The British Virgin Islands
Located in the northeastern Caribbean, The British Virgin Islands are known for their beauty and calm waters. A multitude of excellent anchorages and idyllic islands make the BVI one of the best locations for Caribbean sailing vacations and is one of our largest bases.Book Now!
Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is the most developed, however, it remains charmingly reminiscent of the West Indies' past: a quiet, colonial atmosphere. The BVI (British Virgin Islands) have made yacht chartering one of their main industries and we are very proud to be able to offer our catamaran sailing vacations in this island hot spot.
We’ll give you the best possible experience you can have in the British Virgin Islands as we take you to some of the popular locations as well as some of the not so popular stops. Virgin Gorda, the second largest island, which is famous for "The Baths'', which have been described by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The site is characterized by huge boulders and crystal blue water with a sparkling white-sand beach. Other island stops on this BVI yacht charter include Jost Van Dyke, home to the famous Foxy's and Soggy Dollar Bar, Anegada, which is a very popular location for many sailing charter companies, Peter Island, and Norman Island, where snorkelers and divers can explore the famous underwater caves as a highlight to their sailing vacation.
Your flight itinerary for arriving in the British Virgin Islands can consist of flights either into St. Thomas or Beef Island, Tortola. If you land in St. Thomas (STT), you will need to take a 50 minute Ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to Road Town in Tortola. The ferry is approximately a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport with the last ferry leaving to Road Town around 4pm. Once you arrive in Road Town, Sebastian's Taxi Service will be waiting to take you on a 15 minute ride from the Ferry dock to our base.
Some guests choose to fly directly into Tortola's Beef Island Airport (EIS) which will be via San Juan, Puerto Rico. From The Beef Island Airport, taxi service is available to take you to our Hodges Creek base location.
British Virgin Islands Time:
Sometimes making travel arrangements to other countries can be difficult because it is hard to remember what time zone you are visiting. For your convenience, we have provided the current time in the BVI.
Ferry Schedule and Pricing:
After arriving in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas you will take the St. Thomas/Tortola Ferry to Road Town, Tortola. Roundtrip ticket is approximately $55/adult. Click here for a complete ferry schedule.
Our Base Location: Hodges Creek Marina, Tortola
Hodges Creek Marina is located on the east end of Tortola, minutes from Beef Island airport and 15 minute shuttle ride from the Road Town ferry dock.
The meeting time to board the yacht is at 5 pm on Saturday or 5 pm on Sunday depending on your scheduled departure day. You will have dinner aboard the yacht at the base that evening and the yacht will depart the following morning. To ensure your catamaran is cleaned and provisioned accordingly for your charter, we allow you to board the vessel no earlier than 5 pm on your arrival day.
Hotel Stay Options:
For guests choosing to come in early or stay later for a few days we can recommend options. Please ask your reservations agent for details. Below are current options.
St. John:(Ferrys are available from St. Thomas to St John and St John to Road Town, Tortola)
- Windward Passage Hotel located walking distance to the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock in St Thomas. When making your reservation, please use promo code: Fsailing for access to exclusive rates.
US Citizens must have a valid passport. Citizens of other countries should confirm entry requirements with their consulate. Also, Tortola charges a departure tax of $20 per person by air, and $20 per person by sea.
TORTOLA & THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS- SAMPLE ITINERARY
Truly the sailing Capital of the Caribbean! You can fly into Beef Island on Tortola or the more popular St Thomas Airport and hop aboard the Charlotte Amalie ferry for a scenic ride over to Tortola. Your catamaran "home" will be Hodges Creek Marina, just a taxi ride away from the ferry dock. For early arrivals, guests can stroll around Road Town, where you can visit the local shops or enjoy a bite at one of the local restaurants. Upon boarding, you'll enjoy cocktails while watching your first Caribbean sunset followed by a delicious dinner prepared by the yacht's chef.
Cruising Day 1:
The Caves on Norman Island, a short sail across the sheltered Sir Frances Drake Channel, bring you your first experience with the beauty and splendor of the BVI. The snorkeling here will make you feel like you are inside an aquarium, teeming with thousands of the most colorful fish. Your crew will explain the history of these caves and the treasure troves that have been found here! A five minute motor around the headland will bring you into "The Bight" on Norman Island. This is the home of the famous "William Thornton," a floating bar and restaurant known to many as the "Willy T".
