If you got to this page, you have been searching the Internet for information about the gorgeous British Virgin Islands (BVI) or have already made up your mind to find out more. Perhaps you haven’t fully decided if you really would like to visit, or if the islands are truly like what you have learned and discovered so far. As I sat down to write this post, I thought that there has already been so much written about the BVI online, so I have decided to take a different approach and let you in on some more specific details about what makes our islands so fantastic. Instead of the usual, I have depicted the allure of each island with respect to their unique and magical beaches.
The British Virgin Islands enjoy a year round climate of ambient temperatures in the range of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, an almost constant trade wind flow and bright, tropical sunshine: in short, perfect beach weather. The British Virgin Islands will not disappoint; bordering its almost 60 islands, islets and cays are literally hundreds of beaches. There are beaches for relaxing on the sand, romancing under the moonlight, snorkeling to a coral reef, beach-combing for shells or people watching while sipping a pina colada. Is it any wonder that when locals have a day off they head to the beach, and a visitor’s every dream is to strip down to swim wear and make for that deck chair at the water’s edge.
Tortola is the territory’s premier island, administrative centre and home to its capital, Road Town. It also boasts many fine beaches from surfing hot spots and party fun to quiet solitude and a back-to-nature ambiance.
Cane Garden Bay is a sweeping, sandy crescent beach lined with palm trees and backed by lush green hills. As its name suggests the hills were once covered in sugar cane and several rum distilleries and sugar works operated in the vicinity. One of Cane Garden Bay’s attractions is the distillery that is still operating today.
Long Bay is aptly named; at some 500 yards it has to be the longest sandy beach on Tortola. The beach itself offers great boogie boarding and body surfing.
Josiah’s Bay is a special favorite among surfers when the waves are up. Josiah’s Bay has two island style beach bar/restaurants and there are a few thatched umbrellas for shade.
Trellis Bay is on Beef Island close to the airport. It is the terminal for many of the islands’ ferry routes and is often a hive of activity. This stretch of beach is most interesting for strolling along the water’s edge and taking in the shops and cafes that are nestled together. A small sandy beach for swimming can be found in front of the Loose Mongoose, a casual beach bar and restaurant at the south end of the bay. Continuing past this point, you can follow the beach right the end of the point and perhaps spot some bright orange starfish dotted along the seabed.
Nanny Cay is home to the islands’ pre-eminent marina complex. If you drive right through to the southern end of the cay you’ll arrive at a sandy crescent beach with deck chairs neatly arranged under palm trees. An alfresco bar is adjacent to the swimming pool and a full service bar and restaurant is located just behind the beach. Nanny Cay is a good alternative if north side beaches are affected by inclement weather.
Trunk Bay is a magical beach along the north shore of Tortola. The hillsides are dotted with new homes, many perched on impossible cliff-top ledges. This beach is likely to be equally deserted and perfect for those searching solitude, peace and quiet. A helpful hint: four-wheel-drive vehicles are a must!
Brewer’s Bay is a magnificent crescent of sand backed by lofty palms and it has managed to remain relatively free of crowds. There’s a small beach bar and café at one end of the beach and an interesting reef to explore at the opposite end.
Smugglers’ Cove, a family favorite, is a small beach that is considered a local gem; the water always seems to be crystal clear and the overhanging palms provide welcome shade. The shallow waters are great for families with small kids as there isn’t usually any swell.
My favorite north shore beach is Rogues Bay with a wide swath of sand and a rocky peninsula at the western end. Pelicans dive for sprat, frigate birds wheel overhead and ghost crabs dart for cover while breaking waves turn to a frothy carpet as they gently ascend the sloping sand.
Here your footprints are likely to be the only ones…
Jost van Dyke’s Beaches
Jost Van Dyke, named after a Dutch pirate some 350 years ago, is home to the BVI’s most spectacular beach playground, White Bay. The white powdery sand rises steeply from the turquoise crystal water and is visible from miles away, thus its name. The white sand and clear waters of White Bay create the picture perfect combination attracting day trippers from the neighboring USVI making this beach into one long party. The legendary, award winning beach bar Soggy Dollar is here and dispenses its famous Painkiller tropical cocktail all day long. Ivan’s Stress Free Bar operates on the honor system so help yourself and put the money in the pot. And Great Harbour is home to the world famous Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, restaurant and gift shop. The Great Harbour is one long beach and behind the shoreline runs a sand lane where vehicular traffic pass. The road is lined with beach bar/restaurants and several souvenir stalls.
The islet of Sandy Cay is the classic tropical island paradise. Tall green overhanging palms offer shade to those enjoying the powdery white sand beach. The water is gin clear and the beach offers a perfect sunset. There’s a nature trail around the perimeter of the cay. Nearby Sandy Spit is a tiny sandy cay with a single palm tree and an off lying coral reef for snorkeling. Both locations provide great photographic opportunities to make friends and family at home jealous!
