The British Virgin Islands are known for their beaches, luxury and seclusion. Attracting day trippers on cruise ships to those who want a slice of their own paradise and stay at a virgin gorda waterfront villa, the islands are some of the best in the Caribbean. Here are a few tips and suggestions on how you can get the most out of your holiday in paradise.
1. Know What to Pack
As soon as you set foot off the plane, you’ll immediately appreciate the laid-back nature of the islands. Most people wear t-shirts and shorts, which is the generally accepted style of clothing. You should pack lots of shorts and t-shirts. But if you plan to dine out in the evenings, most restaurants have a smart-casual dress codes. Essentially, men need to wear trousers and a shirt while women should wear a summer dress. Make sure you cover both.
2. Protect Against the Sun
One of the worst things holidaymakers can do is get sunburned on the very first day of their vacation. It’s easy to get too excited and immediately go out onto the beach. But when you’re coming from a country like the UK that doesn’t get as much sunshine, your skin will burn fast. And the British Virgin Island are bathed in strong sunshine all year round. The best piece of advice is to make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and apply it generously throughout the day.
3. Want to Go Snorkelling? Bring Your Own Equipment
One of the highlight’s of the British Virgin Islands is the endless opportunities to go snorkelling. From the clear waters along the shore to taking trips out onto the sea, you’re certain to witness an incredible array of marine life. But you might not be able to get equipment when you arrive without paying a fortune in rental costs. Instead, consider buying a snorkel and goggles before you leave home. This will give you both the flexibility to go snorkelling whenever you want and will inevitably be cheaper than getting some when you arrive.
4. Expect to Splurge
If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, you’ll find it in the British Virgin Islands. From the unspoilt and empty beaches on Virgin Gorda to beachside villas overlooking the coast, tourists will be spoilt for choice. If you really want to get out there and have an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, this is the time and place to do it. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious honeymoon or want to celebrate a retirement, the British Virgin Islands are the place to go.
5. Having a Car is a Must
Regardless of where you’re planning to stay in the British Virgin Islands, it’s a good idea to get a car. People drive on the left in the same way as the UK and road conditions are generally maintained at a high level. If you have a set of wheels, it gives you the chance to explore more of the island and visit the different beaches and cays. For those staying on Virgin Gorda, you can drive to Spanish Town, visit the caves and grottoes and check out the Old Copper Mine. And another advantage of having a car is that it will often be cheaper than relying on a taxi all the time!
6. Enjoy the Boats and Ferries
Boats and ferries regularly pass between the 15 or so inhabited islands. While the schedules might not be consistent and the fares a little pricey, it does offer some of the best views. Just imagine sitting on the top deck as the boat speeds between the different islands giving you an incredible experience of enjoying the tropical paradise. Just remember to pack a waterproof and keep your camera handy.
7. Go Island Hopping in the British Virgin Islands
You should make the most out of your time and go island hopping. The archipelago is formed by approximately 45 islands and cays of which people live on 15. Why not spend your time visiting the different islands and experiencing the best of everything? Be sure to visit Anegada, Marina Cay, Virgin Gorda and Peter Island. Depending on your nationality, travelling between the British and US Virgin Islands can be tricky. Just make sure you know which islands you can and can’t visit. Especially since the crew may or may not ask you to see documents.
8. Remember to Show Some of the Caribbean Politeness
In the Caribbean, being polite is part of everyday life. If you walk in a shop or to the restaurant for breakfast, the locals will more often than not greet you with a big ‘good morning’. And you should do the same. Whenever you meet people in the Virgin Islands, most will be friendly and polite. From the receptionist to the taxi driver and people working on the ferry, remember to show the same level of courtesy when you greet them. This is part of their culture and you should embrace it.
9. Expect a Long Flight to Get Here
And finally, before you book up your trip of a lifetime, you need to consider how long it takes to get here. Few direct flights reach the British Virgin Islands from outside the Caribbean. You might need to expect a few connections.
A Tropical Paradise
Having a holiday in the British Virgin Islands is a dream come true. Not only do they provide the luxury and high-class service but the islands offer an abundance of activities and experiences. Remember to be polite to the locals, bring lots of sunscreen and rent a car to get the most out of your vacation.