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Exploring the British Virgin Islands

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a self-governing British overseas territory in the Caribbean, east of the U.S. Virgin Islands. By comparison, the BVI are less developed and commercialized than their U.S. counterpart. The BVIs include several of the Caribbean’s most popular vacation destinations and offers sailing, sport fishing, boating, and other sun-and-fun activities. The BVIs also features many tiny, mostly uninhabited islands and are a great stop on any tour of the Caribbean islands. In all, there are 16 inhabited and more than 43 uninhabited islands falling into two types: relatively flat coral islands and steep volcanic islands.

Experiencing the British Virgin Islands

The primary tourist centers are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. Tortola is the BVIs’ largest island and the center of its activity. The capital of Road Town features international restaurants and a shopping district. Tortola has a sheltered harbor that draws many boating enthusiasts, and the harbor regularly hosts regattas. Slow-paced Virgin Gorda features attractive beaches and The Baths, a geological marvel of granite boulders, rock pools, grottoes, and caves. The crescent-shaped Devil’s Bay Beach is accessible from the Baths via ladders that scale the boulders.

Tortola British Virgin Islands
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Anegada features Horseshoe Reef, a 39-mile-long habitat popular with snorkelers. Horseshoe Reef features a maze of tunnels, drops, and caves that are home to angelfish, triggerfish, and parrotfish. Jost Van Dyke attracts holidaymakers who want to party to calypso music at one of the many beach bars, and visitors can sample such local dishes as roti (stuffed flatbread) and Johnny cakes at a pastel bungalow snack bar. Norman Island is said to be the model for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” Water sports are widely available in the BVIs and include parasailing, windsurfing, sunset catamaran sailing, snorkeling, kiteboarding, kayaking, waterskiing, wakeboarding, inner tubing, and surfing.

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