Tag Archives: BVI

Zemi Beach Anguilla

The Caribbean’s Best Rum Bars

 

Move over fruity rum drinks. The Caribbean’s favorite spirit has caught the attention of connoisseurs. These enlightened imbibers shun blenders and fruit garnishes in favor of snifters, and sample small-batch rums and artisanal blends that need no enhancements beyond a comfortable atmosphere. Hoteliers have taken note, and a new breed of rum bars is cropping up across the Caribbean. Here are five of the best places to savor the spirits with island style.

The Cane Bar at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

Much more than a beach bar, The Cane Bar offers a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere where there are no distractions to take away from the pleasures of sampling premium rums. Located inside the resort’s Great House, the room features a subdued white and pale charcoal design palette. Oversized chairs sit around tables and living room style arrangements provide group settings and the sleek white bar offers alternative seating. Prized artworks hangs on the walls, and the shelves behind the bar are lined with an extensive selection of expertly chosen local and international rums. With many choices on hand there is a professional rummelier to help with your selection. When hunger strikes, a Japanese-inspired menu includes a selection of fresh- catch sashimi and a variety of rolls. Signature dishes include the Caribe Roll, which is wrapped in mango, and the Cane Bar Roll with spicy stone crab and avocado. The bar is open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and you’ll want to leave your beach togs back in the room and dress “smart casual” for the evening.

St Lucia Rum Bar

Subdued colors lend a sophisticated ambiance to The Cane Bar at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach resort, where vintage and small-batch rums are featured. Photo: Sugar Beach

Rhum Room at Zemi Beach House, Anguilla

One of the newest and now most popular boutique resorts in the Caribbean boasts Anguilla’s first rum bar. The design of the Rhum Room at Zemi blends modern accents with classic Caribbean architectural details to create a sophisticated yet beach-ready vibe. This setting is enhanced by the natural backdrop of Shoal Bay East, which has been called one of the world’s best beaches. The bar features over 100 small-batch, single-estate rums selected to showcase the breadth and diversity of the Caribbean’s distilling traditions. Guests can delve into the world of rum by sampling the curated Rhum Flight, which includes a selection of rums assembled by the house rummelier. The inventory includes bottles of Appleton Estate 50 Year Old, of which only 800 bottles are available to the public worldwide. Also in the collection is Clément Cuvée Homère, the highest rated vintage rum in the past 15 years, and the recently released premium Brugal Papá Andrés, which is a handcrafted blend created by master blender Maestros Roneros.

Anguilla Rum

The Rhum Room at Anguilla’s Zemi Beach House puts a sophisticated spin on the classic Caribbean club motif. The bar is stocked with a collection of super-premium rums. Photo: Dylan Cross/Zemi Beach

Rum Bar at Cooper Island Beach Club, BVI

You wouldn’t expect to find a well stocked rum bar to be on a tiny island in the British Virgin Islands. With just nine rooms set around a remote bay, the Cooper Island Beach Club caters to those wanting to get away from it all. Day sailors will sometimes stop in for lunch or dinner at the club’s restaurant as part of an island- hopping itinerary. In 2015, mariners found another reason to stop when Cooper Island added the Rum Bar and then a microbrewery. Patrons can sit beachside on wooden benches made from recycled teak and the reclaimed wood of boats, or hang at the bar for some serious tastings. The bar boasts the largest collection of rums in the Virgin Islands, with more than 150 labels from distilleries around the world. A sampler board introduces patrons to the world of premium rums, and the bar staff is on hand to offer suggestions and share tidbits on the origins and history of the labels, and on the general craft of rum making. Signature rum cocktails are accented with fruits and herbs grown at the onsite organic garden, and the bar creates proprietary rum infusions with flavors such as such as honey and lemon, hazelnut praline and jalapeño.