Cruising Day 2:
Begin your second day with freshly brewed coffee, a wonderful breakfast and perhaps a plunge off the back deck. You will sail along the coast of Peter Island, past Dead Chest Atoll and into Salt Island, in protected and calm waters. Salt Island is the graveyard for the R.M.S Rhone which was shipwrecked off its Eastern point with all passengers onboard in 1896. This is one of the most famous wrecks in the world for scuba divers to explore. Snorkel over the stern section or take a walk around the shoreline in search of buried treasure. Next, you sail to The Baths, a national park located on Virgin Gorda. Walk through the batholitic granite caves and formations to Devils Bay where your crew will meet you with a refreshing, packed cooler and your snorkel gear. We enjoy lunch back on the boat and then off we go for an hour's sail up the spectacular coast of Virgin Gorda and The Bitter End Yacht Club. Go ashore after dinner and take in a typical BVI evening with your favorite Rum Punch and Steel Drum Band.
Cruising Day 3:
Today we hoist all the sails and set our course for the two hour cruise to the flat coral-sand island of Anegada with its endless white beaches. Feel the "talcum powder" under your feet while you stroll along the deserted beach. With the third largest barrier reef in the world surrounding Anegada, today is the perfect day to relax on the beaches of Loblolly or Cow Wreck Beach and enjoy great sites and fantastic snorkeling. Tonight is your first night dining ashore. The prolific lobster population of this Island ensures a lobster meal second to none. Choose your lobster and watch it sizzle on the beach BBQ in front of the Anegada Reef Hotel or select a meal from the specials of the evening.
Cruising Day 4:
Another super sail back to Mountain Point on Virgin Gorda where we stop for lunch and fantastic snorkeling amongst the granite boulders. From here, we sail through the Dog Islands to Marina Cay, a private Island Resort off the East side of Tortola. Michael Bean will entertain you with Pirate songs with his guitar and harmonica during happy hour on the top of the island. Dinner on board and a good nights' rest in this calm anchorage will prepare you for the exciting day ahead.
Cruising Day 5:
After coffee, we move to Monkey Point on Guana Island for breakfast. A snorkel around the unusual coral outcrops will reveal some strange marine creatures not often encountered. Lunch is at a unique little Islet off the Island of Jost van Dyke. With a good coverage of shade and a few palm trees, walk around this Island in just five minutes and snorkel the surrounding coral reef. Its nearly happy hour time at the world famous Foxy's on Jost van Dyke. Pin up a garment of clothing with your name written on it in Foxy's bar to join the many hundreds from all over the world.
Cruising Day 6:
White Bay, just around the corner from Foxy's, is a spectacular strip of white sand fringed with coconut palms. Put your dollars into your pocket and swim ashore to the Soggy Dollar Bar, where the original "Painkiller" cocktail was conceived.
We spend a leisurely day here before returning to Tortola, checking in at the famous Sopers Hole. This is the last night where you will dine ashore and enjoy late evening entertainment.
Cruising Day 7:
After breakfast, we take a short cruise around to our base. Joyful memories and new made friends, we wish everyone farewell until the next cruise with us.
GETTING MARRIED IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
We often get requests from guests asking about information on getting married in the British Virgin Islands. The following is a resource for you to help in your planning. There is no better expereience than a wedding in the islands and we would love to help you make it special.
Marriage Rules & Regulations
A marriage license is easy to obtain in the British Virgin Islands and the certificate is valid internationally. A couple is required to be in the BVI for three business days before they can be married. On your day of arrival, apply for a license at the Registrar-General's Office, located on the 2nd floor of the Central Administration Complex in Road Town, Tortola. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Your application will take three business days to be processed.
Requirements of the Registrar-General's Office
Your passports as proof of identity and date of arrival in the BVI.
Proof of marital status (certified original copies of Degree Absolute for divorced spouses or Death Certificate of deceased spouses).
$110.00 (in BVI postage stamps) for a special license for those residing in the BVI for three days or $50.00 (in BVI postage stamps) for those residing in the BVI for 15 days or more.
