Top Reasons Why You Should Go Sailing in the British Virgin Islands

With more than 30 islands to explore, the British Virgin Islands are a must-visit for all who love to sail
With more than 30 islands to explore, the British Virgin Islands are a must-visit for all who love to sail | © Flavio Vallenari / Getty Images
Photo of Sadie Whitelocks
21 March 2022
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The British Virgin Islands are widely regarded as the ‘sailing capital of the Caribbean’. It serves as an adventure playground for sailors with more than 30 islands to explore, as well as favourable conditions year-round. Here, Culture Trip reveals the top reasons why you should go sailing in the British Virgin Islands.

Explore the British Virgin Islands from the water by booking onto an eight-day sailing adventure with Culture Trip, where you’ll get to see pink Caribbean flamingos and snorkel through tropical reefs.

Enjoy favourable sailing conditions

Sail the stunning oceans around the BVI | © Dream Yacht Charter

One of the biggest lures of the BVIs is that it has excellent sailing conditions all year round, due to near-constant trade winds, calm waters, very few navigational hazards, and a consistent climate. The average temperature is around 25ºC, rising to plus 30ºC during the summer months. If you’re fairly new to sailing, it’s best to avoid the busier sailing months. May, October, and November are quieter on the water, making it easier to navigate marinas and anchorages.

Explore the islands with ease

Enioy a catamaran cruise near the uninhabited Sandy Cay | © B.A.E. Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

There are four main islands in the BVIs – Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke – and 32 smaller islets. Travelling by boat means you can explore the territory at your leisure and hop from island to island. Many are uninhabited so you’ll get a true Robinson Crusoe experience mooring up at some of these lesser-known spots.

Lounge on pristine beaches

Visit Spring Bay for a dip in the Baths | © Poelzer Wolfgang / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for some of the most Instagrammable beaches in the world, then head to the BVIs. While the Baths on Virgin Gorda might attract the crowds for good reason, there are plenty of secluded strips of sand that can only be accessed by boat. Find some of the most sublime beaches on Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. Expect the whitest sands imaginable along with piercing aquamarine waters.

Dock at the finest marinas in the Caribbean

Dine out at the Bitter End Yacht Club | © Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

The BVIs play host to the Caribbean‘s best yacht clubs, with state-of-the-art facilities and picture-perfect scenery to boot. The best-known spots to moor up include the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, which spearheads a variety of regattas and sailing events throughout the year; the Royal BVI Yacht Club in Road Town; and the West End Yacht Club is based at Soper’s Hole and Nanny Cay on Tortola.

Spot unique wildlife

Go scuba diving with turtles | © Strmko / iStock

Dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles and manatees are among the creatures you might catch sight of while cruising through the BVIs. Sailors are encouraged to report any sightings of marine mammals to the Conservation & Fisheries Department and to shift to neutral if an animal approaches the vessel. On land, endemic species include the Anegada ground iguana and the Virgin Gorda least gecko.

Sail into the sunset

Bask in the stunning sunsets of the Caribbean | © EyeEm / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for the ultimate sunset shot, the BVIs is the place to be. You’ll find some of the best sunsets in the Caribbean here. As evening descends, the sky often sets ablaze with a fiery mix of orange, pink, and purple hues. There’s no better way to witness the setting sun than by boat, preferably with a cocktail in hand. Top spots to see the sunset from the water include Cane Garden Bay on Tortola and off Anegada.

Dive into top snorkeling spots

Jump off your boat for a swim in crystal clear waters | © iStock / Getty Images Plus

Plunge into the BVI’s azure waters and witness the magical world lurking below the surface. The region is home to hundreds of top snorkelling and scuba diving spots, which you can easily access from your vessel. Our favourite spots include Leinster Bay on Saint John, where sea turtles and rays are known to congregate and just off the Bight anchorage on Norman Island, where you’ll find a healthy reef harbouring a cornucopia of creatures.

Tuck into local delights

Taste fresh seafood at many local restaurants | © Roberto Moiola / Sysaworld / iStock

Get a true taste of the Caribbean by dipping into local restaurants and bars as you weave your way around the BVIs. There are dozens of waterside spots that you can moor up by. Must-try delicacies include Anegada lobster, rotis (a flatbread sandwich that can be filled with a variety of fillings) as well as fish and fungi (a cornmeal and okra mixture served with seafood). On the drinks front, you can’t leave the BVIs without trying a painkiller cocktail. The moreish concoction of rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, orange juice, and a grating of nutmeg on top, was invented in the 70s at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke.

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