Heard about the British Virgin Islands and wondered what they’re all about? Their status as a celebrity hideaway has given some people the notion that this exclusive island chain is like the queue for a private nightclub. You really want to get in but your name is just not on the list. And it’s not true. While the British Virgin Islands certainly don’t feature that highly in your package holiday travel brochure, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t easily accessible and welcoming to the average traveller. They are stunning dots of land that offer a unique taste of Caribbean life and plenty of choice for holidaymakers.
The British Virgin Islands are an archipelago made up of around 60 or so small islands and cays located in the Caribbean and close to the popular holiday locations of Florida, Cuba and Jamaica. They’re British owned lands and are flanked by the US Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands, and they offer the ultimate in island paradise. From crystal clear blue waters, and long stretches of smooth sands, to the green palms trees and endless sun, they are exactly what anyone is looking for in a beach holiday.
In total, the British Virgin Islands, or BVI as they’ve come to be called, only have around 28,000 inhabitants on a total land mass that equates to around 59 sq metres, so it’s not the largest or most populated of all the Caribbean islands. What they do have though, is a remarkable culture that has seen it changes hands from the control of one country to the next over the years. There are still some elements that remain to provide a reminder of the islands’ previous owners, such as the Jost Van Dyke Island, so named when they were under Danish rule. In fact, the islands were first settled on back in 100 BC but it wasn’t until Christopher Columbus came across them in 1493 that the rest of the World found out about them.
The British Virgin Islands have remained somewhat exclusive, considered by most holiday makers to be the domain of rich celebrities like Richard Branson, whose Necker Island is possibly one of the most famous of the entire archipelago. Very often, the closest any holiday maker gets to set foot for a day on the largest island of Tortola is when a cruise liner puts into port. The capital city, Road Town, is a fantastic place for a little shopping, with plenty of luxury and local items filling their boutique shops and there is a fantastic marina where yacht charters and short fishing trips can be booked.
If isolation and solitude is something you’re after on a holiday then you might want to consider checking out some of the other islands in the group. Anegada is a picturesque island, and a worthwhile candidate for any postcard image. The beautifully white beaches, remarkably empty of people or any other signs of habitation make it ideal as a remote getaway destination, and its quiet bays are often used as overnight anchoring places for people on sailing vacations. Families will love Peter Island, with its abundance of wildlife and safe snorkelling beaches. Large wild turtles are often spotted around here, and swimming over the sea grass beds on the ocean floor is a fantastic way to spot other remarkable sea creatures. And the entertainment doesn’t stop at the water’s edge either. The local people are renowned for their liveliness and colourful way of living. Partying and street dancing, such as the streets are here, is a regular nightly occurrence, and everyone is welcome to join in.