Catamaran Charter Virgin Islands
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  About the Virgin Islands - the worlds best cruising ground.

Between Puerto Rico and the Anegada Passage are the Virgin Islands, one of the world's most compact cruising areas. Lying a 45 mile chain, the main islands are mainly mountainous, with a maze of passages between them and indented every few miles by a tempting cove or bay.

The Virgins are set in a region of constant summer. Their pattern of wind and weather is predictable. Unparalleled visibility and tepid waters offer abundant views into the underwater world of multi-colored reefs and tropical marine life for the novice snorkeler and experienced diver alike. All yachts offer snorkeling and some specialize in diving.

Poised on the edge of the Puerto Rico trench, the Virgin Islands are also home to some of the finest fishing grounds in the world.

British Virgin Islands
> Tortola
> Virgin Gorda
> Jost Van Dyke
> Anegada
> Other British Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands

Frequently Asked Questions

British Virgin Islands Overview
Everyone can experience the British Virgin Islands by sea. Referred to as the sailing capital of the Caribbean, the BVI offers the finest and safest sailing in the world. The only thing you'll need is a spirit for adventure.

The BVI has the consistency of the Caribbean trade winds, clear blue water, islands close enough for a day sail, and sunshine every day. Winds generally blow northeast to southeast at 10-25 knots, and are sometimes stronger in the winter months. From the main capital island of Tortola, sailers have incredible variety in a cruising area that is about 32 miles long and 15 miles wide. A sailing vacation gives you the freedom to create your own itinerary amid the sixty islands and cays that form the BVI. top

British Virgin Islands information:

Tortola
Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht-filled harbour characterize the island of Tortola, where the past of the West Indies meets the present of the BVI. The largest island in the chain, Tortola offers a variety of exciting vacation possibilities.

The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole, and Trellis Bay are ideal for boaters. Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach, and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. There are also many well-equipped facilities for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or horseback riding.

Wander through centuries-old ruins such as the Dungeon, Fort George, Fort Recovery, the Mount Healthy Windmill, and Callwood's Rum Distillery, which is still in operation, and explore Tortola's history at the BVI Folk Museum in Road Town.

Main Street in Road Town, the capital city, has an array of shops and restaurants, offering everything from local spices, jams, rums, and soaps to hand-crafted jewelry, silk-screened fabrics, and local art. The cuisine of Tortola reflects the island's rich cultural mix, whether it's a four-star dinner at a converted sugar mill or a delicious West Indian roti at a pastel-painted cottage. Local delicacies such as fresh lobster, conch, spicy goat, curries, and Johnny Cakes make each meal memorable.

Escape to the cool slopes of Sage Mountain National Park, where traces of the primeval rain forest can still be seen at higher elevations. On the mountain ridge that runs thorough the island, observe local Caribbean life with its gentle rhythms, farms, settlements, and churches. At Mount Healthy National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, rock outcroppings and vertical ghuts or dry steam valleys expose the deep, rich earth of this volcanic island. In Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens offer peaceful walks through pergolas and pathways covered with colourful vines, as well as a miniature rain forest and a fern house.

The people of Tortola are friendly and known for their warmth and hospitality. There are a wide variety of places to stay, ranging from campgrounds to luxury resorts and private villas. Tortola is also an ideal point from which to explore the other British Virgin Islands. Regular ferries, private and crewed yachts, and planes travel daily to the other islands of the BVI.

Activities on Tortola: fishing, sailing, visiting national parks, horseback riding, hiking, visiting historic ruins, sunbathing, snorkeling, shopping, visiting museums. top

Virgin Gorda
The dramatically shaped island of Virgin Gorda reminded Christopher Columbus of a reclining woman, so he named it Virgin Gorda, the "Fat Virgin." The third largest island of the BVI, Virgin Gorda measures eight and a half square miles.

In addition to the sheer beauty of the island, travellers are drawn to Virgin Gorda for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, safe anchorages, and luxury resorts. On the North Sound, the Bitter End Yacht Club, accessible only by water, offers relaxation in an extraordinary, secluded environment. And with its spectacular setting, Little Dix Bay Resort was designed by Laurance S. Rockefeller.

Your privacy is ensured at one of Virgin Gorda's deserted pristine beaches, such as Savannah Bay, Pond Bay, Devil's Bay, Mahoe Bay and Spring Bay. Or visit the most popular natural attraction in the BVI, The Baths, where huge granite boulders create mysterious grottoes, saltwater pools, and a connecting trail that entices visitors to spend a day exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. Explore Virgin Gorda on the rugged trails that run throughout the island, and see the huge variety of unique indigenous plants that thrive in the National Parks at Gorda Peak, Devil's Bay, Spring Bay, and the North Sound. At the nature sanctuary at Little Fort National Park, marvel at the exotic birds as they swoop over the hills and ocean.

