With more than 40 anchorages referenced on the app, the British Virgin Islands are a trending destination on Navily, especially at this time of the year! It was only a question of time before we would release a list of BVI ‘top anchorages’. With the help of experienced boaters who have sailed in the region, we take you on a tour of these pirate infested (don’t worry that was a few centuries ago) Islands’ most beautiful anchorages.
Unfortunately the British Virgin Islands ports are currently closed to international traffic because of COVID-19. You can still fly to the BVIs and observe a strict sanitary protocol to enjoy sailing there (check our COVID-19 article to see updates about the situation). That being said, nothing stops us from dreaming while we wait resiliently for brighter times 😉
Best anchorages in the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands : Pearl of the Caribbean Sea
The British Virgin Islands hold wonders that are unique to the Caribbean Sea. This conglomerate of 60 Islands (only 16 are inhabited), has been the oasis of sailors for many centuries. Indeed, from pirates to modern adventurers, the bays, creeks and picturesque beaches of the British Virgin Islands have seen many adventurers step foot on its soil, seeking peace, freedom and gold treasures!
Today, boaters visit the BVI for their natural wonders and crystal clear waters but also for their inhabitants and their truly sincere and genuine welcome. From traditional hermit crab races in cozy bars to stilt dancers performing on beaches, the people of the BVI exhibit their cultural traditions in a friendly and lively atmosphere.
As one of our sailors, Pascale reported :
“There is a real authenticity in the welcome and the exchange with the locals of these paradise islands. Meeting and living with them for a few weeks was a real breath of fresh air”
As a matter of fact, the BVI are one of the most popular destinations for boaters cris-scrossing the Caribbean Sea. It is popular amongst those who make the trip from their hometown in Europe or the US, as well as those who take advantage of the many rental bases implemented in the area (like our partner Samboat in Port Town).
When’s the best time to go? It’s all the time of course (except in hurricane season)
The high season in the British Virgin Islands is between December and April, when high winds and low precipitation attracts most of its visitors. May to July is more peaceful, while it is formally not recommanded to sail during the hurricane season from August to mid-October.
Although the most popular months to sail the islands are January, February and March, with an average air and sea temperature of 26 and 27 degrees respectively, it is always nice to roam around in these warm tropical waters, whatever the season excluding August to mid-October!
White Bay - Jost Van Dyke - British Virgin Islands
White Bay is a famous anchorage in the region offering two very distinct atmospheres. It’s a familiar sight in the British Virgin Islands, presenting a superb white sandy beach highlighting the green coastline. The turquoise waters are an invitation to a relaxing swim or some marine exploration. In fact, boaters visiting the anchorage praise the diversity and beauty of marine life populating its reefs.
You can anchor easily in very shallow sandbanks (3 meters deep at some points) or take the buoys available in the anchorage. In addition to good holding, the place offers fair protection from north westerlies to easterlies by the north.
From the beach, on the west side of the anchorage, you have access to many bars and amenities. There, you can enjoy some of the island’s best cocktails while listening to the pirate tales of fellow boaters. It also gives easy access to Great Harbour while still feeling in the wild. A paradise right next to a main clearance station – convenient to say the least!
On the east side of the anchorage you will enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere with only a few villas and small restaurants. You can relax in this wild paradise and benefit from great snorkeling spots to see the beauty of the anchorage’s waters for yourself!
The Bight - Norman Island - British Virgin Islands
The Bight is a resplendent anchorage located in the Northern part of Norman Island. In what could almost be seen as a lagoon, boaters benefit from a very good protection from winds blowing from the north to the south west by the east. Mooring buoys are available but you can also anchor easily in 10-meter-deep sandbanks.
The bay is located on an island known for inspiring the novel Treasure Island. That should be enough to give you an idea of the kind of atmosphere you can expect to experience.
The green scenery that lies ahead in the low relief of the island is bordered by a pristine sand beach. Furthermore, a magical landscape bathing in the clearest blue waters invites you to both a relaxing nap or an adventurous snorkeling escapade.
The restaurant on the beach is a peaceful sight – its blue roof and white walls and pillars blend in with the scenery perfectly. It also serves great food but keep in mind its prices are island prices…
It’s a perfect paradise for a few days, offering a true island vibe.
Good tip : If the anchorage is too crowded, you can anchor in the lesser known Privateer Bay. It offers similar wind protection and good holding in 5 meters on sand.
Deadman's Bay - Peter Island - British Virgin Islands
Located in a sheltered bay in the North of Peter Island, it’s an attractive location despite a quite frightening name. This rather scary title comes from pirates who were marooned on neighboring Dead Chest Island and drowned swimming to Peter Island. Their bodies would wash up on the magnificent beach giving a dark twist to this sublime scenery. Fortunately, today the only thing that washes up on this beach are shells…
Deadman’s Bay offers good protection from western to south-eastern winds. It’s also one of the rare anchorages in the British Virgin Islands without buoys and superb holding in 5 to 7 meters of sand.
Its croissant-shaped beach lined with palm trees and bordered by Caribbean Blue waters looks like a scene from your wildest dreams. A lot of boaters describe it as the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean Sea.
On shore near the beach you will find bars and restaurants and a famous SPA; everything needed for a relaxed and authentic Caribbean experience (the resort is actually closed due to Irma hurricane and should re-open in September 2021). For the more adventurous explorers, a bike trail is accessible to visit the rest of Peter Island. Hikers and bikers will enjoy a peaceful promenade in the tropical flora and fauna indigenous to Peter Island.
