Your Personal BVI

Here's your guide to these beautiful isles—choose the one that suits you to a T.

With more than 40 unspoiled islands and uninhabited cays (many only accessible by boat), the Caribbean's British Virgin Islands are a nautical paradise. Along with sugar-soft beaches and crescent-shaped bays, the BVI are also steeped in history and folklore. Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake explored these waters; the infamous pirate Blackbeard plundered ships around the area. And with more than a half-dozen offshore shipwrecks, rumors of buried treasure abound, increasing the allure of the isles. Add a variety of activities, from sailing and snorkeling to lounging on the beach, scattered among different postcard-perfect locations, and there's a plethora of choices for every romance-seeking couple. Here, our top fantasy islands.


Mountainous Tortola is the largest and most populated island in the BVI chain. It’s where you’ll find a wide variety of hotels and restaurants, as well as lots of nightlife and shopping options, especially around the small but busy capital of Road Town. Here, you’ll want to pick up souvenirs (local spices and rum) in the busy marketplace. On the shores, you’ll find myriad deserted beaches, sheltered bays and stellar sunsets.

british virgin islands private resort

Secluded Brewer’s Bay, reached via hairpin turns, is known for its snorkeling and swimming, while nearby Cane Garden Bay has watersports concessions and plenty of open-air cafés. Just as the sun sets, you’ll want to find yourselves in one of the many barefoot beachside bars offering lively happy hours that turn even livelier when night falls. One great option is Rhymer’s, a family-owned hotel with a popular beachfront restaurant—be sure to try its famous conch fritters and rum punches. If you’re feeling adventurous, head inland to Tortola’s Sage Mountain, a 92-acre, semi-rainforest national park with the BVI’s highest point, 1,716-foot Mount Sage; while in Road Town, shop for crafts at the waterfront market.

WHERE TO STAY: On the northern coast is Long Bay Beach Resort, with charming hillside rooms and villas and the 1748 restaurant, offering local seafood (room rates start at $250 a night; The intimate Sugar Mill has 23 individually designed rooms and an alfresco cocktail lounge with spectacular views of neighbor island, Jost Van Dyke. The resort is also home to one of the most romantic spots in the BVI, the restaurant at Sugar Mill, where gourmet dishes such as lobster bisque and leek-wrapped salmon are served by candlelight in an 18th-century stone sugar mill (room rates start at $255 a night;

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