Friday, June 21, 2024

Cruising The BVI: The Ultimate Sailing Vacation at the British Virgin Islands – 7-Day Sample Itinerary

Cruising the BVI

cruising the bvi

Are you dreaming of sailing through the pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean, but don’t know where to start? The British Virgin Islands (BVI), a collection of more than 60 breathtaking islands and cays, are considered one of the world’s top sailing destinations.

This article will give you an easy-to-follow guide including detailed itinerary suggestionslocal hotspots, and practical tips on how to handle challenges during your BVI sailing vacation.

Let’s set sail towards your dream holiday!

Key Takeaways

  • The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a top sailing spot. They have over 60 unique islands to explore.
  • Plans can include snorkeling at Anegada Islandvisiting the Baths at Virgin Gorda, and partying at Jost Van Dyke Beach bars.
  • It’s important to check for available yacht charters and accommodations before your trip.
  • Sailing knowledge upgrades and understanding BVI geography will enhance the vacation experience.

Overview of the British Virgin Islands (BVI)

cruising the bvi

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean sits an idyllic sailing destination: The British Virgin Islands (BVI). Comprised of over 60 stunning islands and cays, this archipelago offers breathtaking coastal landscapes, clear blue waters, and warm tropical weather that beckons sailors from around the world.

The BVI is renowned for its flexible itineraries ideal for yacht charters—the perfect choice for your next sailing vacation.

Key players within this dynamic island chain include Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. Each brimming with unique charms ready to explore on a BVI cruise or charter adventure.

Famous spots like Manchioneel Bay at Cooper Island provide protected anchorage and amenities such as a beach club and rum bar, while Virgin Gorda boasts the remarkable Baths—a network of rock formations creating fun-filled tunnels and pools.

Don’t miss out on opportunities for snorkeling and basking under the sun on pristine beaches in Anegada Island always rounded off with relaxing moments at lively beach bars like Cow Wreck Beach Bar.

Planning Your BVI Sailing Vacation

cruising the bvi
Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands of the Carribean.

Start by selecting your desired itinerary, based on the islands and activities you want to explore. Check for availability during your preferred travel dates. Enhance your navigation and sailing skills in anticipation of the journey, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable vacation experience.

Choosing Your Itinerary

Deciding on your cruising itinerary is an exciting part of planning your BVI sailing vacation. Your choices will shape the experiences and memories you take home. There’s a wealth of natural beauty spread out among the islands like Cooper IslandVirgin GordaAnegada IslandMarina Cay, and more awaiting adventurers to explore.

The best itineraries allow maximum flexibility to go wherever the wind dictates for unique daily experiences. For instance, Marina Cay offers opportunities for diving with Dive BVI while The Bight at Norman Island is excellent for snorkeling and dining at Pirate’s Bight Restaurant.

Some sailors may opt for detour trips around Anchorages known for their spectacular views or famed beach bars such as Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke. As you choose your route around various islands remember, every new bay can be an opportunity to discover something extraordinary!

Checking Availability

To ensure a smooth sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands, it is crucial to check availability. The BVI yacht charters and accommodations can get fully booked quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.

Use online booking platforms for real-time updates on the availability of your desired destination and amenities like Cooper Island Beach Club or Snapper’s Bar & Grill. This gives you an advantage as you plan your cruising itinerary around popular locations such as Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, or the famous Rhone wreck site near Norman Island.

Make reservations early so that you secure your place at these coveted spots!

Advance Your Knowledge

Dive further into the fascinating world of sailing by learning more about BVI’s unique geographyweather conditions, and local marine life. Brush up on your navigation skills or pick up new ones with comprehensive maps and charts from many charter companies.

Learn how to identify prime snorkeling spots around Anegada Island teeming with diverse sea creatures. Don’t miss out on researching Virgin Gorda’s famed Baths for an optimal visiting schedule and potential safety hazards posed by tides.

Enriching your knowledge about these key details not only makes you a savvier sailor but also amplifies your adventure in the British Virgin Islands!

Sample 7-Day BVI Cruising Itinerary

cruising the bvi

Get ready to embark on a seven-day sailing adventure in the BVI, exploring everything from Cooper Island to Norman Island. Dive into the clear blue waters for snorkeling, kick back at beach bars, and immerse yourself in stunning views every day of your trip.

Ready to set sail? Dive deeper into this post for our detailed itinerary!

Day 1: Start at Cooper Island

Your sailing adventure begins at Cooper Island, about six nautical miles from Road Town. This island provides a protected anchorage spot for your yacht charter in Manchineel Bay. Known as a water sports hotspot, the bay is ideal for those looking to add some thrill to their vacation; whether it’s windsurfing or paddleboarding.

