BEACHES IN THE BVI
Cane Garden Bay
Translucent water glowing over emerald reefs,
palm-fringed greenery engulfing beach-front bars,
the white sand beach forming its mountain valley shores--this place invites sailors
and sunbathers, Quito's love songs, and a little moonlight madness.
See below (photo from Bev's BVI site).
The beaches in the BVI are not only
very beautiful but also less developed than many beaches
elsewhere. Often located on outlying islands, these beaches are only
reached by boat whether charter, dive boat, daysail, launch or ferry. Even
beaches on Tortola and Virgin Gorda may entail driving over some roads more fitting for four
wheel drive vehicles.
Beachcombing & Shell Collecting
Apple Bay on the North Coast.
The Apple Bay area, including Little Apple Bay, Cappoons Bay, and Carrot Bay, has a
variety of beaches that are often narrow, sometimes rocky,
but exciting nonetheless. Beach lovers and surfers enjoy staying at Sebastian's on the Beach.
Brewer's Bay on the Ocean Coast.
A special place, quite beautiful in a wild, rugged way fitting to this
ocean coast, Brewer's Bay seems to attract those, among others, who are strongly
attuned to nature. The beach here is excellent, protected by extensive
coral reefs. Somewhat off the beaten path.
Garden Bay. Just the other side of a short "airplane ride"
by car from Road Town, Cane Garden Bay is the islands' most popular beach. Great for dining
and entertainment, a beautiful anchorage and a center of water activity rentals,
Cane Garden Bay is only truly crowded, and then only in its beach bar
section, when a cruise ship docks in Road Town.
Josiah's Bay on the Ocean Coast. Sometimes the surf
and undertow is strong since this is on Tortola's Ocean Coast and exposed to
ground seas out of the North. Very seldom are many people here.
Lambert Bay Beach, also called Elizabeth Beach, on the
Ocean Coast. This is an especially fine beach with similar undertow problems
and very few people on this long, wide beach, which is accessible
through its namesake resort.
This rock outcropping at Elizabeth Beach resembles
a giant conch shell.
Long Bay on the North Coast. The ultimate in
Caribbean beaches--palm trees, white sand, emerald reefs breaking with surf, its
photogenic vistas. Popular but less crowded because it's harder to reach by land and
cannot be reached by water.
Long Bay East on Beef Island.
A secluded and pristine beach, long and lovely Long Bay East is reached
by going to the airport past the toll booth and turning left at an opening to the salt
marsh flats (avoid driving on them). Great for swimming (watch for the quick
drop-off), seashell collecting, and its views to outlying islands.
Best Virgin Island Beaches, a WAVES: Virtual Vacations,
nature DVD video award-winning series of soothing stress relief,
awe-inspiring beauty with vivid images of spectacular seascapes in
Smuggler's Cove on the North Coast. A fascinating
beach, with its own honor bar and bit of history, its classic cove shape
and benign conditions make it everyone's favorite secret "hidden" beach.
on Beef Island. More of a beach for exploring, Trellis Bay has a little of
everything--artisan shops, a quaint market, an charming restaurant, watersports rentals
and a long curving beach for beachcombing, hunting marine life, and snorkeling.
Hike down a ghut from high up on Ridge
Road (directly north of Road Town) to find the ultimate secluded beach on Tortola's Ocean
The Baths, itself a treasure good for swimming and snorkeling, exploring
and rock climbing, has adjacent beaches, Spring Bay and The Crawl
to the north as well as Devil's Bay, a trail-hike to the south and fairly
secluded. The Baths is another extremely popular location that can get crowded from cruise
ship jaunts, charter boats and day trippers.
Crawl is great for small children and novice snorkelers. Giant boulders
create a small "lagoon" of clear calm water, complete with some
reefs, tropical fish, and even an occasional sea turtle. Picnic tables with barbecue
grills are nearby.
Little Dix Bay
on the Beach Coast. Laurence Rockefeller had the whole Caribbean to chose from and he
favored Little Dix Bay for his "environmental" luxury getaway. One look explains
it all--this quintessential beach gem, hidden in its own cove, the white
sand beach and breaking reefs inside a tropical tableau framed by small
mountains and their rocky points. A little piece of paradise!
Long Bay on the Beach
Coast. A remote secluded beach for those seeking it with great island views,
birding and beachcombing. Best reached via four wheel drive.
Mahoe Bay on the Beach
Coast. With the feeling of a lagoon inside its reefs, its gently curving white
sand is demarcated by its own small hillside valley onshore.
