Lay of the Land
“... everyone knew that all islands were worlds unto themselves, that to come to an island was to come to another world.”~Guy Gavriel Kay
The British Virgin Islands’ 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.
The most common way to reach the British Virgin Islands is via a connection in San Juan and a short flight to Tortola. Travelers then take a boat to their final destination. There are alternatives, however. Ferries run to St. Thomas, which has direct flights from the US. The ride on the water will be longer, but you’ll skip the hectic San Juan connection. Another possibility is flying to St. Thomas then chartering a small plane or helicopter for the final leg of the trip. Virgin Gorda has a short airstrip that can accommodate small planes, and both Peter Island and Necker Island have private helipads. As a final option, some smaller private jets can land directly in Tortola.