What are the best things to do in the British Virgin Islands?

Hayley Bosch

Comprised of 16 inhabited islands and more than 20 deserted islands, the British Virgin Islands offer plenty to see and do, from hiking the lush, hilly landscape to exploring the marine life in the turquoise blue water. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks some of the best things to see and do in the BVI.
 
1. Go spelunking. The Baths, located on Virgin Gorda’s north shore, is truly a natural wonder. With huge boulders that create sheltered pools and ladders that lead to the calm and protected Devil’s Bay, exploring The Baths is a must-do during a visit to the island.
 
2. Full moon parties. If you want to get a taste of the local culture of the British Virgin Islands, plan your trip around a full moon party. Every month on the night of a full moon, several bars throughout the islands throw parties that last all night. The most famous ones are at Bomba’s Shack and Trellis Bay on Tortola.
 
3. Scuba dive. Grab your gear and explore The Wreck of The Rhone, the first and only Marine National Park in the BVI. The Rhone sunk in 1867 and is one of the best dive sites in the area. Ranging between 30 and 90 feet below the surface, the wreck is home to great examples of fringing reef habitat.
 
4. Charter a boat. Even if it is just a whaler, chartering a boat is the best way to see the many charming islands in the British Virgin Islands. Have your captain anchor off Jost Van Dyke so you can make the swim to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, a famous watering hole with no dock but stiff and refreshing drinks.
 
5. Relax on the beach. You’re in the Caribbean after all, and the crystal clear water is practically calling your name. You can head to one of the deserted islands or simply lounge at your hotel’s beach with a piña colada in hand.

  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    How do I travel between islands in the British Virgin Islands?

    Traveling between islands in the British Virgin Islands is easy, particularly since the island chain is only 58 square miles. From the most populated island of Tortola, you can hop on a ferry to Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Peter Island and Anegada. With the close proximity of the BVI and United States Virgin Islands, you can take a ferry from Tortola to St. Thomas and St. John. Some of the rides can be as short as 10 minutes (Saba Rock to Gun Creek), while others can be as long as an hour and 45 minutes (Virgin Gorda, Spanish Town to St. Thomas via St. John). For the most part, you don’t need a reservation to get on the ferry, but booking ahead is always a good plan. You can also rent a boat to hop between islands, but plan on spending all day on the boat exploring the area.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What is the best thing to bring home from the British Virgin Islands?

    Considering all of the islands have their own personalities, it’s easy to find plenty of mementos to bring home from the British Virgin Islands. Aside from taking tons of photos that are postcard worthy, there are a few things you’ll want to return home with. Combing the beach for beautiful shells is always a great way to find a souvenir — if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a conch shell.
     
    You’ll find plenty of arts and crafts on several of the islands. From moko jumbie dolls to conch shell bracelets, there’s more than enough to fit your fancy. If you make it to Pusser’s — there are four locations in the BVI — be sure to pick up some rum. As long as it’s less than a liter, you can bring it out of the country and home with you.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the five best British Virgin Islands food experiences?

    With numerous islands each with its own personality, there are plenty of food experiences to be had in the British Virgin Islands. From conch to Anegada lobster, the seafood is fresher than fresh. And be sure to try the rum punch, which is potent and fruity, and endlessly refreshing on a hot day. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s tips for the five best British Virgin Island food experiences:
     
    1. Pusser’s Landing. Head to Pusser’s bar in Tortola’s West End for a Painkiller. The rum punch is a trademark of the West Indian restaurant and, trust is, it will make your pain disappear.
     
    2. The Last Resort. Located on its own little island off Beef Island and Tortola, you’ll get Caribbean fare with a side of song and dance. The “Singing Chef” will have you laughing and joining in. The eclectic restaurant is only accessible by boat, but it’s well worth the trip.
     
    3. Soggy Dollar Bar. This Jost Van Dyke beachside restaurant serves up local cuisine with plenty of rum to go alongside it. Chow down on the conch fritters and wash it down with Soggy Dollar’s version of a Painkiller.
     
    4. The William Thornton Floating Bar & Restaurant. Locals know it as Willy T’s and it’s made this beautiful anchorage popular. Norman Island is otherwise desolate, but make it to Willy T’s and you’re in for a treat. Fill up on seafood and head to the top deck to jump into the turquoise water.
     