Finally, it’s an amazing snorkeling spot where you can enjoy the company of sea turtles in a thriving marine environment. They come here in ridiculously high numbers and are not shy of human company in their natural habitat/ However,be cautious and conscious, they are still protected wild animals.
Trellis Bay - Beef Island - British Virgin Islands
Trellis Bay is one of the most famous anchorages in Beef Island. It’s a meeting point for mariners where they like to exchange stories about their respective experiences and journeys in a lively atmosphere.
Protected from western to Eastern winds by the south, the bay forms a natural shelter. In addition, the sand bottom is of good holding and will allow you to anchor peacefully to enjoy the spirit of this animated coastline. You can also choose the buoy option for ships up to 25 meters. Finally, a ferry line makes the anchorage a bit rolly during the day but it remains a good place to stay.
Big rallies happen in high season. It is a favored spot with its unblemished sandy beach and many amenities accessible in the entertaining coastal city of Trellis Bay. In the middle of the bay lies Bellamy Cay, a small piece of land with one famous restaurant – the Last Resort – legacy of English war hero Tony Snell and one which is certainly worth a visit.
Fairly close to the island’s main airport (10 minute walk according to some boaters); it is the perfect place to start your charter cruise or take advantage of the city’s amenities to refuel and restock for your journey. As a matter of fact, you can get some of the island’s best products delivered directly to your boat. Fruits coming from an ecological farm, rum from the oldest and last active distillery in the BVI (known to be operating without interruption for 400 years) and the famous islands’ flowers to ornament your hairstyle during your stay!
As one of our boaters recalled when he asked about this special service, the delivery team just answered :
‘’ You have come to paradise, so we deliver’’
Once a converging point for buccaneers and pirates to rest and enjoy the rum, it is now the meeting point of modern-day boaters also looking to…. rest and enjoy the rum!
Devil's Bay - Virgin Gorda - British Virgin Islands
On the South eastern part of Virgin Gorda lies this sequence of paradise-like bays which are one of the British Virgin Islands’ most precious gems. Indeed, four amazing bays presenting unique landscapes and three national Parks are concentrated on this coastline giving you plenty of options to explore!
Stretching along a coastline characterised by imposing round rocky formations and pristine beaches hugged in a thick green coat, these bays are all worth a stopover in our opinion.
Nevertheless, Devil’s Bay, the most southern anchorage, gets all the attention. It’s where the rocky formations are the most impressive and the starting point of the Bath National Park. The rocky galleries and caves are a wonder to explore. Bathing in shallow turquoise waters, you will enjoy getting lost in this unique playground.
The Bath and Devil’s beaches are not easily accessible by land with some rock climbing being required, therefore giving you a more peaceful anchorage in the bay. Mooring on a buoy will be the only option available in this popular spot.The bay is quite exposed to wind and doesn’t offer a great protection making it a day trip destination.
In bad weather it is safer to avoid The Bath. Waves come crashing in violently flooding the rocky coastline making it dangerous for human dwellers. But in good weather, it is certainly a bucket list destination.
Saint Thomas Bay - Virgin Gorda - British Virgin Islands
Located just north of the wonderous coastline leading to the Bath National Park, it’s not a dream-like anchorage but a very practical one for sure. Saint Thomas Bay offers good shelter from northeastern to south-eastern winds by the east even when blowing strong.
You can choose to moor on a buoy or anchor a little further in the bay. The buoys are free for the day which is practical if you just stop here for clearance (the least expensive one in the whole archipelago according to Silkap). With many charter company bases here too, it’s a great starting point for a cruise in the archipelago.
Close to a ferry passage, it can get quite rolly during the day and the boats are usually narrowly anchored so be wary of collision. Apart from that, you can take advantage of all the amenities this populated coastline offers in a quick dinghy ride to the beach. A practical and economic choice for a good starter in the BVI.
Setting Points - Anegada Island - British Virgin Islands
Setting Point is the perfect stopover to visit the most isolated island of the BVI. Anegada is different from the rest of the archipelago being the only coral Island in these volcanic grounds. In this rather large bay you will anchor with ease in these shallow waters or take the buoy option (as often in the BVI). Protected from north-western to eastern winds by the south, you will benefit from a fair protection to set foot on the island and explore its crystal-clear waters. Careful when you anchor there, it gets very shallow.
On land, the island has all the characteristics of a lost paradise. Flat with few to no reliefs because of its geological composition, many endemic species of plants and animals have settled on the island. Wild orchids, turpentine trees and the famous roseate flamingo (which was reintroduced to the island’s ponds in the 90s), are some of the natural jewels found in Anegada.
If the spectacle is enjoyable on land, it just gets better under water. The coral reefs are of rare beauty and diversity. Flourishing with life, Anageda’s crystal clear coastal waters are a dream destination for divers and snorkelers to explore.
Underwater tunnels and galleries are home to many marine species including sea turtles in great numbers. In addition to a favorable environment, the marine life populating these waters also takes advantage of the many antique ships that sunk near the island. Wreckages of privateers and galleons from another age rest on the shallow seabed, offering a perfect shelter for a myriad of sea creatures. They are a wonder to explore and yet another good reason to stopover in Anegada.
That’s it for our list of the best anchorages in the British Virgin Islands. Not many sailors have the chance to visit this unique place but the ones that do on Navily share their experience with the community! We would like to thank them for helping us build this article and encourage more of you to share your boating experience on Navily! If you’re interested in more content about the Caribbeans check out our article on Dominica and the best anchorages in the Caribbeans!
Fair Winds Pirates of the High Seas,