Located in the northeastern Caribbean, The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are known for their beauty and calm waters. The multitude of excellent anchorages and idyllic islands make the BVI one of the best locations for Caribbean sailing vacations. There's no secret as to why this is one of our most popular charters!
While Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is the most developed it remains charmingly reminiscent of the West Indies' past - featuring a quiet, colonial atmosphere. The BVI have made yacht chartering one of their main industries and we are very proud to be able to offer our catamaran sailing vacations in this island hot spot.
On board, we strive to give you the best possible experience you can have in the British Virgin Islands as we take you to some of the most popular locations and also share some hidden gems. We'll visit Virgin Gorda, the second largest island, famous for The Baths National Park. Characterized by huge boulders and crystal blue waters, it's easy to see why this sparkling white-sand beach has been described by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Other island stops on this BVI ycharter include Jost Van Dyke - home to the famous Foxy's and Soggy Dollar Bar, Anegada - a popular location among sailers, Peter Island, and Norman Island - where snorkelers and divers can explore the famous underwater caves as a highlight to their sailing vacation.
7 Nights sailing on a beautiful Lagoon 450 catamaran
Air-conditioned staterooms with en-suite private bathroom
Experienced Captain and Chef
5 dinners, 6 lunches and 7 breakfasts
Appetizers and desserts
Standard open bar (beer, wine and liquor)
Onboard sporting equipment
"I will tour Festiva Sailing Vacations whenever the situation presents itself. I've been sailing for about 35 years and this was at the top of my "sailing bucket list." This sailing vacation topped my expectations! Thank you!"
"We made 24 stops, snorkeled in lots of nice places, and saw a variety of things on shore. It was just right."
"Meals and appetizers were out of this world. Gourmet quality. Always prepared and served without flaw. Plenty of salads, fresh island fruits and fish. Meals included a delicious dessert and if this was not enough to keep your appetite satisfied, there were baskets of snacks to munch on."
Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht-filled harbor characterize the island of Tortola - where the past of the West Indies meets the present of the BVI. As the largest island in the chain, Tortola offers a variety of exciting vacation possibilities.
The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole and Trellis Bay are ideal for boaters. Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. There are also many well-equipped facilities for fishing, scuba diving and horseback riding. Wander through centuries-old ruins such as the Dungeon, Fort George, Fort Recovery, the Mount Healthy Windmill and Callwood's Rum Distillery - which is still in operation - and explore Tortola's history at the BVI Folk Museum in Road Town. Main Street in Road Town, the capital city, has an array of shops and restaurants; offering everything from local spices, jams, rums, and soaps to handcrafted jewelry, silk-screened fabrics, and local art.
The cuisine of Tortola reflects the island's rich cultural mix, whether it's a four-star dinner at a converted sugar mill or a delicious West Indian roti at a pastel-painted cottage. Local delicacies such as fresh lobster, conch, spicy goat, curries and Johnny Cakes make each meal memorable.
Escape to the cool slopes of Sage Mountain National Park, where traces of a primeval rain forest can still be seen at higher elevations. On the mountain ridge that runs through the island, observe local Caribbean life with its gentle rhythms, farms, settlements and churches. At Mount Healthy National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, rock outcroppings and vertical ghuts, or dry steam valleys, expose the deep, rich earth of this volcanic island. In Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens offers peaceful walks through pergolas and pathways covered with colorful vines, as well as a miniature rain forest and a fern house.
The dramatically shaped island of Virgin Gorda reminded Christopher Columbus of a reclining woman, so he named it Virgin Gorda, the "Fat Virgin."As the third largest island of the BVI, Virgin Gorda measures eight and a half square miles. In addition to the sheer beauty of the island, travelers are drawn to Virgin Gorda for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, safe anchorages and luxury resorts. On the North Sound, the Bitter End Yacht Club, accessible only by water, offers relaxation in an extraordinary, secluded environment.
