As Diane Arbus so rightly said: “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”
The last time followsummer visited the BVI was in 2001: a bumpy airplane landing on Beef Island on Tortola and a winding car ride to a sunny, sea-splashed boat ride to Cooper Island. Tortola offered many secluded cays, vistas, and beaches where we had never been and had no time for. We quickly realized a single day on this 56 square kilometer (21 miles) of pure BVI ahhhah was not nearly enough to scratch her sunny, casual charm. And so last month, we returned to spend a slow week and discovered that time had to stand still at some point for us on this island oasis. We rented a car and navigated Tortola’s curvy and windy roads, dipping and climbing up and down around this lush volcanic island, ultimately leading us to lovely, secluded beaches and inviting cays, unique experiences, and warm personalities. Here are followsummer’s four favorites:
Take the Ridge Road up from busy Road Town and head northwest and then switchback down into Brewers Bay and enjoy this beautiful secluded beach off the typical tourist and cruise ship taxi tours. Lunch is at Nicoles: sate your beach appetite with one of his famous Pina Colada’s or simply Caribes and a Cheeseburger (ask for the sauteed onion garnish). Bring your gear if you want to experience one of the best snorkeling beaches of the British Virgin Islands. The tranquil, almost uninhabited beach is the perfect start to your BVI beach holiday.
Cane Garden Bay:
Just south of Brewers Bay and still in the North West End, sits popular Cane Garden Bay, regularly named one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches. The tranquil bay was our morning coffee and evening cocktail view from our rented villa, perched high atop the west end cliff, and we never tired of the vista. Not that there is so much to do in Cane Garden Bay except relax over a drink and lunch at Quito’s Gazebo or lounging in a beach chair, sipping tropical drinks while the warm Caribbean laps at your toes. At night, Cane Garden Bay doubles as a boaters parking lot, with many BVI sailors tieing up and tendering to sup, drink and listen to live music wafting from area bars like Quito’s (where you just may enjoy local legend’s Quito Rymer’s island reggae sounds), Elm or Myett’s.
on Tortola’s East End, is a rookie surfers paradise where waves are at their curling best in winter. Wade out into those soft waves to learn and catch a curl or spend an hour body surfing a crashing wave. Make sure you stop and chat with Naomi and sample some of her johnny cake and some of the best roti we had on the island from her Little Secrets Restaurant.
Cow Wreck Beach on Anegada:
in the West End on Anegada, a beautiful wind-swept coral island and just a 45-minute boat ride from Tortola. Grab an open-air cab and drive to the Flamingo Pond, en route to this little bit of Carribean Paradise. ‘Where I’ve never been,’ Cow Wreck Beach and indeed Anegada could not be a more beautiful, secluded and pure slice of BVI ahhh. Walk and wade in the gentle and turquoise-colored waters where the only population you may encounter will be the school of bonefish enjoying the same warm Caribbean waters. Wander the secluded beach with your special someone, quench your thirst with a Painkiller or the Cow Wreck Beach Bar’s famous Cow Killer. Or just sit on the beach and enjoy the view.
The beautiful, secluded and pure BVI ahhhh beaches and cays of Tortola: ‘where I’ve never been’ could not be truer. Thank you, Diane.
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Dad to Sophia, Ariel, and Hastings three of the best cats in the world.