Savannah Bay on the
Beach Coast. One of the nicest pure beaches without development, it is on
an interesting geographic location at the "neck" of the island.
Prickly Pear Island (Vixen Point) in the
North Sound. A nice calm swimming beach with a beach bar. Hike up over the ridge through
the Prickley Pear nature refuge to North Beach for outstanding swimming, snorkeling,
sightseeing and beachcombing.
Loblolly Bay. At least nine miles
of Anegada's ocean coast has pristine beaches, but Loblolly Bay is a favorite spot with
great snorkeling and diving off the shore. Here are canopies of seagrapes
with the shore covered with patches of beautiful bay lavender. A very fine beach meeting the ocean trade
routes beyond its surf (photo:
Cow Wreck Bay. Named
for cow bones washing ashore from shipwrecks, Cow Wreck Beach has a beach bar right on the
beach, facing Anegada's famous ocean reef lagoons. Waves of sand dunes reach out from the
main road to the shore--a great driving treat!.
Manchioneel Bay. A wonderfully casual beach with a great
sense of place, Manchioneel Bay.is the home of the Cooper Island Beach Club. A
great snorkeling reef, Cistern Point is at the south end of the bay, as well as snorkeling
over seagrass (watch for sailboat keels). A not-to-be-missed experience!
White Bay. White powdery sand and a closeness
to nature characterize this beach. A favorite day stop for boaters.
Jost Van Dyke
Sandy Cay. A tropical isle that is
a favorite of charterers, this beach is a unique experience. Sandy Cay can get crowded for
those seeking seculusion, particulary when some organized flotilla arrives.
White Bay. One of the best of many White Bays. Yes the sand
is very white, the beach invites a stroll or a snorkel. Becoming very
popular with boaters.
Toys, such as the water bike on the left from
White Bay, are widely
available at beaches in the BVI (photo:
Sea & Land Adventure Sports).
Peter Island can be reached by its own launch
from Road Town, free to those with dinner reservations--a great day trip!
Deadman's Bay. Considered one of the Caribbean's
most beautiful beaches, Deadman's Bay is but one of five beaches on Peter Island. A favorite
of charterers, Deadman's Bay has good snorkeling at both ends. Deadman's
Bay Bar & Grill is right on the beach for lunch.
Bay. A hike over to the island's other side, this beach is an exquisite
gem. Generally visited by only a few charter boats.
Walk the beaches along the sea
searching for shells, seafans from reefs and occasional pieces of driftwood, the product
of nature's work, the tides, winds and waves, depositing treasures from the elemental
forces of life.
Yes, beachcombing is an attitude,
an expressive metaphor for reality, an attraction and adventure, that ranges from the
eager inquistiveness of youth to the more philosophical approach that comes from gaining
and spending, and being spent, by the fortunes of life, like the flotsam and jetsam along
sea urchins and
other oddities can
be found washed up on the beach. Flotsam, debris that floats, especially driftwood that is
well weathered in sculptural shapes, adds to the imagination.
Jetsam actually denotes part of a
ship, or its cargo, thrown overboard in distress, that then floats ashore. Perhaps the
BVI's most famous are the cow skulls washed up on Anegada's Cow Wreck Beach from ships gone aground
long ago on Horseshoe Reef with cargos of cow bones.
A good time to go is after a blow
Rocky outcroppings can be explored
for marine life at places like Trellis Bay,
known as a beachcomber's dream. Seabirds and beach plants add to
collecting is always fun. Usually, seashells are the remains of
dollars, star fish
and a wide variety of mollusks.
A popular shell is the West Indian Top,
locally called the whelk
(a sea snail's shell). Of course, it may already be taken by another collector-the
Cowries, helmets, pectens, jewel boxes, tellins, sand dollars, and sea
biscuits are common among the estimated 1200 species of shells on BVI beaches
(and nearby Pond Bay) beach is great for shelling on Virgin Gorda!
Egbert Donovan at the North Shore Shell Museum
Restaurant has a collection of seashells and driftwood and is very knowledgeable about
shelling in the BVI.
Beach Warnings. The beaches are generally harm free. Be
sure to protect against "No-See-Ums"
beaches in the late afternoon and evening (see
The only beach plant should be given a wide berth is the notorious Manchineel tree.
Most BVI beaches are well protected behind reefs, but check about undertow
and surf dangers before swimming, especially on Tortola's Ocean
Coast beaches. When swimming, avoid jellyfish in general, but take great care if the rare Sea Wasp jellyfish is spotted.
Sea and Shore