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.
The British Virgin Islands sustained severe damage during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Recovery is ongoing, but the islands' infrastructure has been restored and many sailing charter companies, hotels and other businesses have reopened.
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