Welcome to the British Virgin Islands
60 reasons to visit the Caribbean
Each of the 60 islands (with only about 16 being inhabited) that comprise the British Virgin Islands has something for everyone with secret bays, hidden coves, isolated beaches, white-tipped waves, swaying palms and a unique people.
The BVI were first inhabited by the Ciboney Indians who arrived in stone age canoes from the Americas, followed by the Arawak Indians from South America who peacefully dominated the islands for many years until the arrival of the Carib Indians. These Carib Indians were a fierce and aggressive bunch, who worked their way north from South America about one hundred years before Christopher Columbus arrived. Columbus’s discovery of the BVI in 1493 brought about its colonization by the Spaniards who were followed by the French and finally the British.
In those days of old the islands abounded with pirates and privateers who left behind a rich legacy of tales of treasures untold. The primary islands of the British Virgin Islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
Tortola, is also known as "land of turtle doves," or Chocolate City. It is the Territory's main and largest island, with a population of over 14,000. Sage Mountain is the BVI's highest point with a National Park at 1,780 feet above sea level. Tortola's mountain peaks are covered with frangipani and sage on its southern coast, while its northern shores flaunt white sandy beaches, groves of succulent bananas and mangoes and groups of palm trees. Beef Island, the site of the BVI's main airport, is connected to Tortola by a bridge. Road Town, the capital of the BVI is located on the southern shore of Tortola.
Virgin Gorda or "Fat Virgin,” refers to a protruding mountain seen by Columbus when he first encountered the island. It is second largest of the British Virgin Isles at ten miles long and two miles wide (8.5 square miles), and a population of about 2,500. Virgin Gorda is known for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, and safe anchorages for bareboats.
Anegada is just a dot on the map lying 20 miles north of Virgin Gorda. It covers 15 square miles and rises 28 feet above sea level with a population of about 250. Over the years, more than 300 ships have been wrecked on the perilous coral reefs encompassing the islet, a misfortune which, in turn, has made Anegada a heaven on earth for divers. The wrecks and reefs themselves have been enhanced with colorful formations of the ordinary undersea flora and fauna.
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke is a four-square mile island to the north of Tortola's West End with a population of 200. Once known as the reputed hideaway for a Dutch pirate of the same name, Jost Van Dyke still opens it arms for travelers looking for an isolated, rustic getaway with first-class hiking trails.