Ultimate British Virgin Islands Vacation Travel Guide
Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Dana Berez
British Virgin Islands Vacation
Welcome to the British Virgin Islands, where nature and aqua-colored water will surround you wherever you are. This territory is made up of over 50 islands located in the Caribbean Sea. These unspoiled islands are a dream to wake up to. Plus, getting to the British Virgin Islands is just a short flight from Puerto Rico or a boat ride from St. Thomas.
If you are looking to visit the British Virgin Islands, look no further than this post! Here’s everything you need to know for your British Virgin Islands Vacation!
Entry Requirements: for the most up-to-date entry requirements to visit the BVI, visit the Gov UK website.
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Where are the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea just east of Puerto Rico.
How to get to the British Virgin Islands: While there are no direct flights from the United States, you can get to the BVI two different ways.
- Fly into Puerto Rico San Juan, then take a 40-minute flight via Silver Airways or Cape Air to Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS)
- Fly to St. Thomas and take a ferry boat to the British Virgin Islands to pass customs. View ferry schedule here.
British Virgin Islands Map
Where to Stay in the British Virgin Islands
You can either stay on one of the four larger main islands to experience more restaurants & things to do, or you can stay on a smaller island exclusive to one resort-like Saba Rock, or Scrub Island (more info below).
Either way, you can experience more than one island, you’ll just have to plan for water taxis, shuttles, or arrange a private boat to get around.
Largest main Islands:
- Tortola: Largest island in the BVI, features multiple white sand beaches. Many hotel & ferry options!
- Anegada: Known for miles of secluded white-sand beaches, nature, and wildlife. Farthest island from Puerto Rico.
- Jost Van Dyke: a fun and lively island known for beach bars, restaurants, and beaches.
- Virgin Gorda: Third largest island in the BVI, famous for The Baths National Park & luxury accommodations.
British Islands Resorts
Scrub Island Resort, Spa, and Marina
Scrub Island Resort & Marina offers luxury accommodations, activities, restaurants, and a luxurious spa on its very own private island. This is the perfect place to call home in your BVI itinerary.
Choose between spacious guest rooms, & suites that overlook the marina. Or if you’re traveling with a large group, choose between one of the many luxurious private villas ranging from 2, 3, 4, and 6 bedrooms.
While on Scrub Island, your day will never be dull. There are plenty of places to relax including Donovan’s Beach, the Pavillion Pool overlooking the Marina, pristine and secluded North Beach with 1,000 feet of private beach. And for activities, you can take a hike around the island, SUP paddle, kayak, snorkel, dive, and book day trips.
A sample day itinerary at Scrub Island could look something like this: morning hike around the island, breakfast at Donovan’s Reef, relaxing at either North Beach or Donovan’s Beach, kayaking or snorkeling through the crystal clear water, afternoon massage at Ixora spa, and dinner at Cardamom, the fine dining restaurant.
Saba Rock is an iconic must-stop destination in the North Sound in the British Virgin Islands.
Set on a 1-acre island, this resort features 8 luxurious guest rooms and 3 suites, a restaurant, sunset bar, and spa all overlooking the Caribbean blue water!
Since the damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017, this entire resort had to be rebuilt from scratch. Now, every detail is a modern luxe beachy vibe!
During the day, guests can partake in numerous water activities like kiteboarding, diving, and snorkeling. Or you can spend your days relaxing in a hammock at the guests-only beach. There is also a ferry shuttle connecting Saba Rock to Virgin Gorda that runs on the hour- so you can explore other islands while you stay.
Plus, I loved the British telephone booths on the island. And they actually work! You can make local calls for 10¢!
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Rosewood Little Dix Bay is a 5-star luxury eco-friendly resort on Virgin Gorda that’s been honored and reviewed since its debut in 1963 as one of the top luxury resorts in the world.
This sustainable luxury beachside retreat has its very own half-mile beach of powder-white sand & colorful barrier reef. This is a perfect option for complete luxury, honeymoon, or romantic getaway.
Charter a Catamaran
And if you are looking for a real unique stay, consider chartering a catamaran. Float away in the crystal clear turquoise water by a professional and local guide. You’ll be able to access incredible beaches, fun restaurants, and things to do without worrying about transportation.
This is a perfect option for group trips, girls’ trips, and family vacations! Plus, if you traveling with a larger group- splitting the cost is around the same price as a hotel!
Here are highly rated catamarans available:
- Highly rated catamaran. Sleeps up to 8
- 52-foot luxury catamaran. Sleeps up to 12
- Crewed all-inclusive catamaran. Sleeps up to 6
@danaberez 10 Second trailer to the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS #bvi #paradise #caribbean #islandvacation ♬ Jr Stit x bruno mars x adele – Margaux_lbt
Things to do in the British Virgin Islands
Visiting The Baths National Park is a MUST when you’re in the British Virgin Islands. Located at the tip of Virgin Gorda, this national park is home to 3 gorgeous beaches with crystal clear turquoise water and gigantic granite boulders.
Shop One-Piece White Swimsuits:
I spent most of my day at Devil’s Bay, which is a natural beach with the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. I honestly did not want to leave, and it was by far my favorite day in the BVI!
Access: You can reach the baths by either boat or by car. If you are arriving by car, you’ll have to walk down to the beach, which was around a 10-minute walk down some stairs.