Not surprisingly, Virgin Gorda has been luring people for centuries. Discover the island's African and Indian heritage; trace its Spanish history at the ruins at Little Fort National Park; observe the British influence in Spanish Town and at the Cornish Copper Mines on the island's southwestern tip, where ruins stand sentinel against the azure sea. Experience the island's exquisite cuisine, a wonderful combination of all its influences, and explore the variety of shops offering local arts and crafts, as well as gifts, resort wear, and souvenirs.

Virgin Gorda can also be experienced on a day trip. Spanish Town has its own airport, and a regular ferry runs between Road Town, Tortola, and Spanish Town. Another ferry takes passengers from Trellis Bay on Beef Island to Leverick Bay, the Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek.

Activities on Virgin Gorda: snorkeling, hiking, sightseeing, sunbathing, bird watching, dining, scuba diving, shopping, picnicking. top

Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke has fewer than 200 inhabitants, and they are widely known as a welcoming people. The island's name conjures up its rich, colourful past. Jost Van Dyke is said to have been named for an early Dutch settler, a former pirate. Although it measures just four miles by three, with the highest point at 1,054 feet, this rugged island has been home to many people, including the Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans, and British.

At Great Harbour, Little Harbour, and White Bay there are safe, protected anchorages and unspoilt beaches shaded with coconut palms and sea grape trees. Discover inviting restaurants, bars, and small shops selling local treasures. For lunch there are barbecues, West Indian rotis, flying fish sandwiches, grilled fresh fish, and lobster. Club Paradise is famous for its conch stew and barbecued ribs. Happy Laury's Snack Bar is known for its pig roasts and honey-dipped chicken. And the Soggy Dollar Bar and Gertrude's in White Bay are renowned for drinks made with the island's famous rum, frosty beers, and tales of pirates and sunken treasure. Parties here are legendary, especially at Foxy's. This bar and its owner are known to travellers from around the world for the New Year's Eve and Halloween parties, when Great Harbour fills up with yachts. The "Painkiller," one of the most famous cocktails in the Caribbean, was invented at The Soggy Dollar Bar. Explore Jost Van Dyke's history in the vegetation-covered ruins of centuries-old sugar mills, or on the old trails that crisscross the island. William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, was born on Jost Van Dyke, and John Lettsome, founder of the London Medical Society, was born on neighbouring Little Jost.

In the autumn and winter, observe whales and dolphins from a peaceful hilltop, or visit the East End of the island, where you can relax in the natural jacuzzi formed by the foaming seas. Little Jost and Sandy Cay are a short boat ride away, and on nearby Great Tobago you'll find extraordinary and advanced dive sites, and a marine sanctuary that shelters a nesting colony of magnificent frigate birds.

Jost Van Dyke is accessible by boat or ferry. Accommodations are available at several small hotels and simple beachside cottages, or stay at a campground at White Bay or Tula's. Whether staying on land or lying at anchor, you're sure to go home with many memories of this unforgettable island.

Activities on Jost Van Dyke: sailing, swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, shopping, hiking, visiting historic ruins, sampling island cuisine. top

Anegada
The only coral island in the volcanic BVI chain, Anegada is a world apart. The Spanish named it Anegada, the "Drowned Land." Measuring 11 miles by three, its highest point is just 28 feet above sea level. The island is surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, one of the world's longest at 18 miles.

Cow Wreck Beach, Flash of Beauty, Bones Bight, and Windlass Bight are but a few of the beautiful beaches where you can relax under the shade of a coconut palm or sea grape tree. The secluded powdery white-sand beaches are protected by the sheltering reef and the points that sweep out from the shore: Nutmeg Point, Setting Point, and Pomato Point.

Bubbling up from the coral bed, clear springs support a variety of wildlife. Loblolly, sea grape, frangipani and the turpentine tree flourish here, along with feathery sea lavender and wild orchids. Saltwater ponds, mudflats and mangrove swamps are home to an array of exotic birds, including sandpipers, ospreys, terns, kaloo birds, blue herons, and frigate birds. In the ponds near Nutmeg Point, flocks of flamingoes gather. On the nature trail at Bones Bight, catch a glimpse of the rare rock iguana native to Anegada.