Rum Bar BVI

Cooper Island Beach Club is a family-run boutique resort that features the Rum Bar offering over 100 different rums from all around the Caribbean. Photo: Cooper Island Beach Club

101 Rums Bar, Four Seasons Nevis

Take a seat at the pastel painted bar, where large open windows frame views of the colorful fishing boats lined up on Pinney’s Beach, with the green slopes of St. Kitts as the backdrop. The 101 Rums Bar is housed inside Mango, the Four Seasons open-air beach restaurant. Set on water’s edge, the restaurant and bar offer the best sunsets on the island. Guests can sample signature cocktails like Nevisian Spirit or the 100 Mile Cocktail, which is made exclusively from ingredients harvested within 100 miles of the resort. Serious rum drinkers can bypass the mixed fare and focus on tastings and sippings of some of the world’s premier rums such as Appleton Estate 50 Year Old, El Dorado 25 Year Old and Pyrat Cask. With over 101 aged rums and a selection of artisanal rhum agricoles to choose from, there’s a flavor to please every palate. Weekly rum tastings are on the itinerary, and guests should plan on arriving for sunset, as the bar is open only from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Four Seasons Nevis

Sand and sea breezes set the scene at the 101 Rums Bar. The bar is located on Pinney’s Beach at the Four Seasons Nevis resort. Photo: Four Seasons Nevis

The Reef’s Rum Bar at Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, St. Thomas

One of the first rum bars to grace the Caribbean combined premium labels with a memorable setting. Located just off the main lobby, the Reef’s Rum Bar offers a sophisticated indoor seating area that opens to an expansive outdoor terrace that delivers harbor views and a panoramic sweep of the mountains of St. Thomas. The indoor bar features small, intimate tables that become gathering points for smaller groups, as well as high-tops and flat screen TVs where guests can mingle and catch their favorite sports game as they sip and relax. There are a number of premium rums available for tasting, as well as a creative roster of handcrafted cocktails. Many of the drinks are made with Cruzan rum, locally distilled and bottled on sister island St. Croix. Try the signature cocktails like the Reef Rum Punch or Mango Tango.

St Thomas Frenchmans Reef

One of the Caribbean’s first rum bars opened at the Frenchman’s Reef resort in St. Thomas. The Reef’s Rum Bar provides an informal setting to enjoy premium spirits. Photo: Frenchman’s Reef

BVI Bitter End Yacht Club

Five Best Snorkel Resorts in the British Virgin Islands

 

The British Virgin Islands are ringed in colorful coral reefs. But getting to many of these snorkel-worthy sites will require a boat ride, which means showing up on time, and getting in and out of the water on a time table. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just wade in from shore, make a short swim to the reef, then stay as long as you like? At these select beachfront resorts, that’s exactly what can happen.

Bitter End Yacht Club

This landmark property is a favorite with both visiting yachtsmen and shore side guests, who enjoy sweeping views of Virgin Gorda’s North Sound from hillside cottages. The resort bustles with activities that include sailing regattas, dive excursions and fishing charters. The resort offers 15 weekly snorkel trips to area reefs and more distant sites such as the Baths and Anegada. Guests can use one of the resort’s Boston Whalers to create their own snorkel cruise, or simply walk down the beach to Wedding Point to discover a reef line where colorful tropical fish hide among the corals and rocks close to the shore. A swim into slightly deeper water provides a chance to see stingrays, turtles, and silver-sided tarpon. Keen-eyed snorkelers may even catch a glimpse of relics from the days of sail such as anchors and cannon balls, now encrusted within the corals of the reef.

Bitter End Yacht Club

Bitter End Yacht Club operates a snorkel boat that makes regular trips to the reefs around Virgin Gorda. This stable and spacious vessel has ample room for families and groups. Photo: Bitter End Yacht Club

Mango Bay Resort

On a quiet beach on the west coast of Virgin Gorda, the private villas of Mango Bay Resort overlook a large coral reef that begins less than 50 feet from shore, and stretches the entire length of Mahoe Bay. The waters are rich in fish life, but not accessible by boat, so resort guests have the reefs all to themselves. The property includes six villas, two located directly on the beach, and four more tucked into a tropical garden just inland. Interiors feature upscale Italian contemporary furnishings, with studio to five- bedroom floor plans that allow for flexible groups. Each unit includes kitchens, living and dining areas and expansive outdoor terraces with BBQ grills and outdoor showers.

