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BEAUTY UNPLUGGED - BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
 
(2012 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: MELANIE REFFES



Affectionately dubbed the “Authentic Caribbean,” the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are rolling out the red carpet for Canadians courtesy of new non-stop Air Canada flights from Toronto to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With direct flights every Saturday through April 14, snowbirds can hop a short ferry to Tortola in the BVI from Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. With frequent service between the two islands, rates via Road Town Fast Ferry, Native Son Ferry, Speedy’s and Smith’s Ferry are approximately US$60 for a round-trip ticket.

An archipelago of 60 islands and cays close together in the azure sea, the BVI is not just for sailors anymore, although there are plenty of those. Charming boutique hotels, retreats like Scrub Island with five restaurants and an uber-luxe resort, scrumptious slices of coconut bread and memorable full-moon parties attract travellers from all corners of the globe. Mother Nature at her finest, the BVI delivers a smorgasbord of natural beauty from Anegada—the only coral island in the volcanic chain featuring Horseshoe Reef—to Norman Island and its outstanding snorkelling site at the Caves to Jost Van Dyke with its own natural Jacuzzi at the Bubbly Pool.

Wild Blue Yonder

The recipient of virtually every accolade bestowed by boaters, sailors, yachties and yachtie wannabes, the BVI offers languid days and peaceful nights on both land and water. Whether you participate in the Spring Regatta or cheer the sailors on from the shore, warm breezes and bluer-than-blue gin-clear water morph a great vacation into a grand vacation. The host of prestigious regattas such as the BVI Spring Regatta, Pro Am, Caribbean Superyacht and Transatlantic Superyacht race, it’s no surprise the BVI is revered as “the sailing capital of the world.” Boasting a pristine network of coral reefs and more than a hundred dive sites, the BVI is also a favourite destination for both advanced and beginner divers.

Treasure Isles

With ferries, water taxis and sailboats ready to take travellers to countless sandy slivers, island-hopping is as popular as savouring a dark rum and nutmeg “Painkiller” cocktail with new friends at The Soggy Dollar Bar.

Isle pleasers include Virgin Gorda, where granite boulders at the water’s edge create other-worldly grottoes; Necker Island, the tropical playground of Sir Richard Branson; Peter Island, the largest luxury retreat in the chain; Guana Island with its 3.5 square kilometres of trails, beaches and privacy (the island never hosts more than 36 guests); and Cooper Island, a quintessential Caribbean Shangri-La with tie-dyed sunsets over Manchioneel Bay that are nothing short of spectacular.

Travel Planner

For more information on the British Virgin Islands, visit bvitourism.com or call the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board toll-free at 1-800-835-8530.

 
 
 
 
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