The British Virgin Islands have much to offer for the cruiser and charterer alike. With several islands being only a day sail from each other, it is possible to wake up to new scenery every morning. We loved every day of our month and a half spent around these islands, visiting several of them multiple times. Although a difficult exercise, we narrowed them down to 3 of our favorites. 

Norman Island

We spent close to a week anchored on Norman Island, which was one of our favorite times overall. There are so many reasons to visit Norman Island over and over again – from the snorkeling to the hiking and great restaurants, there is something new to do each day. Here is our list of reasons we loved Norman Island the most in the BVI:

  • Snorkeling by the Treasure Caves Our first time around we saw bait balls being chased by tarpon and pelicans diving into the water over and over again. Another time we swam into the caves and explored coral we haven’t seen before.
  • Pirates Bight Beach volleyball court, great open wifi, drinks to be had on the beach, delicious chicken roti and cheerful staff. Need we say more?
  • Room to anchor The holding right in front of Pirates Bight is great with a sandy bottom and 4-5 meters of water.
  • Plenty mooring balls One can be sure to find a mooring ball even later in the day since there are lots of mooring balls spread around the bay.
  • Great hiking Even the shortest walk to the helipad above Pirates Bight takes you to 360 degree views. For those looking for longer walks, there are great dirt roads leading to Money Bay as well as the other side of the island.ű
  • Willy T Duh! Willy T is great entertainment whether you are into jumping off the back of the boat or not. We also figured out that if you stay long enough in the evening you may have a chance to play your own music… 🙂

Cooper Island

Cooper Island had us at hello. The first time we arrived here we had no problem grabbing a mooring ball in front of Cooper Island Beach Club. Come to find out that was a rare occasion as the mooring balls turn over almost immediately, the island is so popular. We suggest arriving around 9am to be sure to have available space since anchoring close to the mooring field here is tough due to deeper water (10m+).

The second time we visited here we arrived around 4pm and all mooring balls were taken. We went over to the next bay where there is an area with sandy bottom big enough for two boats to anchor. In the morning we realized what a treat it was to have stumbled upon Hallovers Bay. Apart from the rare occasion of not having other boats around us, the water was incredible and the snorkeling close to shore even better. We spent the entire morning in the water staring at coral and wildlife, including rays. We returned here with guests later on as the bay also has day moorings available for those looking to snorkel at lunch time.

The many reasons we love Cooper Island:

  • Cooper Island Beach Club The establishment strives to be as sustainable as possible. They do not provide straws (not even paper ones), serve drinks in reusable plastic cups (that are free to take if you wish – great cups for the boat!), AND they have their own brewery on site to eliminate beer container waste. The restaurant serves delicious dinner that is worth the high island price.
  • Rum Bar With over 750 rums available to taste, we loved exploring the Rum Bar despite not being big rum drinkers. The bartender will also make you a delicious cocktail with the rum of your choosing if you aren’t into drinking it straight up.
  • The Coffee Shop They serve coffee from the Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters over in St. Thomas and also have ice cream for sale. What else can you ask for?!
  • The Boutique The best selection of swimwear and other goodies when it comes to ‘restaurant boutiques’ around the Virgin Islands.
  • Anchoring & snorkeling in Hallover Bay Quiet anchorage with spectacular snorkeling right off the boat.

Anegada

Our first time around we were sceptical about Anegada, a slice of land about 15 miles from other islands with an elevation of only 28 feet above sea level. Those feelings changed immediately upon tasting the famous Anegada lobster. We visited for Thanksgiving dinner, and the grilled Caribbean lobster at Neptune’s Treasure exceeded all of our expectations. Not to mention the delicious sauteed conch we had as an appetizer!

Reasons to visit Anegada and stay for two nights:

  • Caribbean lobster Do not miss the Caribbean lobster when visiting the island. Although pricey it is 100% worth it. Our favorite was Neptune’s Treasure (also tried The Lobster Trap). Reservations are required, be prepared to put your dinner order in when reserving a table for the evening.
  • Option to anchor Catamarans can enjoy anchoring close to shore on a sandy bottom in shallow water
  • Snorkeling If we had the chance to visit again for an extended period of time, we would rent a car or scooter to explore the north side of the island where there is supposedly spectacular snorkeling to be had.
  • White sandy beaches There is even a water swing in front of Anegada Reef Hotel

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