Mango Bay

The Mango Bay Resort is located right on the beach at Virgin Gorda’s Mahoe Bay, giving guests exclusive access to one of the island’s best coral reefs. Photo: Kent Smith/Flickr

Peter Island Resort & Spa

Each of the five beaches on this private 1800-acre island resort has its own personality, from the lively water sports scene at Deadman’s Beach to the intimate seclusion of Honeymoon Beach. To find the best snorkeling reefs, guests can check out complimentary equipment from the water sports center, follow a footpath over a low hill to White Bay and settle in to a beachfront tiki hut. The reef is just a short swim away, and the fish life is abundant. With more than 70 percent of the island left in its natural state, guests have miles of trails to bike and stroll, plus a variety of active pursuits that include beach volleyball, tennis and morning yoga. Accommodation choices include ocean view rooms, beachfront suites and private hillside villas. The spa offers 10 indoor treatment rooms, two outdoor pavilions and a couple’s suite, all with spectacular views of Big Reef Bay.

Peter Island

A split level view of the shoreline at Peter Island’s White Bay reveals corals growing on the rock formations that begin right at water’s edge, and provide habitat for tropical fish. Photo: Armando Jenik/Peter Island Resort

Marina Cay Hotel

Just off the eastern shore of Tortola, the green speck of land known as Marina Cay sits within a coral-rimmed lagoon. Snorkelers can wade in from most any point on the white sand beach that rings this eight-acre private island, and a few fin strokes will bring them to reefs swarming with a wealth of colorful fish life. The boutique resort offers just eight hillside rooms, decorated in a casual island style with wicker furniture, louvered windows and verandas that provide expansive views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. The resort is owned by the Pusser’s Rum company, and is a favorite stopover for sailors, who come to shop in the Pusser’s Company Store and dine at the on-the-beach restaurant, which specializes in traditional West Indian-style and Caribbean dishes like conch chowder, spicy jerk chicken, and cod-and-potato fish cakes.

Marina Cay Snorkeling

An aerial view of Marina Cay shows the large area of coral reef that begins just offshore of the island. Snorkelers can spend hours exploring this formation. Photo: Martin Ronchetti/Flickr

Cooper Island Beach Club

Sitting on the northwest shore of its namesake island, the Cooper Island Beach Club is a family owned eco resort that delivers a lifestyle of tropical barefoot luxury. Ten beachfront guest rooms sit nestled among palm trees and tropical flowers, with expansive views of Sir Francis Drake Channel and the islands beyond. Interiors blend whitewash timbers with the warm tones of recycled teak furniture and the elegance of gauze-shrouded canopy beds. With mask and snorkel in hand, guests can enter the water at the resort’s dingy dock and swim along the shoreline to a u-shaped reef that holds schools of blue tang, butterfly fish and snapper, along with passing eagle rays. Sea turtles are also a common sight, and the resort sponsors a turtle tagging and conservation program. After returning to shore, guests can freshen up and take in the sunset at the resort’s rum tasting room and on- site microbrewery. Order the signature Turtle IPA and a portion of the sale will go towards turtle conservation.

Cooper Island Snorkeling

A large tarpon cuts through a massive school of silverside minnows swarming on a reef that is located just offshore of the Cooper Island Beach Club. Photo: Alex Fox/Cooper Island Beach Club

BVI Scrub Island Fishing Tournament

Scrub Island Blue Marlin Invitational

 

Big game fishermen from around the world will gather in the British Virgin Islands in August to compete for top honors as they angle for the world’s largest game fish.

WHAT: Scrub Island Blue Marlin Invitational

WHERE: Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, British Virgin Islands

WHEN: August 3 – 6, 2017.

DETAILS: Scrub Island was chosen for its close proximity to the famed North Drop blue marlin grounds, and tournament dates were set to coincide with the summer full moon, which is known as the best time for fishing action. This event is the second annual collaboration between Captain Skip Smith and Scrub Island Resort.

