British Virgin Islands – BVI
Yacht Charter & Sailing Vacations

BVI • Where to go • When to go • What you should know • How to Book

Known as the sailing vacation capital of the world –for good reason—the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a picturesque group of islands in the Caribbean that check off all the elements of what makes a perfect Caribbean sailing vacation – ideal tropical weather, consistent winds, stunning islands, line of sight navigation, abundant nature, and as much relaxation or beach party adventure spots as you desire.

A BVI yacht charter is probably the best first-timer charter destination in the world. The sailing is easy and the wind is consistent. The second would be the Ionians in Greece. But those that love it (everyone does) keep coming back over and over.

What is a sailing vacation, yacht charter, etc..? Learn more here ›

BVI Yacht Charter and Sailing vacation - going ashore

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS YACHT CHARTER SUMMARY

We’ve been there!

In fact, we’ve done a BVI yacht charter again and again (and again), there is a good reason – easy sailing – warm water – no big hazards to worry about – a great first-time location.

Go snorkeling at the Indians, explore at The Baths, dine at Cooper Island Beach Club, get your money wet swimming to the Soggy dollar, listen to reggae at Foxy’s, jump up and down at the Jumbie party in north bay Virgin Gorda, have a drink or ten at The Willie Tee’s, and so so much more. You can’t do it all in a week but if you keep coming back, maybe you can experience most of it.

Sailing Requirements

BVI Bareboat charter requirements:

Sailing Resume

Certification

License

Learn more at Yacht Charter Resources ›

Sailing Skill Level

Knowledge – Skills – Experience:

✔ Intermediate

*BVI Yacht Charter note – shallow reefs near Anegada and off the north end of Virgin Gorda. Take careful note of charts and watch radar and weather prediction apps for thunderstorms.
Sailing Skill Levels ›

When to go?

The BVI is generally a year-round destination.

  • Best times to visit are between November and May.
  • June is starting to get a wee bit warm for sleeping at night (76 deg F)
  • July/August can be quite hot for sleeping at night (78 deg F). We recommend an air-conditioned boat. This means it will need a generator.
  • September/October many bases close during these months due to hurricane season but prices are lower and there are fewer crowds.

Climate

The BVI has a tropical climate with delightfully warm and easily swimmable water temperatures all year around. Air temperature rarely gets above 90 °F  (30°C) and rarely below 75 °F (24°C). The wettest months are August through November although mostly from thunderstorms rolling quickly through and so the sunshine hours remain high.

The months of July and August can be a bit balmy and so an air conditioning unit on your boat is recommended. Hurricane season is September and October but it is rare for the BVI. In the last 20 years, only 4 have hit. These days with weather technology, you have at least 5 days notice to vacate the area or not travel there. Charter companies usually give you credit for any time lost due to a hurricane.

High tourist season for the BVI is Christmas and New Year. Book at least 9 months in advance if you are looking for this time and expect prices to be high. January, February, and March have delightful weather and are also considered high season.

Cuisine and Provisionng

Cooper Island Beach Club is possibly one of the best dining experiences in the Caribbean – it’s on Cooper Island (duh). There are some other fun and delicious restaurants around and it is doubtful you’ll have a poor experience anywhere in the BVI. Consequently, you’ll find that you’ll be eating out many evenings.

Provisioning: You can do pre-order online provisioning that is delivered to your boat. We highly recommend doing this to take care of sundry items. This saves a lot of time and lugging around. Usually we top off with a quick visit to select out own veggies and fruits etc. For online go to https://www.riteway.vg/shop-groceries.html or http://onemartsupermarket.com/shop

There are also other places on your itinerary to top up if you’re getting low. In particular Cane Garden bay has a decent grocery store on the back street as well as Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda.

