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Caribbean-On-Line » Caribbean Travel Advisor » British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands travel tips

May 18, 2009

Mine Shaft Cafe, Virgin Gorda

mineshaft.JPGThe Mine Shaft Café on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands offers beautiful sunset views while you dine out on their elevated deck with very good food, including above average BBQ and jerk chicken wraps with homemade potato salad and curly fries. Drinks are good too, including a not too sweet Rum Punch. Overall, a good value.

sunset.JPGPlus, right as the sun sets, what seems like dozens of chickens gather under the big tree next to the deck and start a clumsy, noisy ascent up into the highest part of the tree.

What a spectacle. The hostess tells us they are wild and don't have a man made place to stay, so they roost up in the tree for the night to stay safe from predators. What must that place sound like at 5 AM?

Travel Tip submitted by jmq on the VIOL Forum.

February 8, 2009

Day trip to Anegada in the BVI

big-bamboo-loblolly-bay-anegada.jpgUnlike the other islands that make up The British Virgins, Anegada is the only island in the group that is not mountainous. Flatter than an IHOP pancake, Anegada is an atoll - an island formed from thick layers of dead coral reef that has deposited around a volcanic island that has receded back into the sea. The great thing about atolls are their beaches. The most spectacular on this island is Loblolly Bay, a terrific stretch of sand that, as luck would have it, has a place or two to eat. And lobster is on the menu. You will find crustaceans, both fresh and reasonably priced. The beach here is one of the most pristine you can find in The Caribbean. It is not unlike the unspoiled beaches you can find on Antigua's sister island, Barbuda.

loblolly-bay-anegada.jpgAnegada is the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands. It's a totally different experience from the other islands, in that it is not geared to tourism. In fact it has a small population, and transportation getting to the island can be sporadic.

You can get there by power catamaran, Dive BVI has a trip twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays in high season, subject to getting a minimum of 8 reservations. It is supposed to take 45 minutes for the crossing, and as this boat just screams out across the ocean, you will get there fast. Cost is $80 adults/$60 children. Lunch is not included in this price. or call 284-495-5513. They have three pick up spots on Virgin Gorda: Leverick Bay, VG Yacht Harbour and Little Dix Bay. Unfortunately, they only go from Virgin Gorda, and not the most populated island of Tortola.

To get there from Tortola, Fly BVI, can take you for the day. It's only a 10 minute flight over azure seas. They will bring you out in the morning and pick up in the afternoon. They can arrange a vehicle to take you from the landing strip to the beach, and back in the afternoon to catch the return flight. Sometimes Fly BVI has a scheduled charter that you can book a seat or two on, or if not, and you have a group you can charter their services. Call them at: (284) 495-1747

October 5, 2008

The Baths in Virgin Gorda, BVI

This is perhaps the most unusual site in the Caribbean. The labyrinth of The Baths was created from a seemingly random juggle of house-sized boulders toppled onto to one another. There is a path through the rocks that connects the beach at the Baths to Devils Bay, a sandy cove protected by more large boulders. It's about a 20 minute hike through the maze of these granite behemoths to access the other side. If you don't want to be Indiana Jones for a day scrambling through the rocky maze to get to Devil's Bay, it is also accessible from a path cut through the bush above The Baths.

September 30, 2008

Artisanal Rum in Tortola, BVI

Continuously operating for four centuries, the rum distillery on the old Arundel estate has been operated by the Callwood family for it's last 200 years. The original stone buildings look to be in a decaying state, with old musty barrels piled high with aging rum. Sugar cane grows on the land adjacent to the factory, and is harvested a couple times a month from March to August. This is then crushed and distilled and put in barrels to age. In my opinion, Arundel cane rum is the purest, smoothest rum to be found in the Caribbean. On par with the finest cane rums produced in Martinique (which can cost 10 times as much), the top Arundel rum is aged for10 years in barrels in which the interior has been burnt to instill a smoky flavor in the maturing liquid, and costs an unbelievable $15 a bottle. It is however, in very limited supply. Their 4 year old rum is $9 a bottle, and is generally available year round. Also produced are 'wines', made from exotic local fruits: soursop, golden apple and banana.


The Callwood Distillery is found in the Cane Garden Bay area on the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.

