part of the Netherlands. When the British took over, the name evolved to Tortola.


Locals/Travel Recommended Destinations

 


The Bubbly Pool (Jost Van Dyke)

Featured in photo journals and magazine articles around the World, the “Bubbly Pool” is still a somewhat closely guarded secret of Jost Van Dyke.  Nature’s Jacuzzi, this naturally formed tidal pool is located behind jagged cliffs facing the open ocean coming from the North.  When the North swell is up, the unique formation outside the pool prematurely breaks incoming waves and the resulting “bubbles” fill up the pool your “jacuzzi” giving everyone a reason to smile!

The Bubbly Pool is a short hike from the boat ramp at Diamond Cay — through Mangroves, a Wild Sage forest, and a little amateur-amateur rock climbing. For the more adventurous, serious free-style rock climbing affords unbelievable photo opportunities of the whole area as well as a visit to the “Eagle’s Nest” and to the “Mighty Blow Hole.” The area is surrounded by Seagrape trees, Turks Head Cactus and Blue Agave Century Trees.



Dolphin Discovery (Road Town)

The Dolphin Discovery Swim program in Tortola is specifically designed for marine animal lovers of all ages. Enjoy a dolphin-swimming experience that’s perfect for both kids and adults—anybody with a healthy thirst for knowledge and a love of friendly sea creatures.

Arrive at Dolphin Discovery at the Prospect Reef Hotel and meet a certified trainer who shares your love for dolphins. Get into small groups and enter the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea for your dolphin-swimming session. This interactive program lets you swim and play with these jubilant creatures for a full 30 minutes. Listen as your trainer tells you about the dolphins’ behavior and habitat as you splash and play. Enjoy the opportunity to kiss, hug, and shake hands with a dolphin, all while relishing in their cheerful song and dance. End your experience with a memory that lasts forever.



Horseshoe Reef (Anegada)

Horseshoe Reef is the fourth largest barrier coral reef in the world. While it used to be a popular diving spot, the British Virgin Islands government has prohibited boats from anchoring on it. There is a dive operator on Anegada Island, and this company is allowed to take visitors underwater for a look. Numerous ships have met their fate at the hands of Horseshoe Reef, and these submerged vessels make for some of the most interesting dive sites in the Caribbean. The San Ignacio is one of the ships that can be visited by those who choose to go scuba diving on Anegada vacations, and there are many others worth considering. The San Ignacio was hired by Spain to transport troops and a new Governor to Cartagena. After being bumped around by Horseshoe Reef, the ship was bombarded by English warships and eventually sank. Most of the crew perished. The year was 1742, which means that this dive site has lots of history.



Rhone National Marine Park (Road Town)

One  of the world’s top shipwrecks which sailed for the last time on Oct. 19, 1867 and sank near Salt Island. You can spot the ship’s bow from the surface of the sea, but you’ll have to dive some 80 feet down to explore the rest of the largely intact vessel and swim among the moray eels and octopus that now call the ship home. It is accessible via dive boats from Tortola ferry terminal.


KEY FACTS
Location: Distance from Puerto Rico is 207 kilometers. This air travel distance is equal to 129 miles.  Lat Long: 18°25′N 64°38′W
Official Language: English
Size (Area): 153 sq. km. (59 sq mi)
Population: 28,054 (2010)
Head of the Country: Premier
Capital: Road Town
System of Law: English Common Law
Electricity: 220/110 volts, 60Hz. Most hotels have both non-American and standard plugs
Things to know:    
– Time Zone – EST (UTC – 5:00)    
– Currency   – US Dollar (USD)

 

PLAN A VISIT
Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (Code:EIS)
Major Airlines:
– None
Connect via Antigua (ANU), St. Thomas (STT) or Puerto Rico (SJU)
* From St. Thomas (STT), transfer by Ferry (45mins)

Travel Time from major cities:
– No direct Flights

Car Rentals:
– Avis
– Alamo
– Hertz
– National
– Enterprise
Places to Stay:
– Long Bay Beach Club

Weather: Fair, Sunny
Popular Event(s):
Best Time To Visit: November thru May
Key Feature(s): Tropical Weather
Things to know: 

Things to Do

The Baths (Virgin Gorda)

Virgin Gorda is a small island, about eight square miles, only a few miles from Tortola and its airport on Beef Island. In 2001, the population was 3100. The southwestern part of the island is known as the Valley. In this area of low gentle hills will be found most of the population, businesses and services, mostly in and around Spanish Town, the capital. Below Spanish Town, the landscape and seascapes are strewn with granite boulders the size of houses; these provide dramatic settings for accommodations, restaurants and beaches. In the center of the island, a low mountain rises from the sea to about 1350 feet. This area is sparsely inhabited, except for small neighborhoods in the North Sound area on its northeastern edge. Extending northeast from there is a chain of wooded hills accessible only by boat. A convenient excursion to one of the nicest outer island areas in Virgin Gorda would require hopping on the local Resort Ferry (Bitter End etc) in Gun Creek. This Ferry will take you on a short, but neat cruise into the heart of the North Sound area. Small islands in this area contribute to the very sheltered harbors in the sound. 


White Bay (BVI)

White Bay is said to be one of the best beaches in the Virgin Islands. This pristine white beach that invokes images of Gilligan’s Island. White Bay’s swimming-pool calm waters are perfect for swimming or for simply floating on a mat. A great place for snorkeling and underwater exploring, this secluded half-mile white sandy beach has reefs close to shore. After an afternoon of sun in the fun, find some shade and a cool drink at the nearby Soggy Dollar Bar. 


Scuba & Snorkeling (BVI)

Explore and dive in the BVI. Look for a large formation of pillar coral and a series of huge boulder/pinnacles on the exposed north side. They are covered with marine growth: hard and soft corals, delicate branching hydroid fans, and brightly colored sponges. Overhangs are filled with fishes – sweepers, juvenile angelfishes, glassy minnows and fairy basslets. Lots of marine life live in the protected areas at the base of some of the boulders are little hollows and depressions formed between the boulder and the bedrock. 


Smuggler’s Cove

Smugglers Cove, known for its tranquillity and for the beauty of its sands, lies at the extreme western end of Tortola, opposite the offshore island of Great Thatch, and just north of St. John. It’s a lovely crescent of white sand with calm turquoise waters. A favorite with locals, Smugglers Cove is also popular with snorkelers, who explore a world of sea fans, sponges, parrotfish, and elkhorn and brain corals. Beginning snorkelers in particular appreciate the fact that the reef is close to shore. The beach, sometimes called “Lower Belmont Bay,” is located at the end of bumpy Belmont Road. Once you get here, even if you’re a little worse for the wear, you’ll find the crystal-clear water and the beautiful palm trees are worth the effort.

 


Horseshoe Reef (Anegada)

Horseshoe Reef is the fourth largest barrier coral reef in the world. While it used to be a popular diving spot, the British Virgin Islands government has prohibited boats from anchoring on it. There is a dive operator on Anegada Island, and this company is allowed to take visitors underwater for a look. Numerous ships have met their fate at the hands of Horseshoe Reef, and these submerged vessels make for some of the most interesting dive sites in the Caribbean. The San Ignacio is one of the ships that can be visited by those who choose to go scuba diving on Anegada vacations, and there are many others worth considering. The San Ignacio was hired by Spain to transport troops and a new Governor to Cartagena. After being bumped around by Horseshoe Reef, the ship was bombarded by English warships and eventually sank. Most of the crew perished. The year was 1742, which means that this dive site has lots of history.

 



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