Destination: British Virgin Islands
When Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the Virgin Islands in 1493, he only had one thing on his mind: women. He dubbed the archipelago Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins, naming a particularly curvaceous island Virgin Gorda (Fat Virgin). Today, the islands continue to evoke amorous thoughts. Thanks to romantic green peaks, unspoiled beaches and the presence of some of the world’s best resorts, the area is a top choice for couples seeking an escape. Celebrities and tycoons such as Google’s Larry Page have celebrated their marriages here, and well-heeled travelers often head to the British Virgin Islands’ serene shores for a honeymoon or anniversary.
But trysts under a palm tree aren’t the only attraction. The four larger islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke plus fifty-something smaller cays claim some of the world’s best snorkeling and dive sites. Situated east of Puerto Rico, the territory enjoys balmy, tropical weather and soft trade winds that draw avid sailors, too. The BVIs also have the distinct advantage of being relatively close to home but feeling far away, unscarred by ugly developments that plague other Caribbean isles. Although reaching the resorts can be a lengthy process, their lack of accessibility is what keeps them uncrowded. There are talks of extending the Tortola airport to allow direct commercial flights from the US, though—a change that’s sure to alter the calm pace of island life. Claim your spot in the sand before that happens.
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