The USVI consists of 3 major islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John, and about 50 smaller islets and cays. The total area of the Virgin Islands is 133 square miles.
The British Virgin Islands, (BVI), are made up of four major islands, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, and 32 smaller islands and cays that reach all the way down the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The sheltered waters between the islands and the nice and constant breeze that blows from the East, make them a true sailor's paradise. You can easily spend several weeks visiting different islands and anchorages every day, enjoying the stunning scenery and crystal-clear waters. The British Virgin Islands are also one of the top 10 dive destinations in the world, thanks to their very healthy coral reefs and fabulous wreck diving spots.
Climate Moderated by easterly trade winds, the Virgin Islands enjoy a pleasant tropical climate with relatively low humidity. The rainy season runs from September to November.
When to charter a yacht in the Virgin Islands The high season runs roughly from December to April, with May to the end of July being the mid-low season, and it's also a good time to charter a yacht.
How to get there The best way to get to the USVI is flying into St Thomas (Cyril E. King Airport) and take a taxi to the port of embarkation. The BVI can be reached in several ways, flying to San Juan de Puerto Rico (Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport) and in San Juan take a short flight to Beef Island (Terrance B. Lettsome Airport), connected by land to Tortola, or fly to St Thomas and take a ferry to Tortola that takes about an hour.
Located about 40 miles east of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands are made up of three main islands, St. Thomas (its capital Charlotte Amalie is on St. Thomas), St. John and St. Croix, and about 50 smaller islands, cays and islets. They have been part of the United States as an unincorporated territory since 1917 and cover a total area of 352 kilometres.
The Virgin Islands National Park is an ideal place for yachting thanks to its calm, clear waters, white sandy beaches and numerous quiet bays; it's also worth exploring the surrounding nature trails and rainforests. One of the most popular beaches in St John, and part of the National Park, is Trunk Bay. It's as close as you can get to a tropical paradise. Famous for its turquoise waters and white sand. Here you can snorkel along the underwater trails and enjoy the coral reef.
Thanks to its fantastic beaches, the US Virgin Islands have rightfully earned a reputation as America's Paradise. Popular options for exploring when on charter holiday include Honeymoon Beach and the beaches along Caneel Bay (formerly Caneel Bay Resort), Oppenheimer Beach (Hawksnest area), Maho Beach in Francis Bay (worth a visit to the pop-up Maho Crossroads village for a tasty meal), Salt Pond and Lameshur. Leinster Bay and Watermelon Cay offer fantastic snorkelling with plenty of coral.
Dozens of islands and Cays make up the British Virgin Islands. The waters around these islands are easy to navigate, making them a perfect destination for beginners. Tortola is the largest island of this idyllic archipelago and it is the ideal starting point for your yacht charter holiday. Go back in time as you enjoy the laid-back island atmosphere, where chickens roam the streets.
Norman Island is only 6 nautical miles from Tortola, and is a popular first-night anchorage destination. Explore the famous Caves on Norman Island, where pirates used to live many years ago. Have a drink at Willy T, an old pirate ship turned into a floating bar. A short sail from Norman Island, you will find the Indians, four uniquely shaped pinnacles of rock that are very popular for snorkeling and diving because of their abundance of coral gardens and fish.
Virgin Gorda is the second biggest island in the BVI. One of the must-see destinations on Virgin Gorda are the Baths. These mini pools in between huge granite boulders are evidence of ancient volcanic activity and a fascinating natural wonder. At the other end of Virgin Gorda is Peter Island, where you can relax an indulge yourself at the spa treatment center and swim in one of its five pristine white sand beaches.
If you're up for a longer sail, you can visit Anegada, 40 miles away from Virgin Gorda, and relax on the spectacular, secluded beaches such as Cow Wreck and Loblolly. The highest point on the island is about 26 feet above the sea level. Anegada is also well known for its delicious local lobster.
The Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dick island got its name from people jumping off their boats and swimming in their shorts with money in their pockets. The "Pain killer", a famous local rum cocktail, was invented there, the secret is a little bit of fresh nutmeg.
With so much to see and experience, the British Virgin Islands, make for a laid-back, though exclusive yacht charter destination, where you can spend your entire holiday in beachwear and flip-flops. For many, that's a relaxing change from the glitz and glamour of other sailing destinations.