I believe everything happens for a reason. After talking for more than 10 years about doing a sailboat charter in the Caribbean or British Virgin Islands “someday,” all of our friends finally got our schedules lined up and made the trip.
Instead of taking the many great options for a large cruise ship, we opted for a more intimate experience. There were six of us, three couples, on a private sailboat charter through the Caribbean with 4 cabins and 4 bathrooms.
Luxury Sailing through the Caribbean
Cruising the British Virgin Islands (BVI) for 7 days when it’s just you, your friends, a captain and a cook on a 48’ catamaran sailboat is life-changing. At times, you feel like there’s nothing else in the world but the people on the boat and the ocean breeze.
We’re lucky and grateful to have done this in April before hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the BVI and the Caribbean, just months after our trip.
Our little adventure started with a week on St Thomas (which I’ll save for another blog post), and then our sailboat charter began. Our first stop was Tortola, the largest island in the BVI and full of mountains. It’s also where you clear customs and immigration (don’t forget your passport!)
Local Attractions on a Charter
A sailboat charter gives you an authentic Caribbean experience and our first stop didn’t disappoint. The Indians is a popular local spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.
You can watch light orange file fish swim by and the interesting way they hover in the water or catch sight of a few squid or a barracuda showing off his teeth. For a break in the endless ocean, explore the underwater arch you can dive down and swim through.
As avid divers, our friends Mary and Joel really enjoyed this spot and it was our top snorkeling spot for the trip.
Next was a quick sail over to Norman Island for more snorkeling in the caves. Also known as Treasure Island, the location is full of unique cave structures you can swim all the way in. We skipped a stop at Willy T – a well-known floating bar off Norman Island – but caught a couple glances at full schools of sweeper fish with their semi-transparent bodies and bright-colored heads.
The snorkeling adventure continued with a stop at Peter Island. We saw more than fish as our waitress caught a scorpion, while we enjoyed a refreshing Pain Killer, the local island concoction.
A Salty Hike in the British Virgin Islands
We took a break from the ocean with a trip onto Salt Island, an island used for salt harvesting. Our hike around a lake filled and crusted with salt ended on a lovely hill overlooking the entire island. Fun fact: the salt can be harvested to use in dialysis machines, and on our trip we met someone stocking up for a local hospital!
We spent our first night in the Caribbean island chain at Virgin Gorda. The island has many activities for the adventure traveler. You can hike The Baths, like Bob and I did with our friends Barbara and Pat. Make your way through, around, up and down some massive boulders on the sand on this hike. Arrive early to beat the crowds at this popular tourist attraction.
If you prefer the water, go for a snorkel or take advantage of the excellent diving like Mary and Joel, also through pretty spectacular underwater boulders!
Hidden Gem in the Caribbean
An advantage of a sailboat charter is choosing where you go. If you’re not sure, ask your captain!
Many people told us not to sail to Anagada, but as avid birders, Bob and I wanted to see the Flamingos we’d heard about. And oh boy, were they there! We probably saw over 200 of these gorgeous pink birds. .
After a fun day driving around the entire Caribbean island, we enjoyed a lobster lunch, a tour of the yurts, and a new twist on one of our favorite local drinks – Bushwhacker on the rocks! This island was worth the sail (and the only time we really saw our captain work the winds).
After Anagada we ended our day at Yost Van Dyke to moor the boat and spend the night. The next morning we waded our way to land to have a few drinks at the famous Soggy Dollar Bar.
There’s no dock at this unique party island so everyone pays for their drinks with Soggy Dollars. This fun, touristy bar was one of the highlights of our sailboat charter in the Caribbean and we’re happy to know that it has recovered from the hurricanes.
We love the BVI and would highly recommend a cruise or land trip to these islands. They have beautiful blue water, amazing snorkeling, and fun adventures waiting for you! Get in touch to explore your sailing and land adventure in the Caribbean. Give us a call at 562-433-3841 We will be back!