The British Virgin Islands — a British overseas territory — consists of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. Quite and mostly casual, the islands are popular with tourists who enjoy water sports, sailing as well as hiking, shopping and just generally relaxing while enjoying Caribbean hospitality. Below we highlight 10 of the more popular tourist attractions for visitors to the British Virgin Islands.
1. The Baths
Arguably the most popular attraction in the British Virgin Islands, the Baths in Virgin Gorda welcomes hundreds of visitors every year. Located on the BVI’s second most populous island, the unique attraction is marked by giant boulders carved by nature’s hand between the mountains and the sea. The formations create natural pools and grottos for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors also delight in exploring the sand bottom cave. This beautiful spectacle of nature is one of the most photographed places in the BVI and feature prominently in advertisements and travel brochures.
2. Dolphin Discovery
Dolphin Discovery is an exciting interactive experience that is quickly growing acclaim as one of the most memorable activities in the BVI. Visitors go on an amazing journey to hug, kiss and swim alongside bottleneck dolphins penned in natural ocean water. Located on Tortola, a stone’s throw away from the capital Road Town, Dolphin Discovery has certified trainers who share expert knowledge of these friendly marine animals, and guide visitors through a close up adventure that includes a Belly Ride – holding on to the dolphin’s fins as he swims backwards. Activities are available for both adults and children.
3. Cane Garden Bay
Famous for its beautiful beach, Cane Garden Bay is very popular as one of the most entertaining places on Tortola. Cruise passengers especially flock the area where lush, green hills form a serene backdrop to the crescent shaped beach. In addition to watersports activities, theMyetts Restaurant serves up delicious local dishes and island drinks set to reggae and soca rhythms.
4. Bomba Shack
Perched by the sea in Carpoon’s Bay on Tortola’s West End, Bomba Shack is as famous for monthly full moon parties and as its highly potent mushroom tea. What’s the big deal about a run-down shack with a slew of women’s underwear greeting you at the entrance? Visitors say that’s part of the experience! Judging by the rave reviews of this slapdash stomping ground, people willingly leave behind personal items or scribble on the walls to mark their visit. Every full moon, revelers gather to drink mushroom tea and dance into the wee hours of the morning. Once a year on Old Year’s Night, tourists and locals cram Bomba Shack to ring in the New Year.
5. Jost Van Dyke
One the smaller island of Jost Van Dyke is White Bay, one of the BVI’s most beautiful swim spots. The glistening white sand beach leads into the inviting turquoise waters for excellent swimming and snorkeling. On Great Harbour lies the famous Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, known for its legendary New Year’s Eve parties that attract revelers from all over the world flock. Visitors are ferried from Tortola and other islands to the tiny island to join in the two-day festivities.
British Virgin Islands: Sailboats docked at White Bay Beach, Jost Van Dyke. Photo: ©BVI Tourism Board.
6. See It Clear – Necker Island Tours
Local tour guide Gumption is the owner operator of Sea It Clear Glass Bottom Boat, a 26-foot vessel equipped with large underwater lights that offer spectacular views of the reefs. During nature tours to Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Gumption charms visitors with expert knowledge of the islands, its marine life, and natural wonders. On Necker Island, visitors get to interact with animals in Branson’s wildlife habitat including lemurs from Madagascar.
7. RMS Rhone National Marine Park
Avid divers will enjoy exploring the RMS Rhone National Marine Park, formed on the 1867 wreck off the southwest coast of Salt Island. Various species of fish such as snappers, grunts, soldierfish, and parrotfish live inside the coral-encrusted steel. The adventure extends 26 meters below sea level to two coral caves as well as Blonde Rock – a series of overhangs, tunnels, caves, and abundant marine life for a fascinating diving experience.
8. North Sound, Virgin Gorda
The North Sound on Virgin Gorda is a hive of activity for water sports enthusiasts. The home of several yacht clubs and moorings, visitors have easy access to amazing watersport adventures such as diving, sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, and water-skiing. North Sound is also a hub to ferry to secluded beaches on lesser-populated islands like Norman Island and Sandy Cay.
9. Anegada Beach
The beaches on Anegada are said to be the most beautiful in the BVI with Loblolly and Cow Wreck Beach boasting amazing stretches of beautiful white sand. The island is also known for an abundance of colorful wildlife that live amongst more than 300 ships that have sunken off its coast due to its flat geography. The highest point is only 28 feet above sea level. These wrecks make Anegada one of the best diving sites in the world and a prime spot for deep sea fishing where some of the best and biggest lobsters in the region are caught.
10. Green VI
A visit to a glass blowing studio is not usually on the to-do list for a visit to the Caribbean. However, Green VI’s has carved out a niche attraction by turning waste into beautiful works of art. Located in the Cane Garden Bay region of Tortola, the non-profit gives visitors an interactive experience with glass blowing demonstrations and lessons. The company uses recycled glass to create unique home décor, gifts items and momentum from the islands, giving environmentally conscious tourists a chance to contribute to a green attraction and help preserve the beauty of the islands.
Top photo: British Virgin Islands: Road Town, Tortola. Photo: © BVI Tourism Board.
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Ursula Petula Barzey
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