You know when you’re on vacation and a Monday starts feeling like a Friday? Yeah, we could use a little more of that ourselves, but that’s exactly what happened on a recent trip to the British Virgin Islands. It’s not just the turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and the views of the steep volcanic islands that makes this place feel like a real life Pinterest photo… well, ok, it kind of is. But what makes these islands a place you’re going to want to vacation isn’t just the scenery; it’s the uncommercialized atmosphere, the endless amount of things to do, the friendly locals, and we’ll admit—the abundance of fruity concoctions and delicious food.
The British Virgin Islands, or the BVI as they are often referred, is home to four main islands and about 50 other smaller islands and cays, which means there’s a lot to do and see while there. Between the snorkeling, sailing, water sports, incredible excursions and tours, and visiting countless restaurants to see who has the best lobster tacos (oh wait, was that just us?), there’s no room to be bored. Even if you’re not an adventurer and just want to relax on a beach or by the pool all day with an umbrella-clad drink, the BVI is still the place for you and you’ll soon find out why. Today we’re sharing everything you need to see and do while visiting these gorgeous islands, but before we start—you may want to go ahead and get your suitcase out of the closet now.
1. CocoMaya Restaurant
Located on the island of Virgin Gorda is CocoMaya, a restaurant, bar, and beach lounge that brings a posh, uptown vibe to a relaxed, white-sand beach. As if the stunning views and jaw-dropping decor weren’t enough, the food is off the charts, as well. Except a fusion of Asian and Latin cuisines with a creative twist, with options like sushi, shrimp tempura lettuce wraps, pad thai, and crispy aromatic duck. Between the open-air interior and the fire pit-clad beach lounge, you’ll certainly feel in paradise.
2. Scrub Island Resort, Spa, & Marina
Scrub Island is an upscale resort on a 250 acre island that is conveniently located to everything you need to see and do in the BVI. But the issue is… the resort is such a dream that you may not want to leave. If being by the water is your thing, you’ll be happy to know that there are three amazing beaches, a tiered pool like you’ve never seen before, water-sports galore, a sailing school, and a water excursion company—all located on the property.
The resort provides a complimentary 10 minute ferry ride once per hour to Trellis Bay, where you can hop on ferries to other islands. The local airport is also right next to this ferry dock, making “getting there” a breeze. In an area like the British Virgin Islands, where island hopping is the name of the game, you’ll be thankful for this convenience.
Locally grown produce and fresh-caught Caribbean seafood, like Anegada lobster, conch, and tuna, is on the menu at each of the three restaurants at Scrub Island. Our favorite, Caravela, brings an upscale flair to an otherwise casual atmosphere, while serving up breakfast and dinner with indoor and outdoor seating. Trust us, you do not want to miss the Nutty Banana Pancakes for breakfast.
Since escaping the sun might be in order after a few days outside, the Ixora Spa by L’Occitane at Scrub is a visit worth indulging. The open-air treatment rooms sit atop a hillside and overlook the crystal clear, blue waters. Services include specialty facial treatments, massages, reflexology, manicures and pedicures, hydrotherapy, and much more. Listening to waves crash in the distance while drinking cold, cucumber-infused water? Sign us up.
3. The Baths at Virgin Gorda
Right along the shoreline at the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda you’ll find The Baths, an awe-inspiring collection of gigantic volcanic boulders as large as 40 feet in diameter which lie in piles on the beach. This unusual geologic formation creates caves and secret pools, which you can stop and explore as you make your way through them. Once through The Baths, you’ll find areas where you can lay on the beach and snorkel, too!
4. Snorkeling at Norman Island
Norman Island is known for it’s tales of buried treasure, but it also offers a bounty of beautiful reefs for snorkeling and diving. Hop on a Dive BVI excursion and prepare to see a huge variety of peaceful reef fish floating over the sea fans, coral, and sponges. You may even see a sea turtle or who knows?—maybe even some of that hidden treasure! (And since you’ll be so close and have worked up an appetite, head over to The Willy-T for lunch!)
5. White Bay Beach
White Bay Beach, located on the tiny island of Jost Van Dyke, was voted one of the top 10 BVI beaches for a reason—it’s the kind people dream about. Clear water with the sun dancing atop it like diamonds, boats anchored throughout, happy music playing in the background, award winning beach bars and restaurants along the shore, and of course, fluffy white sand between your toes. You’re not going to want to miss this.
6. Hog Heaven
Grab a taxi or rent a car and take the beautiful, quick drive up the island of Virgin Gorda to Hog Heaven, a little restaurant that sits atop one of the highest peaks on the island. From the deck that surrounds the restaurant, you can see one of the very best views in all the BVI. And let’s not forget about their famous BBQ ribs, which only tastes even better while viewing the entire North Sound.
7. North Beach
We mentioned there are three beaches on the Scrub Island property—and North Beach is the one you don’t want to miss. Just picture giant coconut palm trees hanging over the glistening turquoise waters, with private tiki hut cabanas strung along the beach. Just steps away from the shoreline, there’s a pool and beach bar serving up a full menu of lunch fare and fruity drinks. It’s pretty much paradise.
8. Saba Rock
Basically its own little island, Saba Rock gives a view of the Eustatia Sound like you couldn’t imagine. This lounge bar and restaurant offers a small plates menu and a full dinner menu, featuring a wide selection of seafood, salads and grills. Since it floats alone in the middle of the water, you must arrive by boat, but Saba Rock will pick you up for free at the nearby ferry dock on Virgin Gorda. Our recommendation? Go around 5pm to see the tarpon feeding, which happens to conveniently be timed around one of the best happy hours in the BVI.
9. See the island on four wheels
Sometimes the best adventures come from renting a car and seeing the sights on your own terms. The islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda are almost as stunning from the roads as they are up close and personal because the elevation allows you to see so much more visibility. Find a reputable company, like Mahogany Car Rentals, and make a day out of it!