Easy Cruising in the British Virgin Islands

New nonstop flights to Tortola in the BVI make these pristine cruising grounds more accessible than ever.
The Baths National Park
Granite boulders at The Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda can be as big as 40 feet wide. Courtesy BVI Tourism

Starting in June, American Airlines is offering daily nonstop flights from Miami to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands—reportedly the first time since the 1980s that visitors will have an everyday option without a connecting flight via Puerto Rico or St. Thomas.

The BVI is one of the world’s top cruising destinations. Multiple companies have bareboat bases there, and iconic spots such as the Bitter End Yacht Club and Foxy’s have been luring yachtsmen for decades.

The airline says the nonstop flights will be available through August 14, and then will restart in November, ahead of the winter cruising season. Planes will depart Miami at 10:07 a.m. and arrive in the BVI at 1:06 p.m. Return flights will take off at 1:47 p.m. and land back in the United States at 4:25 p.m.

“We have one of the most beautiful collections of isles and cays anywhere in the world, and look forward to offering our new and returning visitors an assortment of experiences in the Sailing Capital of the World,” said Clive McCoy, director of tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission.

Even for boaters who have cruised in the BVI before, there’s plenty to see and do. The Bitter End Yacht Club, which has been rebuilding after hurricane damage on Virgin Gorda, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. There’s also a new Dream Caribbean Blue bareboat base at Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, with 14 sailing catamarans out of Tortola.

And, of course, there are longtime favorites like The Baths. Beautiful scenery simply never goes out of style.

He’s The Man

Philicianno “Foxy” Callwood set up a bar on Jost Van Dyke in 1968. He thought sailors in the British Virgin Islands might want to stop in for a drink. Today, his bar is a destination unto itself.

The Baths

Granite boulders at The Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda can be as big as 40 feet wide. Visitors can make their way around this protected piece of natural beauty by using steps and rope handrails to stay steady along the trail. Moorings and a dinghy dock are in place for cruising boats to use, and there are marked channels for swimming. Bring a snorkel for exploring the caverns, grottoes and waters off the beach.

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