British Virgin Islands

sailing yacht vacations and information for bare boat and crewed yacht charters.

If you want to sail the BVI traveling from the US you can save some money on the airfare by flying into St. Thomas (airport code STT) and charter a yacht out of  the US Virgin islands. There are several bareboat charter companies with competitive rates and a lot of crewed charter yachts that provide BVI yacht charters starting in the US Virgin Islands, “Americas Caribbean”.

Despite of ongoing rumors customs and immigration procedures to enter the BVI and back into the US territory are easy (you need a passport!) and only the BVI authorities will charge for your entrance and departure.

 For first timers in Caribbean yacht charters, there is no better place then the British Virgin Islands to have your sailing vacation, whether you go on a crewed yacht charter or a bare boat yacht charter. Easy island hopping and year-round balmy temperatures make the BVI the perfect Caribbean sailing vacation

drinkpidestination for everyone. Even the most experienced sailors return year after year, hooked on this cruising paradise. Thanks to more favorable winds and seas then in other cruising areas in the Caribbean, motor yacht charters with crew and bareboat are also available.

 Waking up to sunshine and blue skies, choose your day’s destination by line-of-sight and set sail across crystal clear waters in comfortable trade winds. Step ashore to a warm welcome and indulge in Caribbean cocktails and tasty cuisine, or enjoy a barbecue on board as the sun goes down.

Free WiFi available at some locations in the BVI. If you can’t be without internet access, even in you vacation, there’s good news for you: the following locations offer free high speed internet with your WiFi enabled laptop (linksys): Sopers Hole, Tortola at Pussers, Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor close to the Marina Office, Trellis Bay at Mongoose Junction, Saba Rock Resort, North Sound Virgin Gorda.


On your BVI yacht charter you will see there is more to this vacation than sailing, it’s about the people (and donkeys) you can meet along the way.

Sample itinerary: for a one week charter trip in the British Virgin Islands (BVI):

Day 1: Normally a bareboat yacht charter starts and ends at noon. If you decide to let the charter company handle the provisioning it will save you some time and you should be able to leave the dock this afternoon. Sail to Norman Island and visit the William Thornton Floating Bar & Restaurant. Snorkeling is great at “The Caves”.

norman-island

Day 2: Another great snorkel spot near by are “The Indians”. Sail to Peter Islands and take a mooring in Great Harbor. Dinghy to the beach and have a walk over to the beautiful Deadman’s Bay beach, part of the Peter Island Resort. Anchoring in Deadman’s Bay is not a good idea. The holding of the anchor ground is poor and very often the swell makes the yacht roll and the night uncomfortable.

Day 3: On your way up to Virgin Gorda you can make a lunch spot at Cooper Island. The best way to visit “The Baths” at Virgin Gorda is to overnight in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and taxi to the “The Top of the Baths”, a nice bar and restaurant with a gorgeous view.

catamaran-and-rainbowDay 4: Your next destination is the North Sound, where you find “The Bitter End Yacht Club” and “Saba Rock”.

Explore the “Eustatia Sound” with you tender and you will find excellent snorkeling and deserted beaches.

Day 5: The little resort island “Marina Cay” makes a nice stop and also “Trellis Bay” offers safe moorings and several restaurants and shops, including a small super market. Close by is “Monkey Point” at Guana Island, an excellent snorkel spot if there is no northerly swell running.

“Cane Garden Bay” in Tortola is only a good choice without northerly swell. You should also be aware of that several Dinghies got stolen in the last months, so you might want to lock it up at the dock when you visit one of the bars and over night at you boat. Secure also your gas tank!

 Day 6: “Jost van Dyke” is on the to do list for a lot of sailors. Anchoring in “Great Harbor” can be tricky, bad holding ground and lots of yachts. You can take a mooring in “Little Harbor” and enjoy the restaurants offering for great lobster. A short taxi ride will bring you to “FOXY’S”. “White Bay” offers also moorings, but you should arrive there after breakfast in the morning to get one.

Day 7: Give yourself some time to get back to the charter base, where you drop off your yacht. There are still a lot of places for you to see in the BVI and if you come back you can always start you next Virgin Islands sailing adventure in the US Virgin Islands and visit St. Thomas and St. John.

