Hopping The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are a British overseas territory located close to Puerto Rico. Visitors can choose from a variety of islands including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and plenty of other smaller islands. First stop should be the capital, Road Town, which can be found on Tortola. Even though this is the largest island in the group, it is only 12 miles long and is very easy to explore in just a few days.
The islands have become very popular with those who enjoy sailing. There are dozens of small bays and cove along the coast where a boat can be moored. This also means plenty of great beaches for sunbathing and as the temperatures remain fairly consistent during the year, the islands make a great winter holiday destination.
Tortola is an island of many delights. In the evening it is a great place to have fun and there are plenty of entertainments and restaurants on offer, but it is also a good place to see how the locals live. It is also home to the only cinema in the group of islands. Those who are looking for a more luxurious destination should head over to Virgin Gorda where the jet-set take their holidays. However, Virgin Gorda also has another side. It is home to a number of national parks and is ideal for those who want to get closer to nature.
Beef Island is one of the lesser known islands in the group but it is the location of the airport so all those taking a flight will visit it at some point. Most people land here and then move on to one of the other islands but it would be a shame to overlook the delights of this particular island as it is home to some of best beaches and most beautiful accommodation.
Island hopping is one of the main pastimes for those who visit the islands. A trip out to Jost Van Dyke is a must for anyone who wants to experience the more laid-back island lifestyle. Charter a boat to get to this or any of the outlying islands. Anegada is quite remote and much quieter than the others and the smaller islands are often either uninhabited or only have a handful of people living there. Some of the islands are privately owned but are available to rent for those who have the budget for it. The most famous of these is Necker Island, owned by Sir Richard Branson. If you do want to rent a whole island, then most of them are available throughout the year, so could be the winter break solution that you are looking for.
Getting to the British Virgin Islands is easy as there are plenty of travel options. Direct flights are available from many of the larger cities in the US but it is possible to take a flight to other islands in the Caribbean and catch a ferry – ideal for island hoppers. Cruise ships do call at the islands but tend to stay just for the day.
To make it easier to go island hopping, why not learn to sail? The islands have some of the best schools in the region and it makes a change from the usual water sports on offer in most resorts. The conditions for sailing remain fairly consistent throughout the year so it is perfect for those who want to learn and it does not matter what time of the year you go.
Those who do want to dive will find plenty of sunken ships and other interesting dive sites. Dead Chest Island is uninhabited and is now a national park but is surrounded by great diving spots. Beginners could try Coral Gardens which has clear and calm waters. This particular island has strong links with pirates including the notorious Blackbeard.
As a destination, the British Virgin Islands is ideal for couples or those travelling on their own. The islands offer a sense of tranquillity that can be hard to find in other holiday destinations. The lack of commercial development means that while tourism is strong, the islands are never overrun with foreign visitors.
A trip to the islands will not break the bank either. Travelling outside the peak season means that savings can be made and there are plenty of accommodation options which are aimed at those who are visiting with a limited budget. The locals are friendly and welcoming, so make the most of it and immerse yourself in the local culture.