Travel Loving Family’s guide to the BVI

The British Virgin Islands are a collection of 64 stunning islands, islets and cays located between Anguilla and Puerto Rico.  (Only 19 of the 64 islands are inhabited).  For families who love the water and wish to visit an unspoilt, sophisticated destination which is slightly off the beaten path, the BVI is a perfect choice.

TLF - BVI 70%If you have visited Tortola whilst on a cruise do not make the same mistake that I did, in thinking that you have ‘done’ the BVI…  I had visited Tortola every fortnight for three cruise seasons when working onboard cruise ships however, during a familiarisation trip with the BVI tourist board, I quickly realised that I had barely scratched the surface of the beautiful BVI during my time at sea.

So what makes the BVI so special?

The region offers world-class sailing and every water sport you can possibly imagine including some of the best ship wreck scuba diving in the Caribbean.  The uniqueness of each island can be discovered by jumping onboard the efficient and regular inter-island ferries.

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Images – Main beach image – Cane Garden Bay, Tortola.  The BVI is the perfect place to unwind. Above are a couple of the spectacular views I enjoyed from my sun lounger!

Travel Loving Family’s Guide to the BVI – Main Islands

Tortola is the largest and most developed of the islands in the BVI.  Virgin Gorda is slower paced and has the famous and very popular Baths.  These consist of huge granite boulders which form pools and offer great snorkelling opportunities. Anegada is surrounded by reefs and is famous for its diving and snorkelling. Jost Van Dyke, is the party island, and has a huge choice of quirky bars and restaurants (I was reliably informed during my time in the BVI that they are often frequented by celebs and royalty!)

Best family accommodation

Many of the resorts in the BVI can only be accessed by boat which adds to the adventure for kids!  I stayed at several incredible properties during my visit, including Peter Island Resort & Spa, Rosewood Little Dix Bay and Bitter End Yacht Club (BEYC).  All three welcome children however Little Dix Bay located in Virgin Gorda and the fun, vibrant BEYC have dedicated kids facilities and programs.

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Image – One of the stunning private beaches at Peter Island Resort & Spa

If budget permits there is also the ultra luxurious Necker Island, owned by Sir Richard Branson and part of the Little Guest Hotels Collection.  For barefoot luxury there surely cannot be a more exclusive setting!

Best time to travel to the BVI

December to April. You should expect warm, subtropical and sometimes humid weather conditions.  Best sailing conditions are November-May.  The BVI is very lively around BVI Spring Regatta.

Getting to the BVI

A new charter flight now connects the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights into Antigua on Fridays and Saturdays. These flights have made the BVI more accessible than ever before.  I thoroughly enjoyed the short one hour flight as the views of the islands were absolutely breathtaking.

Although I would normally recommend direct flights when travelling with kids, I sincerely believe the VI charter flight adds another adventurous element to a BVI family holiday.  The timings are family friendly too, as you arrive at your resort just in time for dinner:)

Twin island holiday options

No group of islands are better suited to island hopping than the BVI.  For example, you could stay on the main island of Tortola for a few nights before transferring by boat to the private Peter Island Resort & Spa or nip across to Virgin Gorda and stay at Rosewood Little Dix Bay.  The options in the BVI for island hopping are endless.  Alternatively, you could stay for part of your holiday in Antigua and then hop on a charter flight to Beef Island in the BVI.

Top Tips for a family holiday in the British Virgin Islands

***Having visited Virgin Gorda Baths frequently with groups of my cruise ship passengers I can hand on heart recommend visiting when a cruise ship is not in port.  Exploring the Baths is so much more fun without hundreds of tourists.  (The same goes for visiting Cane Garden Bay, a stunning beach located on the north shore of Tortola).

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Image – The Virgin Gorda Baths without hoards of cruise ship passengers!  Group photo – The tour operators I joined on a familiarisation visit with the BVI Tourist Board

***If budgets permit, charter a boat and explore the area with an experienced skipper and crew. We spent one day of our fam trip onboard a chartered catamaran.  It was an incredible experience, we were taken to the best spots for snorkeling and dropped anchor near the most stunning secluded beaches.  The freshly prepared lunch was pretty amazing too:)  Chartering a boat can work out rather inexpensive if you share the costs among a group (fellow guests at your hotel may wish to join you!)

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***Keep an eye out for Sir Richard Branson!  My group and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him whilst he was waiting for his boat ride over to his home on Necker Island.  We found him to be incredibly friendly and approachable.  He seemed happy to chat with my group about our travels around the BVI.

***For families with teenagers do not miss the Full Moon Party at Trellis Bay, Beef Island.  Local vendors sell their arts and crafts, whilst tourists and locals party together to the live calypso music and poi shows. At midnight, a giant fireball is set alight in the bay.  Families with older children may also enjoy a bar crawl around the famous bars in Jost Van Dyke including Foxy’s Bar and the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar.

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For more information about the British Virgin Islands check out the official tourist board website – http://www.bvitourism.co.uk/

We hope Travel Loving Family’s guide to the BVI is helpful in planning your family holiday.

Disclosure – I visited the British Virgin Islands on a luxury tour operator familiarisation visit with the BVI Tourist Board.   All opinions are (as always) my own.  All images are copyright Travel Loving Family. 