August 28, 2008

10 BEST Caribbean beaches you've never heard of
  • Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands
  • Devil's Bay, The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI
  • Ile Pinel, St. Martin
  • Casuarina Beach, Palm Island, The Grenadines, St. Vincent
  • Grand Anse des Salines, Martinique
  • White Bay, Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
  • Minister Bay, Tobago
  • Anse Chastenet Beach, St. Lucia
  • Knip Bay, Curacao
  • Point o'Sand Beach, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

August 25, 2008

Beachcombers Paradise at Long Bay Beach Resort in Tortola, BVI

long-bay-beach-resort-bvi.jpgThe beach is Tortola's best - stroll for a mile on one of the most picturesque strands to grace an island in the Caribbean. You will probably recognize it as Long Bay has graced many a magazine cover.

Beautifully positioned in this idyllic Eden is The Long Bay Beach Resort and Villas. At 157 rooms it is the largest resort in Tortola. The rooms are spread out along the beach and up on the hillside covering it's 52 acres. As is de riguer these days, there is a spa, as well as a couple of tennis courts and a pool perched halfway up the hill with a drop dead view.

There are more sleeping options here than you can shake an iguana at:
Beachfront rooms, Jacuzzi suites, hillside apartments, villas, estate homes and a hammock (ok, that was mine). The higher in altitude you go the better the view and pricier the accommodation.

Continue reading "Beachcombers Paradise at Long Bay Beach Resort in Tortola, BVI" »

June 19, 2008

Found: The Ultimate Caribbean Beach Bar in the British Virgins

soggy-dollar.jpgLocated on White Bay on the small island of Jost Van Dyke, this place has two "bests": beach and bar. It is a non-stop party, with the pulsating sounds of reggae music and pounding surf. The Soggy Dollar provides plenty of free hammocks and beach chairs. At the bar, Mik serves up some excellent mixed drinks. Photographers like me appreciate that he'll keep your camera under the bar while you swim. The food's great. Check out the chicken roti, which tastes even better flushed down with a rum punch or two. With a side salad the roti costs $12. Lunch is served from 11am-3:15pm

The Soggy Dollar Bar takes its name from a little tradition sited on their website: "Since we don't have a dock here on Jost Van Dyke, our guests swim ashore from their boats and buy drinks with their soggy dollars."
The hitch: It's not easy getting here. Most arrive by boat. The BVI has some of the best sailing in the Caribbean, so for the 'yachtie' set, this is a great destination. For landlubbers it's a bit more difficult. But 'Jost' is accessible by public ferry from Tortola and St. John. For maximum enjoyment, spend a night on the island: there are a few places to stay on White Bay, as well as in Great Bay near the ferry dock.

April 6, 2008

Camping in the Caribbean

stress-free-bar.jpgThe island of Jost Van Dyke is quite a bit off the beaten track, but if it's a low cost Caribbean vacation you're after, pitching your tent at The White Bay Campground should fit the bill.

To get there hop on a ferry from Tortola in the BVI or St John in the USVI to Jost Van Dyke. From St. John, an American owned island, you'll have to pass through customs as soon as you land in Tortola. If you are on a direct ferry, you will stay in transit here for only a few minutes. It's only 20 minutes from West End (the ferry dock) in Tortola to Jost.

Ferries arrive in Great Bay, the main settlement, and although it's only a fifteen minute walk to the campground on White Bay, there will be taxis waiting at dockside. Upon arrival, sit yourself down at Ivan's Stress-Free Bar and ponder the possibilities: a tent on the beach, or basic accommodation in one of Ivan's 17 no-frills cabins.

Continue reading "Camping in the Caribbean" »

January 30, 2008

Island Hopping by local ferry


Some Caribbean islands are easier to get to than others. Those would be the ones you can fly into. However, once you land think about taking local ferries to experience some of the smaller islands. The following is a short guide to the possibilities:

The USVI and The BVI are well connected to each other, as well as to their local island communities. Ferry companies, Smiths and Speedy's connect Tortola to Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and other smaller isles in the BVI. St. Thomas and St John are almost joined at the hip due to excellent, frequent service. Tip: You can go from the US side to the British side easily. (

Continue reading "Island Hopping by local ferry" »

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