Visiting The British Virgin Islands is always a guaranteed good time. However, the secret to elevating this trip from good to unforgettable is by exploring the islands by boat. Possibly the most amazing vacation Earle and I have ever experienced was sailing the BVIs. We chartered a sailboat from The Moorings on mainland, Tortola, and explored uninhabited cays, bathed on multiple islands, and hit the top tourist destinations – all while still sleeping in the same bed every night. While staying in a resort is enjoyable, in order to see the multiple islands and dozens of sites, you need to plan out day trips by ferry, car or plane – all of which can be a hassle. Therefore chartering a boat is the BEST advice we could offer those venturing to this beautiful, tropical destination. Once you charter the vessel, these are the top 5 mooring “Pitt Stops” you should make in the BVIs.
Willy T’s is possibly my favorite bar in the world. It’s named after William Thorton, a gentleman who was born on the BVIs in 1759 and is best known for being the architect of the United States Capital Building. This watering hole floats, yes literally floats, in Bight Bay off the coast of Norman Island, a perfect mooring spot for the night. The bar sits on a decommissioned, 100ft steel shunner and is nothing fancy – it is more or less a dive (no pun intended), but totally worth your time. It’s only accessible by boat, so to get there you can either 1) ride a dingy and tie up at the designated docking area or 2) take a water taxi!
You can’t go to the Caribbean islands without taking the time to snorkel. One of the best snorkeling spots in the BVIs are the Indians, a series of tall, jagged rocks off Norman Island. The islets got this name because their silhouette resembles a Native American headdress. They stand about 30-40 feet above the surface, and provide the perfect snorkeling day trip. There, you can find a mooring buoy and spend the day exploring the beautiful, protected reefs of the National Parks Trust.
The Soggy Dollar
The Soggy Dollar is a unique, bayside bar on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. White Bay is a gorgeous mooring spot for a night. It lies at the southwestern side of Jost Van Dyke, a beautiful, 3 square mile island. While the scenery is nothing short of stunning, what makes this island special is “The Painkiller”. “The Painkiller” is the signature drink of the Caribbean islands, but it was originated and perfected at the Soggy Dollar in the 1970’s. This delicious drink is concocted with premium dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, orange juice, and fresh nutmeg. It’s smooth, tropical taste embodies the Caribbean spirit, and the Soggy Dollar it’s the perfect “Pitt Stop” for any tropic traveller.
Probably the most popular site on the BVIs are the Baths. The Baths are a collection of massive granite boulders, some rising as high as 40 feet, that lie atop the white sand beaches of Virgin Gorda’s southern tip. Boasting beautiful caves and secret, molten rock pools, the volcanic boulders create a uniquely picturesque mooring spot and are a must visit for any traveller. Spend a day at this world renowned site exploring caves, bathing on the beaches, and snorkeling.
The Bitter End
On the Northern side of Virgin Gorda is The Bitter End resort, a fun mooring spot for travelers looking for beautiful beaches, delicious food, and a lively nightlife. Adorable timber and teak huts line the lush hillside, and for those who want an off-boat rinse, the resort even provides public showers. The Crawl Pub, the island watering hole, provides yummy brick oven pizzas, a large open air movie screen to watch popular sporting events, and beachside live entertainment.
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