INFO: www.skipstournaments.com/scrub-island.cfm

Antigua Carnival

The Best Caribbean Summer Parties

 

Summer is a great time to be in the Caribbean. The winter season crowds are long gone, and the locals come out to play. Parties and festivals pop up on islands across the region, offering everything from intriguing cultural experiences to unabashed beach parties. Here are a dozen must-do island parties for the summer.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In the first week of June, the international film community converges on the beach town of Playa del Carmen. Now in its seventh year, the Riviera Maya Film Festival has garnered the attention of film buffs, who come together for showings of award-winning Mexican and international films. The 2017 festival is expected to draw more than 80,000 spectators for both indoor and outdoor free showings, which take place in restored historic cinemas, and in open-air beachfront settings.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In addition to showcasing new releases, the Riviera Maya Film Festival supports RivieraLAB, which nurtures projects by Mexican filmmakers in the development stage. Photo: Jerry Aguirre/RMFF

St. Kitts Music Fest

This small island is home to one of the Caribbean’s biggest musical happenings. Now in its 21st year, the three-day event draws some of the biggest names in soca, jazz, R&B, gospel and reggae. Performances are in the evening, but many festival goers gather at Warner Park Stadium early to spread a blanket on the lawn and make a picnic from the offerings of the numerous local food vendors. This year’s festival runs from June 26 to 28.

St Kitts Music Fest

Reggae artist Zemenfest Kidus performs for a home-town crowd at St. Kitts Music Fest. He returned to the island following a successful recording career in Jamaica. Photo: Modern Elegance/ St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Fiesta de Santiago Apostol, Puerto Rico

Each year, Puerto Rico celebrates its Spanish heritage in the town of Loiza, with a two-day festival that is equal parts religious observance and street party. Processions honoring St. James bring thousands into the streets to follow large, colorful statues carried on the shoulders of costumed and masked marchers. These observances are followed up with dance shows, music and gatherings of street vendors offering crafts and traditional food. Processions take place on July 22 and 23.

Puerto Rico Loiza Mask

Puerto Rico’s Fiesta de Santiago Apostol has its roots in Spanish traditions dating back 400 years. This annual procession through the streets features masked knights and demons. Photo: Carlos A. Aviles/Flickr

LIV Bermuda

On the first weekend in July, islanders and overseas guests from around the world come together for Bermuda’s most anticipated party. Billed as a chance to “experience Bermuda like a local,” the gatherings include beach parties, boat cruises and floating “raft ups.” Staged as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters Bermuda, admission to these parties provides an all- inclusive experience with dancing, libations and live music.

LIV Bermuda

The 2017 edition of LIV Bermuda will take place from July 7 to 10. All- inclusive ticket packages for the four-day event give total access to a range of beach activities, concerts and parties. Photo: LIV Bermuda

Junkanoo Summer Festival

No need to wait for Christmas to experience the sights and sounds of the Bahamian Junkanoo. Each Saturday in the month of July, the waterfront at Nassau’s Arawak Cay comes alive with drumming, dancing and music as costumed troops strut their stuff and compete for top honors. The revelry starts at noon and lasts till midnight, and when it’s time for refreshments or a nosh, onlookers can duck into one of the many pubs or seafood restaurants that line the cay.

Junkanoo Nassau

During Nassau’s colorful mid-summer Junkanoo parades, rival dance and drum troops compete for top honors and prizes. The costumed processions have roots dating to African traditions. Photo: Brian & Leigh/Flickr

Christmas in July

Each summer, flotillas of pleasure boats depart Puerto Rico for the Virgin Islands for a week of gatherings and beach parties that have been given the name “Christmas in July.” But you don’t have to own a boat to enjoy the fun, as beach bars through the U.S. and British Virgins welcome one and all with day-long celebrations that start with volleyball tournaments and barbecues and end with evening fireworks and live bands that keep revelers dancing on the sand till the wee hours.

BVI Jost Van Dyke

Christmas in July is the whimsical name for the mid-summer invasion of the Virgin Islands by fleets of vacationing Puerto Rican boaters. Destinations such as White Sound are favorite stops. Photo: Michael Rubenstein/Flickr

Anguilla Summer Festival

One of the longest-running festivals in the Caribbean takes place on the otherwise quiet island of Anguilla. The 40th anniversary of this island-wide celebration will include beach parties, sailing races, pageants, parades, calypso concerts and more, each staged at different villages and resorts around the island. A highlight of the festival is J’ouvert morning, when a street jam begins at 4:30 a.m. when floats, drummers and festival-goers parade from the island’s capital to the beach at Sandy Ground for a day of music, food and water sports. The festival runs from July 2 to August 10.

