BVI 7-Day Sail Guide
The British Virgin Islands are my favorite place in the world! It’s my go to sail-and-dive spot with my family. Nothing beats the white sand beaches, crystal blue water, and Caribbean lifestyle! Here’s my guide to sailing the BVIs.
Day 1: Travel Day, arrive in Road Town, Tortola
Plan on a full travel day to start off your vacation in the British Virgin Islands. Once you arrive in St. Thomas, grab your ferry ticket to Tortola if you didn’t previously purchase it. Depending on how long you have until your ferry departs, you can shop around in St. Thomas or enjoy lunch above the ferry dock at Petite Pump Room. Great views of St. Thomas and perfect place to sit down and relax!
Prepare for about an hour ferry to Tortola and long line through customs once you dock in the BVI. Everything from here on out is on island time-so, enjoy the scenery and know you are close to setting sail for a week in paradise!
Once you clear customs, you’ll take a 5-minute open-air cab ride to The Mariner Inn and Marina, The Moorings base in the BVI. Check in to your boat (you’ll stay overnight in the marina). The staff will provision while you check in, so you can set sail first thing in the morning!
By now, it’s been a very long travel day. You can eat on the boat with your provisioning’s, or you can eat out at Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant, which is what I recommend. The food is pricey, but completely worth it after a long day of travel.
Very important: Take a long, hot shower at The Mariner Inn. Once you set sail, your boat will have limited water, so take advantage of an extended shower while you can! The showers are VERY clean, spacious, and clean towels are provided. (There is an optional tip jar at the shower desk.)
Day 2 – Set sail! Jost Van Dyke
For divers, check in at the dive shop at The Mariner Inn first thing in the morning. The guys are great and very quick in loading up your boat with gear and tanks. After you are cleared by the staff with a Captain’s meeting and safety check, it’s time to set sail!
First stop: The Famous Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay! Once you moor up, you can dinghy to Soggy Dollar or swim. Getting a painkiller here is a must, along with signing the public message board. (FYI, we missed Kenny Chesney by 10 days!) Post card views, white sand beaches, and lots of social activity.
At night, Foxy’s is the place to be. Live music, energetic atmosphere, and perfect for your first night of island living.
Day 3: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Cane Garden Bay has beautiful views of lush mountains on all sides of the bay. Two reefs protect the bay, so it’s a great spot for paddle boarding. There are lots of places to find live music, food, and tropical drinks. Great spot for entertainment off the boat to experience local island living.
*If you are an experienced sailor, sail to Anegada, the last island before the open Atlantic Ocean. Anegada is known for fresh lobster and home to pink flamingos. Not recommended for novice sailors.
Day 4: Virgin Gorda
Today’s agenda: Explore Virgin Gorda. There is SO much to do here, so I’ll limit it to my favorites…
Sail to The Bitter End and enjoy the day at The Bitter End Yacht Club. The Bitter End has impeccable views of the BVI, an exclusive environment, great snorkeling, and stunning view of the open sea. Perfect place for sunset watching, photo ops, and paradise vibes.
For dinner, skip an on board meal and dine at Saba Rock-a tiny island in the middle of The Bitter End. During Happy Hour, the staff feeds Tarpon, which draws a big crowd. You might even be picked to help feed them! The lobster is to die for and freshly caught from Anegada, so if you don’t want to make the extra sail, no worries-you still have the chance to eat Anegada lobster! Dress code is casual, but a good spot to wear your “nice” outfit off the boat.
Day 5: Virgin Gorda continued
Up and at ‘em early today! Make your way to The Baths (south western tip of VG), one of the most famous attractions in the Virgin Islands. Natural boulders have formed multiple sea pools and caves, resulting in truly incredible views. With Pinterest/Instagram worthy backdrops, this is the place to be to get the perfect tourist photo. It’s most crowded from 10am-2pm, and the trails inside the baths are extremely narrow-aka, not fun if there’s a large crowd. Moor up as early as possible to beat the crowd. This also helps in getting amazing photos without other tourists in the background.
To prevent large crowds from forming at a time, The Baths do not allow dinghy’s on shore; therefore, you’ll have to swim. The swim isn’t unbearable, but a little long. (There’s a rope guide you can follow in.) Don’t forget your waterproof cell cover and GoPro!
Day 6: Cooper Island
Sail to Cooper Island, a private beach, kick back and relax. Cooper Island Beach Club is the go-to spot on Manchioneel Bay and by far one of the nicest properties in the BVI. They offer a 2 for 1 Happy Hour special, which is one of the best hh deals you’ll find. Key themes at CI Beach Club: white, nautical, and secluded.
Not only does Cooper Island Beach Club have a Rum Bar and boutique, but a local coffee store that co-hosts Sail Caribbean dive shop.
Day 7: Norman Island
Ready for treasure hunting? Norman Island inspired the book Treasure Island. Treasure really was buried and found here; though it’s rumored more buried treasure still exists.
Head over to my favorite dive spot, The Indians-a group of rocks near Pelican Island, with up to 60-foot depths. Snorkelers can enjoy the shallow side of The Indians, while divers explore coral walls, tunnels, and lots of floor activity. Many colorful fish, starfish, amazing views, caverns and crevices lay here. Be warned though: the current is strong in certain areas.
Don’t miss exploring The Caves on this former pirate’s island, which are truly stunning. Dinghy to the caves for snorkeling, diving, or actively explore with the paddleboard or kayak. Use caution. I’ll admit, I didn’t venture far inside-it gets dark quickly! *Divers shouldn’t enter any caves for diving unless specifically certified for cave dives.
My favorite restaurant is Pirates Bight, which was recently renovated to a modern, nautical, open-air style. A cannon even sounds to announce Happy Hour! Great place for drinks, lunch, or dinner. The gift shop and Sail Caribbean dive shop are next door, so bring your souvenir money for some fun pirate –themed goodies.
Day 8: Sail back to base, Road Town Tortola
After a great week in paradise, it’s time to set sail back to Road Town, Tortola. Once you arrive, you can again take advantage of a hot, extended shower at The Mariner Inn. Don’t leave any belongings on the boat! Following check out, make way to the ferry for the voyage back to St. Thomas.
Very important-the airport at St. Thomas is infamous for long lines. Arrive at least 3 hours early to prepare for your wait. Or, say farewell to the BVI and stay one night in St. Thomas to break apart a very long travel day.
BVI Travel Tips:
• Pack snacks for your long travel days.
• Condense your bag-you’re sailing and don’t need to pack your entire closest.
• Lots of sunscreen (add bug spray for the summer season). You’re in the sun ALL day for a week.
• There’s usually a daily, light rain shower. Bring a book or card game to relax while it rains.
• Spend the money for a waterproof cell case. If possible, bring a Go Pro or water camera. The images are worth it!
• Make friends with other boats and play games-the memories will last a lifetime!
I hope you enjoy sailing the beautiful British Virgin Islands, making memories to last a lifetime. Bon Vonage!