The British Virgin Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, but they have their own government. They are one of the main vacation destinations in the Caribbean for their good climate, natural beauty and recreational opportunities that offer in the Caribbean Sea. Boat rentals in the Virgin Islands will allow you to move at your leisure from Tortola to the other islands. The Virgin Islands of the United States are about 40 nautical miles south, and the Spanish Virgin Islands, belonging to Puerto Rico, are a few miles west.
Virgin Islands are a Caribbean paradise that invites you to relax and enjoy the sea and the beach. They are also ideal for sailing, especially for those who are beginners on it. The islands are very close one to another and well protected from the Atlantic currents, so the navigation is very comfortable and safe. The towns and villages in the diverse islands are quite small, but you can also disembark to know the gastronomy and culture of the Virgin Islands, whether in the capital Road Town or in another town.
In addition, the Virgin Islands are a unique place for water sports, especially diving. You can dive among shipwrecks of over 100 years, as in the case of the RMS Rhone, near Salt Island. You can also go fishing, but you will need to issue a permit. You can also practice other sports such as surfing or windsurfing.
The Virgin Islands have some of the best beaches in the Caribbean with white sand and clear warm water. But the spotlight in this archipelago is its very large number of beaches, making possible even in the busiest days to find a secluded beach for a few hours of absolute quiet and tranquility. Especially in the northern part of the island of Tortola and in the west of Virgin Gorda there are many beaches to choose from. Although if you prefer, there are also more crowded places. We list some of the best beaches in the Virgin Islands.
Sandy Spit Beach is a ‘must’ stop if you are going on a vacation in the Caribbean and you have opted for boat rentals in the Virgin Islands. Sandy Spit is a small isle east of the island of Jost Van Dyke. It is an area of sand of about 50 meters, with a few bushes and palm trees in the middle. Sandy Spit is the exact image of a desert island in the Caribbean, and it is an ideal place to stop and spend a few minutes or hours on a sailing itinerary in the Virgin Islands.
The Baths beach is in Virgin Gorda, north of the British Virgin Islands. It is part of the Devil’s Bay natural park and it is special for the huge rounded rocks on the sides of the sand and into the water. Besides the beauty and originality of the landscape, this beach is perfect for snorkeling among the rocks.
Anegada (the Spanish for ‘drowned’) is the northernmost island of the archipelago and is almost entirely surrounded by beaches. Therefore, any one of them is perfect for some rest and sunbathe. Loblolly and Cow Wreck are considered some of the best beaches in Anegada, but it is best to round the entire island with the boat and choose the one you like the most.
White Bay Beach is on Jost Van Dyke and is ideal for those who like a little less lonely beach and liveliest places. The sand in White Bay is white and the water has a lovely light blue color. There is also a bar and several facilities and amenities for visitors, so it is usually a fairly busy beach.
It is easy to imagine that some of the basic ingredients of the British Virgin Islands are seafood and fish. But gastronomy in this archipelago goes much further, thanks to European, African and American influences over hundreds of years. Overall, the dishes are usually very spicy and tasty.
Soups are very common, and can be made of fish, beef or goat (this last being a typical meat in some Caribbean islands) among many other flavors. One of the most typical dishes is the fish with fungi, a corn cake. This cake can also be served with many other dishes of the British Islands cuisine. In addition, there several tropical fruits grow and are eaten raw or in juice. Papaya, soursop or passion fruit, among others, are very popular.
Because of the two seasons (the dry and the rainy and hurricanes ones) that characterize the Caribbean, the sailing season in this sea goes from December to April. The best time for boat rentals in the Virgin Islands is in the middle of the dry season, between January and March. But consequently, this is also the busiest time. If you are looking for peace and quiet, the months of December, April and May can be good too. Although there is always the risk that bad weather surprise you closer to the hurricane season months.
The temperature in the Virgin Islands does not vary too much throughout the year. Average temperatures use to move between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, and rarely are below 20 degrees. In the best months of navigation, the average is 25 degrees, and in the rainy season it becomes a little hotter.
Because of the rainy season and the dry one, the Virgin Islands concentrate most of the rainfall between May and November. The least rainy months are January, February and March, coinciding with the best time for sailing. Still, this archipelago receives less rainfall than other Caribbean countries.
The sea temperature in the Virgin Islands is very warm, although slightly lower than in other islands of the southern Caribbean. Still, swimming in the clear waters of the beaches of Tortola and the other islands is a wonderful experience. The average sea temperature in the boating season usually is about 26 degrees Celsius.
Leaving aside the hurricane season, during the sailing season the winds in the Virgin Islands are usually moderate and they slightly vary in direction throughout the year. From November and during the first months of the sailing season, the wind blows from the northeast. In December and January there are slightly stronger winds, about 25 or 30 knots, which are called Christmas Winds. From February the winds are from the east, and towards the rainy season they come from the Southeast.
The main gateway to the Virgin Islands is the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Beef Island, east of Tortola. It is a very convenient airport if you have boat rentals in the Virgin Islands, as it is near Tortola, the main ships base in this territory.
There is no direct connection from Europe or the mainland United States to the British Virgin Islands. To get there by plane you need a stop at a nearby airport as the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico; VC Bird International Airport (ANU) in Antigua, or the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in Sint Maarten.
You can take a ferry to the British Virgin Islands from the United States Virgin Islands, south. It is a good way if you arrive by plane to St. Thomas in the US archipelago. So, ferries connect the city of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas with Road Town, the capital of Tortola and the British territory.