Two witnesses: (1) for signing the license application and (1) to be present at the marriage ceremony. (Witnesses need not be the same for both exercises; persons in the BVI may be selected as witnesses.
Having applied for the license, go to the Registrar-General's Office to schedule an appointment for the date and time you propose to be married. The Registrar-General will require the following information:
The names of the two parties as they appear on your travel documents
The ages of both parties
The occupations of both parties
The names of the two witnesses to the ceremony
Fees payable to the Registrar-General's Office are $35.00 if the wedding ceremony is to be performed in a church, and $100.00 if it is performed elsewhere. If you wish to be married in a church, wedding announcements must be published on three consecutive Saturdays or Sundays in the church of your choice. You must make arrangement with the minister of the church of your choice. (Publishing of announcements is not necessary if a marriage license is obtained.)
The simplest way to get married in the BVI is to have a Wedding Specialist handle the arrangements. From the license and paperwork to the ceremony and honeymoon, your BVI Wedding Specialist will ensure that everything runs smoothly.
To help plan your wedding or honeymoon in the BVI, you can call a BVI Wedding Specialist at a BVI Tourist Board office. For further details, please write or call: Registrar-General's Office, P.O. Box 3199, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Tel: 284-494-3492/5650/2783 Fax: 284-494-6664
Note: All ministers in the BVI are Marriage Officers and can perform civil ceremonies outside church. A Civil Marriage Officer is also available.
The British Virgin Islands Tourism.
Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht-filled harbor characterize the island of Tortola, where the past of the West Indies meets the present of the BVI. The largest island in the chain, Tortola offers a variety of exciting vacation possibilities.
The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole and Trellis Bay are ideal for boaters. Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. There are also many well-equipped facilities for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and horseback riding.
Wander through centuries-old ruins such as the Dungeon, Fort George, Fort Recovery, the Mount Healthy Windmill and Callwood's Rum Distillery, which is still in operation, and explore Tortola's history at the BVI Folk Museum in Road Town.
Main Street in Road Town, the capital city, has an array of shops and restaurants; offering everything from local spices, jams, rums, and soaps to handcrafted jewelry, silk-screened fabrics, and local art.
The cuisine of Tortola reflects the island's rich cultural mix, whether it's a four-star dinner at a converted sugar mill or a delicious West Indian roti at a pastel-painted cottage. Local delicacies such as fresh lobster, conch, spicy goat, curries and Johnny Cakes make each meal memorable.
Escape to the cool slopes of Sage Mountain National Park, where traces of a primeval rain forest can still be seen at higher elevations. On the mountain ridge that runs thorough the island, observe local Caribbean life with its gentle rhythms, farms, settlements and churches. At Mount Healthy National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, rock outcroppings and vertical ghuts, or dry steam valleys, expose the deep, rich earth of this volcanic island. In Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens offers peaceful walks through pergolas and pathways covered with colorful vines, as well as a miniature rain forest and a fern house.
The dramatically shaped island of Virgin Gorda reminded Christopher Columbus of a reclining woman, so he named it Virgin Gorda, the "Fat Virgin." The third largest island of the BVI, Virgin Gorda measures eight and a half square miles.
In addition to the sheer beauty of the island, travelers are drawn to Virgin Gorda for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, safe anchorages and luxury resorts. On the North Sound, the Bitter End Yacht Club, accessible only by water, offers relaxation in an extraordinary, secluded environment. And with its spectacular setting, Little Dix Bay Resort, designed by Laurance S. Rockefeller, has its own spectacular setting.
Your privacy is ensured at one of Virgin Gorda's deserted pristine beaches, such as Savannah Bay, Pond Bay, Devil's Bay, Mahoe Bay and Spring Bay. Or visit the most popular natural attraction in the BVI, The Baths, where huge granite boulders create mysterious grottos, saltwater pools and a connecting trail that entices visitors to spend a day exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. Explore Virgin Gorda on the rugged trails that run throughout the island, and see the huge variety of unique indigenous plants that thrive in the national parks at Gorda Peak, Devil's Bay, Spring Bay and the North Sound. At the nature sanctuary at Little Fort National Park, marvel at the exotic birds as they swoop over the hills and ocean.
