The British Virgin Islands, nestled on an island chain between Puerto Rico, Anguilla and the US Virgin Islands, is an ideal location for island hopping in the Caribbean. When you book a yacht charter in BVI with Zizoo, you have the freedom to explore a range of popular island towns, stunning natural landscapes and small, uninhabited islands that are great for getting away from it all on your next sailing holiday.
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Yacht charters in the British Virgin Islands offer prime locations for pleasant and easy sailing in the Caribbean for both beginners and longtime sailors. Though the Caribbean is blessed with warm temperatures year-round, the best time for a sailing holiday in the BVI is between Mid-December and May. British visitors won’t need a visa to enter, along with American, Canadian and most EU travellers. The main airport of the BVI is Beef Island Tortola, also called Terrance B. Lettsome International. The currency used in the BVI is the US dollar.
Beef Island sits at the eastern edge of the BVI, and there are roads leading right through to the main island of Tortola, with the capital of Road Town being just a 25-minute drive away. JY Harbour View Marina and The Moorings Marina, both on Tortola, put you at the heart of these beautiful islands.
In addition to great sailing conditions, the top reason to go on a sailing holiday in the British Virgin Islands is to enjoy the incredible beaches. One of the best places to take in the sun rays is Lambert on Tortola, as well as a number of other great destinations such as the west side of the isle of Virgin Gorda. Virgin Gorda is also home to two incredible national parks: the Baths and Devils bay.
Historic Road Town sits at the centre of the BVI’s largest island, Tortola. Visit its Old Government House Museum to learn about the BVI's colonial history. The Dove is one of the best restaurants in town, right near the marina on Main Street, serving superb French cuisine. The Royal BVI Yacht Club is popular with sailors looking to relax with a drink in a casual, yet fun-loving setting.
Sailing trips around the British Virgin Islands are also great for water sports enthusiasts and is a top place for snorkelling and scuba diving. The main hotspots for divers are well provisioned with mooring buoys or you can anchor to stop for a swim and a glimpse of life under the water. One of the most popular destinations for scuba diving in BVI is on the western edge of Salt Island. Here you’ll have a chance to see Hawksbill turtles, tropical fish, and be able to do some wreck diving around the RMS Rhone.
Windsurfing and fishing are also popular activities on yacht charter holidays in the BVI, though keep in mind that you must apply for a permit if you plan to go fishing. On land, you may also enjoy the BVI’s diverse shopping districts that offer locally crafted products such as jewelry and clothing.
Sailing trips in the BVI are truly the best way to see its diverse range of gorgeous landscapes. Island hopping on your chartered yacht also gives you much more out of your holiday than by staying on land.
The four main islands are Tortola, Virgin Gouda, Anegada and Jost van Dyke, all of which offer excellent facilities for mooring. A number of other great destinations include Cooper Island, Ginger Island and Eustatia. Some, such as Guana and Mosquito, are privately owned. If you’re interested in discovering the secluded beaches of the private islands, contact individual owners or companies to enquire about mooring bookings.
When chartering a yacht in the BVI, the best place to start is Tortola. Set sail into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. From there, it’s a short sail to Cooper Island. Around the area you’ll find many opportunities for snorkelling and diving. Make sure to request snorkelling gear with your yacht charter with Zizoo. From Cooper Island, choose to sail west to nearby Salt Island and make your way down to Norman Island or sail east, stopping in Ginger Island and then off to the incredible nature park, the Baths on Virgin Gorda.
Sailing around Virgin Gorda gives you the chance to discover the many natural wonders of the island. One of the best beaches and popular spot for yachters is on Savannah Bay near Spanish Town. After exploring Virgin Gorda, start sailing back to Tortola, taking time to explore the coast of Beef Island.
BVI is a favourite destination for sailors worldwide due to its great sailing conditions and incredible island-hopping opportunities. Expect to find ideal conditions with an excellent line of sight, moderate winds and gentle currents. You’ll also enjoy beautiful weather in the midst of winter, making for a wonderful escape from the winter blues. Air temperatures average between the high 20s to 30s and similar sea temperatures from December through April.
Find more great winter sailing destinations here.
Around Tortola, waves up to a metre are normal but are often lower. February and March are usually the driest months. Currents are virtually negligible with consistent trade winds blowing at 10-20 knots on average.
There are several spots for mooring around the islands with plenty of space available, and anchoring is often possible. It’s always a good idea to book ahead to avoid disappointment once you’ve planned your itinerary. You’ll generally need to moor at Cooper Island, as holding ground can be challenging, and anchoring is necessary at Great Harbour on Jost van Dyke. Otherwise, you’ll find most anchorages very easy. Don’t forget, you can also book a skipper to help you with your BVI yacht charter from Zizoo.
To learn more about sailing in the British Virgin Islands, check out our 7-day sailing route starting from Tortola.