Must See & Do

  • The Baths; the icon of the BVI! Spend hours exploring the giant boulders and swimming in the adjacent sandy beach.
  • The Indians: Snorkeling galore.
  • White Bay on Jost Van Dyke Island: The Soggy Dollar Beach Bar: Aptly named by those who choose to swim ashore with a fist full of $ for their famous original Painkiller drink and renown as a top beach bar on the earth – for good reason.
  • Leverick Bay Resort & Jumbies Beach Bar. Don’t miss the Jumbie dance party
  • Foxy’s: One of the most iconic bar/restaurants in all of the Caribbean.
  • Savannah Bay: A gorgeous long white sandy beach to play and play with incredible snorkeling on the north end. Don’t go here with a westerly swell.
  • Willie Tee’s: A permanently anchored ship with a fun bar in the Bight of Norman Island. Probably best for adults only at night time as the party gets a bit wild.
  • Anegada Island: Known for the lobster – and more lobster.

Get the BVI Chart Briefing Course here. This speeds up your check-in time at the base.

How to get there?

Fly into either:

  1. Beef Island (EIS) which connects via road to the main island of Tortola and 20 mins drive from Road Town the capital of the BVI.
  2. Fly to St. Thomas (STT) and take a 40-minute gorgeous ferry ride to Road Town. The ferry is about 8 minutes drive from the STT airport. The free terminal is in Road Town but also sometime it will go to West End (Sopers Hole) first.

The  STT airport can be a mess when trying to leave to go back home so arrive at least 2.5 hours prior to flight.

The Yacht Charters companies are all over Tortola but any taxi will easily take you from the airport or ferry terminal.

BVI Bareboat Charter Sample Itineraries

Where to go on a British Virgin Islands sailing vacation?

Scroll below for BVI yacht charter sample itineraries or use the map to explore.

Sample Itineraries:

A BVI yacht charter has enough destinations for a 2-3 week itinerary without revisiting the same place. Here above are some good 1-week itineraries plus a highly recommended 10-day route. Of course, you can guide yourself around however you like. These itineraries are good highlights for your first trip there (and second and third…).  But you can resist keeping coming back to relive the ol’ favorites.

In the interactive map above, click the left top box. This gives you options to visit other itineraries. Enjoy!

British Virgin Islands Related Blog Posts

A BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – BVI YACHT CHARTER SOUNDS AMAZING!
I’D LIKE TO…

NauticEd are BVI yacht charter agents. We don’t charge you a fee and can more than likely save you money on all your sailing vacations. We search the world’s databases for over 8,000 yachts in 55 destinations. We give expert advice on where and when to go – likely, we’ve been there. Make an inquiry and book your sailing vacations through NauticEd Sailing Vacations.

Additional Notes

Sailing Skill Levels

Local Knowledge + Education: as Sailing Vacation Experts, NauticEd’s team has chartered and sailed in almost all these locations – providing you with the “local knowledge” you need when planning a sailing vacation. And, as the leader in sailing education, NauticEd assigns different skill levels based on the knowledge-theory and practical/experience needed for chartering in different sailing locations.

Recommended Knowledge-Theory Courses for chartering: Bareboat Charter Master Bundle (six bareboat and near coastal courses), Catamaran Sailing Confidence (if chartering a Cat), Yacht Charter Crew Course (for your crew).

Skill Levels notably emphasize the overall practical experience and competency that is required to sail in certain areas. Of course, the “devil’s in the details” on specifics, and we recommend you contact us when planning a sailing vacation. We’ll save you money on your vacation – which is great – but being prepared to have safe fun experiences that will last a lifetime is priceless!

• Intermediate = Near Coastal <5nm within sight of land, some navigation hazards (always be aware), and generally mild weather conditions. Good seapersonship (i.e., “seamanship”) skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

• Intermediate +Plus = Near Coastal <15nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, moderate navigation hazards, and/or challenging weather. Good seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

• Advanced = Near Coastal <20nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, many navigation hazards, and/or potentially difficult weather. Expert seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.

*Atmospheric conditions: from the deck of a sailboat, your “visible horizon” is about 12nm on a clear day (considering typical freeboard + your height). Visibility is decreased by haze, fog, rain, smoke, and similar atmospheric considerations. Navigating by line of sight is obviously greater if your destination has features such as mountains, lighthouses, tall buildings, etc…

*Navigational hazards may include features such as rocks, shoals, rough inlets or anchorages, challenging tides and currents, lee shores, commercial traffic, etc…

*Weather: examples of challenging or difficult weather include thunder/lightning storms, areas prone to high winds, or even seasonal risks such as excessive heat.

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