“The British Virgin Islands (BVI) offer shorter hops from island to island than some other Caribbean luxury yacht charter locations, and the waters tend to be more protected,” says Barbara Dawson, senior charter broker for Camper & Nicholsons. And, she says, the area is “an ideal spot for first-time charter clients to get their feet wet!”
On Tortola, the capital and largest of the BVI’s 60-plus islands, wander around Road Town’s spice, soap and rum shops or head to 96-acre Sage Mountain National Park, where trails meander up to the BVI’s highest point (1,716 feet). Afterward, cruise to pretty Cane Garden Bay before continuing west to Jost Van Dyke, where adults may wish to swim to the Soggy Dollar Bar for a “Painkiller.”
From Jost, veer southeast around Tortola to 610-acre Norman Island, a hiding place for pirates’ booty that may have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. This is a great place to begin an underwater treasure hunt, snorkeling near eagle rays and yellow tail snapper at the Caves site and fairy basslets at Spyglass Wall, before continuing northeast to private Peter Island, where you can dock in the marina and soothe your pirate stresses with a Thermal Sand Bundle Massage at the resort’s spa.
Moving northeast, snorkel Cooper Island’s Cistern Point, then press on to Virgin Gorda, which reels in mask-clad humans at The Baths, a series of granite boulders that create sheltered pools alongside a beach. Finally, cruise north to Anegada, the BVI’s only coral island, where you can continue your treasure hunt scouting for turtles and huge groupers around the 1853 wreck of the Parmatta — one of the best shipwrecks in the world to dive.
The 310-foot-long wreck of the Rhone, a Royal Mail Steamer that sank during a hurricane in 1867, is the BVI’s most celebrated scuba diving site. Its two main parts lie off Salt Island, at a depth of 30 to 80 feet, within the BVI’s first and only marine park. On the southern end of Virgin Gorda is The Baths, where granite boulders form a rocky playground.
The fresh spiny lobster on Anegada is so popular, it has its own annual festival. On November 28 and 29, find out what the fuss is about on a seafood (and cocktail) safari, as local chefs serve up sample lobster dishes at participating restaurants.
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