Nearby Cistern Point holds an underwater world just waiting for exploration. As one of the top snorkeling spots around, you’ll have a great chance of spotting turtles among the vibrant coral reefs.

Not far away, stop in at Cooper Island Beach Club. Run entirely on solar power, this eco-resort offers delightful food and drink options – all with breathtaking Caribbean views.

Day 2: Explore the Baths and Virgin Gorda Sound

On the second day, you’ll set sail for Virgin Gorda. This enchanting island is home to the Baths, a stunning beach area filled with unique rock formations, pools, and captivating caves waiting to be explored.

After having fun at the Baths letting your adventurous side roam free, navigate your way towards Virgin Gorda Sound. A beautiful deep-water harbor where you can anchor your yacht and unwind after an eventful day.

The harbor also offers a range of amenities at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor making it convenient to grab dinner or stock up on supplies if needed.

Day 3: Discover the sunken island of Anegada

Sail towards Anegada, the sunken island known for its breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters. This gem of the British Virgin Islands offers captivating beauty as well as serene anchorages in both inner and outer harbors.

Once you’re securely moored at one of these peaceful spots, get ready for an adventure on land. Rent a car, bicycle, or scooter to navigate around this unique flat coral island with ease.

Don’t miss out on Loblolly Bay where snorkeling and scuba diving are favorite activities among visitors because of the spectacular underwater life visible in translucent water depths.

Finally, end your day by tasting a locally caught lobster dish which Anegada Island is popular amongst food enthusiasts worldwide.

Day 4: Sail to Cane Garden Bay on Tortola

Sailing to Cane Garden Bay on Tortola is next. This destination is notable for its beach bars and lively dining scene, providing a delightful contrast from the tranquility of Anegada.

You can drop your anchor in the sheltered bay and immerse yourself in a variety of water sports or simply savor the laid-back vibe while beach hopping. Take full advantage of Tortola’s amenities before setting sail for your next BVI yacht charter adventure.

Day 5: Visit Sandy Spit and the Bubbly Pool

Day 5 of your BVI sailing adventure takes you to the picturesque Sandy Spit and the captivating Bubbly Pool. Anchoring near Sandy Spit, you’ll marvel at this uninhabited island‘s immersive beauty.

It boasts a perfect circle of white sandy beaches surrounded by clear turquoise waters. Here, opportunities abound for beachcombing or simply basking under the radiant Caribbean sun.

Getting back on your boat, sail towards Jost Van Dyke to discover an enchanting phenomenon known as the Bubbly Pool during high tide hours. This natural sea pool formed by rock barriers provides a Jacuzzi-like effect every time waves crash into it—hence its unique name! The Bubbly Pool offers not just relaxation but also an unbeatable view over Diamond Cay.

Take advantage of these locations’ incredible marine life by snorkeling around both areas for a glimpse into their vibrant underwater world. Day five brings together natural wonders and thrilling activities that will surely add more sparkle to your ultimate sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands.

Day 6: Party at Jost Van Dyke Beach bars

On the sixth day, excitement levels soar as we anchor at bustling Jost Van Dyke. This charismatic island is famous for its lively beach bars where cruisers from around the world congregate to celebrate the Caribbean way of life.

You’ll find yourself swaying to live music at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar & Restaurant, a renowned party spot for sailors. Stroll along Great Harbour’s vibrant shoreline filled with restaurants and bars or head over to White Bay, home to the iconic Soggy Dollar beach bar.

Here, you can relax on white sand beaches while sipping their legendary Painkiller cocktail! Day 6 promises an atmosphere filled with laughter, fun stories shared among new friends, refreshing swims in crystal clear waters, and unforgettable sunsets – truly embodying the spirit of a BVI sailing holiday.

Day 7: Snorkeling at Norman Island

Prepare to be awed by the underwater world as Day 7 takes us snorkeling at Norman Island. Renowned for its brilliant marine life, you’ll have a chance to explore Treasure Point, Pelican Island, and The Indians – three prime spots offering unique snorkeling experiences.

Dive beneath the surface and marvel at vivid coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. Afterward, anchor down in the popular Bight area of Norman Island. You can wrap up your day savoring delicious cuisine and refreshing beverages at Pirate’s Bight Restaurant which sits right on this gorgeous beachfront location! With perfect wind conditions complementing your aquatic adventure, this will truly be a memorable end to your sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands.

Top Reasons to Sail the BVI

cruising the bvi

The BVI offers stunning panoramic views that are a treat to the eyes. Each bay is more gorgeous than the last, with many offering white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. The winds are plentiful and predictable, perfect for smooth sailing.

