Getting aboard your bareboat charter is the goal when you get your ASA sailing certifications. Where do you begin? For many, it is a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands so we decided to share a couple of itineraries with you to help in your planning process. If you are ready to charter a bareboat excursion, this is a good way to start. If you are thinking about expanding your sailing knowledge and need a carrot dangled out in front of you, this is it.
Sail the British Virgin Islands on a Bareboat Charter.
Getting To The British Virgin Islands
While there are no direct flights to the BVI from the USA, Canada, Europe, or South America, there are multiple options for connecting flights throughout the Carribean.
Take look at more info on traveling to the British Virgin Islands from the British Virgin Islands Tourism Bureau: https://www.bvitourism.com/arriving-by-air
Flying into St. Thomas, USVI is a popular option. There are frequent ferries available to deliver you to the BVI. Take a taxi from the airport and explain to the driver that you are going to Tortola. These taxi drivers are usually extremely helpful and have full knowledge of the ferry schedules. Also, at the airport, there is ferry information either posted or from the taxi stand attendant.
Take a look at a list of inter-island Ferries: https://www.bvitourism.com/inter-island-ferries
Sample BVI Itinerary
When chartering a boat in the British Virgin Islands, there is a good chance that you’ll pick up your vessel in Tortola. Charter companies can be found in Road Town or on the West End. ASA members get a discount with Dream Yacht Charter and their base is located on Scrub Island. https://www.dreamyachtcharter.com/american-sailing-association/
This is a sample Itinerary that ASA has used and is also using on its current Arabella BVI cruises:
Day 1: Board your boat in Tortola. Provision. Get ready to sail the BVI. Get familiar with the vessel and ask all the questions you want. Tomorrow you set sail!
Day 2: After a leisurely breakfast, sail to North Sound in Virgin Gorda. This is the Caribbean paradise you have had wild dreams about. Beaches, snorkeling, sun and sand await. A bonfire on the beach, romantic cocktails on the deck, day 2 will reset your soul. For dinner, try Fat Virgins for relaxed local fare or take the tender to one of many choices nearby.
Day 3: This is your day of rest. Wake up slowly, stretch, do yoga or go for a swim. You can schedule dive and snorkeling expeditions or rent some Lasers or Hobies. There is also a full spa with relaxing massages nearby. Visit Saba Rock for happy hour and see the feeding of the fish. The evening is another opportunity to take advantage of the many dining options in North Sound.
Day 4: It is time to continue the journey and sail downwind. Our first stop is off Spanish Town so you can visit the Baths. This is an ancient boulder formation at the southern tip of Virgin Gorda. You can walk through the boulders and then sunbathe and swim at Devil’s Bay. Another great location to visit is the “Top of the Baths” where you can look out over Sir Francis Drake Channel. In the afternoon, sail over to Cooper Island. There is excellent snorkeling nearby and the beach club has comfortable chairs for resting underneath the palm trees.
Day 5: We sail to Jost Van Dyck, home of world-famous “Foxy’s.” Our first stop will be White Bay which is home to the Soggy Dollar Bar and the more relaxed Ivan’s nearby. The way you reach shore is by jumping out of the tender and swimming, hence the name “soggy dollar.” In the afternoon, we head over to Great Harbor and anchor for the night. You can sometimes catch Foxy, the island’s poet and philosopher, singing at the bar in the afternoon. Dinner is ashore and there is usually a dancing crowd at Foxy’s late night.
Day 6: After a leisurely start to the morning, sail over to Norman Island. You can go snorkeling at the famous Caves or hike up the hill for a great lookout over the mooring field. There is also a restaurant ashore called the “Pirate’s Bight.” Late at night, Willie T’s is famous for sailors who sometimes get caught up in the Caribbean spirit and jump into the water from the upper deck in a specific manner.
Day 7: All good things must slowly come to an end. Start early and raise the sails for one last glorious sail back to Road Town.
Interested in a sail aboard Arabella? Check our sailing schedule on the 157-foot 3-masted mega sailing yacht.
Sample British Virgin Island Itinerary #2
Take a look at another sample Itinerary from our International Yacht Charter Partner, Dream Yacht Charter (ASA Members receive discounted charters with Dream Yacht Charter):
Day 1: Overnight at Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina BVI and get to know your boat. You can relax and grab a bite to eat at the resort bar and use the resort facilities.
Day 2: Head to Virgin Gorda and the Baths Marine Park for a snorkel or hike to Devil’s Bay through the maze of giant boulders on the beach. Make for North Lee Bay, Fallen Jerusalem, for amazing swimming and snorkeling among vibrant marine life. End the day at Virgin Gorda’s “North Sound” and enjoy drinks and dinner at the Leverick Bay Resort and Marina. You can also stock up on water and ice there.
Day 3: Sail to the low-lying coral island of Anegada to see flamingos, salt ponds and white sandy beaches. Try the native lobster and rum smoothies at the Reef Hotel or conch at Big Bamboo, Loblolly Bay. In November, you can join in the fun of the famous two-day lobster festival.
Day 4: Visit Monkey Point, Guana Island for amazing snorkeling and turtle spotting. The National Park moorings are still there.
Day 5: Make for Sandy Cay National Park and anchor off White Bay, Jost van Dyke, to visit the array of famous bars. Visit the Soggy Dollar Bar to try their infamous painkiller cocktail or head to Foxy’s and Corsairs at Great Harbour.
Day 6: Sail to Soper’s Hole and grab a bite to eat at Pusser’s Landing or Omar’s Cafe. Sail around to the Indians Marine Park for snorkeling, near Peter Island, and anchor overnight on Norman Island’s mooring balls at The Bight, Kelly’s Cove, Privateer Bay and Soldier Bay or anchor in deep water at Benures Bay.
Day 7: Explore the caves on Norman Island before sailing to Rhone Marine Park to snorkel over the steamer wreck, RMS Rhone that sank in 1867. Head to Cooper Island and Cistern Point for snorkeling or Hallovers Bay.
Day 8: Back to Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina to disembark.
U.S. citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda must present a passport or other WHTI-compliant documentation to enter or depart from the United States. For Canadian and United States citizens, a passport is required.
European citizens need a valid passport to enter the British Virgin Islands. However, visitors that are residents of certain countries require a visa in order to enter the BVI.
Customs & Immigration
Customs and Immigration offices are located on Tortola in Road Town and the West End, on Virgin Gorda in the Virgin Gorda Airport, St. Thomas Bay Terminal, and Jost Van Dyke in Great Harbour.
More info on entry requirements and traveling between the USVI and the BVI can be found here: https://www.bvitourism.com/arriving-by-sea