The British Virgin Islands comprise four main islands and numerous smaller islands, which together are classified as a British overseas territory. The region is famous as a yachting destination and for its excellent beaches. A popular activity for tourists involves the many tours and cruises that take them from island to island. The largest island is Tortola, the location of the territory’s capital city of Road Town. Here are the the Top 10 Things to Do in British Virgin Islands
1. The Baths (Virgin Gorda)
Described as one of the best experiences to have in the British Virgin Islands is a visit to The Baths in Virgin Gorda, which offers the chance to wade through the coves and environment marked by granite boulders unique to the area. These enormous boulders rise from the sea and create a maze for swimmers and waders. The beach at Devil’s Bay is located at the end of the rock area, and the clear and shallow waters are perfect for snorkeling. In one spot, the boulders form a cave that is one of the most photographed areas in the islands. In 1990, The Baths were declared a national park.
2. Cane Garden Bay (Tortola)
Cane Garden Bay is the center of activity on the large island of Tortola located on the northwest and features excellent swimming, boating, and kayaking in the pristine waters. Snorkeling is also popular here, and at sundown, the area becomes a center for dining and enjoying a favorite beverage in one of the many happy hours in hotel venues that also provide music.
3. Gorda Peak National Park (Virgin Gorda)
This park offers a change from water-centered activities and is a perfect place to enjoy land-based nature experiences. There are two hiking trails that climb to the top of Gorda Peak, which is the highest point on the island. An observation tower there provides views of the North Sound, Anegada, and other islets and cays of the British Virgin Islands. The area offers unique biodiversity with an array of rare plants that include six types of native orchids. Tree frogs, birds, bats, soldier crabs, and the world’s smallest lizard can also be found here.
4. North Sound (Virgin Gorda)
The North Sound is a major center for water sports in the islands. Its protected waters provide numerous anchorages and all types of boating and water activity available, including diving, sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing, and cruises in glass-bottomed boats. Hiking is also popular here.
5. White Bay (Jost Van Dyke)
This location is the most popular beach in the islands. Its steep hills culminate in a broad sweep of white sands at a beach sheltered by a barrier reef, which protects the waters from swells and provides for excellent swimming and snorkeling. Boats can enter the area through a channel in the reef’s center, and there are several restaurants along the beach that offer dining opportunities.
6. Smuggler’s Cove Beach (Tortola)
Located in the western part of Tortola, this cove offers a private, sheltered, and undeveloped environment popular with beachgoers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the resort scene. Visitors here will find excellent snorkeling and can see sea turtles swimming just offshore. The site features an old car used in the film “The Old Man and the Sea” that was shot here in 1990.
7. Anegada Island
This island is surrounded by a maze of coral reefs and offers opportunities for reef and bonefishing. Due to its low profile, the island cannot be seen until mariners are almost upon it, which resulted in over 300 ships sinking here. There are more shipwrecks off this island than anywhere else in the Caribbean, and these are now home to colorful marine life, which makes the site very popular with divers. The island also features salt ponds, blooming cactus plants, wild orchids, and century plants, along with a white-sand beach. Nearly all the island’s interior is protected from development by the BVI National Parks Trust, so it is an excellent destination for adventure travelers who can view flamingos and the rare rock iguana here.
8. Soper’s Hole (Tortola)
Here is where the first Dutch settlers landed in 1648. Legend has it that this was once a pirates’ den. It is now popular as a point of entry and ferry terminal due to its deep and sheltered anchorage. The area is linked by bridge to the residential sectors of Frenchman’s Cay and Soper’s Hole Marina, which offer shopping and restaurant dining as well as an environment characterized by West Indian-style architecture.
9. Road Town (Tortola)
The capital city of the British Virgin Islands includes its chief harbor, which is often crowded with charter boats, yachts, ferries, and cruise ships. It features excellent shopping and dining opportunities, as well as historic forts and sugar mills that date from the 18th century. Its chief tourist attractions include Dolphin Discovery Tortola, J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens; Virgin Islands Folk Museum; and Government House.
10. Rhone National Marine Park (Salt Island)
Here visitors will find one of the premier shipwreck exploration opportunities. The FMS Rhone sank near the island in 1867 during a strong hurricane. The site of the wreck and its surrounding waters are now the only park of its kind in the islands. It is a must-see location for divers. The ship’s bow can be seen on the surface of the sea, but divers must go down some 90 feet to explore the largely intact ship where they will swim among moray eels, turtles, and octopus that have made their homes here. The marine park includes two coral caves and Blonde Rock, an additional dive site with many overhangs, tunnels, and caves to explore.