Secrets to Planning the Best BVI Itinerary

Customers often ask us for guidance in designing the best itineraries for their crewed or bareboat charters in the BVI. This is no big deal because we know the islands well and it’s easy to slap together an itinerary from our archives and forward it on.

We always add caveats about the weather, the wind direction, the sea state, the size of the boat, etc. However the truth of the matter is that this is mostly window dressing. We do it because it’s impolite to simply say: “hey, talk to the captain, he’ll set you straight”, or be seen as non-cooperative or even as “obstructionist” if we decline politely.

So what IS the real answer? Mostly, it depends on the wind direction and the wave direction. The skipper’s primary interest is always to keep you safe, and to have an uneventful smooth sailing trip around the islands. If the wind is coming from the East, as it generally does, then an anti-clockwise direction around the island chain is generally recommended.

So the skipper is a vital link in the chain and charterers should remember that because the skipper knows the waters, knows the bays, coves and inlets. Which ones are more protected and which are not, where the anchor drags and where it doesn’t and also knows the best way to get to the places you want to see.

Ahh, now we’re getting to the main point of this article: far better to tell the skipper the places you’d really like to see, assuming you have read up on the Virgin Islands and especially the BVI, before your vacation, and then let him make the decisions on how and in what order and what day to visit them. He knows the weather patterns, has access to the forecast. You PROBABLY DON’T want to slog up to Anegada in 4 to 6 ft seas, right?

So maybe we should list some of the more interesting places to visit and then you choose which ones you’d like to see on your first (or second or third) trip to the islands, then discuss with your fellow guests and have a heart-to-heart with the captain when you board the vessel. OK, having put THAT to bed, let’s get on with listing some “must-sees”. First however you will find some interesting pages on this site that describe the various islands and the things to do on each island. There are separate pages on Tortola, Jost van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and the other outlying Islands .

However, in addition to the information on these pages, you may wish to include some extra special places like:

  • The bubbly pool on Jost Van Dyke
  • A resort SCUBA diving adventure course with one of the local dive-shops
  • Snorkeling around the Indians, a group of rocky outcrops near Norman Island
  • Hiking to the top of Virgin Gorda
  • Anchoring or picking up a Mooring ball in one of the many Bays and world class beaches on St John, especially Maho Bay or Salt Pond Bay.
  • Shopping and having lunch at Sopers Hole
  • Having a drink at Foxy’s on Jost van Dyke
  • Hanging out on the beach and listening to the music from Myetts Hotel in Cane Garden Bay
  • Having a Bushwhacker at the Soggy Dollar Bar.

With a detailed itinerary of even if you just wing it, you’ll have a great time anyway. See you there.

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  1. Great tips here! There’s a lot of activities you can do in a yacht, but it’s good to schedule them out so you can get as much done as possible.

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