Anguilla Summer Fest

Anguilla’s twelve-day-long Summer Festival delivers a non-stop schedule of events ranging from pageants and parades to soca raves, calypso competitions, and a massive all-day beach party. Photo: Anguilla Summer Festival

Reggae Sumfest

Jamaica’s largest music festival is also the island’s biggest party. The weeklong celebration is staged at Montego Bay, and features local reggae and dancehall artists. Before the music starts, the fun kicks off with a beach party, a musical day cruise and the famous “All White Party.” When the concerts get underway, audiences arrive with their own “reggae beds” — flattened cardboard boxes for sitting and chilling between dance sessions. The 2017 Sumfest runs from July 16 to 22.

Jamaica Montego Bay

Crowds gather at the main stage of Reggae Sumfest, which is Jamaica’s largest and most acclaimed music festival, with an international lineup that includes the biggest names in reggae and dancehall music. Photo: Jamaica Tourist Board

Crop Over

On Barbados, one party isn’t enough. The annual Crop Over is a three- month string of celebrations that dates back to the island’s colonial-era agricultural roots, when the end of the harvest season became a time for relaxation and revelry. The tradition continues with a three-month series of festivals, concerts, cultural events, and street parties. A highlight of the season is the “road march”, when troops of costumed revelers take over the streets of Bridgetown on Kadooment Day. This annual parade turned street party takes place on August 7.

Barbados Cropover

The culmination of Bardados‘ three-month Crop Over celebration is the Grand Kadooment, a carnival-like parade that features large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes. Photo: Barbados Tourism

Antigua Carnival

On the last week in July, the island of Antigua explodes in a riot of feather– clad costumes, bright body paint and floats booming heavy calypso beats. The party kicks off in the capital St. John’s with J’ouvert, where steel drum musicians, calypso and soca singers entertain crowds of revelers. Over the next ten days, towns across the island will stage music competitions, local food fairs, cultural shows and cultural workshops that create chances for visitors to immerse in the local culture and join the fun. Carnival time starts July 26 and runs till August 5.

Antigua Carnival

In addition to street parades and open-air concerts, Antigua’s annual Carnival includes a series of island-wide talent shows, singing competitions and stage performances. Photo: Wayne Mariette/ Antigua Carnival Celebration

Tobago Heritage Festival

The sister island of Trinidad may be home to the Caribbean’s best-known carnival, but Tobago also knows how to throw a party, and it spreads the fun out over two weeks from July 17 to August 1. Heritage Festival is an island- wide happening, with each village and community staging events such as concerts, street parades, storytelling sessions, folk dances and African drumming sessions. The island’s heritage is celebrated with unique events such as goat races and historical re-enactments.

Tobago Heritage Festival

Modern dance melds with traditional cultural roots during a live performance staged for Tobago’s annual Heritage Festival. Staged by local communities, the performances are open to all. Photo: Terrell George/Flickr

North Sea Jazz Fest

In keeping with its reputation as a regional center of art, culture and sophistication, the island of Curacao welcomes some of the biggest names in soul, jazz, hip-hop and R&B to its iconic jazz festival. Headliners for 2017 induce Bruno Mars, Chaka Khan, Dianne Reeves, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Juan Luis Guerra, with performances taking place on three stages. In addition to the all-star acts, the festival is known for it’s lively after parties, which often keep going all night. The two-day happening takes place on August 29 and 30.

Curucao North Sea Jazz

Curacao’s North Sea Jazz Festival is the Caribbean’s version of the original performance event of the same name that is held each summer in the Netherlands. Photo: Wassef Sokkari/ Curacao Tourist Board

Maldives Four Seasons

Great Escapes and Serene Spaces

 

There are private spaces far removed from the crowds and the everyday world. Set against the grand tapestry of nature, these spaces engender admiration and enhance relaxation. Here at the Maldives Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, hammocks for two swing under the shade of a cabana perched over the waters of the Baa Atoll. 