For snorkelers, the reef offers a maze of tunnels, drops and caves boasting a rich marine life. Schools of mojarra and needlefish thrive in the sandy bottoms, while green sea turtles swim in the sheltered waters. Beyond the reef, spectacular sights await scuba divers. Angelfish, stingrays, triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang, and horse-eye jacks inhabit the drowned holds of the numerous Spanish galleons, American privateers and British warships that have been wrecked here. Anegada has all the facilities needed for most water sports, as well as bonefishing or sport fishing.

On land, you can read the island's history in the maze of stone walls that surround the Settlement, the main town. In the East End, ancient conch burial mounds and islands attest to the presence of the Arawaks, who called Anegada home nearly a thousand years ago. At the Anegada Museum, maps reveal the location of over 200 wrecks, while cannons, musket balls and ships' timbers are part of the recovered booty. Listen to tales of buccaneers, drowned ships, and hoards of gold still undiscovered.

Getting to Anegada is easy. There are regularly scheduled flights from Tortola's Beef Island Airport, and charter flights from St. Thomas and Virgin Gorda. Or bring your boat and find a good anchorage at the Setting Point. To get around the island, there are taxis, jeeps, and minivans for rent. A small number of hotels and campgrounds are available. At restaurants, dine on lobster, reputed to be the Caribbean's best, or relax with one of the island's special rum concoctions - the Rum Teaser or Wreck Punch.

Activities on Anegada: sport fishing, bonefishing, nature watching, sea kayaking, snorkeling, visiting a museum, relaxing on amazing beaches, eating superb lobster. top

Other British Virgin Islands
With so many islands in the group, you're guaranteed many different experiences.

Scattered in an aquamarine sea, the British Virgin Islands flank the broad Sir Francis Drake Channel, which has beguiled sailors for centuries with scalloped coves and good anchorages. There are over 60 islands in all, whose names reflect their colourful past. Among these are Buck Island, Fallen Jerusalem, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, Round Rock and Scrub Island. Visitors soon discover pristine palm-fringed beaches, rugged peaks, and rich vegetation. Some islands are uninhabited and designated as National Parks.

Idyllic Cooper Island, just five miles from Tortola, offers visitors the perfect getaway with four privately owned properties and a small beach club on Manchioneel Bay. Explore the island on foot and observe the extraordinary variety of exotic plants and birds. Water-ski, snorkel, or dive in the clear blue waters and discover the rich marine life. Scuba, kayaking, and fishing facilities are also available, plus a dinghy to explore the nearby islands. Or laze on a white-sand beach fringed with coconut palms, bougainvillea, and frangipani, and watch the yachts glide by on the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

Nature reserve and luxurious resort come together on Guana Island. The 850-acre island reserve has just one resort, the Guana Island Club, perhaps the most private hideaway in the Caribbean. Rent the entire island or just a cottage. With seven beaches and two oceans to choose from, a memorable holiday is guaranteed. Hike on one of the many trails that crisscross this rugged island and see the protected wildlife. Climb to the highest point, Sugarloaf Mountain at 806 feet above sea level, for unparalleled views. Or visit the ruins of a Quaker sugar mill and old cannon emplacements and experience the island's history.

Little Thatch is a breathtakingly beautiful islet of just 54 acres located southwest of Tortola's West End. Your privacy is guaranteed with just one lodging opportunity. Sea Grape Cottage, a secluded waterfront dwelling, is surrounded by a wraparound porch and hidden behind lush tropical vegetation and a stone wall. Guests can swim, snorkel, and boat from the beaches that fringe the island.

Marina Cay is situated in a peacock-blue sea surrounded by coral reefs, where the waters turn to emerald and the sand to white powder. A quick ferry ride across Trellis Bay, this perfect islet inspired a popular book and film. There's just one resort and a small hotel, so your peace is guaranteed. If you arrive by boat along the Sir Francis Drake Channel, you'll find good anchorage, a delicious meal, and a friendly welcome.

Necker Island, owned by Sir Richard Branson, has become a magnet for celebrities. This tiny private island rises dramatically from the aquamarine waters and offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The entire island can be rented for a day or a month. Accommodations include the main Balinese style house that sits majestically on top of the hill, offering extraordinary wraparound views. There are also a number of guest cottages at the water's edge.

On rugged Norman Island, the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's, Treasure Island, adventure can still be found, especially around Treasure Point. Here, bays, reefs, and caves provide a memorable experience for snorkelers. Norman Island is just two and a half miles long with a central ridge that rises to Norman Hill, 427 feet above sea level. No one lives here except a handful of goats that forage on the steep slopes. For yachtsmen it offers several safe bays and offshore reefs, Soldiers Bay, Money Bay, and the Bight, one of the most protected harbours in the region.