 

BVI Events: The British Virgin Islands offer an endless variety of year-round activities and entertainment.

Here are just a few major events you might be interested in.

Full Moon Parties: Celebrate the full moon each month at the infamous Bomba’s Surfside Shack on Tortola or the more family-oriented Fireball Party at Trellis Bay. Enjoy great Caribbean food with lively music and pyrotechnic effects provided by local experts in entertainment.

Other Celebrations: Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta starts and ends with a party; the Cane Garden Bay Music Festival in May brings together local, regional and international artists; and in July/August, the BVI Emancipation Celebrations make up a two-week-long cultural festival on Tortola.


 

Cruising, your must knows and brief facts:

bvi-flag

History for this Caribbean sailing cruising ground known as the British Virgin Islands, a group of 50 islands east of Puerto Rico, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, forming part of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, a dependency of the United Kingdom.

 

Area: 153 square km. (59 sq. miles).saba-rock

Capital: Road Town (Tortola).

Official Language: English

Population: 19,000.

Currency: U.S. Dollar & Credit Cards and there is no Sales Tax.

Time Zone: AST Atlantic Standard Time with no time change as in Easter Standard time in spring and fall.

Climate of this Caribbean sailing vacation area is on average ranging from 77 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 92 degrees Fahrenheit in summer.

Immigration: The following measures are to be adhered to in respect of all non-British Virgin Islanders entering the Territory. Bona-fide visitors may be granted entry for up to one month at the ports of entry provided that they possess return (or ongoing) tickets, evidence of adequate means of support and pre-arranged accommodations during their stay. Visitors wishing to stay longer will need to apply for an extension from the Immigration Department in Road Town, Tortola or at the Government Administration Building in Virgin Gorda.

A valid passport is the principal requirement for entry into the B.V.I., however, US and Canadian citizens may also enter using an authenticated birth or citizenship certificate along with a current picture identification. Visitors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest B.V.I. Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy or contact the Chief Immigration Officer, Immigration Department, B.V.I. Government at: Tel: 284.494.3471 or 494.3701 ext. 2538.

According to the B.V.I. Immigration and Passport Order,1980, the classes of persons commonly known as Rastafarian’s are prohibited from entry into the territory. However, persons within these classes may seek special approval from the Chief Minister’s Office by writing in advance to: Permanent Secretary, Chief Minister’s Office, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, fax: 284.494-6413.
Work Permits are issued to non-islanders only in cases where the position cannot be filled by British Virgin Islanders and training of local people to fill key positions is encouraged.
Cruising Permits are required for all cruising in the B.V.I.
(a) SEASONAL RATES (December 1 – April 30): all recorded Charter Boats $2.00 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats $4.00 per person per day. These prices may change with out notice.
(b) OUT OF SEASON RATES (May 1 – November 30) Charter Boats $0.75 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats $4.00 per person per day. Dive, day charter and sport fishing boats should contact the B.V.I. Customs Department (Tel: 284.494.3475 or 494-3701 ext. 2533) for current Cruising Permit requirements. These prices may change with out notice.
Fishing Permits: The removal of any marine organism from B.V.I. waters is illegal for non-B.V.I. Islanders without a recreational fishing permit. Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labor. Tel: 284.494.3701 ext. 214. Fines are strictly enforced. These prices may change with out notice.
DEPARTURE TAX: A departure tax is levied at the rate of $10.00 per person leaving by air, $5.00 leaving by sea and $7.00 for cruise ship passengers.
In the B.V.I. there is a 7% Hotel Accommodation tax payable by guests who stay for six months or less in hotels, apartments, houses, cottages, villas and similar accommodations
Customs Duties: All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering the B.V.I. on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty.
Driving: Valid B.V.I. Driving Licenses are required by all those seeking to drive in the B.V.I. For a fee of $10.00, a temporary B.V.I. Driving License can be obtained from the Traffic Licensing Office or Car Rental Agencies provided a valid Drivers License from another country) can be produced. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road in the B.V.I.
Medical: An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory in the B.V.I. Peebles Hospital has surgical, x-ray and laboratory facilities; there is a plastic surgery clinic. A chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous meets regularly. Call 284.494.4549 or 494-3125.
Pets are allowed entry into the Territory only after an import permit is issued by the Department of Agriculture. For regulations governing animal importation, contact (well in advance): Department of Agriculture, Paraquita Bay): Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Tel: (284) 495-2532 or Fax: (284) 495-1269
Marriage License & Regulations: For information regarding requirements on getting married in the Territory, contact: Registrar’s Office, Box 41R, Road Town, Tortola, B.V.I. or phone 284.494.3701, Ext 5001 or 494.3492.
The Churches are: Methodist, Anglican (Episcopal), Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Church of God, Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Church of Christ and Baha’i. For further information, see Churches in the Yellow pages of the B.V.I. telephone Directory.
Dress Code: In the BVI they are more than just a beach community and beach attire worn elsewhere tends to offend residents. Therefore, please wear proper attire (no bare chests or midriffs) in residential and commercial areas. There are no nude beaches in the B.V.I.
A Word on Drugs: The possession, sale, use or distribution of illegal drugs constitutes a criminal offence punishable by law and conviction on drug charges can lead to stiff fines and jail sentences.