Not surprisingly, Virgin Gorda has been luring people for centuries. Discover the island's African and Indian heritage; trace its Spanish history at the ruins at Little Fort National Park; observe the British influence in Spanish Town and at the Cornish Copper Mines on the island's southwestern tip, where ruins stand sentinel against the azure sea.
Experience the island's exquisite cuisine, a wonderful combination of all its influences, and explore the variety of shops offering local arts and crafts, as well as gifts, resort wear and souvenirs.
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke has fewer than 200 inhabitants and they are widely known as a welcoming people. The island's name conjures up its rich, colorful past. Jost Van Dyke is said to have been named for an early Dutch settler, a former pirate. Although it measures just four miles by three, with the highest point at 1,054 feet, this rugged island has been home to many people, including the Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans and British.
At Great Harbour, Little Harbour and White Bay there are safe, protected anchorages and unspoiled beaches shaded with coconut palms and seagrape trees.
Discover inviting restaurants, bars, and small shops selling local treasures. For lunch, there are barbecues, West Indian rotis, flying fish sandwiches, grilled fresh fish and lobster. Club Paradise is famous for its conch stew and barbecued ribs. Happy Laury's Snack Bar is known for its pig roasts and honey-dipped chicken.
The Soggy Dollar Bar and Gertrude's in White Bay are renowned for drinks made with the island's famous rum, frosty beers and tales of pirates and sunken treasure. Parties here are legendary, especially at Foxy's. This bar and its owner are known to travelers from around the world for the New Year's Eve and Halloween parties, when Great Harbour fills up with yachts. The "Painkiller," one of the most famous cocktails in the Caribbean, was invented at The Soggy Dollar Bar.
Explore Jost Van Dyke's history in the vegetation-covered ruins of centuries-old sugar mills, or on the old trails that crisscross the island. William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, was born on Jost Van Dyke, and John Lettsome, founder of the London Medical Society, was born on neighboring Little Jost.
In the autumn and winter, observe whales and dolphins from a peaceful hilltop, or visit the East End of the island where you can relax in the natural Jacuzzi formed by the foaming seas. Little Jost and Sandy Cay are a short boat ride away, and on nearby Great Tobago you'll find extraordinary advanced dive sites and a marine sanctuary that shelters a nesting colony of magnificent frigate birds.
Jost Van Dyke is accessible by boat or ferry. Accommodations are available at several small hotels and simple beachside cottages or stay at a campground at White Bay or Tula's. Whether you’re staying on land or lying at anchor, you're sure to go home with many memories of this unforgettable island.
The only coral island in the volcanic BVI chain, Anegada is definitely unique. The Spanish named it Anegada, the "Drowned Land." Measuring 11 miles by three, its highest point is just 28 feet above sea level. The island is surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, the third largest continuous reef in the Eastern Caribbean at 39 miles long, containing both a patch reef and barrier reef.
Cow Wreck Beach, Flash of Beauty, Bones Bight and Windlass Bight are but a few of the beautiful beaches where you can relax under the shade of a coconut palm or seagrape tree. The secluded, powdery white-sand beaches are protected by the sheltering reef and the points that sweep out from the shore: Nutmeg Point, Setting Point and Pomato Point.
Bubbling up from the coral bed, clear springs support a variety of wildlife. Loblolly, seagrape, frangipani and the turpentine tree flourish here, along with feathery sea lavender and wild orchids. Saltwater ponds, mudflats and mangrove swamps are home to an array of exotic birds, including sandpipers, ospreys, terns, kaloo birds, blue herons and frigate birds. In the ponds near Nutmeg Point, flocks of flamingos gather. On the nature trail at Bones Bight, catch a glimpse of the rare rock iguanas native to Anegada.
For snorkelers, the reef offers a maze of tunnels, drops and caves boasting a rich marine life. Schools of mojarra and needlefish thrive in the sandy bottoms, while green sea turtles swim in the sheltered waters. Beyond the reef, spectacular sights await scuba divers. Angelfish, stingrays, triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang and horse-eye jacks inhabit the drowned holds of the numerous Spanish galleons, American privateers and British warships that have been wrecked here. Anegada has all the facilities needed for most water sports, as well as bonefishing and sport fishing.