Peter Island, a 1,800-acre island with just one resort, is accessible only by water, and offers superb sporting facilities plus five miles of secluded beaches. Accommodations include Crow's Nest, a hilltop villa with four bedrooms and panoramic views, and beachside cottages nestled among coconut palm and sea grape trees. Hike the Loop, the dramatic bluff on the south side of the island, or visit the wreck of the RMS Rhone. This British mail ship sank in a fierce storm in 1867, creating one of the most extraordinary dive sites in the Caribbean. Dine at the Tradewind's Restaurant, or lunch at Deadman's Beach Bar and Grill while watching sea turtles swim ashore to bask in the sun.

Saba Rock is one of several beautiful islands that guard the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. With just one extraordinary resort, it offers a sense of total seclusion.

Fringed on three sides by pristine white sands, Sandy Cay is alive with sea grape trees, coconut palms and a small pond that provides a habitat for many rare species. Hike the nature trail that winds through the island, or simply bask on the perfect beach.

Thanks to the BVI tourism Board top

US Virgin Islands information:

U.S. Virgin Islands The U.S. Virgin Islands comprises of the three islands; St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. The United States Virgin Islands offers something for everyone. Breathtaking beaches with emerald water. Secluded coves, pristine coral reefs, and untouched rainforests. Friendly people with a unique music, cuisine, and culture. Posh hotels, cozy inns, and unspoiled campgrounds. Wonderful restaurants, world-class shopping, and exciting festivals. the islands offer the most romantic setting for your special wedding or honeymoon.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the eastern Caribbean, just 1,100 miles southeast of Miami. Surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, the average temperature ranges from 77F in winter to 83F in summer.

Each of the three major islands possesses a unique character all its own. St. Croix's Danish influence is perfect for visitors who prefer a laid-back experience. The historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted offer quaint shops, charming pastel buildings, refreshing cultural diversity. From horseback riding near eighteenth-century sugar mills to playing golf on one of the island's three scenic golf courses, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes.

Two-thirds of St. John is a national park; its comfortable pace is perfect for enjoying the island's world-renowned beaches such as Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Salt Pond Bay. A nature lover's favorite, St. John offers hiking, camping, specialty shopping, and breathtaking views. If you take just a few hours to visit this island, you'll find it well worth the trip.

St. Thomas boasts one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. As the most visited port in the Caribbean, downtown Charlotte Amalie offers elegant dining, exciting nightlife, world-class, duty-free shopping, and even submarine rides. While it's full of energy, especially in Charlotte Amalie, this island also possesses numerous natural splendors, such as stunning views of the Caribbean from 1,500 feet above sea level. top


Please contact us if you have any questions regarding chartering in the Virgin Islands.

Already booked your charter? See our Virgin Islands catamaran charter preparation information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why book through a Charter Broker like Virgin Island Catamarans?
How do I reserve a yacht and what are the payment terms?
What's included in the Yacht Charter Fee?
Cancellation Terms
What time of year is best to travel to the Caribbean?
What are the Passport requirements?
Do I need Insurance?
How can I be reached in an emergency?
Is scuba diving equipment and air included in the charter fee?
Should we bring the kids?
How do I figure costs and expenses?
Who do I contact if I can't find the answer to my question here?

Why book through a Charter Broker like Virgin Island Catamarans?
Choosing the right charter yacht and crew is vital in ensuring that you get the most out of your charter vacation. When you use a charter agent that knows the boats and the crews personally you can get accurate and un-biased information on all the options that are available to you.

When you book through Virgin Island Catamarans the charter cost is the same as when you deal directly with the yacht owner, but you get a great deal more peace of mind- for example:

  • If you book directly with a yacht owner you have no way of knowing if the information in their brochure or on their web site is accurate, or whether there might be slightly more suitable options available to you.
  • Nor do you have the protection of a proper charter agreement or have your deposit held in an independent and safe escrow account until just a few days before your charter begins.
  • We will always be here to help and advise you on your best options - and if you are new to chartering we provide a wealth of information and support. We can also provide additional travel products and services that you may need to make the most of your charter experience.
  • If, at the last-minute, your charter operator has a problem and cannot show up for the charter we will be here to assist you (remember; when you deal through us any payments made will be held in an independent escrow account until just prior to your charter date). We can move fast to find you the very best resolution to the problem - another piece of mind when you book your charter through Virgin Island Catamarans. up

How do I reserve a yacht and what are the payment terms?
After working with your agent to find the perfect yacht at the right time for your vacation we will supply you with a charter contract. Once you are completely happy with the charter agreement a 50% deposit is required to reserve the yacht, unless your vacation dates are more than 6 months from the contract signing, in which case 25% deposit is due at the time of signing and another 25% deposit is due 6 months in advance of the vacation dates.