    5. Cow Wreck. This Anegada restaurant is more of a beach shack than anything, but it churns out some of the best conch fritters in the British Virgin Islands. You’ll see chefs grilling everything from local lobster to chicken.
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  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    Where is the best nightlife in the British Virgin Islands?

    No matter which island you favor, the nightlife in the British Virgin Islands is laidback and carefree. You won’t find any trendy clubs, but rather bars that have been popular for generations. As a huge sailing area, you can count on plenty of these beach bars to be chock full of yachtsmen and their crew.
     
    If you’re lucky enough to be in the area during a full moon, make plans to attend one of the legendary full moon parties. Tortola is the island that is known for these monthly shindigs, with one of the most popular held at Bomba’s Shack. Anyone who’s ever been to one of these will tell you that you have to experience it to believe the bacchanalia.
     
    Across the way on Jost Van Dyke is Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, whose owner has become somewhat of a legend himself. You’ll fill up on Painkiller Punch while you dance the night away with the live music playing in the background.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What is the best way to see the British Virgin Islands in one day?

    Considering the British Virgin Islands cover more than 58 square miles, you can easily see much of what the chain has to offer in just one day. Your best bet is to charter a boat — a Boston Whaler will do just fine — and island hop to get the real local flavor. Star your day off with a trip to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. This natural wonder is composed of huge granite boulders that create secluded pools that are great for snorkeling. You’ll want to get here early to avoid the masses.
     
    After a bit of spelunking, hop back on the boat and head to Anegada for lunch at Big Bamboo. Pick up a few conch fritters and some Anegada lobster, and scope out a spot on the beach at Loblolly Bay. This seemingly deserted island is beautiful, and the beach is another great snorkeling spot.
     
    You’ve spent a few hours on the beach, and now it’s time to head to Tortola to get a taste of the most populated island in the British Virgin Islands. Make your way to Pusser’s Landing in West End for a legendary Pusser’s Painkiller. Once you’ve soaked up the local flavor (in the form of rum), get back on the boat and putter over to Jost Van Dyke for an evening of fun. Post up at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar for a real West Indian experience. Foxy’s is world famous for its parties with live bands playing Thursday through Saturday nights.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    Where is the best shopping in the British Virgin Islands?

    While you may not find designer fashion labels, you will find plenty of mementos to bring home from the British Virgin Islands. As Tortola is the most populated, this island is your best bet for shopping. Walk down historic Main Street and you’ll find dozens of shops with wares ranging from jewelry and clothing to arts and crafts. Of course, most of the islands’ hotels have stores within them, with everything from sunscreen to island souvenirs for sale. This is the trip you want to stock up on unique items like moko jumbie dolls and pottery.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the best things to do with kids in the British Virgin Islands?

    Kids will have a blast no matter which island in the British Virgin Islands is your home base. From collecting shells to snorkeling and hiking, there is an endless array of activities for children. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best things to do with kids in the British Virgin Islands.
     
    1. Explore The Baths. This geological masterpiece is made of granite boulders that create sheltered pools, perfect for a little dip. At the end of the tunnel is Devil’s Bay, which is very popular for snorkeling. Kids will love exploring the hidden waters.
     
    2. Collect seashells. No matter which beach you go to, you and your little ones will have a ball finding all kinds of shells. If you’re lucky, you just may find a conch shell. The shells are unique and beautiful, and make a great souvenir.
     
    3. Treasure hunt. Head to Norman Island — legend has it that this tiny island is the inspiration for “Treasure Island” — and snorkel in the sea caves. It’s a deserted island, but your youngsters will feel as if they’re living the life of a pirate.
     
    4. Watersports. Whether your kids want to take windsurfing lessons or simply kayak around the calm bays, watersports are a hit in the BVI. Most resorts offer rentals on the beach, allowing you to relax and watch while your kids have a blast in the surf.
     
    5. Snorkel. They may not be old enough to scuba dive, but snorkeling is almost as good. The underwater wildlife is extraordinary and there are plenty of snorkeling daytrips that the whole family can enjoy.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the best things to do in the British Virgin Islands?

    Comprised of 16 inhabited islands and more than 20 deserted islands, the British Virgin Islands offer plenty to see and do, from hiking the lush, hilly landscape to exploring the marine life in the turquoise blue water. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks some of the best things to see and do in the BVI.
     
