Forget your troubles and your worries as you escape to the archipelago of the British Virgin Islands. Located in the Lesser Antilles, this British overseas territory is made up of more than 60 different islands and cays, 15 of which are inhabited and much more easily available to be explored. Whether you are looking to relax and soak up some Caribbean sun, enjoy the many recreational activities of the Caribbean Sea on the island of Tortola, or head up into the mountains and tropical forests of Virgin Gorda, BVI will have something for you. A pristine destination perfectly set up for island hoping, you can charter a boat and explore the many islands of BVI. Or, you can visit some of the national parks located on the main islands. Regardless of what you’re looking for in your Caribbean getaway, the BVI will not disappoint.
The British Virgin Islands are known for their sugar-white sand, so you will want to make sure you make it to one of the many beaches that line the shores of these islands. However, The Baths on Virgin Gorda is a definite highlight. With its turquoise waters, brilliant sand, and unique natural rock formations and beach caves, there is so much to explore and enjoy.
Those looking for a memorable experience will enjoy the Callwood Distillery. This rum distillery is one of the oldest still in operation in the BVI. You can sign up for a tour, learn about the rum making process, and enjoy some rum tastings.
While the nightlife on the British Virgin Islands may not be as thumping and vibrant and some other islands in the Caribbean, there is still a scene for those who are searching. You’ll be ale to find a bar hosting some local musical talent or some dance clubs to dance the night away.
Just like any British colony, the BVI has a variety of classically British sports teams, such as football, rugby, and cricket. The BVI teams typically compete against other local teams and teams within the Commonwealth.
For over 60 years, British Virgin Islands has celebrated Emancipation Festival in late July and early August. The festival is meant to commemorate the Emancipation Act of 1 August, 1834 that freed of slaves throughout the British Empire. The festival can last more than 10 days straight, during which numerous events take place that seek to celebrate with street parties, parades, and “street jams”. Musical performances, food fairs or horse races can be enjoyed throughout the duration of this exciting festival.
The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is one of the largest regattas in the Caribbean. The 50th edition of this event will take place from March 29 2021, and will attract sailing yachts and competent sailors from around the globe for five days of festivities. (Video credit: bvispringregatta.org)
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to impact the travel industry, each country and territory is making the hard decisions necessary to control the entry and spread of the virus in their locale. The British Virgin Islands is no exception as the Government of the Virgin Islands’ priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and residents and has restricted all travel into BVI.
Getting to the BVI may seem like a long journey, but it is more than worth the trip. If you’re looking to make your landing into BVI at the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (BVI’s largest airport) on Tortola, then you are going to have to travel via another Caribbean island, such as Puerto Rico or Antigua. Luckily enough, these larger islands have plenty of flights direct from North America and Europe. If you’re hoping to explore more of the BVI, there are other airports on some of the other large islands, such as Auguste George Airport on Anegada and Taddy Bay Airport on Virgin Gorda.
Rather than deal with airports and flights, you can instead indulge on an inclusive cruise to the British Virgin Islands. You’ll land on the main island of Tortola and will be able to explore the beaches and towns at your leisure.
Once you’ve gotten to the BVI, chances are you are going to want to do a little bit of island hopping. You can catch a ride on the local ferry to travel between the different islands of the BVI as well as get to the USVI. To explore the local communities, you can rent a car and travel the roads of the islands and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Just don’t forget that you will be driving on the left side of the road while in the British Virgin Islands!
For those looking to do a little bit of adventuring, you can head inland to the Sage Mountain National Park on Tortola. What was once farmland has been reforested to represent the original natural landscape of the island. Today, you can hike through the trees and enjoy the sights of the island from the highest peak in all of the BVI.
What is often considered the most beautiful beach in the BVI, Cane Garden Bay on the northern side of Tortola beckons visitors from around the world. Surrounded by lush, green hills that tower over the water, the brilliance of the blue waters is accentuated to create a seemingly magical landscape. You can let your worries fade as you relax on the sandy shores of Cane Garden Bay.
If you want to learn more about the political history of the BVI, you can spend some time at the Old Government House Museum at Road Town. The BVI has had a varied history, and here you can learn all about the history of this little paradise and some of the BVI’s most esteemed political leaders.
Sugar production was once a key industry on the BVI. You can visit the 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works on Tortola to learn about the history of this arduous process and the dark history of the slave trade, plantations, and colonial life.
For those who want to do a little bit of underwater exploring to see even more of the brilliance that is BVI’s natural beauty, you can head to Rhone National Marine Park. You can head to the HMS Rhone shipwreck and see how Mother Nature has claimed the wreckage for its own, see reefs and the animals that inhabit them, and just enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea.
If you’d rather stay above water, you can sign up for a tour with GroundSea Adventures. With options for paddleboarding, kayak, and hiking tours, there is so much to potentially explore. You can also sign up for a surfing class to pick up a new skill. You will get up close to mangrove forests, tide pools, and so much more.
The British Virgin Islands have been hammered by hurricane after hurricane. Several charities have formed to help the island get back to where it was. One such charity is One Love BVI. You can donate to them to help the BVI rebuild and recover.
National dish: Fungi (pronounced foon-gee) & Fish: Cornmeal cooked with okra and served with saltfish
Motto: “Vigilante” “Be Vigilant”
The National Flag:
The flag is predominantly a blue background with a British Union Jack in the top left corner. The blue symbolizes vigilance and loyalty, the red bravery and strength, and the white peace and honesty. The flag is also adorned with the image of Saint Ursula surrounded by 12 lamps, under which the motto “Vigilante” is written.