Recently, we spent time in the BVIs. Our small group had wanted to do this trip for a while—we first booked it during COVID and then rescheduled for this past July.
I was initially very hesitant on the idea of living on a boat for a week, but it was honestly a beautiful and wonderful experience. I enjoyed it so much to say I would definitely do it again!
I’ll detail out our experience in the BVIs in a few ways. First things first:
We rented a boat through Moorings. The boat we selected was a 3 cabin catamaran. We considered a sailboat, but the catamaran offered more room for living, and more power to get to our destinations quickly. Given that we ended up enountering some of nearby tropical storm Elsa, there turned out to be plenty of wind and we would not have been able to make good use of our sails regardless.
We chose a boat that was less than a year old. It was worth the upgrade cost, and the boat felt brand new. It had AC, wireless, and lots of storage and amenities.
A lot of people have asked me if we had a captain. My husband, Mike, was our captain. It is possible to have someone captain your boat for you, but when you are sleeping on the boat, that means someone else is living with you full-time. Mike had experience and we valued the idea of it just being our group on the boat.
Where We Sailed
The reason the BVIs are so popular for sailing are because it is a group of islands that is so close together. It’s very easy to get from one destination to another. From one end of the string of islands to the other, it was only roughly about 3.5 hours on our boat.
Here’s an overview that helped me get my bearings.
We flew into St. Thomas and then ferried to Tortola. We spent the night at the Moorings base and departed the second day.
Day 1: Norman Island
Ate dinner at the Bight.
Day 2: Peter Island
Moored here while Tropical Storm Elsa passed. Not much to do, but we spent our time swimming, sunning, eating and drinking!
Day 3: Cooper Island & Virgin Gorda
Ate at Cooper Island Beach Club for lunch. Then, sailed to Virgin Gorda and spent the afternoon and evening at Oil Nut Bay. Ate dinner at Nova.
Day 4: Anegada
The farthest point.This was high on our list and it did not disappoint. We rented a Jeep to explore that day and ate lunch at the Anegada Beach Club. We did lots of snorkeling and watched all the native pink flamingos, which was fascinating. We grabbed drinks on the beach at Cow Wreck and ate dinner at the Wonky Dog.
Day 5: Scrub Island & Jost Van Dyke
We lunched at Scrub Island Marina and spent some time at the resort Then, sailed to Jost Van Dyke. We had happy hour at the Soggy Dollar and dinner at Foxy’s.
Day 6: Back to Tortola
Most of the restaurants are detailed out above in our itinerary, but I’ll include a few pictures below. It’s important to say we did NOT have a bad meal. I’d recommend every place we went! We did go for a mix of high-low. The dive beach bars there are some of the most famous, so we had to make a few classic stops!
Overall & Tips
I would definitely recommend doing this trip. We saw a lot of families traveling with their kids and extended families on their boats, as well as saw a group or two that had 2-3 boats between them and were traveling together—that looked fun!
Groceries & Items Packed
If you all are interested, I linked up what I packed, here.
For groceries, we provisioned and the items we selected prior were delivered to the boat. Very similar items as you might find in the U.S., however it’s a pretty basic list of items that are available. We brought all of our wine with us, however, if you aren’t super-specific about wine, there are places to pick it up locally. Many common low and mid-priced brands are available. We found a lovely French cheese and wine spot near the Moorings base that had a nice selection of things we added to our boat. There were also a couple of places to buy liquor near the base.
We also were given a few key tips on packing certain household supplies for the boat—these suggestions ended up being really great so I’ll pass them along here:
- Rubber trivets to keep things from sliding around on the counters
- A few bath mats, since there is a good bit of water coming in and out of the boat
- Extra trash bags, paper towels, chips clips and ziplocs
- Anything we didn’t think we could provision, we brought with us (in addition to wine, we brought things like certain snacks we liked, a specific coffee, etc)
- A waterproof bag or box to hold our phones and personal items as we took the dinghy over to shore
Other Misc Tips
- It’s very casual in the BVIs. You could literally wear a swimsuit and coverup to any dinner, if you wanted. We wore casual clothes the whole time.
- Downloading the Boaty ball app was helpful in ensuring we could reserve a mooring where we were going that day
- We also would recommend restaurant reservations everywhere. They don’t need to be far in advance, instead, you can call that day. We would wake up, make our travel plan for the day, and then look ahead at available restaurants. Sometimes we’d call ahead that morning, and other times we’d get to the destination and stop by in person to request a reservation before we spent the day exploring.
- A few hundred dollars cash (BVIs take American dollars) is helpful for multiple reasons
Hope everyone has a great rest of their week!