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Family travel guide to the BVI

 

 

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44 Comments

  1. Helene
    11th February 2016 / 10:35 am

    looks like paradise! your pictures are fab Lisa. BVI is on my bucket list after reading this! Might need to win the lotto first! x

  2. 8th February 2016 / 11:59 am

    Oh gosh, just wow. The BVI looks stunning and because I love scuba diving, what a great place to go and check out marine life. Monkey and hubby would just be happy on the beach! I’ve never really explored the Caribbean but this looks very unspoilt. Great guide. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      Author
      10th February 2016 / 5:01 pm

      You would love diving over the wreck of the Rhone Ting, it is incredible. I did slightly freak out a little when my tank hit the wreck as I thought I was stuck;) Glad that you found my post useful and I hope I have inspired you to visit the BVI

  3. 1st February 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Looks like heaven! The baths look pretty incredible. I really need to plan an island escape with my fam – living in the U.S. and having grandparents in FL we always head there but this looks sooo dreamy. #mondayescapes

  4. 21st January 2016 / 10:05 pm

    wow Lisa – I want to be there. Think me and teen would chill out well here after her GCSE’s!

  5. 21st January 2016 / 9:44 pm

    We like the idea of island hopping, but with scenery like that you’d never get bored!!

  6. 21st January 2016 / 9:45 am

    I could just imagine myself lay on one of those sunbeds by the ocean right now, I’m recovering from flu and think this would most certainly help.

  7. 20th January 2016 / 11:18 pm

    This is a really informative post. I’ve never holidayed out that way, but it looks divine.

  8. 20th January 2016 / 9:44 am

    This is actually some where we have looked at going to. I just feel its a bit far at the moment with our 2 young children. Your pictures make this place look out of this world. x

  9. 19th January 2016 / 10:27 pm

    This is not somewhere on my to go list until now! The photos looks stunning but with two young children I think I would probably wait for them to a bit older so they can join in more and remember the adventure. Plus changing planes with a baby would be a little stressful but an adventure for older ones! x

  10. 19th January 2016 / 4:26 pm

    I would love to visit any of these islands (ok the entire Carribeans) because all these pictures are awesome and making jealous. Thanks for the guide.

  11. 19th January 2016 / 9:52 am

    The photos look absolutely stunning! Glad to hear that Richard Branson is nice in real life too!

    • Lisa
      Author
      19th January 2016 / 12:33 pm

      Thanks Danny! It is easy to take good photos when the scenery is stunning!

  12. 16th January 2016 / 8:59 pm

    I am craving some sunshine right now! I would love to visit anywhere here, it looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Kaz x

    • Lisa
      Author
      19th January 2016 / 9:12 am

      I am craving some BVI sunshine now too Kaz! I have been writing about the Caribbean all week whilst looking out of my window at gloomy weather!

  13. 16th January 2016 / 6:28 pm

    Sitting here in two jumpers and under a blanket makes it look even more gorgeous!! How I long for some warm sunshine!

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:03 pm

      LOL you are not the only one Sonya! I am sat her in my layers replying to you:)

  14. 15th January 2016 / 9:27 am

    This looks amazing, somewhere I hope to visit one day when the kids are old enough to appreciate it

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:20 am

      The perfect time to enjoy it with your family Kara is when your children are old enough to take part in the many watersports:)

  15. 14th January 2016 / 9:09 pm

    These islands always sound like paradise to me, really unspoiled once you get to the quieter ones too. One day…

    • Lisa
      Author
      14th January 2016 / 9:38 pm

      It is paradise Cathy! If we were to win the lottery this is where we would be setting up a new life:)

  16. 14th January 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Richard Branson is a lovely bloke. Years back I wrote to him asking for sponsership for a school project. He wrote back saying he didn’t give donations to individuals but if £5 “fell” into the envelope it wasn’t his fault. So nice.

    • Lisa
      Author
      14th January 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Aw bless thats a lovely story Tori!

  17. 14th January 2016 / 8:11 pm

    Amazing place and amazing pics! I want to go there!!

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:21 am

      Thanks Rakel. Yes it is an incredible part of the world!

  18. 14th January 2016 / 8:02 pm

    Now I would love to be here right now, how absolutely stunning does it look, wow x

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:23 am

      Thanks Rachel, to be honest it is even more stunning in real life, my photography skills really do not do the BVI justice!

  19. 14th January 2016 / 7:08 pm

    What a beautiful place to travel. I haven’t been to the Caribbean at all yet, so I’d love to go there and do some snorkeling.

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:26 am

      Once you have snorkelled in the BVI Liz nowhere ever quite compares! I learnt to scuba dive in the Caribbean and then completed my PADI qualification at Capernwray in Morecambe… huge mistake!!

  20. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    14th January 2016 / 11:11 am

    Oh what a beautiful part of the world! It’s be my dream to visit the British Virgin Islands, walk across the white sandy beaches and swim in the crystal clear waters. Hopefully one day I can get there!

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 8:29 am

      I hope you do one day too Fi:)

  21. 14th January 2016 / 10:49 am

    It looks like paradise – you can feel the heat on your skin just looking at the photos! :) What a fantastic experience and so interesting to hear that Richard Branson is as nice in real life as he comes across on screen.

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 11:41 am

      Yes it truly feels like paradise Niamh, it is so difficult to show how stunning the area is with just a few photos

  22. 14th January 2016 / 10:02 am

    Such a scenic area! I really would consider heading here for sun, sea and sand :) x

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 11:43 am

      Zoe you would not be disappointed, it is a beautiful part of the world

  23. 14th January 2016 / 9:19 am

    What a gorgeous view and I can’t believe you met Richard Branson that is amazing! Your work trip sounds perfect.

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 11:51 am

      Yes it was great fun Ana and I learnt a lot about the BVI attractions, transportation and accommodation in the week we were there too:)

  24. 13th January 2016 / 11:18 pm

    I’ve never been anywhere like BVI, and would love to experience it. The pictures look beautiful.

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th January 2016 / 11:47 am

      Thank you Emma, pleased that you like them:)

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