Last Modified: 06 Dec 2013
British Virgin Islands Sailing
Trip code: ITMB
Validity: 01 Jul 2013 to 31 Dec 2014
Life sounds pretty darn good when your day's biggest dilemma is deciding which deserted island to check out next. But this isn’t some strange far-off mirage – the British Virgin Islands happen to be the latest destination in the Intrepid Sailing catalogue. Discover for yourself the world-renowned beauty of this fabulous archipelago on a one-week high sea adventure that will have you snorkelling, hiking and settling into the slow-paced Caribbean way of life. Navigate The Baths of Virgin Gorda, swim among sea turtles in Dead Man's Bay, laze on pure white sands and take in sunsets from any number of atmospheric drinking holes. This week-long Caribbean Sailing adventure really is as idyllic as getaways get.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Norman Island
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm on Day 1. The meeting point is Dream Yacht Charter office located at Maya Cove in the East end of Tortola.
The first stop on your British Virgin Islands sailing itinerary is an easy reach to The Bight at Norman Island. Stop off at "The Caves" for a leisurely snorkel in our warm Caribbean waters. Norman Island and The Caves, became famous as the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, "Treasure Island".
By the time you reach Norman Island, chances are your crew will be ready to visit the William Thornton Floating Bar & Restaurant. The "Willy - T". The Willy - T Bar and Restaurant is a lively spot and well known for their local drink called the body shot which will surely get you started for the night. Have a great evening and wind down from your flight! Tomorrow you'll be sailing the British Virgin Islands.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 2 Peter Island, Salt Island and Cooper Island
We proceed to Peter Island, setting anchor at Dead Man's Bay where we can enjoy a lovely swim at this world class beach. Grab your snorkel gear and check out the sea grass beds right below your yacht. With any luck, you will spot a sea turtle or two, lazily snacking on the sea grass. Turtles are harmless and easily spooked by curious humans, so please keep your distance and let them dine in peace.
We also explore Salt Island. There's a natural salt pond located inland and a very tiny settlement of British Virgin Islanders who used to collect sea salt. Unfortunately, the last remaining resident, Norwell Durant, passed away in 2004. Salt island is home to the Wreck of the Rhone and is a favourite dive site. The Rhone was a British Royal Mail steamship which foundered during a hurricane in the British Virgin Islands in 1867. The British Virgin Islands and the Rhone were made famous in 1977 as the location for the movie, "The Deep". This is an interesting wreck and much of the Rhone can still be clearly identified.
For the evening, we sail to Cooper Island where we moor for the night. The Cooper Island Beach Club has a very nice restaurant and bar.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 3 Virgin Gorda, The Baths and Gorda Sound
One of the most awesome sights to behold when sailing the British Virgin Islands are "The Baths" at the southern tip of Virgin Gorda. There are conflicting theories as to how these incredible rock formations were created. Some say The Baths were a result from a meteor shower, others say it could be from volcanic activity. There appears to be some evidence of lava flows which could have happened centuries after a meteor shower. OK, so The Baths are just a pile of "really big rocks" on a beach but when sailing up to them, you'll understand why they are such a highlight. They really are simply magnificent!
We sail to Gorda Sound in the afternoon, where you will find several restaurants and beach bars to enjoy. Here is also a good place to stock up on our supplies.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 4 Gorda Sound, Beef Island and Marina Cay
Spend a day in the North Sound, swimming and enjoying the surroundings, the island is gorgeous, go snorkelling or rent a Hobie Cat at the Bitter End Yacht Club and have fun. In the afternoon, depending on weather we set sail for either Trellis Bay, Beef Island or Marina Cay, south east of Great Camanoe and west of Virgin Gorda.
- Hobie Cat rental (per hour) - USD50
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 5 Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke Is an awesome place to go for a hike or just chill out on the beach sipping a cocktail swinging back and forth in a hammock. Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant is a must. It is very famous for all the musicians that have played there in the past and they still get some well know musicians playing there now.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 6 Sandy Spit, Green Cay and Soper’s Hole
In the morning, we head over to Sandy Cay or Sandy Spit and Green Cay for more great snorkelling and basking in the fabulous British Virgin Islands sunshine. In the early afternoon sail for Soper's Hole, Tortola.
Sailing into Soper's Hole, we will dine at the Jolly Roger Restaurant. The restaurant has great food and is the perfect place for us to spend the last night together looking back on a wonderful sailing trip.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Day 7 Tortola
After breakfast we head back to the charter base at Tortola where the trip ends at approximately 11am. If flying out tonight we suggest not booking a flight departing before 6pm to allow for any delays returning to Tortola.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.
Snorkelling equipment is available on board the boat at no extra cost.
On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund managed by travellers. It helps fund for breakfast and lunch on the boat and other small items such as ice, water, snacks and drinks. Travellers are responsible for the preparation of these meals onboard and to shop at port where supermarkets are often very close to the mooring. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases. On day 1, the skipper will talk through the kitty and how it will be managed (by yourself or fellow travellers) The kitty will be collected when you arrive at the welcome meeting or in stages throughout your trip.
A trip kitty of USD80.00 CASH will be required.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The US dollar is used throughout the British Virgin Islands.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. There are ATMs on Tortola and Virgin Gorda but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Skipper/Local guides: We suggest US$2-3 per day for your skipper or local guides.