Your privacy is ensured at one of Virgin Gorda's deserted pristine beaches, such as Savannah Bay, Pond Bay, Devil's Bay, Mahoe Bay and Spring Bay. Or visit the most popular natural attraction in the BVI, The Baths, where huge granite boulders create mysterious grottos, saltwater pools and a connecting trail that entices visitors to spend a day exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. Explore Virgin Gorda on the rugged trails that run throughout the island, and see the huge variety of unique indigenous plants that thrive in the national parks at Gorda Peak, Devil's Bay, Spring Bay and the North Sound. At the nature sanctuary at Little Fort National Park, marvel at the exotic birds as they swoop over the hills and ocean.
Not surprisingly, Virgin Gorda has been attracting visitors for centuries. Discover the island's African and Indian heritage; trace its Spanish history at the ruins at Little Fort National Park; observe the British influence in Spanish Town and at the Cornish Copper Mines on the island's southwestern tip, where ruins stand sentinel against the azure sea. Experience the island's exquisite cuisine, a wonderful combination of all its influences, and explore the variety of shops offering local arts and crafts, as well as gifts, resort wear and souvenirs.
Jost Van Dyke has fewer than 200 inhabitants and they are widely known as a welcoming people. The island's name conjures up its rich, colorful past. Jost Van Dyke is said to have been named for an early Dutch settler, a former pirate. Although it measures just four miles by three, with the highest point at 1,054 feet, this rugged island has been home to many people, including the Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans and British. At Great Harbour, Little Harbour and White Bay there are safe, protected anchorages and unspoiled beaches shaded with coconut palms and sea grape trees.
Discover inviting restaurants, bars, and small shops selling local treasures. For lunch, there are barbecues, West Indian rotis, flying fish sandwiches, grilled fresh fish and lobster. Club Paradise is famous for its conch stew and barbecued ribs. Happy Laury's Snack Bar is known for its pig roasts and honey-dipped chicken. The Soggy Dollar Bar and Gertrude's in White Bay are renowned for drinks made with the island's famous rum, frosty beers and tales of pirates and sunken treasure. Parties here are legendary, especially at Foxy's. This bar and its owner are known to travelers from around the world for the New Year's Eve and Halloween parties, when Great Harbour fills up with yachts. The "Painkiller," one of the most famous cocktails in the Caribbean, was invented at The Soggy Dollar Bar.
Explore Jost Van Dyke's history in the vegetation-covered ruins of centuries-old sugar mills or on the old trails that crisscross the island. William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, was born on Jost Van Dyke. John Lettsome, founder of the London Medical Society, was born on neighboring Little Jost. In the autumn and winter, observe whales and dolphins from a peaceful hilltop or visit the East End of the island where you can relax in the natural Jacuzzi formed by the foaming seas. Little Jost and Sandy Cay are a short boat ride away. While on nearby Great Tobago, you'll find extraordinary advanced dive sites and a marine sanctuary that shelters a nesting colony of magnificent frigate birds.
The only coral island in the volcanic BVI chain, Anegada is definitely unique. The name Anegada is of Spanish origin and means the "Drowned Land." Measuring 11 miles by three, its highest point is just 28 feet above sea level. The island is surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, the third largest continuous reef in the Eastern Caribbean. At 39 miles long, is contains both a patch reef and barrier reef.
Cow Wreck Beach, Flash of Beauty, Bones Bight and Windlass Bight are just a few of the beautiful beaches where you can relax under the shade of a coconut palm or seagrape tree. The secluded, powdery white-sand beaches are protected by the sheltering reef and the points that sweep out from the shore - Nutmeg Point, Setting Point and Pomato Point. Bubbling up from the coral bed, you'll find clear springs that support a variety of wildlife. Loblolly, sea grape, frangipani and the turpentine tree flourish here, along with feathery sea lavender and wild orchids. Saltwater ponds, mudflats and mangrove swamps are home to an array of exotic birds, including sandpipers, ospreys, terns, kaloo birds, blue herons and frigate birds. In the ponds near Nutmeg Point, flocks of flamingos gather. On the nature trail at Bones Bight, catch a glimpse of the rare rock iguanas' native to Anegada.