With its fascinating underwater world of reefs and wrecks, it’s a paradise for snorkeling or diving enthusiasts. Lastly, multiple airports in the area make accessibility easy for travelers on their ultimate sailing vacation.

Stunning views

Sailing around the British Virgin Islands reveals a panorama of stunning views that will leave you breathless. On Cooper Island, drop anchor and enjoy the vista from Manchioneel Bay – where crystal clear waters meet a vibrant green landscape.

Marvel at how your surroundings change as you continue to sail toward Virgin Gorda Island. Not only will you find splendid beaches but also an unforgettable sight known as The Baths, with its distinct rock formations against the turquoise Caribbean Sea.

Take your exploration further by venturing to Anegada Island. Known for its beautiful coastline, this location offers scenic pleasures unmatched elsewhere in BVI – perfect for those who love capturing moments through their lenses or soaking up sunsets on beachside bars with sips of island cocktails.

Marina Cay should be another checkbox on your list of breathtaking scenes in BVI’s palette; expect calm anchorage spots complementing panoramic views and modern facilities that enhance your stay.

Abundance of beautiful bays

The BVI is a sailor’s paradise with its numerous picturesque bays. The serene Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island offers ideal conditions for water sports and is known for Turtle watching.

Sailing further, you reach the magnificent Baths at Virgin Gorda, famous for rock formations and hidden tunnels. Anegada Island boasts pristine beaches like Cow Wreck Beach and Loblolly Bay which are a must-visit.

Every bay in these islands provides unique experiences with its crystal clear waters, protected anchorages, and white sandy beaches accompanied by colorful underwater wildlife perfect for snorkeling adventures.

Offering more than just beauty, each bay also hosts charming beach bars and restaurants where sailors can unwind after an exciting day of sailing.

Plentiful wind

The British Virgin Islands are a paradise for sailing enthusiasts, thanks to the frequent and steady winds that characterize the area. The wind propels your yacht effortlessly and adds thrilling excitement to your vacation.

Skills like kiteboarding and windsurfing turn more enjoyable due to these conditions. So, whether you’re on a leisurely cruise or seeking adrenaline-pumping water sports, the plentiful wind of BVI ensures an unforgettable sailing experience!

Excellent snorkeling and diving

The British Virgin Islands overflow with stunning marine life, making it a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with exotic fish at Cooper Island’s Cistern Point or plunge into the crystal clear waters around The Baths on Virgin Gorda.

If you’re lucky, you might even encounter sea turtles and rays during your underwater adventure! Norman Island also offers exceptional snorkeling spots that should not be missed. Every dip beneath the surface in these prime locations reveals an enchanting world ready to blow your mind – a dazzling highlight of any sailing vacation in this tropical haven.

Easy access to airports

The British Virgin Islands make travel a breeze with easy access to airports. Specifically, you can land at the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island located right off of Road Town.

Serving visitors arriving from various global regions such as the United States, Europe, and other Caribbean islands, this airport ensures your sailing vacation begins without unnecessary delays.

Transportation isn’t an issue either after landing in the beautiful archipelago. Prompt transfers are available to take you directly from the airport to your accommodation or yacht charter within BVI territory.

This proximity eliminates long wait times and gets you onto your much-anticipated sailing adventure faster than ever!

Though sailing the BVI is an unparalleled experience, it’s vital to be prepared for potential challenges such as navigating through crowds during peak seasons, managing limited anchoring options due to restricted zones, and adjusting your budget for occasionally high food costs.

Dealing with crowds

In the British Virgin Islands, high tourist seasons can bring significant crowds to popular destinations. This influx of visitors often affects local marinas, beach bars, and sandy shores in areas like Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke or Cooper Island Beach Club.

Charter operators might find their preferred anchorage spots occupied or wait times at popular restaurants stretched out due to overcrowdedness during these peak periods. To mitigate this challenge, consider planning your sailing vacation outside of peak holiday seasons.

Also, be ready to adjust your itinerary if a planned stop turns out to be too crowded for comfort – there’s always another bay or cove waiting for you to explore in the BVI!

Limited anchoring options

Limited anchoring options in the British Virgin Islands can present a real challenge. Many popular locations such as Norman Island have vast but crowded mooring fields, causing tight spaces, especially during high season.

Some areas including Peter Island, North Sound, and Trellis Bay are still undergoing construction after Hurricane Irma’s devastation which further limits mooring availability. An alternative could be quieter spots like Guana Island which has fewer moorings but also less congestion.

Awareness and careful planning are crucial to overcoming this potential obstacle on your sailing adventure around the islands.

High food costs

High food costs are a notable challenge when sailing the BVI. Imported goods, particularly food products, come with an increased price tag due to transportation expenses and import duties.

