The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean consist of more than thirty islands varying wildly in size. Most of them are completely uninhabited and consist largely of natural rock formations or small strips of land. In fact, only four unusually named islands have significant development: Virgin Gorda (Spanish for Fat Virgin), Tortola (Dove of Peace), Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.
Like the rest of the Caribbean islands, the Arawak tribes inhabited the British Virgin Islands for several years before they were driven out by the Carib, a more aggressive tribe which had a famous run in with Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Columbus is also responsible for having first spotted the Virgin Islands, originally giving them the extravagant name of Saint Ursula and Her 11,000 Virgins before they were eventually shortened to its current name of the Virgin Islands. Jost Van Dyke comes from the Dutch privateer who used the island as a hideout in the 1700s.
Lots of secluded coves and small bays are strewn throughout the British Islands to this day, a feature that made them quite popular among pirates seeking safe shelters and still continues to make them popular with cruise ships. The small size of the British Virgin Islands means tourism leans more towards sailing, exploring and nature activities than anything else, unlike the U.S. Virgin Islands which have developed into an entertainment and resort haven. Jost Van Dyke is particularly notable for the Soggy Dollar Bar which serves a unique cocktail known as the Painkiller. The bar’s name comes from its notoriously tricky accessibility and lack of a dock which has often lead patrons to pay for their drinks with wet currency after swimming to the shore.
The small amount of resorts that do exist in the British Virgin Islands have the distinction of being few and far between which makes it feel as though guests have an entire island to themselves. What’s more the minor, less inhabited islands also have small hotels which allows for an even larger degree of privacy and seclusion. This privacy means there is very little to no nightlife anywhere on the islands although Jost Van Dyke does contain a tiny handful of bars.
In the British Virgin Islands, it’s really more about soaking up the culture and getting to know the locals who live on one of the several islands carrying interesting names like Prickly Pear, Fallen Jerusalem and Sandy Spit. The music of the British Virgin Islands (fungi) is also worth checking out, a mixture of European and African influences which often expresses the history of the islands and lighthearted social commentary.
The British Virgin Islands has more land than most Caribbean islands, allowing for a large array of different types of property. The various real estate options available in The British Virgin Islands consist of large beachfront mansions, condos, vacation villas and even entire private islands. There's also a strong market for British Virgin Island rental property ranging from resort style condos to private beachfront holiday villas.
Homes in the British Virgin Islands vary in size but most have Caribbean-style open-air designs with large balconies and spacious beachfront patios. Smaller vacation villas are in many cases literally on the beach and provide no barrier between you and the beach’s white sands. Larger homes can have a host of features from pools to wraparound balconies facing the crystal blue waters. Large plots of land are also available with or without homes on them. Vacant islands are available and provide the ultimate secluded tranquil Caribbean experience, making them good places to build a private home or make a property investment.
British Virgin Island resorts also provide great opportunities in property buying and renting. Resorts like Biras Creek, Bitter End Yacht Club and The Peter Island Resort provide their residents with ideal beachfront locations and convenient amenities. Most resorts in The British Virgin Islands offer their residents pool, concierge services, housekeeping and beach and poolside attendants.
The British Virgin Islands' large amount of available property and close relationship with western countries and culture make visiting or living in The British Virgin Islands friendly and convenient. Additionally, the appeal that draws thousands to the British Virgin Islands annually also keeps the British Virgin Islands real estate market very stable.
Biras Creek Resort
Bitter and Yacht Club
Guana Island Club
Katitche Point Greathouse
Little Dix Bay Hotel
Old Yard Village
The official currency of The British Virgin Islands is the U.S. Dollar (US$)
Calling Code: 1 (284)
Top Level Domain: (.vg)
The British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of Britain, but is overseen by a local governor and premier.
Valid Travel Documents: Required Exit/Entry
Government Issued Photo ID: Required
Temperature varies slightly throughout the year being 32 degrees Celsius (ninety degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer and 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter.
Tips when you get there:
There are no direct flights to the British Virgin Islands, so guests arrive via a small plane off a connecting flight, usually from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Alternatively, you can arrive through personal watercraft or ferry from the U.S. Virgin Islands. When you get there, taxis are the most abundant and the most efficient way to get around the island, especially to the capital city of Road Town. Many choose to take initial tours of the island through chartered boats. All of the British Virgin Islands and surrounding islands can be reached by a chartered boat or ferry.
What to do:
The British Virgin Islands have a variety of locations, activities and events to attend while visiting. National parks and beautiful beaches make sight-seeing and taking in some of the island’s year-round sunshine popular leisure activities. The islands also have exciting festivals, regattas and shipwrecks for scuba exploration.
The two main beaches in the British Virgin Islands are Loblolly Bay and The Baths. Loblolly Bay Beach is popular for avid snorkelers, divers or people just looking to swim in crystal blue waters. If you're looking for more privacy The Baths is a national park beach that offers sightseeing and relaxation on a well preserved natural coastline.
Some exciting events include a monthly celebration of the full moon where locals and visitors celebrate by moonlight. Another entertaining event is the annual springtime regatta which is a weeklong event that mixes land activities with an exciting sailboat race. And lastly, shipwrecks are popular for avid scuba divers who want to see fascinating historical artifacts unmoved for centuries.