For snorkelers, the reef offers a maze of tunnels, drops and caves boasting a rich marine life. Schools of mojarra and needlefish thrive in the sandy bottoms, while green sea turtles swim in the sheltered waters. Beyond the reef, spectacular sights await scuba divers. Angelfish, stingrays, triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang and horse-eye jacks inhabit the drowned holds of the numerous Spanish galleons, American privateers and British warships that have been wrecked here. Anegada has all the facilities needed for most water sports, as well as bone fishing and sport fishing.
On land, you can read the island's history in the maze of stone walls that surround the Settlement, the main town. In the East End, ancient conch burial mounds and islands attest to the presence of the Arawaks, who called Anegada home nearly a thousand years ago. At the Anegada Museum, maps reveal the location of over 200 wrecks, while cannons, musket balls and ships' timbers are part of the recovered treasure. Listen to tales of buccaneers, drowned ships and hoards of gold still undiscovered.
Once you arrive in Anegada, there are taxis that will take you to the various spots. At restaurants, visitors dine on lobster, with the reputation of being the Caribbean's best, or relax with one of the island's special rum concoctions - the Rum Teaser or Wreck Punch.
The Wreck of the Rhone is the first and only Marine National Park in the British Virgin Islands. It is the most celebrated dive site in the BVI and a major recreational attraction. The park includes examples of fringing reef habitat and sea grass beds. The wreck is that of a Royal Mail Steamer, which sunk during the hurricane of 1867 with 125 people on board. At 310 feet long and 40 feet wide, the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer lies in two main parts in waters between 30 and 90 feet deep. Much of it is still intact and visible, including decking, parts of the rigging, the steam engine, and propeller. The marine park stretches from Lee Bay on Salt Island westward to include Dead Chest Island. The ship's anchor broke away outside Great Harbour, Peter Island, and this site forms the second portion of the park. The park is used by several commercial dive operators daily. Other dive sites in the park include Rhone Reef, Blonde Rock, and Painted Walls. Anchoring is strictly prohibited in the area in and around the Rhone. The National Parks Trust has installed mooring buoys for use by all commercial, charter, and private vessels. If moorings are unavailable around the Rhone, vessels are required to use the Salt Island Settlement or Peter Island anchorages.
Aragorn’s Studio offers abundant creative energy featuring pottery and a local art centre situated at the heart of Trellis Bay Village, BVI. His dedication to the cultural arts blossom in a centre where his own works are displayed amongst the works of the top artisans of the Caribbean.
Scattered in an aquamarine sea, the British Virgin Islands flank the broad Sir Francis Drake Channel, which has beguiled sailors for centuries with scalloped coves and sheltered anchorages.
There are more than 60 islands in all, whose names reflect their colorful past. Among these are Buck Island, Fallen Jerusalem, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, Round Rock and Scrub Island. While on charter you'll soon discover pristine palm-fringed beaches, rugged peaks and rich vegetation. Some islands are uninhabited and designated as national parks.
Your flight itinerary for arriving in the British Virgin Islands can consist of either flights into St. Thomas or Beef Island, Tortola. If you land in St. Thomas (STT), you will need to take a 50-minute Ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to Road Town in Tortola. The ferry is approximately a 10-minute taxi ride from the airport with the last ferry leaving to Road Town around 4pm. Once you arrive in Road Town, Sebastian's Taxi Service will be waiting to take you on a 15-minute ride from the Ferry dock to our base. You will need to arrange your pickup and present your voucher.
Some guests choose to fly directly into Tortola's Beef Island Airport (EIS) which will be via San Juan, Puerto Rico. From The Beef Island Airport, taxi service is available to take you to our Hodges Creek base location.
Sometimes making travel arrangements to other countries can be difficult because it is hard to remember what time zone you are visiting. For your convenience, we have provided the current time in the BVI.
After arriving in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas you will take the St. Thomas/Tortola Ferry to Road Town, Tortola. A roundtrip ticket is approximately $60/adult. Click here for a complete ferry schedule.
