British Virgin Islands

Overview

Introduction

No golf. No glitter. Not much shopping. The British Virgin Islands (often referred to as B.V.I.) may be only a few miles/kilometers away from the U.S. Virgin Islands, but don't expect the tourist bustle of St. Thomas. The British Virgin Islands have spectacular sailing waters and coral reefs that surround them, calm and tidy towns, luxurious accommodations and gourmet dining. For many, they are the perfect island getaway.

But, as with most things perfect and luxurious, the British Virgin Islands don't come cheap. The islands' emphasis on small, upscale resorts and their desire to appeal to well-heeled travelers result in a relatively pricey paradise with an exclusive atmosphere.

Although some dozen or so cruise ships visit the islands—with the majority of the cruise vessels visiting Tortola—you're more likely to see yachts. Sailors enjoy steady trade winds, short distances between islands, beautiful views and many sheltered coves where they can drop anchor. These are considered some of the finest sailing waters in the world. Scuba divers and snorkelers also relish the reefs, wrecks and clear waters off the islands.

By whatever means you visit the British Virgin Islands, expect a slow and restorative pace with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. The panorama includes white crescent beaches nestled at the bottom of steep, green mountains and stunning views of neighboring islands from lofty lookouts.

Note: The British Virgin Islands sustained severe damage during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. It was reported that 80% of the BVI’s boats were destroyed or damaged, severely decimating the region’s charter boat industry. Now a number of sailing charter companies have repaired damage or are in the process of replacing boats. Quite a few are already fully operational, or expecting to be by the 2018-2019 season. Infrastructure, including power and roads, is well on its way to being restored. Villas and several hotels are accepting guests, many restaurants are open and serving full menus, and remaining venues and properties are mostly expected to open by the end of 2018, although a few may take a little longer.

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