Crew: You may have a range of crew on your trip. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for crew.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
All visitors departing from the British Virgin Islands are required to pay departure tax. This tax may be paid with cash or any major credit card. For passengers leaving via air you are required to pay US$20 per person, while boat passengers pay US$5 per person.
Maximum of 8 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Overnight boat (6 nts)
This trip is accommodated entirely on board a yacht of between 48ft to 52ft. A typical 52ft yacht for 10 travellers is equipped with 5 twin/double share cabins, 3 shared bathrooms and 2 showers. Our boats are real yachts and this is a real sailing trip. Yachts are designed to keep sleeping areas to the absolute minimum of space, while maximising common areas as much as possible. Smaller yachts will be used for smaller groups sizes.
Rooms are allocated on arrival by our skipper according to group composition, which means it is not possible to reserve or guarantee any specific berth or cabin. Single passengers will be paired up with another passenger of the same gender, this may mean sharing a double cabin with a double mattress. Everyone including the skipper shares the bathrooms on board.
While not everyone may feel entirely comfortable living in such close quarters, those who are looking to revel in the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic sailing trip usually find any discomfort from cramped living conditions is more than made up for by the whole experience.
Check out the typical yacht floor plan below:
6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
On this trip you will be accompanied by one of our skippers. Your skipper's role involves taking charge of the sailing, the safety of the vessel and safety for all passengers on board. Skippers all hold a Yacht Master Offshore license or higher and have completed an intense training and review process before sailing with us. The aim of the skipper is also to take the hassle out of your travels by organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and coordinating the kitty (where applicable). Your skipper will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect skippers to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Dream Yacht Charter Tortola
Hodges Creek Marina Maya Cove, East End Tortola
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Joining point instructions
How to get to Tortola
Tortola is the Capital of the British Virgin Islands (not to be confused with the US Virgin Islands). There are no direct flights to the British Virgin Islands from North America, South America, Europe, Australia and other major countries. The British Virgin Islands can be reached via connection hubs that you must fly to before connecting on a direct flight or ferry ride to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. These connections hubs are listed below
1) San Juan, Puerto Rico - airport code SJU (used by many U.S.A. Travellers)
2) St. Thomas, USVI - airport code STT (many ferries to BVI)
3) Antigua (ANU) St. Maarten (SXM) Barbados (BGI) - (used by many European Travellers)
1 Getting to Tortola via San Juan, Puerto Rico
There are no airports on Tortola but flights can be booked from San Juan, Puerto Rico directly to Terrance B Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Beef Island, British Virgin Islands. There is a small Bridge that connects Beef Island to Tortola. A taxi is the best way to get across the bridge to the Dream Yacht Charter office in Tortola. Air carriers with schedule flights between San Juan, Puerto Rico and EIS, British Virgin Islands include: American Eagle (works in conjunction to American Airlines to bring visitor to the BVI), Cape Air (works in conjunction with Continental Airlines to bring visitors to the BVI) and LIAT.
2 Getting to Tortola via St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Usually the most affordable way to get to the British Virgin Islands from the USA is to fly to St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands and then Travel to Tortola, BVI via Ferry Services. Flights from St.Thomas USVI to Tortola BVI are available but are more seldom and expensive. St. Thomas USVI has direct flights from New York, Atlanta, Florida and much more. Airlines that operate to St. Thomas USVI includes American Airlines, Delta Spirit Airlines, Continental Airlines and US Airways and more.
3 Getting to Tortola Via Antigua, St. Maarten, Barbados (used by many European travellers)
European travellers can find themselves in the British Virgin Islands by connection through the Caribbean hubs such as Barbados, West Indies (BGI), Antigua West Indies (ANU) and ST. Maarten (SXM).
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Dream Yacht Charter Tortola
Hodges Creek Marina Maya Cove, East End Tortola
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: No - Not required
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Space on board the vessel is very limited - for your own comfort and safety, luggage should be kept to an absolute minimum. The use of a backpack, soft sports bag or duffel bag is recommended - NO hard suitcases will be permitted on board.
Bring along a good-sized daypack as well as a light fleece and/or light windproof jacket. One towel is provided however you might like to consider bringing along an extra for swimming and outdoor use as towels are not changed during the trip. Sports shoes with light coloured soles or sports sandals are recommended while on board, while a pair of cycling gloves can be useful if you wish to participate in sailing. Snorkelling equipment is provided on board.
If your trip includes hiking or trekking, please ensure you pack comfortable shoes (preferably not brand new, as this can lead to blisters) that are fully enclosed and are comfortable for you to walk in for an entire day. Sneakers or runners should be fine, as long as they are comfortable.
While there should be electricity on board throughout your trip the voltage is likely to vary widely, from 12V to 220V, and when in port or moored we are dependent on the supply available. Please be aware that the supply may not be sufficient to power some electronic devices all the time and that you may need a voltage adapter or similar (such as portable inverter used in cars). On some trips it may be possible to charge devices ashore at restaurants or resorts, however this is not guaranteed.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
WATER SAFETY AT SEA:
Travellers that are able and confident swimmers will be able to enjoy swimming & snorkelling off the boat, but please always note the skipper's advise and instructions on when and where to swim and what precautions to consider. Travellers that are not able to swim are certainly welcome on this trip, but you will be required to wear a life jacket when we are sailing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.