Hodges Creek Marina is located on the east end of Tortola, minutes from Beef Island Airport and a 15-minute shuttle ride from the Road Town ferry dock.
The meeting time to board the yacht is at 5 pm on Saturday. You will have dinner aboard the yacht at the base that evening and the yacht will depart the following morning. To ensure your catamaran is cleaned and provisioned accordingly for your charter, we allow you to board the vessel no earlier than 5 pm on your arrival day.
For guests choosing to come in early or stay a few days later, we recommend the following options but also encourage you to visit www.BVIWelcome.com for a full list of lodging recommendations.
US Citizens must have a valid passport. Citizens of other countries should confirm entry requirements with their consulate. Also, Tortola charges a departure tax of $20 per person by air and $20 per person by sea. Additionally, upon entry all guests will have to pay a $10 environmental fee per person. Cash is required.
When you book a stateroom on one of our vessels, we ask that you complete a preference form which outlines the types of activities that you like to participate in and the type of experience you are looking for on your trip. We use this information to combine like guests when at all possible. Our crew are all very in tune with ensuring that individual personalities mesh while on the boat and will do their very best to make certain the needs of every guest are met.
Each of our sailing destinations varies in terms of the types of waters in which you will be sailing. The longest sail that we would do during any one day would be 3-4 hours and this is only in certain sailing destinations. The majority of our sails will be short distances (30-45 minutes) from point to point, in very well protected waters. We never sail at night and plan our itineraries to be at ideal anchorages well before dark. Because the catamaran has two hulls, the experience is very comfortable with very little motion in the evenings other than a gentle rocking. If you do have tendencies for getting sea sick, our crew can help you with some fool proof remedies they've learned through the years. There are also over the counter medications available that you can bring to help with any motion sickness.
Our trips can be best described as light adventure and suited best for those in good physical condition. Because we anchor at night and rarely pull up to docks other than at our base locations, boarding and disembarking the boat is primarily done via dinghy. There is some physical activity and dexterity required in doing this. For a substantial portion of the time, our guests are swimming and climbing in and out of the water from the catamarans swim ladder. The dinghy is used to take guests into shore at the various stops.
Based on your charter destination, plan your flight arrangements according to your charters departure date. For specific details, visit the corresponding destination section on our website and click on arrival information. You will board the yacht at 5 pm the first night of your charter and depending on guest arrival times, often we will not sail until the morning following your arrival. You disembark the yacht at 9 am on the last day of your charter.
When packing, keep in mind that storage space is limited. Soft-sided luggage is strongly recommended, as all luggage will need to be stored in your cabin along with your personal items. Casual and breezy beach attire is certainly the order of the day on deck. Please avoid packing small appliances such as hairdryers and irons as these items will not be necessary. For evening attire slacks or a sundress is appropriate for the nights ashore. Shorts and t-shirts are also fine for dining ashore. While aboard the yacht, no shoes are worn. You will want to have a pair of shoes/flip flops for the night ashore. You may also find aquatic shoes convenient for beachcombing. Be certain to bring along plenty of protection from the sun. Suntan lotion is highly recommended as well as wide-brimmed hats or sailing caps and loose-fitting cotton cover-ups. A windbreaker jacket is nice to have for cool evenings during certain times of the year and something that is water resistant is also recommended. All bath and beach towels are provided. For more details on how to pack for your sailing vacation, visit our recommended packing list.
Fishing equipment is not provided on the yacht, but can be arranged in advance. Every person over the age of 16 that chooses to fish from the yacht is required to have a permit in the British Virgin Islands. You may purchase the necessary permit through Island Surf & Sail and they can assist and arrange delivery of any gear to Hodge’s Creek Marina. For more information, visit http://www.bviwatertoys.com/
Once your charter is confirmed, the preference form will ask for specific details relating to your meals and beverages during your charter. Each charter comes with a standard stocked bar featuring liquors, soft drinks, wine and beers that can be provisioned in that specific location.
