The most beautiful part of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) lies beneath the water, with crystal clear, warm waters, white sand and almost 100 dive sites to explore, it's no wonder BVI is the perfect holiday destination for dive enthusiasts.
The four main islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dkye hold some diving treasures, such as the wrecks of the Rokus or Chikuzen but the most amazing diving can be found around the southern islands which consist of 60 small islands and cays that can be accessed from the main islands by boat on a day trip.
You are spoilt for choice, depending on your interests. The shallow coral gardens and sandy bottoms are perfect for finding rays, nurse sharks and great macro life. The shallow, clear water means photographers can capture that perfect shot. The Caves off Norman Island are said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's book, Treasure Island. Truly an amazing adventure.
Sea life is abundant around BVI; schools of fish such as jacks, snapper and glassy sweepers surround you while hunting between the many canyons and pinnacles for giant groupers, reef and nurse sharks, turtles, rays and the small stuff such as shrimps, nudibranchs and flatworms. Colourful corals sway in the mild current, healthy and pristine, it's a joy to see such wonderful preservation of the reefs here.
Highlights include the caverns around West Dog Island, The Chimney at Great Dog Island, the plane wreck at Coral Gardens is rather interesting too but the best and most popular wreck would have to be the Rhone, a Royal Mail Steemer still in tact. A nice easy wreck dive is Wreck Alley where there are three wrecks in a row.
Diving can be enjoyed all year round but the tourist season usually runs from November until May. Weather can be uncertain in the other months, there's been a history of storms but it might be worth the risk if you're looking for a less touristy time of year.
You'll enjoy every minute of your diving at BVI, if we've missed your favourite dive site then please drop us a line, or add your best photos to your favourite so we can enjoy your diving experience.
(By Kelly Luckman)
The British Virgin Islands, located to the east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, are made up of over 60 islands of which 43 are uninhabited. The main islands: Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada and Virgin Gorda, attract many travellers, divers, sailors and fishermen due to their lush, transparent waters and stunning white beaches.
Virtually untouched by the tourism industry, the islands boast natural beauty with secluded bays, coral reefs and rainforests in Sage Mountain, Tortola. The BVI boasts an average tropical climate of 32 °C in the summer and 29 °C in the winter and low humidity levels all year round, perfect for you sun worshippers out there!
The British Virgin Islands are reachable by air travel from San Juan or Puerto Rico. Or why not discover the southern islands by treating yourself to a luxury cruise, which docks closeby each island where mini boats will be provided to shuttle you to land. Ferries are also available to transport you island to island and run frequently throughout the day.
Travellers are spoilt for choice for accommodation on these beautiful islands, as everything from hostels to luxury villas are available for all budgets. If you’re looking for a more peaceful getaway, a wide selection of private accommodation is available to rent.
Water Sports are very popular on the islands, there are hundreds of places for surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kite-boarding. The BVI is the most popular area in the Caribbean for sailing, as the islands are grouped closely together and protected from the Atlantic Ocean. The annual ‘Hi-Ho’ Windsurfing competitions attract windsurfers worldwide in a 15 mile race across the ocean to Anegada, which is known as the ‘drowned island’ as it cannot be spotted until the last 5 miles of the race, due to its low elevation.
The BVI ‘Kite Jam’ kite-boarding events, however, are open to amateurs as well as professionals. The week-long event includes professional demonstrations, races, parties and an award ceremony. Ride the biggest waves in some of the windiest and most breathtaking locations in the world.
Sailboats are an excellent option for getting around and are definitely amongst the most fun! Tortola being one of the main spots for yacht rentals in the Caribbean, is a great place to start. Sailing guides can be hired out for the day for the less experienced sailors to help you on your adventure!
Taxi’s are also a great way of sightseeing and are of more affordable prices. On the larger islands such as, Tortola and Virgin Gorda hire cars are available to rent out for days at a time (temporary licences are needed for visits longer than 30 days). The scooter hire in Jost Van Dyke is also a fun way to get around!
Each island possesses its own unique beauty, charm and legends. So whether it be pure relaxation or crazy action-packed adventures you’re looking for, these islands are definitely an unforgettable experience and are a must on your travel to-do list!
(By Lauren Cole)