Consequently, provisioning your yacht or dining out at local restaurants might dent your vacation budget more than you expect.

It’s not uncommon for sailors to experience sticker shock at the grocery store or when scanning a restaurant menu. Local Caribbean fare can sometimes be hard to find as many establishments cater more towards Western tastes.

Despite these challenges, indulging in fresh seafood straight from the ocean or sampling unique dishes from upscale eateries often form part of the unforgettable BVI cruising experience.


Amid the Caribbean’s azure waters, your dream sailing vacation awaits in the British Virgin Islands. With a kaleidoscope of islands to explore, each day offers new adventures – from snorkeling vibrant reefs to dancing barefoot on sandy beach bars.

Whether you’re navigating azure anchorages or cooling off in secluded coves, embrace every mesmerizing moment while cruising BVI under canvas sails. Sail away into sunsets and make memories that will last a lifetime with each nautical mile conquered in this tropical paradise.


1. What is BVI and why is it a popular sailing destination?

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a Caribbean paradise known for its excellent sailing conditions, beautiful white sand beaches, snorkeling reefs, line-of-sight sailing routes, and welcoming beach bars.

2. What can one expect on a BVI yacht charter?

On a BVI yacht charter, you can experience sailing around main islands like Tortola, Norman Island, and Virgin Gorda, exploring unique spots such as The Baths at Virgin Gorda, or diving at the HMS Rhone wreck site.

3. Can I plan my cruising itinerary in the BVI?

Yes! You can create your cruising itinerary to visit famed locations like the Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay on Jost Van Dyke or Cane Garden Bay at the end of Tortola.

4. Where should I sail to for live music in the BVI?

Sailors seeking live music should head towards Great Harbour where establishments like Foxy’s Tamarind Bar & Restaurant often host lively performances.

5. How does mooring work when sailing in the BVI?

When arriving at an anchorage or cay such as Cooper Island’s Manchioneel Bay or Sandy Spit near Sand Cay, you’ll need to pick up a mooring ball to secure your vessel using line-of-sight techniques.

6. Are there other activities apart from sailing during this trip?

Absolutely! Your adventure could also include spending the day ashore snorkeling boulder-filled caves off Treasure Island or lounging at beach clubs like Leverick Bay Resort.

7. What are some popular destinations to visit while sailing the British Virgin Islands?

While sailing the British Virgin Islands, some popular destinations to visit include Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Guana Island. These islands offer beautiful beaches, clear waters, and ideal anchorage spots.

8. Which islands are known for their breathtaking beaches?

When sailing the British Virgin Islands, you can enjoy stunning beaches on Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Cooper Island. These destinations offer pristine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque surroundings.

9. Can you recommend a popular snorkeling spot in the British Virgin Islands?

The Baths on Virgin Gorda is a must-visit snorkeling spot while sailing the British Virgin Islands. This unique destination features stunning rock formations and crystal-clear pools, perfect for exploring underwater marine life.

10. What are some beautiful anchorages for sailors in the British Virgin Islands?

Popular anchorages for sailors in the British Virgin Islands include The Bight on Norman Island, Cane Garden Bay on Tortola, and North Sound on Virgin Gorda. These locations offer calm waters, scenic views, and essential amenities for sailors.

11. Are there any beach bars to visit while sailing the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, there are several beach bars worth visiting during your sailing trip. Some well-known beach bars include Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke, Soggy Dollar Bar on White Bay, and Willy T on Norman Island. These lively establishments offer great drinks, live music, and a vibrant atmosphere.

12. Are there any specific sailing routes recommended for exploring the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, there are some recommended sailing routes for exploring the British Virgin Islands. One popular route is starting in Trellis Bay and sailing to Virgin Gorda, then to Anegada, and finally to Jost Van Dyke and Norman Island. Another option is starting in Great Harbour and sailing to Cooper Island, then to Peter Island, and finally to Road Town on Tortola.

13. Are there any hidden bays or cays that are worth exploring while sailing in the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, there are several hidden gems in the British Virgin Islands. Some of them include The Bight on Norman Island, Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, and Scrub Island. Exploring these lesser-known spots can add extra excitement to your sailing trip.

14. What are some must-see attractions on Virgin Gorda?

Virgin Gorda is home to several must-see attractions, such as The Baths – a unique geological formation of giant boulders, hidden caves, and beautiful beaches. The Baths offer spectacular snorkeling opportunities and are considered a top tourist destination in the British Virgin Islands.

15. Is it possible to rent a sailboat or catamaran to explore the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, there are numerous rental companies that offer sailboats and catamarans for exploring the British Virgin Islands. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability.

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