The balance is due 45 days prior to the beginning date. up

What's included in the Charter Fee?

All Inclusive Yachts:
The Charter Fee includes the charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages, all food (including crew's food) and insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability insurance. The charter fee also includes fuel for a specified number of hours per day, as averaged throughout the cruise, berthing dues and most other harbor charges, including water and/or electricity taken from the shore. Some yachts include wine and bar, excluding vintage wines and champagne.

Extra charges will include communications, marina berthing, gratuities and hire costs of special equipment and activities; such as rendezvous diving.

Plus Expenses Yachts / Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA):
In addition to the charter fee, you will also be asked to pay an APA of 25-30% of the charter fee. This is given to the yacht in cash prior to your charter to allow the captain to buy fuel and provision the yacht as per your demands. At the end of the charter, the captain will produce full accounts of all expenditure. You will either be refunded any money not used or asked to pay any additional costs not covered by the APA.

 up

Cancellation Terms
If you need to cancel your reservation all payments are forfeited. However you are entitled to a refund if the yacht you reserved is re-hired for the same term; or a pro rata refund if re-hired for part of the same term.

If the yacht owner must cancel, the owner shall refund you all of your payments. 

If the captain or owner must cancel the charter due to Force Majeure no funds will be refunded to charterer.

Full terms and conditions can be found in our charter agreement contract.

We can help you with trip cancellation insurance; which, depending on circumstance, would take care of any penalties. up

What time of year is best to travel to the Caribbean?
Mid-December to mid-April is the "high season" in the Caribbean as travelers flee cold northern climates to bask in the tropical sunshine. For the peak periods of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, as well as the entire month of February, charter yachts should be reserved well in advance.

The summer period is considered to be low season, however summer is still a great time to visit the islands too; charter rates are lower and the beaches, roads and restaurants are rarely crowded.

December through May is considered the dry season while June through November is generally the more humid season. However, in our experience, rain or clear skies can occur at any time during the year. Rainstorms often pass quickly and there is sunshine on most days during the year. Average air temperatures in coastal areas range from 72 to 86 F. The warm coastal water temperatures stay between 68 and 74 F.

Hurricanes may occur any time from June through November and, historically, the most likely time is during early September. Every year brings more sophisticated storm warning systems. It is unusual for any one island to be severely affected more than once or twice every 10 years and your actual odds of experiencing a hurricane are very low. Some travelers purchase travel insurance as soon as they confirm their travel plans. up

Do I need Insurance?
Insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability is included in the charter fee. Ask your charter agent at Virgin Island Catamarans about other forms of insurance that might be prudent. up

How can I be reached in an emergency?
All vessels have VHF radios and many areas have marine telephone operators that can contact you through your VHF. You can of course bring along your own cell phone and the vessel you are on may have a satellite phone. up

Is scuba diving equipment and air included in the charter fee?
This can vary from yacht to yacht. Some yachts are fully dive-equipped while others will only allow rendezvous diving (where a dive boat is arranged to meet your yacht at a specified dive site). We can provide you details on individual yachts policies. up

Should we bring the kids?
Kids are seldom bored on charter. They really get into the sailing and particularly the snorkeling and playing on the beach. The yacht's crew is employed to maximize the enjoyment and safety of your vacation but they cannot be expected to take responsibility for over-seeing the welfare of children. Children under the age of fourteen must be under the direct supervision of a parent, child-minder or other appointed adult at all times. up

How do I figure costs and expenses?
Charter costs range widely depending on the yacht, location, season, number of guests, distance cruised, days spent in ports, and the level of luxury provided.

Rates will be quoted either as "all-inclusive" or "plus expenses."

A guideline often used for estimating "plus expenses" yachts is to factor in an additional 25-35% of the base charter rate. Taxes are not included in base charter rates. Charter rates, which are listed in this guide in U.S. dollars, may be subject to varying rates of local taxes. We can provide you with the most recent information for your cruising area as well as any additional insurance requirements.

When you charter on a plus-expenses basis, the captain will give you discreet updates on such items as fuel usage, telephone/fax charges, and liquor/wine consumption. You will also receive detailed accounts at the end of the holiday.

It is customary for the charter party to leave the entire gratuity, usually 10 to 20 percent of the charter fee, with the captain. The captain should be made aware of any special services provided to you or your charter party by members of the crew that you think should be rewarded, however, even those members of the crew you might never have seen - engineers, deck hands or perhaps a laundress - have contributed to the success of your yacht holiday and the captain is best qualified to determine how your tip should be distributed. up

Who do I contact if I can't find the answer to my question?
If we have not addressed any of your questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help you further!  up

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