I’ve always been fascinated by the British Virgin Islands, and wondered why they’re referred to as nature’s little secrets. After island-hopping over five fun-filled days— exploring the rustic beaches and indulging in its the tropical, luxurious atmosphere—my curiosity has finally been satisfied. I found paradise here, and now need to figure out how to make this a yearly getaway.
I arrived via plane to Beef Island’s Tortola Airport around noon, and was dropped off at the harbor within five minutes to catch the Scrub Island ferry that transported me to the Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. With stunning views of neighboring islands, the resort overlooks clear blue waters. My ocean front room was spectacular, and equipped with a full kitchen, living room, balcony and luxe bath-and-body products that inspired to me want to stay forever.
Later in the day, I went to North Beach: a small private beach retreat with a hiking trail, mini pool and bar. It is lined with mangrove and palm trees blowing in the wind, hermit crabs hanging on branches with powdery white sand. It was unlike any beach I’d ever explored. After spending the day there, I went for a meal at the resort’s poolside restaurant, Tierra! Tierra!, which has an amazing jerk chicken and avocado salad.
The next morning, I went to Pavilion Beach, in front of the main resort area, and jolted high in the sky on the mega-sized water trampoline floating in the ocean. I embraced my inner child while surrounded by the blue ocean water, sailboats and yachts. I later treated myself to a 60-minute massage at Ixora Spa, where my highly skilled therapist put me to sleep (which never happens to me).
The following day, I returned to Tortola to catch a ferry to Virgin Gorda (a.k.a. “Fat Virgin”). This is the third largest of the British Virgin Islands, named by Christopher Columbus because he thought it resembled the shape of a portly woman lying down. I checked into Rosewood Little Dix Bay, a boutique resort with a nice mix of luxury, tranquility, and gorgeous beachfront rooms. The inviting azure water called my name and I responded by diving on in.
People travel from around the world to visit the natural wonder known as “The Baths” on Virgin Gorda. They consist of a labyrinth of house-sized granite boulders that form shallow pools just perfect for swimming. The boulders are positioned on the white sandy beach with some stacked on top of each other, creating a fantasy-like attraction.
I arranged a meeting with Miss World BVI, Kassandra Malone, to explore The Baths and talk about what makes the British Virgin Islands so unique. When I asked how the boulders got there, she said one simple word: “God.” There’s no doubt the Most High gave the BVI this wonderful gift, and I was ecstatic to experience it firsthand. We went high in the hills to Hog Heaven restaurant for lunch and relished the view of billionaire Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Leverick Bay and the island of Anegada.
My final stop in Virgin Gorda was Biras Creek Resort, situated on a narrow peninsula between two hills. This rustic-luxe retreat is secluded in nature, and is a true escape from everyday life. With Tocca bath products, an outdoor shower, and no televisions in the rooms, I became one with nature in a plush, tropical environment.
I hiked along the trails to view the mangrove trees and cacti while searching for the pigmy gecko, the smallest lizard in the world found only in the BVI. I was unsuccessful, but I did spy a few iguanas and exotic birds. I enjoyed exploring the 140-acre property on bicycle, where I met the rescued resident horses that call this place their home.
Later that day, I was taken by ferry to Saba Rock’s Bitter End Yacht Club for happy hour. It was packed with yachters, island hoppers and international jet setters mixing and mingling. I met a beautiful Brazilian family celebrating the wife’s birthday, and we shared a few glasses of bubbly before I returned to the resort for a gourmet dinner at the Hilltop restaurant.
I spent my last day on Tortola and paid a visit to the Bomba Shack, a colorful adults-only bar covered in graffiti, guest pictures and women’s undergarments. I spoke to the elderly owner, Bomba, and asked why so many panties and bras decorate the bar. He responded, “The ladies like to get naked for me.” I’m sure “the ladies” do it more for the novelty and a good vacation story to tell friends when they return home.
The Bomba Shack does attract free-spirited tourists of all ages who like to rave. With a reputation for the wildest “Full Moon” parties in the Caribbean, this shack is unique.
My experience in the British Virgin Islands exceeded all expectations. As one of the safest, ecologically diverse, lavish places in all the Caribbean, it’s no wonder why celebrities, jet setters and yachters spend weeks at a time here. It’s a destination where nature and beauty truly merge.
Click here to watch my three-part video series on the British Virgin Islands.—Teri Johnson
Teri Johnson is the co-creator and host of Travelista TV, an online video channel and blog focused on culture, lifestyle and adventure around the world. Follow her on Twitter and @TravelistaTeri, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.