 

Tortola – sailing capital for bareboat charters.

The chain’s main island has a population of 14,000. Mountain peaks covered with frangipani and sage characterize its southern coast, while its northern shores display white sandy beaches, groves of bananas and mangoes and clusters of palm trees. Sage Mountain National Park is at 1,780 feet the B.V.I.’s highest point. Filled with lush tropical vegetation, the park exhibits many of the characteristics of a rain forest. Road Town, located on the southern shore, is the busy capital of the B.V.I., as well as the central administrative and business centre of the Territory. Here are the shops, banks, administration buildings, the hospital and Government House. The beautiful 4-acre Botanic Gardens feature a lush array of indigenous and exotic plants.

 

Virgin Gorda and “The Baths” – a top destination for every Caribbean yacht charter with a population of about 2,500 is a favorite stop-over for both yachtsmen and landlubbers. It is linked to the other islands by a small airport and regular ferry services. The northern half of the island is mountainous with a good-sized peak of 1,370 feet, while the southern half is flat and scattered with giant boulders. The B.V.I.’s most famous natural attraction, The Baths – giant boulders forming a series of spectacular pools and grottoes – is located here. There are some 20 beaches on Virgin Gorda, including the beautiful Devil’s Bay (a national Park), Spring Bay and Trunk Bay. There is also the abandoned Copper Mine on the southeast tip of the island where a boiler stack and other 19th century stone buildings can still be observed.

 

Anegada – a unique escape for crewed yacht charters is a coral island with a small population of 150 people. Its highest point is only 28 feet above sea level and it can barely be seen on the horizon when approached by sea. It’s known for its miles of endless white sand beaches and the horseshoe reef, which in years past has ensnared hundreds of shipwrecks. Today this reef makes the island a popular dive area.

 

For the search tool to find a yacht: click here

 

Restaurant “Last Resort” at Trellis Bay

For 35 years there has been one animal or another performing at “The Last Resort” in Trellis Bay just next to the airport on Beef Island. The singing dogs, now long gone, were legendary. The same goes for Vanilla, the local donkey who once appeared on Good Morning America, and would regularly stick her head through a restaurant door. When Vanilla moved on to the great barn in the sky, Last Resort owner Ben Bamford placed a classified Help Wanted ad that read in part, “If you can eat carrots, stick your head through a door, and bray loudly, we want you.” A 25-year-old donkey named Mary applied for the position and is now entertaining guests daily. “We keep her well-fed, so she’s less aggressive towards people and less likely to confuse a finger for a carrot,” Bamford says. Mary is ridden into the restaurant during evening performances that also feature Chef Al, “the singing chef,” whose songs seem to get better the more the tequila flows. This is a place that lives by the slogan boldly printed on its well-known souvenir t-shirt, “The liver is evil and must be punished.”

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