for their sheltered, clear blue sailing waters and the
stunning beauty of her mountains, the British Virgin Islands
- Nature's Little Secrets - lie some 60 miles east of Puerto
Rico. Although there are 50 islands, rocks and cays dotting
our sparkling blue sea, many of them are uninhabited.
Chiefly volcanic in origin, with the exception of Anegada,
which is a coral and limestone atoll, most of the islands
are grouped around the Sir Francis Drake Channel, named
after the daring British adventurer who launched an attack
against the Spanish from the islands in 1595.
British Virgin Islands are indeed a special place. The
climate is almost perfect. Because of their position within
the trade wind belt, the islands have a balmy, subtropical
climate. Temperatures average about 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
At night the temperatures drop about ten degrees. Because of
the difference in rainfall, soil and exposure, our islands
have a wide variety of vegetation.
There are lush areas where palms and tropical fruit trees
thrive, as well as hills spotted with cactus, loblolly,
frangipani and wild tamarind. In the valleys, there are
brilliant tropical blooms, including hibiscus, bougainvillea
and flamboyant. Along the seashores, it is not uncommon to
see mangrove and sea grape trees sculpted by the wind.
Protection of the natural beauty of the BVI is a prime
concern to residents as well as visitors. It's an effort
that extends below below the surface of the sea as well.
You can help protect the BVI's marine environment.
The Islands Themselves
Main Town: Road Town
Population: 18,700 plus
Size: 12 Miles x 3 Miles
Time Zone: UTC/GMT -4 hours
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
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.
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 J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens feature a
lush array of indigenous and exotic plants.
Famous as a hunting ground during the buccaneering days,
Beef Island is the site of the BVI's main airport and is
connected to Tortola by the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
Mangroves line the shores beneath the bridge, and an
excellent beach, Long Bay is on the island's northern shore.
With a population of about 2,500, is a favourite stop-over
for both yachtsmen and land lovers.
It is linked to the other islands by a small airport and
regular ferry services. The northern half is mountainous
with a 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.
Virgin Gorda's 20 or so beaches include the beautiful
Devil's Bay (a National Park), Spring Bay and Trunk Bay.
There is also an abandoned Copper Mine on the southeast tip
of the island where 19th century stone buildings can still
Jost Van Dyke
Jost is a small mountainous island of about 150 people.
JVD boasts several lovely beaches and picturesque Great
Harbour, with its beach-side West Indian village. Jost is
very popular with sailors and has several famous watering
holes on its southern shore, including Foxy's Tamarind Bar.
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 seemingly endless white sand beaches
and the horseshoe reef, which in years past has ensnared
hundreds of shipwrecks.
A string of small islands stretches from west to east facing
Tortola's south coast. The body of water between these
islands and Tortola and Virgin Gorda is Sir Francis Drake
Beginning at the west, you find Norman Island, which is the
reputed setting for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure
Island. It is still known for tales of hidden treasure.
Treasure Point has three caves which are good for
east is Peter Island, location of one of the territory's
better-known luxury resorts. The island also offers peaceful
anchorages and quiet beaches.
Further east lies Salt Island, where, before the days of
refrigeration, salt was harvested from two large ponds for
curing local fish and for sale to passing ships. This is
also the site of the famous Wreck of the Rhone Marine Park.
Lying east of Salt Island is Cooper Island, where there is a
good swimming beach. A boat jetty, guest houses and
restaurant are also located there.
Many other smaller islands to visit - Dead Chest, Fallen
Jerusalem, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, and the Dogs - to
mention only a few, can be visited by small boats. All of
them have their own special nature.
The British Virgin Islands are not a bustling hive of
activity. However, there are sea and sun waiting for you in
abundance. You'll also find interesting ruins to
investigate, local restaurants serving West Indian food,
shops in which to browse, beautiful scenic drives on
mountain tops, pubs to crawl, island music and dancing and
moonlit nights to relish.