The menu featured is set in advance with a wide variety of meals. We do ask that you notify us of any allergies or special dietary requirements which can be accommodated by our crew.
The meal plan on our Caribbean charters includes 5 dinners, 6 lunches and 7 breakfasts. The night of arrival you will also enjoy a welcome reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres. There are two dinners throughout the week when dining is ashore, on your own or as a group. Be certain to plan for these meals.
All the equipment for the aboard activities is provided on the yacht. You can expect items such as a sea kayak, snorkeling fins/masks and swim floats. Your preference form will ask for details specific to your needs.
If you are interested in diving while aboard, we can arrange for a local dive company to meet the boat while on charter. The fee would be paid directly to the diving company at the rate of approximately $90-$120 per dive for certified divers (rate and conditions to be confirmed at the time of diving). You will need to have your valid certification card with you to present to the dive operator.
Just as you would expect in a fine resort hotel, our yachts have all the basic necessities. This includes: bath towels, linens and basic toiletries. It is recommended that you bring your own personal toiletries such as toothpaste, creams and shampoo. Please note that we request that you do not bring spray sunscreen as it creates a slippery deck surface as well as stains. Please bring lotion sunscreen only. We strongly suggest if you bring a hair dryer to bring one with a low wattage (ie. travel size).
Each of our crew is equipped with limited cellular phone service. You can give your family the base telephone number to leave at home in case of emergencies. The base manager will pass on any information to you. In some locations throughout each of our destinations, there will be internet access however it is not a consistent amenity. WiFi is available at an additional cost on our British Virigin Islands charters. If you would like to add WiFi, additional information can be found here.
Although standard in the charter industry, we sometimes find that guests, especially those sailing for the first time, approach to tipping is occasionally misunderstood. It is customary to tip the captain and crew at the end of the charter. The amount of tip runs in line with the way you would tip at a restaurant with the percentage based on the total amount paid for your charter, or in the case of Cruise Club members or RCI exchangers, the tip should be based on the normal retail charter rate. On average you can expect to tip $600/cabin (good service) - $1,000/cabin (superior service) which would be split between the captain and chef. Crews can accept gratuities in cash or via credit card.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport. Other citizens should check entry requirements with their home country's consulate.
A myriad of weather factors is carefully considered before we ask yachts to return to the base and this could happen at any time, should the base deem it necessary. We do take precautionary measures so we can insure the safety of all our guests. During severe weather, guests are not allowed to remain on board, however, when on charter the crew carefully monitors the weather and always stays in contact with the base. In the unlikely event that extreme weather conditions occur, Festiva Sailing Vacations will make the decision to recall yachts to the base or delay charter starts. Guests who have purchased a Trip Insurance Protection plan through CSA Travel Protection are eligible for trip delay reimbursement based on the plan.
Season: June - July 2019/2020
Season: August - Mid November 2019/2020
*Dates indicate check-in date for 7-night package
When you purchase any of our stateroom packages for two, your catamaran will depart on the confirmed charter date for the confirmed stateroom price even if no other staterooms are reserved on that vessel.
Every yacht within the Festiva Sailing Vacations' fleet has an identical cabin layout and design. To create the best make-up when purchasing stateroom packages, we do not assign guests to a specific yacht until we receive each guest's preference form. This allows us to mix those couples with similar interests when possible.
The menu offered is a delicious variety of cuisine, planned in advanced to accommodate our guests throughout the course of the week. Some snacks and fruit will be provided in addition to the set meals. Chefs cater to any food allergies or special dietary requirements, which we ask guests to indicate this information on their preference forms.
Occupancy aboard our catamarans is limited to 8 guests in the BVI. When chartering with children under the age of 16, you must reserve all guest cabins on the yacht. When a party exceeds eight in total, two or more yachts will sail in tandem. Special flotilla discounts may be available for reservations of more than one yacht.
A 50% deposit is required for Caribbean bookings. Balance of charter amount is due 60 days prior to departure. A 100% deposit is required for reservations made inside 90 days.