Earth Day Costa Rica Frog

Earth Day Images From the Tropics

 

On April 22, the natural world takes center stage as humans around the globe pause to reflect on the importance of protecting and enhancing the ecosystems we share with all other living creatures. Here, a colorful little red-eyed tree frog from the rainforests of Costa Rica serves as a visual reminder of the diverse, beautiful and sometimes-fragile nature of the planet Earth and its inhabitants. 

St. Lucia Sugar Beach

Supermodels and Sand: 10 Top Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Locations

 

Sports Illustrated invented the swimsuit issue more than 50 years ago, tempting readers with images of bathing beauties vamping in some of the most scenic locations on earth. The supermodels may take center stage, but the resorts and beaches that provide the backdrop also draw oohs and aahs from readers and viewers. Here are some of the featured locations where you can indulge in an amazing beach vacation and maybe convince your mate to help recreate a few iconic poses from spots like the Pitons on St. Lucia. Photo: Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

BVI Sandy Spit

The Caribbean’s Best Deserted Beaches

 

When it’s peak season and the cruise ships are in port, it can be a challenge to find a place to park your towel at some of the Caribbean’s most popular beaches. But if you are willing to travel a bit off the beaten path, the crowd scene thins and there are even some stretches of unvisited sand to discover. We can’t guarantee these five choice sites will be completely deserted, but there’s a good chance you and any fellow beachcombers you encounter will be outnumbered by seabirds, iguanas and crabs.

Barbuda

Antigua’s little sister is all about the beach. This low-lying Caribbean outpost is essentially a huge sand spit surrounded by coral reefs. The island’s 17-mile ring of sandy shores remains pristine, due to a lack of development, and the residents’ desires to keep it that way. There are actually pair of modest hotels on the island that cater to off-grid travelers wishing to disappear for a few days and enjoy a low-key vacation. More common are the day-trippers who made the 40-mile hop from Antigua to snorkel, explore the caves and lagoons or head into the mangroves to watch the frigate birds. The island’s longest strand is a 10-mile stretch of pink sand on the southwest shore that is protected by a barrier reef. It’s a great place for a long walk.

Barbuda Beach

The remote and sparsely settled island of Barbuda is ringed in white sand beaches where one can walk for miles and rarely see another human. It can be reached from the sister island of Antiqua. Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Uvero Alto, Dominican Republic

An escape from the crowds that frequent the white sands of Punta Cana is closer than one might think. Just 45 minutes from the Dominican Republic’s busiest resort area is the town of Uvero Alto, where the beach offers an entirely different vibe. Here, the crowds are non-existent, the sands are coffee colored and the seas are azure. Much of the wide stretch of beach is backed by coconut palms, and is favored for walking and horseback rides. Swimming and wading are best done close to shore or in reef- protected areas, as the seas farther offshore tend to get wild, because Uvero Alto faces the Atlantic. With far more sand that people; this is a great place to enjoy nature at its best.

Dominican Republic Uvero Alto Beach

A short drive away from the bustling beaches of the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana resort area, the coast of Uvero Alto provides a far less crowded scene. Photo: Debbie Snow

Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda is home to one of the most sought after beaches in the Caribbean. To find solitude, skip the world-famous boulders of The Baths and head north from Spanish Town to the sheltered waters of Savannah Bay. Here, a soft sand beach is flanked by green shrubs, with just a few inconspicuous villas peaking through the foliage at the north end. The bay is a local favorite for swimming and snorkeling, but most days you will share the sand with only a handful of people. Sea kayakers are often seen exploring the coastline, and it’s an ideal spot for a snorkel trip or a beach picnic. Just remember to bring your own provisions, because there isn’t a gift shop or restaurant in sight.

