We know Sunsailors have been wondering what to expect when going back to their favorite place in the world, so we’re keeping you in the loop with this latest BVI update. Following his recent visit to the British Virgin Islands, Sunsails very own photographer was able to answer your commonly-asked questions. Continue reading to see what Adam had to say about traveling to the BVI and what establishments are currently open after Hurricane Irma.
Are there any concerns with airline connections to the BVI through the San Juan Airport in Puerto Rico?
There is still evidence of hurricane damage in some areas of the San Juan Airport (Luis Munoz Marin Airport). But the facility is comfortable and fully functional. When you land in San Juan, you’ll need to get your checked bags from baggage claim and recheck them with the smaller airline connecting you to Tortola. It’s best to recheck your bags as soon as possible after landing to allow plenty of time to catch your flight.
What is the condition of the Sunsail base in the BVI?
The base facilities have recovered amazingly well. Restaurants, pool area and shower areas are all open and looking great for our charter guests.
What businesses are accepting credit cards?
There have been drastic changes in the last 6 months in the BVI. When I was there in December, very few places could accept credit cards due to poor Wi-Fi and internet connections. Now it is very rare to come across a business that does not take credit cards. The ones that only take cash have signs that say, “Cash Only”, and the vendors are more likely to tell you that they only take cash when you walk in and browse their merchandise.
Are there plenty of moorings balls available since Irma?
Yes! There is no shortage of moorings balls in the BVI cruising ground, in general. Of course, there are popular anchorages where they are in short supply on certain days. Cooper Island has always had a limited number of mooring balls, and also has poor holding for anchoring. In situations like this, it’s best to arrive early in the day.
Is Trellis Bay open? Do they still have Full Moon Parties each month?
Yes, several businesses have reopened, and the beaches are in the process of being cleaned up. There were initially still a number of boats beached along the bay, but this is improving daily. Aragorn’s Studio shop has reopened, and the Trellis Bay Market, Bar & Grill are open as well. De Loose Mongoose has also reopened, with Caribbean food, drinks and even live music on some nights. Full Moon parties are still scheduled at Trellis Bay on the full moon. Aragorn’s fire balls and live music make it a much-anticipated event each month.
What is an Anegada full moon party? Is there lobster there?
Anegada is a great place to visit. The lobster party at Potter’s by the Sea is great, and – along with several other restaurant options along the settlement waterfront – offers fresh-caught lobster daily. The wells attached to the docks are full of live lobster. Be sure to radio ahead and pre-order your lobster dinner earlier in the day. I’ve eaten at Potter’s twice now and it’s always the best meal of my trip. It’s a fun party afterwards doing limbo in the sand with music in the background.
How do you get to Loblolly Beach on Anegada?
Once you’re moored and go ashore at Anegada, you’ll find scooter rentals near Potter’s. There may also be a few taxis waiting. The taxi drivers will take you to either Loblolly Beach or Cow Wreck but make sure you get their number to call for a ride back. Loblolly looks great with five cottages on the water, a beach bar, ice cream parlor, and restaurant. The trees out in the sand are lined in the shade with hammocks and the blue painted walkways will get you around the property with ease.
Is Cooper Island open? What can you do there? Where can you hook up to a mooring ball?
Cooper Island is open and everything seems rebuilt. They have a coffee shop with local coffee beans and a brewery in the back. The beer is available in the coffee shop, the rum bar, and at the restaurant bar to the far right of the island. There is no separate brewery on its own, but you can see the barrel system through a window in the coffee shop. Further down the beach you will hit The Cooper Island Beach Club Restaurant. We got there at about 4 o’clock and the entire restaurant was already reserved for the night.
Be sure to arrive early for a mooring ball, and radio ahead for dinner reservations!
Are The Baths in good condition following the hurricane?
I saw a great overall improvement in The Baths from last time I was there in December. The picnic tables are back and the little beach bar is open, which is cash only. The trail is very clean and easy to navigate because the sand is cleared and the steps are back. The restaurant at the top has great views and as you walk around the pool, you realize the pool deck and restaurant are built in and around the rocks.
Where is the skull rock formation?
This was my 3rd time on Virgin Gorda and I have walked right past this skull my last two times without noticing it. I entered from the top of The Baths this time, and the park ranger told me where to find it. Walk all the way down to the bottom, when you see the first green building, look to your right to spot the haunting skull rock formation!
What is CocoMaya? How do I get there?
CocoMaya is a restaurant and bar on Virgin Gorda that seems to be getting more attention since the hurricanes, as it opened before many of the other dining establishments. One thing I learned about CocoMaya is that it is closed on Mondays, which was the only day we could stop. I still walked around to the back and checked out the bar. WOW! — It’s got to be the nicest bar and restaurant in the BVI. There’s a huge gas fire pit on the beach and beautiful woodwork, mirrors, and swings hanging from the ceiling at the bar. It’s a bit out of the way but I can see why people would make the trip.
The best way for charterers to visit is to moor at Spanish Town and take a taxi.
Is Leverick Bay open?
Leverick Bay is now a great stop again. The docks are back, with slips big enough to dock for the night. They have scuba rentals and jet skis. The pool is full of water again and Pusser’s is back open, as is the restaurant upstairs, which has bathroom facilities with showers for the public. A short walk up the hill there is a great store with everything you need.
Is Willy T’s back? Are there mooring balls available?
Yes! The Willy T is back open for thirsty swashbuckling visitors from its brand-new location at Great Harbour, Peter Island. There is a small mooring field available along the western end of Great Harbour. Anchoring can be more challenging, as the harbor is very deep – close in along the eastern shore is best.
We hope you’ve found our BVI update useful, and that you’ll plan a BVI sailing charter very soon. For more information on establishments that have re-opened since Irma, view our list of What’s Open in the BVI. The local businesses and people are eager to welcome you back!