On land, you can read the island's history in the maze of stone walls that surround the Settlement, the main town. In the East End, ancient conch burial mounds and islands attest to the presence of the Arawaks, who called Anegada home nearly a thousand years ago. At the Anegada Museum, maps reveal the location of over 200 wrecks, while cannons, musket balls and ships' timbers are part of the recovered booty. Listen to tales of buccaneers, drowned ships and hoards of gold still undiscovered.
Once you arrive in Anegada, there are taxis that will take you to the various spots. At restaurants, visitors dine on lobster, reputed to be the Caribbean's best, or relax with one of the island's special rum concoctions - the Rum Teaser or Wreck Punch.
Rhone Marine Park, Salt Island
The Wreck of the Rhone is the first and only Marine National Park in the British Virgin Islands. It is the most celebrated dive site in the BVI, and a major recreational attraction. The park includes examples of fringing reef habitat and sea grass beds. The wreck is that of a Royal Mail Steamer, which sunk during the hurricane of 1867 with 125 people on board. At 310 feet long and 40 feet wide, the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer lies in two main parts in waters between 30 and 90 feet deep. Much of it is still intact and visible, including decking, parts of the rigging, the steam engine, and propeller. The marine park stretches from Lee Bay on Salt Island westward to include Dead Chest Island. The ship's anchor broke away outside Great Harbour, Peter Island, and this site forms the second portion of the park. The park is used by several commercial dive operators daily. Other dive sites in the park include Rhone Reef, Blonde Rock, and Painted Walls. Anchoring is strictly prohibited in the area in and around the Rhone. The National Parks Trust has installed mooring buoys for use by all commercial, charter, and private vessels. If moorings are unavailable around the Rhone, vessels are required to use the Salt Island Settlement or Peter Island anchorages.
Aragorn Studio, Trellis Bay
Aragorn’s Studio offers abundant creative energy featuring pottery and local art centre situated at the heart of Trellis Bay Village, BVI. His dedication to the cultural arts are blossoming in a centre where his own works are displayed in amongst the works of the top artisans of the Caribbean and where craft skills are taught to all comers.
Scattered in an aquamarine sea, the British Virgin Islands flank the broad Sir Francis Drake Channel, which has beguiled sailors for centuries with scalloped coves and sheltered anchorages.
There are more than 60 islands in all, whose names reflect their colorful past. Among these are Buck Island, Fallen Jerusalem, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, Round Rock and Scrub Island. While on charter you'll soon discover pristine palm-fringed beaches, rugged peaks and rich vegetation. Some islands are uninhabited and designated as national parks.
Our Guaranteed Departure Policy: When you purchase any of our stateroom packages for two, your catamaran will depart on the confirmed charter date for the confirmed stateroom price even if no other staterooms are reserved on that vessel.
Book By the Stateroom Yacht Assignment: Every yacht within the Festiva Sailing Vacations' fleet is identical in terms of cabin layout and design. To create the best make-up when purchasing stateroom packages, we do not assign guests to a specific yacht until we receive each guest's preference form. This allows us to mix those couples with similar interests when possible.
Book By the Stateroom Provisioning Details: Menu offered is a delicious variety of cuisine planned in advanced to accommodate our guests throughout the course of the week. Some snacks and fruit will be provided in addition to the set meals. Chefs cater to any food allergies or special dietary requirements and guests are asked to indicate this information on pre charter preference forms.
Book By the Stateroom Occupancy Details: Occupancy aboard some our catamarans is limited to 8 guests in total (including children) in the British Virgin Islands and 6 guests in Greece, St. Maarten and St. John. When chartering with children under the age of 16, you must reserve all guest cabins on the yacht. When party exceeds eight in total, two or more yachts will sail in tandem. Special flotilla discounts may be available for reservations of more than one yacht.
Payment Details - A 50% deposit is required for Caribbean bookings. Balance of charter amount is due 60 days prior to departure. A 100% deposit is required for reservations made inside 90 days.
What's Not Included in Package Price: Two dinners ashore on Caribbean charters. Local cruising permits and park fees (if any), gratuities for crew, special requested liquors and transfers to base location.