|British Virgin Islands.
Top British Virgin Islands Attractions
The first time you visit British Virgin Islands, or any new destination,
the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be
scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get
there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice,
and other information about the top tourist attractions in British Virgin Islands
to help with your itinerary planning.
Sage Mountain National Park
The islands have designated many areas of tropical landscape as
preserved national parks. While on Tortola, be sure to visit Sage
Mountain National Park. Even though only about 100 inches of rain
fall in the Park per year, the park has the appearance of being
a primeval rainforest.
In Road Town, head west towards Sage Mountain, but pop into the
tourist office first to snag a brochure about the mountain and park,
which includes directions and a map highlighting the main hiking
trails, the Rain Forest Trail and the Mahogany Forest Trail. In
the parking lot, you can follow a trail that leads to the main entrance
of the park.
The park covers 92 acres of land that survived the clearance of
forests during the plantation era and this untouched land looks
the way it did when Christopher Columbus first landed on Tortola.
With the Sage Mountain soaring to 1,780 feet, you can explore the
mountainous landscape pretending like you are part of the crew that
arrived with Christopher Columbus.
Bring a blanket and food to enjoy a picnic at the park while you
look out on the neighboring cays and islets far below.
The Baths- Virgin Gorda
While on the resort-filled Virgin Gorda, no trip is complete without
visiting the Baths on the island’s southwest shore. Yet another
site protected by the British Virgin Islands preservation system,
the Baths is made up of giant boulders thought by scientists to
be formed by volcanic activity. Sea water now floods the pools and
grottoes that these boulders created after they rose to the surface
The beaches at the Baths are thought to be some of the best in
the Virgin Islands. It’s fun to navigate through the cave-like
passages between rocks and you can rent snorkeling equipment on
the beach to use when you stumble upon a private pool of water created
by these natural granite rocks.
The Baths are part of 682 acres of protected land along with other
sites including Little Fort, Spring Bay and Devil’s Bay on
the east coast. Spring Bay is a perfect example of a classic white
sand beach with clear water that also provides for good snorkeling.
The secluded coral-sand beach of Devil’s Bay National Park
is just a 15 minute walk from the Baths along a trail winding through
boulders and coastal vegetation.
“Treasure Island” – Norman Isle
It is believed that the tiny Norman Isle was the inspiration behind
the Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island
first published in 1883. The tiny isle sits just south of Tortola
across the Drake Channel and east of St. John and is reachable only
by renting a private boat.
Norman Isle is now deserted except for sea birds and some small
animals, but it used to serve as a pirate den where ships would
anchor. The island is now home to a series of caves that are considered
to be some of the best snorkeling spots in the British Virgin Islands.
Highlights include colorful fish and coral, and you may even spot
small octopus, squid and eels. Legend has it that the southernmost
cave of the island is where Stevenson’s character Mr. Fleming
stowed his prized treasure. Brave hikers can also explore the island
by hiking through the scrubland to reach Spy Glass Hill, the island’s
There are many boat rental companies on Tortola that will rent
catamarans and a skipper for an additional charge. To keep costs
down, travel to the island in groups of four or five.
If you are looking for a remote, no-frills Caribbean experience,
Anegada may be worth a visit. One of the least developed of the
British Virgin Islands Anegada is situated 16 miles north of Virgin
Gorda. Anegada is easy to miss, rising only 27 feet above sea level,
quaint Anegada is made up of just 15 square miles of mainly coral
and limestone. Several breath-taking beaches can be found on Anegada’s
north and western shores.
Barely visible on the horizon, Anegada and its outer horseshoe
reef have caused more than 500 shipwrecks. Many of the locals have
attempted to find the buried treasures of many of these sunken vessels
including the Paramatta, which has rested on the sea floor for more
than a century. Of course, all attempts have been unsuccessful!
Wildlife preservation efforts have left much of the island off
limits to developers. There is a designated bird sanctuary where
flamingos, heron, ospreys and terns are protected. Wild animals
such as goats, donkeys and cattle also enjoy safe habitats. The
rock iguana has enjoyed its native Anegada in a virtually untouched
setting for thousands of years.
You want find much in the way of entertainment. In fact, the government
just started allocated dollars to pave some roads in Anegada and
its little library and firehouse are just a few years old.
The only was to visit Anegada is by private charter boat or prop
plane, both of which will originate in Tortola.
Jost Van Dyke
Just northwest of Tortola lies the island of Jost Van Dyke. Little
more than 4 square miles around, this rugged island was named for
a Dutch settler. Jost Van Dyke is a popular stopover island for
cruise ships passing through the British Virgin Islands. It can
be a very tranquil atmosphere when the ships are not in port. The
island is also a favorite destination of yachters.
Jost Van Dyke was once the home to many sugar-cane plantations
in the 1700s developed by a Quaker colony. The island is now home
to some good beaches, one of the main reasons to actively seek out
the island. On the south side, you will find White Bay and Great
The island’s main claim to fame is probably its most famous
colonist. William Thorton was chosen through a world-wide competition
to design the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
The easiest way to reach Jost Van Dyke is by using a ferry service
from Tortola or St. Thomas. There are frequent daily departures
to Jost Van Dyke on ferryboat shuttles leaving from Tortola’s
isolated West End at Soper’s Hole. The 25-minute trip costs
under $15 one-way.
British Virgin Islands Travel Guides
Frommer's British Virgin Islands
Lonely Planet British Virgin Islands
Let's Go British Virgin Islands
Fodors British Virgin Islands