Just a 30 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas in the USVI, or a 30 minute plane ride from San Juan, the stunning 50-plus islands and cays that comprise the British Virgin Islands have two great assets – accessibility and virgin beauty. Known for years as a “sailor’s paradise,” yacht cruisers were among the first to realize this was indeed one of “Nature’s Little Secrets.”
Tortola is the largest island and seat of government of this mountainous archipelago of gemlike isles. Virgin Gorda, Ginger, Cooper, Salt, Peter and Norman lie to Tortola’s south, while Guana, Camanoe and Jost Van Dyke to its north. Dozens of smaller islands, some with resorts, some unpopulated, lie between; Anegada, the only coral atoll in this island chain, is to the northwest. The BVI is a picture of contrasts. There are protected anchorages in quiet palm-fringed coves with spiraling sheer rock faces that plunge to the ocean. From island to island the vegetation can be dramatically different due to rainfall, soil composition and sun exposure. Lush areas support palms and tropical fruit trees like banana, mango and key lime, along with flowering hibiscus and bougainvillea. A hike up a hill may reveal varieties of cactus, wild tamarind and fragrant frangipani.
The surrounding waters are deep shades of liquid blue, but on Anegada, the waters takes on an ethereal aquamarine shade. A varied and intriguing environment on land and on sea makes these islands appealing to divers, boaters, hikers and those desiring just to relax in a soft rope hammock overlooking a white sand beach.
Reliably balmy with gentle trade winds, the BVI’s temperature ranges averages 77⁰F (25⁰C) in winter (December through March) and 83⁰F (28⁰C) in summer (June through August). Though the islands get less than 50 inches of rain each year, count on brief tropical showers between July and November. The BVI’s high travel season is from December 15 to April 15. November, early December and May are good times to visit too, as hotel prices are lower and cruise ships are fewer.
For more information visit www.bvitourism.com
Events & Festivals
January: Karl Merklein Art Show
February: Sweethearts of the Caribbean and Classic Yacht Regatta
March - April: BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival
July - August: Emancipation Festival
October: Wreck Week
- $110.00 (in BVI postage stamps) for a Special License for those residents in the BVI for three days.
- $50.00 (in BVI postage stamps) for an Ordinary License for those residents in the BVI for 15 days or more.
- Your passport as proof of identity and date of arrival in the British Virgin Islands.
- Proof of marital status (certified or original copies of decree absolute for divorced spouses or death certificates for deceased spouses.)
- two witnesses needed:
- for signing license application and
- to be present at the marriage ceremony.
(witnesses need not be the same for both exercises; persons in BVI may be selected as witnesses)
* We try to keep this info as current as possible so please contact the local tourism office for any changes.