    1. Go spelunking. The Baths, located on Virgin Gorda’s north shore, is truly a natural wonder. With huge boulders that create sheltered pools and ladders that lead to the calm and protected Devil’s Bay, exploring The Baths is a must-do during a visit to the island.
     
    2. Full moon parties. If you want to get a taste of the local culture of the British Virgin Islands, plan your trip around a full moon party. Every month on the night of a full moon, several bars throughout the islands throw parties that last all night. The most famous ones are at Bomba’s Shack and Trellis Bay on Tortola.
     
    3. Scuba dive. Grab your gear and explore The Wreck of The Rhone, the first and only Marine National Park in the BVI. The Rhone sunk in 1867 and is one of the best dive sites in the area. Ranging between 30 and 90 feet below the surface, the wreck is home to great examples of fringing reef habitat.
     
    4. Charter a boat. Even if it is just a whaler, chartering a boat is the best way to see the many charming islands in the British Virgin Islands. Have your captain anchor off Jost Van Dyke so you can make the swim to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, a famous watering hole with no dock but stiff and refreshing drinks.
     
    5. Relax on the beach. You’re in the Caribbean after all, and the crystal clear water is practically calling your name. You can head to one of the deserted islands or simply lounge at your hotel’s beach with a piña colada in hand.
  • On July 30, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat in the British Virgin Islands?

    While the British Virgin Islands may not be known for fine dining, there are some upscale restaurants in the island chain that are worth trying. What they all have in common is incredible scenery and fresh seafood. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to eat in the British Virgin Islands.
     
    1. Tradewinds. Peter Island Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant serves upscale takes on classic Caribbean cuisine like sautéed scallops on potato puree with fried taro root slaw and coconut curry sauce. The menu is heavy with seafood and it’s as fresh as can be.
     
    2. Dove Restaurant & Wine Bar. This Tortola restaurant is small and fills up fast, so be sure to make reservations. It’s unlike anything you’ll find on the island, with an ever-changing menu — think Caesar salad with tempura anchovies and frozen passion fruit soufflé.
     
    3. Big Bamboo. Located on Anegada, Big Bamboo churns out whatever comes in from the sea that day. The small island is famous for its lobsters, so be sure to try one. The conch is also a great option.
     
    4. The Sugar Mill. Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s restaurant, which is open only for dinner, is one of the best in the BVI. The menu is a mix of Pan-Asian and European cuisines with dishes like five-spiced pork belly and miso-glazed grouper.
     
    5. Sugar Mill Restaurant. Not to be confused with the restaurant above, this eatery is located on the island of Tortola. The menu changes nightly, but you can expect to see options like poached lobster salad à la Niçoise.
  • On July 30, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in the British Virgin Islands?

    With 16 inhabited islands and 20 deserted islands, you can bet there are some spectacular places to stay in the British Virgin Islands. From private islands for hire to resorts with their own yacht clubs, these are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best places to stay in the British Virgin Islands.
     
    1. Rosewood Little Dix Bay. This boutique resort rests on Virgin Gorda, along a half-mile stretch of beach. Rosewood Little Dix Bay offers standard rooms, suites, as well as two Beach Houses and three hilltop villas. The beautiful property has plenty of watersports and stunning views.
     
    2. Bitter End Yacht Club. On the other side of Virgin Gorda is Bitter End Yacht Club, with its island-style villas on the North Sound. This is the place you want to stay if you are looking for an active vacation — the protected waters are calm and make for great watersports.
     
    3. Peter Island Resort & Spa. Though you have the option to buy out the whole island, you can simply book a room at this resort and still feel as if you have the place to yourself. With only 52 rooms, this resort is exclusive and sybaritic—stay in your cheerful, comfortable room or take part in any of the many activities, visit the spa or mingle with other guests at the resorts’ restaurants.
     
    4. Necker Island. Sir Richard Branson’s private island is one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. It’s so exclusive that you have to book the entire island to experience it (except for a few select weeks when you can book individual rooms). Along with this privacy comes a magnitude of luxury including everything from tennis courts to a three-person aero submarine called the Necker Nymph.
     
    5. Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. It’s the newest resort in the Caribbean island chain — opened in March 2010 — and it’s also one of the best. Private beaches and expansive views accent the luxurious guest rooms, suites and villas.