Which British Virgin Island is the Best?
With pristine beaches, excellent sailing and yachting, and enough cheap rum to fill the biggest bathtub in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands are one of the most relaxing places on Earth.
But if hammocks and pina coladas aren’t your style, there’s plenty more to do. Here are the best islands to visit in the BVI.
1. Virgin Gorda
The third-largest island in the British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda (or “Fat Virgin”), is renowned for its boulder-strewn beach known as “The Baths.” The famous landmark features an array of giant granite formations creating sea pools and grottoes, and it’s one of the best places to snorkel.
This pristine isle is a popular day trip from St. Thomas, and a variety of luxury resorts and villa complexes have popped up around the island. For a more secluded experience, stay in the southern half of the island at one of the private villas on offer.
The best time to visit Virgin Gorda is from January through March when it’s cooler and dryer. Taxis are the best way to get around, and they charge by the meter so it’s wise to confirm prices with drivers before hopping in. Americans should bring passports for entry and exit and make sure that their ferry and flight tickets match up with their passport numbers.
2. St. Croix
The largest of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix is a natural playground that offers hiking trails, scenic bays, historic sugar mills, and underwater sea gardens. It is also home to a range of luxurious hotels and villas that offer a variety of activities and amenities.
Watch the sunset from the beach at Salt Pond Bay, or hike to the natural Bubbly Pool for a refreshing soak in the Caribbean Sea. You can also sample a Cruzan Rum cocktail at the famous Soggy Dollar Bar or relax on Sandy Cay’s crystal emerald beaches.
History buffs should visit Fort Frederik, where a bust commemorates General Buddhoe, who led the insurrection that resulted in enslaved Africans throughout the Danish West Indies earning their emancipation in 1848. The Estate Whim Great House and Museum is another important historical site. The St George Village Botanical Garden is a place to admire flowers but is also doing vital preservation work with indigenous plants, many of which were used by the enslaved population for food and medicine.
The largest island in the British Virgin Islands features a sweeping mountain landscape with pristine beaches and luxury Tortola villas. Its capital of Road Town has a quaint feel and boasts a busy yachting port. Nearby Sage Mountain National Park has trails and views.
The best things to do in Tortola include enjoying Caribbean based cuisines with British and Indian influences. Sample popular dishes like fungi, salt fish, pates, Johnny cakes and jerk. Don’t forget to try the local fruit the soursop which tastes like a mix of pineapple and banana.
Other fun activities to do in Tortola include visiting the Callwood Rum Distillery, hiking and snorkeling. History buffs can explore the remains of a 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works, where enslaved workers once processed raw sugar cane to be shipped back to Europe.
The flat, coral island of Anegada is a stark contrast to the mountainous islands of Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. It’s known for its secluded beaches (like Loblolly Bay & Cow Wreck Beach), as well as for flamingos, rock iguanas & rare plant species like sea lavender. Offshore, Horseshoe Reef is rich in marine life & dotted with shipwrecks.
Getting to Anegada requires some planning, as it’s about a 2-hour sail from Tortola. Most visitors come by puddle-jumper from Virgin Gorda or as part of a chartered yacht.
The island features a handful of hotels and restaurants including Potter’s by the Sea, Anegada Reef Hotel, Neptune’s Treasure & Pomato Point Bar & Restaurant. The restaurant at the Anegada Resort Hotel is especially popular for its lobster barbecue dinners. The moorings at Setting Point and Pomato Point are also popular spots for yachts to dock. You can see incredible sunsets from these locations. There’s also a beautiful nature trail at Bones Bight on the north side of the island.