Savannah Bay BVI

On the island of Virgin Gorda, the quiet beach at Savannah Bay sees few visitors, even on days when the far more famous boulder fields of The Baths is packed. Photo: Christian Wheatley/iStock

Rendezvous Bay, Montserrat

Beaches are few and far between on this island, where much of the coastline meets the sea in low rock bluffs. But those willing to make the effort can enjoy some truly remote bits of sand. The island itself is a study in greens and grays. Rolling hills and forested mountains dominate interior, but to the south, fields of ash and lava serve as reminders of the last eruption by the Soufrière Hills Volcano. Grass and trees are now reclaiming this landscape, and hiking trails unveil the green isle it was once known as. Meanwhile, the island’s handful of remote beaches is left for the birds and the adventurous. All but Rendezvous Bay Beach are made of grey or black volcanic sand. Rendezvous, on the northwest coast, offers white sand and solitude, as it can be reached only by boat or a hike from Little Bay.

Montserrat Rendezvous Bay

It will require a hike or a boat ride to reach Montserrat’s only white sand beach, but the reward is often having the shores of Rendezvous Bay all to yourself. Photo: David Mac Gillivary/ Montserrat Tourism Board

Gelliceaux Bay, Mustique

With only 800 residents and even fewer visitors, there’s a good chance you can find a stretch of sand on Mustique that you won’t have to share. The island’s irregular coastline is indented with numerous bays and coves that harbor stretches of white sand. A favorite is Macaroni Beach, which receives the majority of the island’s modest influx of visitors, but even this site never becomes anything close to packed. For a true taste of solitude, head to the southeastern coast and Gelliceaux Bay, where the calm waters of the cove are ideal for swimming, snorkeling or paddle boarding. Save for the occasional beach walker staying in a nearby villa, you are likely to have it all to yourself.

Mustique Beach

Gelliceaux Bay is the most secluded beach on the island of Mustique. Its calm waters are sheltered by tall headlands that create ideal conditions for swimming and snorkeling. Photo: Paul Joynson/The Mustique Company

Peter Island BVI Food Festival

Peter Island’s First Annual Caribbean Food Festival takes place November 2016

 

Peter Island Resort & Spa will be hosting a culinary festival. The First Annual Caribbean Food Festival brings chefs from islands all over the Caribbean together for a weekend of delicious food, fun, and culinary competition.

WHY: The Caribbean is rapidly attracting attention in the culinary world, producing amazing chefs and cuisines. Celebrate Caribbean food and cooking techniques with some of the region’s brightest talents including Lisa Sellers from Carlisle Bay, Roberto Trevino from Budatai, Abigail Gullo, mixologist from Compère Lapin in New Orleans, Todd Howard of Peter Island Resort and more.

WHAT: The Festival coincides with the British Virgin Islands November Culinary Month. Three-night Food Festival package starts at $2,738 for a double ocean view room. Festival only passes are $250.00 per person.

WHEN: November 11 and 12, 2016

INFO: http://peterisland.com/events

Virgin Gorda BVI

British Virgin Islands: 10 Reasons to Go

 

The British Virgins embody all that is best about the Caribbean. Trade winds carry sailors across blue waters to secluded coves and colorful anchorages ringed by lively beach bars. Resorts perched on private islands provide comforts without crowds, snorkelers dive in waters to discover Technicolor reefs, and those seeking to shed all semblance of ambition can recline in a beachside hammock as they are lulled by the sound of lapping water.

1  Sail Away

Now more than ever, chartering a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands is an achievable reality. Options range from casual bareboat charters where you do all the sailing and cook the meals to full-crewed voyages where you sit back and relax while the crew takes care of everything. Tortola is headquarters for the fleet, and your only challenge will be choosing from the dozens of quiet coves and lively harbors scattered through the island chain.

Sailboats BVI Tortola

A fleet of boats for hire sits ready at a Tortola marina. The British Virgins are the charter boat capital of the Caribbean, offering everything from self-service sailboats to luxury yachts. Photo: iStock

2  Private Island Resorts

For the ultimate getaway, the British Virgins offer a range of resorts set on private islands. Quiet Cooper Island has just a handful of rooms tucked into a beachside coconut grove. At the other end of the scale, there’s 1,300-acre Peter Island, with rolling hills crisscrossed by nature trails, five beaches, four restaurants, a marina, recreation center and all the amenities of a world-class resort. At Necker Island, flamingos outnumber humans, and there are two staff members for each guest, Guana Island offers luxurious living in secluded natural surroundings.

