The Itinerary: Sailing the British Virgin Islands

Digital Vision/Getty Images

A sample schedule lays out a week on the water in the BVI.

Day 1: Arrive at either the St. Thomas or Tortola airport and be greeted by crew who will help transport you and your guests to the yacht. Settle in during an easy cruise to the Bight at Norman Island—believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island—where you can head to the caves for a snorkel. Have an evening cocktail at the famous Willy T floating bar.

Day 2: Enjoy an early morning snorkel at the Indians, a rock formation with an underwater tunnel to swim through. Sail to Salt Island, where certified divers will want to explore the wreck of the RMS Rhone, a mail ship lost off the coast of the island in a hurricane in 1867. Anchor off Cooper Island for the night.

Day 3: Start the day at the Baths on the southern tip of Virgin Gorda, where a cozy pathway leads through huge boulders, caves and pools along the shoreline to Devil’s Bay. Cruise aboard the tender to Eustatia reef for snorkeling—you’ll see the remnants of shipwrecks, including old cannons and anchors.

Day 4: Sail to Great Camanoe Island. Take a short walk through the huge aloe plants to Cam Bay and see lizards and hermit crabs. At sunset, sail to Cane Garden Bay, on the northern side of Tortola, and enjoy live music in one of the many beach bars.

Day 5: After breakfast sail over to the tiny, sandy island of Green Cay for snorkeling off Sandy Spit. Enjoy an onboard lunch while cruising to Jost Van Dyke island. Visit Foxy's Bar ( to meet its namesake, who often plays calypso music for his guests, and Soggy Dollar Bar ( for a Painkiller cocktail—a mix of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and orange juice topped with grated nutmeg.

Day 6: Awake for a swim in White Bay. Set sail for West End, Tortola, home of Pusser’s Landing Restaurant and Store (, an outpost run by Pusser’s Rum. Ashore is a cluster of pastel West Indian buildings known as Soper’s Hole Wharf & Marina ( Shop local boutiques and craft shops.

Day 7: Disembark at Soper’s Hole, West End, for the Tortola airport. Don’t forget your shoes!

*Based on information from Fraser Yachts and YCO.

And More Tips…

Broker: Tasmin Priestly, YCO

  • The best dinner spot depends on your taste. For conch fritters go to Loblolly Beach on Anegada; for more refined fare head to Biras Creek Resort ( on Virgin Gorda, which is only accessible by boat or helicopter.
  • For high season, such as Christmas and New Year’s, book ideally six months in advance—but there may be last-minute deals available. For less-busy times, it is usually possible to book anywhere from a couple of months to a few weeks ahead.

Broker: Liz Howard, Fraser Yachts

  • Find a yacht with a quality tender. The BVIs have very few places to dock. There is no surge at the beaches, so tenders can drop guests off right on the sand.
  • A packing list would be a bathing suit, a cover-up, flip-flops and two pairs of sunglasses—the last thing you want is to be without them.
  • The BVI is the number-one destination for yachting. Make sure the broker finds a good captain who knows the area and can avoid the schedules of the cruise ships.

Broker: Craig Cohen, Burgess

  • The easiest way to get there is to fly into [the Tortola airport on] Beef Island. You have to connect either through San Juan or St. Maarten if flying commercial. They also can handle private jets. The other option is to start in St. Thomas.
  • The most important aspect of a yacht charter is the crew. If it’s a family charter with active kids, then you need to find a yacht and crew that match up well.
  • If the timing is right, stop by the famous Bomba’s Shack ( on Tortola for its full-moon party. It really is a shack!