Two dinners ashore on Caribbean charters. Local cruising permits and park fees (if any), gratuities for crew, special requested liquors.
The British Virgin Islands - truly the sailing Capital of the Caribbean! To start your trip, guests can either fly into Beef Island on Tortola or the more popular St Thomas Airport and hop aboard the Charlotte Amalie ferry for a scenic ride to Tortola. Your catamaran "home" will be Hodges Creek Marina, just a taxi ride away from the ferry dock. For early arrivals, guests can stroll around Road Town, where you can visit the local shops or enjoy a bite at one of the local restaurants. Upon boarding, you'll enjoy cocktails while watching your first Caribbean sunset, followed by a delicious dinner prepared by your on board chef.
The Caves on Norman Island. A short sail across the sheltered Sir Frances Drake Channel will bring you your first experience with the beauty and splendor of the BVI. The snorkeling here will make you feel like you are inside an aquarium, boasting with thousands of the most colorful fish. Your crew will explain the history of these caves and the treasure troves that have been found here! A five-minute motor around the headland will bring you into "The Bight" on Norman Island.
Begin your second day with freshly brewed coffee, a wonderful breakfast and perhaps a plunge off the back deck. You will sail along the coast of Peter Island, past Dead Chest Atoll and into Salt Island, in protected and calm waters. Salt Island is the graveyard for the R.M.S Rhone, a shipwreck off its Eastern point with all passengers onboard in 1896. This is one of the most famous wrecks in the world for scuba divers to explore. Snorkel over the stern section or take a walk around the shoreline in search of buried treasure. Next, you sail to The Baths, a national park located on Virgin Gorda. Walk through the batholitic granite caves and formations to Devils Bay where your crew will meet you with a refreshing, packed cooler and your snorkel gear! We enjoy lunch back on the boat and then embark on an hour long sail up the spectacular coast of Virgin Gorda and The Bitter End Yacht Club. Go ashore after dinner and take in a typical BVI evening with your favorite Rum Punch and Steel Drum Band.
Today we hoist the sails and set our course for the two-hour cruise to the flat coral-sand island of Anegada. Feel the "talcum powder" under your feet while you stroll along the deserted, white sand beach. With the third largest barrier reef in the world surrounding Anegada, today is the perfect day to relax on the beaches of Loblolly or Cow Wreck Beach or enjoy some fantastic snorkeling. Tonight, is your first night dining ashore. The prolific lobster population of this Island ensures a lobster meal second to none. Choose your lobster and watch it sizzle on the beach BBQ in front of the Anegada Reef Hotel or select a meal from the specials of the evening.
Another super sail back to Mountain Point on Virgin Gorda where we stop for lunch and beautiful snorkeling amongst the granite boulders. From here, we sail through the Dog Islands to Marina Cay, a private Island Resort off the East side of Tortola. Michael Bean will pick up his guitar and harmonica to entertain you with Pirate songs during happy hour on top of the island. Dinner on board and a good nights' rest in this calm anchorage will prepare you for the exciting day ahead.
After coffee, we move to Monkey Point on Guana Island for breakfast. A snorkel around the unusual coral outcrops will reveal some strange marine creatures not often encountered. Lunch is at a unique little Islet off the Island of Jost van Dyke. With a good coverage of shade and a few palm trees, walk around this Island in just five minutes and snorkel the surrounding coral reef. Its nearly happy hour time at the world famous Foxy's on Jost van Dyke. Pin up a garment of clothing with your name written on it in Foxy's bar to join the many hundreds from all over the world.
Just around the corner from Foxy's is White Bay - a spectacular strip of white sand fringed with coconut palms. Put your dollars into your pocket and swim ashore to the Soggy Dollar Bar, where the original "Painkiller" cocktail was conceived. We spend a leisurely day here before returning to Tortola, checking in at the famous Soper's Hole. This is the last night where you will dine ashore and enjoy late evening entertainment.
After breakfast, we take a short cruise around to our base. Joyful memories and new made friends, we wish everyone farewell until the next cruise with us.