A couple of years after a certain Columbus had discovered the Virgin Islands, I finally discovered it also for myself. Although won’t need to spend months on a boat fighting scurvy or mutinies it is still an adventure to reach (or as in my case leave) the island. But in any event it will be worth your while; I promise.
As a first and most important thing before stepping on a plane:
- Buy the strongest mosquito repellent that you can find; trust me.
- Rent a 4×4 vehicle and ask the rental company for a pick-up at the airport. Usually they will just leave the car open and the keys under the car mat. A car is a must on the island and the first time you drive up hill you will understand the value of a proper all-wheel drive.
- If you are going for vacation try to book a hotel on the west side of the island. The Sugar Mill or the Myett’s are good options.
- Make sure to leave enough time for stopovers in between flights, especially when flying LIAT (short for Leaving Island Any Time).
Now, that you are all set for the adventure, let’s start:
Unfortunately I had only a limited amount of time and therefore the selection below only covers some of the places I visited during my stay. I am sure that there are many more to discover.
- Sugar Mill – Nice hotel and great food. Not the cheapest option on the Island, but they have a mango chutney and a key lime pie worth dying for.
- D’ Coalpot – Best Roti on the island and great selection of local food. Also a cool backyard terrace. And Debbie is a very fun waitress. Ask her for a skinny bitch and you will see…
- Bananakeet Cafe – Million Dollar view. Food and venue is ok, BUT the sunset is amazing! Go early (sun starts setting already around 5pm) and bring your camera.
- Charlie’s – Located directly by the moorings. You will see mainly business people at noon but you will also be served with your board shorts. Recommendation: Seared Tuna carpaccio on seaweed.
- Origin – Excellent japanese food at fair prices. Located directly in the centre of Road Town. The salmon sashimi is delicious. Sushi-Tuesday; anyone?
If you are in the mood for a more casual snack and some drinks you may want to try the pizzas at Paradise Club in Cane Garden Bay (they also host some crazy hurricane parties) or go for a famous painkiller* and burgers to Pusser’s.
*Cocktail: Pusser’s dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice, nutmeg.
The island offers all sorts of aquatic sports: Sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, etc. My preferred one is laying at the beach with a drink in my hand while watching people work out on their stand up paddle. In this olympic discipline I may be in the top 5 if not the best in the world.
But even if you are as lazy as myself, there are still some must do’s:
- Virgin Gorda – A visit to the Baths is an absolute must. Take a ferry from Tortola and enjoy the day. If you make it out of the baths you may visit the old copper mines or drive up north to Little Dix Bay. (the spell check almost got me here…)
- Jost Van Dyke – Take a ferry or better yet; rent a boat or get invited to one, which is way cheaper, and head on a Sunday afternoon to white bay beach. This beach attracts people from all surrounding islands for great daytime parties. In the epicentre of it you will find the Soggy Dollar Bar with its infamous bartender Mic. More painkillers, less
- Bomba’s Shack – This little surfer’s shack is known across all surrounding islands and beyond that for its full moon parties. They also employ the craziest bartender that goes by the name of Barbie. Be prepared for shots, mushroom tea, hula hoop-limbo (don’t ask) and great sunsets.
- Nature Beach Boy Bar – In Long Bay Beach there is a little bar with a more than interesting barkeeper. Not only does he have only one tooth in his mouth but no matter what you order he will either give you what ever he feels like or put Paradise Rum into anything you just ordered. If you give it back he will drink it himself and serve you something else with rum. Sometimes you will even have to play on a little guitar while he prepares your drink. In any case you will have a funny story to tell back home and the beach is great.
There are a million other things to do and see on the island but this would go way beyond the scope of this short article. One of the great things about the BVI is that it has not been exposed to the negative effects of mass tourism so far. You won’t find any malls, fast food chains or all-inclusive tourists. Unfortunately this may come to an end rather soon. During this last trip I saw that they are building a dock for cruise ships and if you have ever been to Nassau you know where this leads to…So you better start planning your next holidays.