Near Foxy’s Taboo, a lunchtime café and bar at Diamond Cay, there is a unique beach and natural Jacuzzi called the Bubbly Pool. It can be found after a pretty walk down the shore in a northerly direction and then alongside a salt pond. During the winter months the north swells produce large waves that are forced through a natural fissure in the rocks – and hey presto! – a bubbly pool.
Virgin Gorda’s Beaches
You cannot miss the string of beaches along the stretch of coast at Virgin Gorda’s southwestern end from Valley Trunk Bay to Devil’s Bay. Huge house-sized granite boulders are strewn haphazardly along this sandy stretch of coast creating interesting trails marked by unusual natural rock sculptures. This natural art has been formed by centuries of erosion by rain, wind and sea, and the sun shining through natural gaps in the boulder formations creates glimmering and shimmering reflections on rock faces. The area known as the Baths, a BVI national park, should be on everyone’s list of essential things to do while on vacation.
Another must see is Savannah Bay, a delightful stretch of white sand beach, that is easily accessible with room for 3 to 4 yachts to anchor. A coral reef in crystal clear water lies close off shore and an underwater trail guides you across various coral species; it’s just perfect for snorkelers. A few thatch umbrellas provide shade on this usually quiet beach. Additionally, Teteor Bay, Mahoe Bay, Nail Bay and Long Bay are all accessed from the coast road running along Virgin Gorda’s western shoreline. Each sandy strip offers a stunning view of the islands with Tortola in the distance.
The North Sound of Virgin Gorda is a Mecca for yachts and, as its name suggests, it is almost entirely surrounded by land. The most prominent resort here is the Bitter End Yacht Club. It has two beaches; the main one by the restaurant offers a panoramic view across the Sound. It is perfect for viewing the sometimes hundreds of luxury yachts as well as overlooking wind surfers and kite boarders as they skim across the water.
Biras Creek Resort sits on a knoll between the Sound and the Caribbean Sea. Casual visitors are welcome to walk the many fascinating trails, one of which leads to its personal sandy beach, perfect for a quick dip after an invigorating hike.
What can we say about Anegada other than the fact that it is really one big beach. Long popular with yachtsmen, the island is unique in the BVI because unlike its steep volcanic sister islands, Anegada is a flat coral island rising to a maximum of 28-ft above sea level. Anegada is famously known as having the world’s third largest barrier reef (after Australia and Belize!) Between the islands’ seemingly endless barrier reef and the beach is a calm and crystal-clear body of water dotted with coral heads providing great snorkeling that almost extends around the whole perimeter of the island. The Big Bamboo at Loblolly Bay was the first beach bar and restaurant along the north-eastern stretch of shoreline. Famous for lobster, fish and conch dishes this popular establishment also offers snorkeling as well as a stocked beach bar, gift shop and a selection of treats from its new ice cream bar.
The north facing Cow Wreck Beach has snorkeling that is equally as good if not better. There is a bar/restaurant with fish and lobster specialties and even a shark taco dish on the menu. One of my favorite beaches in the BVI is a two-mile stretch of sand from the island’s western tip to Pomato Point. A small restaurant/bar of the same name provides refreshments and a one-room museum that displays artifacts from the island’s many shipwrecks. All in all, the island offers many enticing places to explore the vast coastline of this truly unique island.
Outer Islands and Cays
There’s a superb sandy beach on Cooper Island at Manchioneel Bay. Lined with palm trees, sea grape trees and sprinkled with beach loungers this small beach is hard to beat. Kids can enjoy climbing and beach games while the adults supervise while sipping cocktails from the newly refurbished Cooper Island Beach Club and restaurant situated right behind the palms. There is also a dive centre here (as Wreck Alley is just around the corner with several sunken boat wrecks to explore) and an interesting gift shop. Cistern Point, which is at the end of the beach to the south, offers interesting snorkeling.
Marina Cay is an idyllic ‘postcard-perfect’ island made famous some seventy five years ago by Robb and Rodie White. They built a small house on the island’s summit and lived a kind of Robinson Crusoe lifestyle. Their story was even made into a Hollywood movie. The islands only beach is adjacent to the popular Pusser’s restaurant and features shaded gazebos and steps for easy access to the crystal-clear water. A regular ferry runs between Beef Island and Marina Cay if you fancy a visit from Tortola.
Dead Man’s Bay at Peter Island’s eastern end is the quintessential Caribbean beach. It’s a sweeping arc of fine white sand with swaying palms providing shade. Dead Chest Cay, made famous by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island, is clearly visible to the east. Fantastic views are the reward for anyone hiking the surrounding hills, especially if you fancy exploring the same vantage points as pirates for yourself.
SUNFUNBVI is about enabling your idea of fun and in addition to enjoying the natural playground of paradise there are also several beaches where water toys are available for rent. Whatever you desire can be satisfied in the British Virgin Island, and we’re here to help.
The BVI has a large, diverse selection of beaches and all are open to the public; even those on billion dollar private islands! However, everyone is asked to respect the privacy of others and the delicate balance of nature. The taking of corals, shells and driftwood etc is prohibited.
Please leave the natural beauty of the BVI for others to enjoy.
Remember: Only take pictures, leave only footprints.