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British Virgin Islands

british virgin islands
Our Guide to the British Virgin Islands
The verdant green hills of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Beef Island stand in stark contrast to Anegada, a coral atoll with a maximum elevation of just 28 feet. These are the 5 main islands in the chain, but the BVI consists of more than 60 (mainly volcanic) islands and cays (pronounced keys) and are part of the Leeward Island archipelago known as the British West Indies.

Throughout the islands, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kite boarding, hiking, beach combing and sunbathing come as naturally as breathing. The constant trade winds, hundreds of little coves, bays, anchorages and exquisite white sand beaches, lend themselves to relaxation, water sports, adventure and of course, bareboat yacht charters.

At the risk of trotting out a hackneyed phrase, this truly is an "island paradise". If you were to close your eyes and imagine a sailing vacation in a gorgeous, tropical locale, odds are this is it!

Where are the British Virgin Islands?

This tiny Caribbean territory is located just east of the USVI and about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico. See our map of the Caribbean for location as well as the map of the BVI. Coordinates for the capital city of Road Town, Tortola are situated at approximately 18.26 North, 64.37 West.

There's a lot of information to cover in regards to all the various islands and cays you will visit and we are doing our level best to supply just about everything you could possibly want to know. The info is broken down by individual islands as there really is no easier way to present the information.

For the uninitiated and if planning your route, have a look at our suggested sailing itinerary which will help you figure it out more easily. There are a lot of choices to be made!

Christopher Columbus discovered the Virgin Islands during his second voyage to the new world in 1493 ... and of course claimed the islands for Spain. However, Spain failed to substantively colonize the islands and in 1648, the Netherlands laid claim to and settled on the uninhabited island of Tortola.

In 1672, the British captured the island from the Dutch and by 1680, they had also annexed Virgin Gorda, Anegada and the rest of what are know today as the British Virgin Islands.

I adore the BVI and take every opportunity to explore all the little nooks and crannies. Even after living here for more than 20 years, I still haven't seen it all! I think you'll enjoy discovering them as much as I do.

Have you ever wondered what the ruins of an 18th century rum distillery looked like? There are several of them throughout the hills and valleys of the BVI and there's even one that is still operating. In fact, Callwood's Distillery in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola is the oldest, continuously operating pot distillery in the Caribbean!

More info and photos will be added as and when I have time to go touring. To find information for each of the individual islands, use the navigation bar on the left.

If you have any comments or suggestions as to what we might add, delete or correct, please feel free to send us a quick message.

Acknowledgement: I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my very good friend and pilot extraordinaire, Nels Hagenson. Without his support, none of the aerial photographs on this website would have been possible.