Now, Cane Garden Bay has to be one of the really, really great places on Tortola, BVI. Overall it’s my favorite stop-over to simply chill and hang out PROVIDED the wind and waves are NOT coming from the North West or West. However, since the prevailing winds are usually from the East, Cane Garden Bay is a pretty safe bet most of the time.
Overall a beautiful place to be. No frills, no 5 stars, but all the things that make the Caribbean the greatest vacation spot in the world.
The beach is wide, the waters calm and there are several flavors of restaurants and bars all along the shoreline. You can sit on a sun lounger on the beach, rent water-sports equipment, you can have a nice lunch and dinner, you can swim to your hearts content, buy t-shirts and trinkets and the mooring balls are plentiful. AND you can have a nice, calm night without too many worries about the weather.
There’s usually some good Caribbean music being played in at least one of the many bars especially on a Friday or Saturday night. This may bother some people, but not me. The food is typically BVI which translates into Burgers in Paradise, some kind of “jerk” chicken dish, the occasional Trinidadian Roti, fish sandwiches and of course the inevitable and expensive Anegada lobster.
I’m not playing favorites here but Myetts hotel and Restaurant is my favorite place to hang out in Cane Garden Bay. It has a great bar, great music and good food. There’s always a resident musician who plays everyone’s favorite Caribbean songs almost non-stop. Not exactly unobtrusive, but GOOD stuff. If there’s some kind of special event going on, it’s usually on the TV, like the super-bowl, the world-cup soccer finals, or the election in Iowa.
Other great watering holes include Quito’s, Rhymers, Tony’s (no relation) and there’s a small supermarket (a superette in island talk) in case you run out of any essentials.
If you’re bare-boating, take down your sails outside the reef, approach the anchorage slowly, take the middle of the well-marked channel and look for the open spaces. there’s plenty of room to pick up mooring balls but I wouldn’t choose one that is too close to the beach because of the music. Music is nice on YOUR terms but not necessarily when you’re trying to take a nap or go to bed early.
I like to take the middle road. Not too close to the beach and not too close to the reef either. Generally speaking, I like to pick up a mooring towards the Western end of the anchorage, it is a little shallower but not excessively so.
Word of wisdom, do not refuel or take on water at the Cane Garden Bay marina. It’s expensive compared to Sopers Hole.
What can you do in Cane Garden Bay? I mean besides doing pretty much nothing, like me. Well, you can take a cab over to Road Town for shopping or simply exploring.
This is a great trip over the mountain with amazing scenery and you can take great pictures. You can use it as a jumping off point to visit Jost van Dyke and its decadent pleasures (like the Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy’s), you can take a cab to Sopers Hole on the West end for shopping or lunch. Of course you can SAIL to Sopers Hole too, so no big deal. Except that it gets a little crowded sometimes.
You can take a cab over to Brewers Bay which is next door and has great snorkeling. Word of wisdom: take your own mask and flippers because the ones that you can rent at Brewers are pretty scruffy. Of course you can SAIL over to Brewers bay too. But the anchoring is tricky and there are a very limited number of mooring balls.
Here’s another thought: if you are picking up your crewed charter yacht or catamaran in Tortola, have the captain pick you up or drop you off at Cane Garden Bay. Stay the night before or the night after in one of the small hotels there instead of spending the night in pricy St. Thomas or even Road Town. It’s a few bucks for the cab-ride over the mountain but worth it to thoroughly de-compress.
This is Cane Garden Bay in a nutshell. I’m writing because I love the place and look forward to the next visit even before I leave. If you’re a fair weather sailor like I am, and the wind is howling across the Francis Drake Channel or across the Northern side of Tortola as it sometimes does in winter, frankly I’m quite content to put my feet up and chill out for a few days.
I hope someone is keeping my seat warm at Myetts!!