Dive Into the British Virgin Islands
Sailing is especially enticing here, as you can drop anchor at a new island each day. In fact, the sailing here is so great that it’s a magnet for sailing and regatta competitors. Speaking of the beautiful water, there’s a lot of beach to enjoy across these 60 islands, and just off the shore, divers and snorkelers will find vibrant marine life among coral reefs. If you’d prefer to stay dry, there are different isles for different styles. Tortola bursts with culture and great restaurants, while Virgin Gorda keeps calm with small hotels, posh resorts and laid back beach bars. No matter your speed, there’s something for everyone in the British Virgin Islands.
Things to Do in Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Diving adventures are endless in the British Virgin Islands. Before you suit up and dive into the waters of Tortola, let us tell you about a couple of dive sites you'll brag about well after you've dried off. Alice in Wonderland is a reef known for its distinctly mushroom-shaped coral. Painted Walls is a dive site where technicolor-like coral has grown on the walls of gullies. Similarly, Indians dive site lets you get up close to coral growing on 50-foot tall spikes. The waters around Tortola are also home to several shipwrecks. Most intriguing is the RMS Rhone, a steamer from 1867. The ship, now home to many different species of coral and fish, is remarkably well preserved, making for memorable dives. There are a lot more dive sites to explore around the British Virgin Islands, but these will get you started.
Visit the East and West End Beaches
In the British Virgin Islands, the beaches are numerous and beautiful, no matter which island you’re on. On Tortola, you’ll find breathtaking beaches from its east to west ends. To the west, Smuggler’s Cove is a haven for swimmers, snorkelers and sunbathers. This palm tree-lined stretch of white sand is everything you'd expect from a beach in BVI. Popular with Long Bay Resort guests, the beach draws a crowd on weekends, but check it out during the week for a more secluded experience. Back east, Long Bay Beach on Beef Island is on the opposite side of Tortola–and it’s massive! The calm waters suit swimmers and snorkelers wonderfully, and the picturesque sands stretch on and on. There are no amenities at the beach, so come prepared with snacks, clothes and whatever else you'll need. The tranquil setting and the room to roam make for an unforgettable beach visit.
The North Shore Beaches
Head northwest out of Road Town, and you'll find these two beaches. They're wonderful fusions of the British Virgin Islands’ culture and beauty. Cane Garden Bay offers snorkeling and swimming in clear water and great sunbathing on smooth, white sand. Located close to Road Town, the beach shows some of the city’s more urban influence. But that simply means more facilities and a nice cultural undertone to the pretty scenery. Apple Bay is home to Bomba’s Surfside Shack, one of the island’s famous establishments that serves up drinks, food and music from a building that's decorated with floatsam. The restaurant’s name and location are no accident. Surfers head to Apple Bay to catch killer waves. The beach is narrow and not ideal for swimming, so surfers can focus on what they do best.
Trellis KitchenLocated on the waterfront at Trellis Bay, the Trellis Kitchen and Cyber Cafe serves up tasty food and high speed Wi-Fi. The food spans breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Full Monty Breakfast gives you the whole package, and their “Famous Awesome Sandwich” speaks for itself. The restaurant is also the site of the Trellis Bay Full Moon parties, where local bands play well into the night to celebrate this phase of the lunar cycle with local flair. Head out here for dinner one evening, or stop by for lunch during a day at the beach. Start your day with a Trellis breakfast, or greet the full moon in party style. Trellis Kitchen is always a fun spot to be in the British Virgin Islands.
Sail to MystiqueBy now, you've probably heard about the strong sailing and charter culture in the British Virgin Islands. Now it's time for us to tell you about one of these charters so you can enjoy the adventure and excitement of exploring the waters and islands around BVI. Mystique Sailing runs charters out of Soper’s Hole, Tortola. They operate a beautiful sailing catamaran that travels to Jost Van Dyke, Norman Islands and the Baths at Virgin Gorda. Your sailing charter wouldn't be complete without some exploration. The operators provide snorkeling gear (ages 8+), life vests and 2-man kayaks, so you can get in the water and see for yourself what makes Tortola and the British Virgin Islands a magical beach destination.
Surfing in Josiah's BayJosiah's Bay is a picturesque setting that offers a laid back sand-n-surf experience in the British Virgin Islands. It's also one of the best surf destinations on Tortola. This beach offers exceptional surfing from October to April. This means the riptides can be strong, making the water non-friendly to swimmers. So, non-surfers can hang out on the sandy beach to sunbathe and watch the surfers catch big waves. The beach backs up to a farm, so the occasional livestock might wander across the beach, which only makes the area feel more secluded and provincial.
Stephen's Beach Bar at Smuggler's CoveNear Smuggler’s Cove, on an unmarked road, the bar's eponymous owner keeps loud music going out of a boombox and serves cold beers and mixed drinks. The weekends get more crowded, as people come to see the view of Jost Van Dyke in the distance and relax on the beach at Smuggler's Cove. Once you're done hanging out on the palm tree-fringed beach, head back up to Stephen's for another drink. This blend of classic beach bar and beautiful beach is what the British Virgin Islands are all about.