British Virgin Islands tips

Old Mar 23rd, 2001, 06:54 AM
M. Coburn
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British Virgin Islands tips

We are going to the British Virgin Islands for the first time in May and will be on a charted yacht for a five days and will stay about another five days on land. Do you have any tips. Where are the best places to snorkel? Where are the best places to stay that are not too expensive? What was your most fun thing to do???? Thanks!
Old Mar 23rd, 2001, 08:03 AM
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You have made a great choice ... great islands and the chance to see them both by land and by sea. Since you are sailing, the most important thing to get is the Cruising Guide (if your charter company hasn't already supplied it). Read it and decide what sounds good to you and plan your itinerary around it. Different people like different things.

If you are sailing with a crew, ask for their suggestions of what to see and do. They know the best spots.

If you are a first-timer, I suggest that you visit the Baths -- it's an absolute must-see. Go early or go late and you will miss the cruise ship crowds. Beyond that, any choices you make are likely to be good ones. Some of my favorites are Jost Van Dyke (esp. White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar), nearby Sandy Spit, and Marina Cay. Great snorkeling at Monkey Point, a national park site.

From land, I highly recommend a visit to Smuggler's Cove on Tortola, which is inaccessible from the sea because of the reefs. Some other cool spots are Cane Garden Bay (accessible by land or sea, very sociable), Bomba's Shack, Brewer's Bay, Soper's Hole, etc. So much to see and do...

We have tended to spend our BVI visits either sailing, or if on land, staying at the charter companies' hotels (with Moorings or Footloose, it has been the Mariner Inn or Treasure Isle). Both are decent hotels, right in Roadtown, with moderate rates. For a real down-island dining experience, I highly recommend C&F.

If you would like to read my trip reports, 3 of them (with photos) can be found on my website at Also, the trip report archives at has a wealth of BVI reports.
Old Mar 23rd, 2001, 10:35 AM
Ray Snow
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The BVI Forum at also has loads of BVI info for both landlubbers and sailors. You can also post questions on that forum in addition to reading the trip reports found there as mentioned by Eva.
Old Mar 23rd, 2001, 05:37 PM
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Hi, I used to work as a charter captain and cook in the BVI until 1990, I don't think much has changed. Nice places to snorkel while you are on your charter baot, ask your crew, they will be more than happy to help you, while on the island, they have some reasonable places to stay in town if you don't mind driving to snorkel and or beaches, look for the welcome guide of the BVI, I think available on lien, wrtiet me if you need any specific suggestions, either way I am sure you will have a great time
Old Mar 23rd, 2001, 07:42 PM
M. Coburn
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Thank you for all your good suggestions. I am really looking forward to this trip. It is good to know what is accessible by land and by sea. Does anyone have a favorite restaurant??? And it is worth it to go to St. Thomas or St. John's?
Old Mar 24th, 2001, 03:52 PM
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In the mid-range price category I recommend Frenchman's Cay Resort on Tortola and Olde Yard Inn on Virgin Gorda, depending on which island your charter pulls in to. Frenchman's is outstanding. Very close to Soper's Hole in case your vessel pulls in there. Olde Yard has a great reputation. Both feed you well. You can do a search on both here at Fodors at the top of this page.
Regarding snorkeling, I highly recommend that you use Patouche II, a catamaran out of Road Town. Outstanding crew that takes you on half day or full day trips. Small groups and excellent sites. The best places to snorkel cannot be reached except by boat. Any good places that you could walk or drive to on either island have long since been destroyed because of their availability.
Most fun things to do: at Frenchman's the view from your shaded porch is PHENOMENAL and the best in the BVI so our favorite thing is to sit there on the porch, read a bit, and kibitz on the various vessels passing by and whether or not their capt. knows what he's/she's doing (they never do, you know, particularly after I've drunk a couple of rum coolers). At Olde Yard Inn or on Virgin Gorda, in general, the best thing to do is go to the Baths. Everyone loves them; I think they're okay. Frankly, though, I much prefer mountainous Tortola and having a 4WD to visit all the tiny bays at the bottom of steep roads. I like to bath in the sea with my wife on a deserted beach and watch the birds dive for fish. If you select Frenchman's be sure to get the package with the car. You'll want it! Find both at
Write if I can provide particulars.

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