And to get from Devil’s Bay to The Bath’s beach, you’ll have to go through this obstacle course that consisted of climbing through boulders, caves, and ladders. Wearing shoes with a grip will help you get through the boulders much easier!
Food: Enjoy some lunch at The Bath’s beach at Poor Man’s Bar, or make your way up to The Restuarant on Top of the Rocks for great views, sandwiches, and sushi!
Entry: $3 per person cash only. Card purchase is $20 minimum.
Note: Devil’s Bay does not have any concessions or bathrooms. If you want to access bathrooms and concessions, The Bath’s Beach has both.
Spa Treatment at Spa & Sparkle
Treat yourself with one of the many tailored spa treatments from Spa & Sparkle. The two locations are at Saba Rock and the Retreat at Nail Bay.T
Treatments include yoga & meditation, O2 Lift Treatment facials, deep tissue massages with lava shells, sound healing, cellulite release, and more. Plus, they offer spa packages like “The Honeymooners Retreat” “Watersports Junkie” and “the Knot” for a tailored experience.
Visit the Beach
There are many beaches throughout the British Virgin Islands, so it would be a shame not to see a few of them! Here are some you should put on your list to visit.
Virgin Gorda: Savannah Bay Beach, Devil’s Bay Beach (The Bath’s National Park)
Jost Van Dyke: White Bay Beach
Tortola: Cane Garden Bay Beach
Anegada: Cow Wreck Beach, Loblolly Beach
Try a Painkiller
You cannot visit BVI without trying at least one ‘Painkiller’, a specialty cocktail created in 1970 at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Josh Van Dyke.
This drink is made up of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and topped with freshly grated nutmeg.
You can find this specialty drink in nearly all bars & restaurants on the island, so you can taste your way for the best one!
Where to eat in the British Virgin Islands
The restaurant and bar at Saba Rock are a must-visit on your British Virgin Islands Vacation. The cocktail bar on the second floor offers unique cocktails, beer & wine in a fun, upbeat open-air environment.
The open-aired restaurant at Saba Rock with a direct sunset view is the place to get a nice dinner. There is not a bad dish on the island-inspired menu, and the snapper was cooked to perfection. Because this is a popular spot, reservations are recommended.
Island: Saba Rock
Menu: See the full menu
Nova at the Oil Nut Bay Marina
Lounge & dine at Nova at the Oil Nut Bay Marina. This chic overwater restaurant & bar serves fresh cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails overlooking the gorgeous water. The sushi & tuna tartare here is a must-order, as well as the Bonefish Beach cocktail!
You can opt to sit at the restaurant, or you can lounge by the infinity pool and lounge chairs overlooking the untouched bay.
If you want to indulge in an all-you-can-drink rose, mimosas, or bloody Mary’s check weekend brunch every Saturday 11:30 am-1:30 pm (Rosé only) & Sunday 10:30 am- 12:30 PM (Mimosas & Bloody’s only).
Island: Virgin Gorda
Menu: See the full menu
The Restaurant at Leverick Bay
The Restaurant at Leverick Bay offers a fine dining experience perched on the second story at Leverick bay. This outdoor restaurant offers incredible views of the bay and serves fresh cuisine. The food reminds me of delicious home-cooked meals you can only find from the best chefs!
Items include Mussles, filet mignon, rack of lamb, fresh catch of the day, shrimp curry, and more!
Island: Virgin Gorda
Menu: See the full menu
Cardamom at Scrub Island
Cardamom at Scrub Island is the signature fine dining restaurant at Scrub Island Resort and Spa that specializes in meat, fish, and favorite dishes with flavorful Caribbean flavors.
Dinner Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday: 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Menu: View the Dinner menu
Island: Scrub Island
Soggy Dollar Bar
Soggy Dollar Bar is an iconic beach bar located on the lively island of Jost Van Dyke. This bar was the originator of the famous “Painkiller” cocktail that is served throughout the British Virgin Islands since 1970.
Enjoy lunch & a classic Painkiller cocktail and enjoy the sun!
Island: Jost Van Dyke
Menu: See the full menu
How to get around the British Virgin Islands
If you want to experience more than one island, the best way to get around is by boat. If you are staying on a larger popular island like Tortola or Virgin Gorda, you’ll have more options to ferry routes in the BVI.
But, if you are staying elsewhere on smaller islands or places with fewer ferry options, you can look into calling an independent water taxi for your needs.
Resources: View all ferry schedules & water taxi options in the British Virgin Islands.
P.S. Consider Chartering a catamaran for a memorable experience with your friends & family!
What to Pack
When packing for a vacation in the British Virgin Islands you’ll want to bring some easy-going vacation wear, swimsuits, water shoes for visiting The Baths National Park.
The overall vibe on the islands is casual vacation wear. A nice pair of shorts are acceptable for dinner for men, and casual summer dresses for women.
Shopping: You will find some shops selling vacation wear on resorts like Saba Rock if you need anything new!
Read More: What to Pack for a Caribbean Vacation
Quick Facts: BVI
Some quick things to know before you go:
Currency: the USD is the official currency of the BVI
Outlets: Type B, the standard USA plug.
Passport: Yes, you need a passport to visit BVI from the USA
Language: English is the common spoken language in the BVI
ATM: Be sure to bring cash with you on the plane, or get cash once you land at the airport. There aren’t many ATM machines on the islands.
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This post was in partnership with Visit British Virgin Islands. All opinions are my own.