There are few places on earth as utterly serene as a stunning Caribbean island, and the most beautiful, most pristine, and most charming of all are the British Virgin Islands, or BVI as the locals call them.
This lovely chain of more than 60 islands in the northeastern corner of the Caribbean Sea, was given its evocative name by Christopher Columbus in 1493. He was said to be so impressed by the number of islands and their sheer beauty, that he named them after the 11,000 virginal handmaidens of Saint Ursula.
If you’re planning the perfect vacation to the British Virgin Islands, the first thing you need to do is decide which island will be your home base. Don’t worry, you’re not committed to spending your entire vacation on just one island. You’ll probably arrive on Tortola initially, but there are regular ferries which run between all of the main islands, so it’s easy to island hop. Better still; contact a specialist yacht charter brokers, charter a luxury yacht and explore in your own way.
The main islands in BVI are Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke. Tortola is the largest island in the chain, and it is the most populated and developed. It has a stunning landscape of mountains and mangrove forests, and it is home to the capital city of BVI, Road Town. Nearby Jost Van Dyke has only 140 permanent residents, and yet, it has six great bars, giving the island a reputation for entertainment. Virgin Gorda is the prettiest island, where buildings are not allowed to rise above the tree line; giving the entire island the feel of an untouched tropical paradise. Anegada is the furthest north, and it is a coral and limestone island, lying flat in the bright blue Caribbean Sea. It is the second largest of the British Virgin Islands, but only 200 people live here, mostly in one town, called The Settlement.
All of the British Virgin Islands have a fascinating history of piracy. Their strategic location on the main trade roury yte between the New World and Europe and their private coves and shallow reefs made BVI the perfect place to lay in wait and waylay passing ships laden with gold and treasure. Some of BVI’s earliest residents were the who’s who of the pirate world. Blackbeardlived here, so did Captain Kidd and Sir Francis Drake. Today, snorkelers and scuba divers explore the thousands of shipwrecks that are resting in the picturesque coral reefs that surround the islands. The main industry on BVI is international banking, which gives this corner of the Caribbean a different feel than most other islands. There are no hordes of tourists here, and few crowded tourist attractions. Instead, you should plan for a vacation in paradise, where you can experience what the islands looked like back when pirates ruled these waves.
BVI was one of the first places to embrace the ideals of eco-tourism, which is why each island has managed to maintain a feeling of untouched tropical paradise. You can even visit Norman Isle, an uninhabited island in BVI which is widely believed to have been the inspiration behind the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Treasure Island.
Whether you want to spend your vacation on Virgin Gorda’s world famous and uniquely volcanic beach known as The Baths, or you want to dine in a 400-year old sugar mill on Tortola; whether you want to scuba dive around Anegada’s many shipwrecks, or charter a yacht to Jost Van Dyke, make sure to visit a few of BVI’s charming islands. Plan to relax, to take some unforgettable pictures, to have these islands leave a lasting imprint on your soul. The British Virgin Islands are the very best of the Caribbean.