Situated at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the British Virgin Islands have long been a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts. They consist of 4 principal islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegarda and Jost van Dyke) as well as a large number of uninhabited ones. But why is this volcanic archipelago such an ideal place for sailing holidays?
1.Perfect sailing conditionsWith high temperatures all the year round and practically constant trade winds, the Virgin Islands boast ideal sailing conditions.Another reason why the islands are perfect for sailing holidays is that they are relatively close together compared to other island groups. This makes it much easier for visitors to island hop as the desire takes them. The main islands have well-equipped marinas so holidaymakers can stock up on provisions before setting out on their sailing adventure.Much of the coastline is encircled by barrier reefs which means that overnight anchorages are well protected from rough weather.
2.Picture-postcard islandsIf you close your eyes and imagine a tropical paradise, you will probably think of green-crested hills sloping down to a beach of dazzling white sand and crystal-clear aquamarine waters.
This is exactly what the Virgin Islands look like. In short, the scenery is absolutely stunning.
3.Appeal for everyoneThe itinerary of your sailing holiday depends on your travelling companions and your interests. These versatile holidays can be tailor-made to suit you.If you’re with friends, the populated islands have a large number of beach bars and clubs. The relaxed and casual Caribbean lifestyle makes it easy to make new friends and have fun.If you’re travelling with your partner, there are quite literally hundreds of secluded beaches. You could spend the entire sailing holiday hardly meeting a soul.
What could be more romantic than a champagne picnic on a sandbar which disappears beneath the waves at high tide?
4.Variety of activitiesAnother reason for the appeal of the Virgin Islands is the wide range of activities which are available. Apart from swimming, fishing and sunbathing, there are many other water-based activities.The island group attracts many visitors because of the opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling. The Caves, Indians and Fallen Jerusalem are some of the many popular diving spots where you can see tropical marine life from up close.For more experienced divers, the Rhone National Maritime Park is the only one in the island group and is the site of the shipwrecked ship, Rhone (1867). Apart from exploring the wreck, the park also has coral caves and underwater tunnels.Not all activities in the Virgin Islands are water-based. For land-based exploration, visitors could take one of the hiking trails in the Gorda Peak National Park or the Sage Mountain National Park (on Tortola) to see local flora and fauna ranging from native orchids to humming birds.When choosing a holiday resort, you make compromises to suit everyone.
However, a sailing holiday in the Virgin Islands offers everything from hectic socialising to nature – both marine and land-based. No two holidays there are ever the same.