3  Underwater World

Divers and snorkelers can explore an underwater landscape that includes colorful coral reefs, historic shipwrecks and underwater rock spires swarming with fish. Among the favorites are the coral gardens near Ginger Island, the treasure caves at Norman’s Island and the wreck of the RMS Rhone, made famous by the movie The Deep. A fleet of comfortable charter boats gives access to more than 80 sites, with something for everyone from first-time snorkelers to seasoned divers.

Underwater BVI

A flight of delicate blue chromis fish glides over a coral formation at a site known as the Indians. The waters of the British Virgins lie within a protected marine park. Photo: iStock

4  Gilligan’s Island

The more than 60 islands that make up the British Virgins include a number of small, uninhabited specks of land that are perfect for playing castaway for a day. Some are covered in palm groves fringing white sand beaches; others wrap lagoons in sheltering walls of rock. A number of excursion companies can arrange for day trips aboard speedboats or sailboats.

5  Gorgeous Beaches

Tucked between the rocky headlands of these volcanic islands are a number of excellent white sand beaches. Tortola favorites include Smugglers Cove Beach, Apple Bay Beach and Cane Garden Bay Beach. On Virgin Gorda, house-sized boulders are piled atop the sands, and low-lying Anegada offers miles of deserted beaches and the longest barrier reef in the eastern Caribbean.

BVI Snorkeling Boulders

A snorkeler in the clear shallow waters of The Baths on Virgin Gorda. The giant boulders that cover this beach are remnants of an ancient volcano. Photo: Christian Wheatley/iStock

6  Away From the Crowds

The British Virgins are not a land of mega resorts and big crowds. Resorts are smaller and separated by distance to create a more intimate and private atmosphere. Tortola’s Road Town does see its share of cruise ships and shore leave visitors, but nothing like the crowds that swarm nearby St. Thomas on a daily basis. Hop to one of the smaller islands and you might find a beach that is yours alone.

7  Bar Hop by Boat

The British Virgins are home to some of the most iconic waterfront bars in the Caribbean. Music and good times roll at dockside taverns from Bitter End to Soper’s Hole. At Norman’s Bight, the Willie T is a ship turned bar that sits at permanent anchor. Boaters can wade ashore on Jost van Dyke to savor a painkiller punch at the Soggy Dollar Bar or create their own libations at Ivan’s.

Jost Van Dyke Beach Bars BVI

Beach goers cavort on the sand at Jost van Dyke’s White Sound, home of the famous Soggy Dollar Bar and the inhibition-robbing Painkiller cocktail. Photo: Sherry Talbot/iStock

8  Spa Lovers

It’s easy to relax and get pampered, because several of the Caribbean’s top spas are located in the British Virgins. The spa at Peter Island nurtures both body and soul with Ayurveda treatments administered against the backdrop of a pristine beach. Scrub Island’s Ixora Spa offers an aloe and milk bath wrap and after-sun treatments. Amara’s harbormaster setting at the Moorings caters to sailors and landlubbers alike. When it reopens in 2017, the Sense Spa at Rosewood Little Dix will once more provide signature treatments based on nature’s healing power.

9  Move Right In

The British Virgins are home to an amazing collection of beachside cottages and hilltop villas, any of which could be yours for the week or the season. Choices range from modest one-bedroom town homes on Tortola to a sprawling 15-bedroom beachfront on Virgin Gorda. If budget permits, you could even invite 33 of your friends and rent the entire Necker Island resort, and have the whole island to yourselves.

Tortola Hills BVI

Villas with sweeping seaside views line the green hills of Tortola. The largest of the British Virgins, this island is home to the port of Road Town. Photo: Lidian Neeleman/iStock

10  Catch of the Day

While winter is the favorite sailing season, spring and summer are prime times to hook up. Fishing is big around the islands. Inshore catches include snapper and grouper while out in the ocean, an area known as the North Drop is the best place in the eastern Caribbean to do battle with big game species such as marlin, tuna and swordfish.