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Travel discussion for Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and beyond!
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I wanted to post a report on our first ever BVI land based trip. We’ve been coming to STT and STJ off/on since 1996, maybe 10 trips total and loved them all, but wanted to explore the BVI’s a bit more. We had been on one day trip to Jost with Capt. Phil and stopped once at Tortola on a cruise.
We aren’t snorkelers, so can’t comment on that aspect at all, but we enjoy good food, beautiful scenery, and beaches that aren’t covered with people. We prefer to stay at places with great views as villa gravity often sets in with us
Logistics of the trip worried me a bit since I have found I can be queasy on small boats, but except for one rainy transit the weather was beautiful the whole time so either the ferries were big enough or the Dramamine did the trick.
Flew into STT and stayed two nights at the Windward Passage right near the BVI ferry dock. This place gets mixed reviews, but we have stayed there before and it's extremely convenient, this was our view:
Enjoyed watching cruise ships and sea planes and convenience to jewelry shopping Plus we just enjoy walking around downtown and over to the mega yacht area by Havensight.
Took the Thursday am ferry directly to Virgin Gorda. This is one of the signs at the ferry dock, not sure about the barking???
We had reserved 3 nights at the Sugar Mill villa in Nail Bay Resort. We also reserved a car which was waiting for us. One of the things we had repeatedly read/heard about was how friendly people are in the BVI’s and we totally agree. People were very helpful with ferry information, car rental, properties we stayed at and restaurants where we ate. A real pleasure.
How’s this for a view driving? Savannah Bay. It was interesting you had beautiful beach on one side of the road and rocky high waves on the other.
This was the view from our villa. Absolutely gorgeous!
And the villa itself:
Virgin Gorda is interesting in that it seems like there are several property resort sections with multiple villa rentals. Nail Bay, Mango Bay, Leverick Bay….
Our standout restaurant was Coco Maya-beautiful location and really nice food. Right on the water, great people, sushi and other choices.
Hog Heaven-known for their BBQ. Food was decent, I’ve had better BBQ, but the views are outstanding, they give big portions, the people are friendly and it’s well worth it.
Copper Mine Ruins:
Spring Bay-wow, we first went to the Baths early in the morning, but arrived just after several cruise ship taxis came in, assume from Tortola since it was so early. So we turned around to Spring Bay and had this place to ourselves for 3+ hours one morning. Stunning, and one thing we noticed, VG is BIG on trying to be a clean island. There’s garbage cans, placed in convenient locations, lots of notices posted about cleaning up after yourselves. We didn’t see much of anything on the sides of the road like we see on some of the other VI’s. It was nice they had picnic tables too.
We made it to the Baths late in the afternoon and practically no one there. We took the trail down to Devils Bay first, seemed like a long trail, wouldn’t want to go back up that way I don’t think. Then we crawled, and I mean crawled through the Baths. I had no idea that it would be ropes, ladders, crawling…I found I was a bit more claustrophobic than I had realized! But absolutely beautiful and we definitely will be back.
Picture of the VG runway---hmmm, I don’t think I’ll fly in here! We went to the Copper Mine ruins and watched a plane come in on a windy day, OMG, I hope they had air sick bags!
Anyway, VG is beautiful and we will return. Next stop was Jost, managed to catch a ferry that had dropped off cruise ship passengers, again, friendly locals hollered for it to wait for us, it wasn’t the scheduled ferry and they only charged us ½ price. You have to take a ferry to Road Town Tortola, then catch a cab to West End then take another ferry to Jost. While in West End we left our bags at the ferry terminal (more friendly people!) and walked over to Pusser’s. Bit of a walk, had a flip flop disintegrate so that made it tougher We saw afterwards that there were other local restaurants closer, but our taxi driver only told us about Pussers. It was ok, had a painkiller of course, several little shops there and a grocery store, so we bought some munchies for Jost.
We stayed at the Sea Crest Inn on Jost for 3 nights, it’s right next to Foxy’s in Great Harbour. Nice little inn, had some issues, but things were resolved. Convenient to all the restaurants onthe main street. We ate at Foxy’s (of course!) and Ali Baba’s (highly recommend!).
View from the ferry dock of Great Harbour-Sea Crest Inn is the pink roofed Inn behind the white boat in the center
We walked to White Bay which is doable, but not the easiest. Taxi’s are $5/pp there. White Bay is outstandingly beautiful and we spent 2 days there-we would get there early and watch the beach wake up and then settle down as the afternoon progressed. WhiteBay did get boats in during the day, some loud and partying, but if that bothers you than just go farther down the beach, it’s a LONG beach, you can get away from noise if you want to.
Loved laying in the hammock and reading; convenience to food and drink was wonderful. You just walk up and down and pick your restaurant and bar. The whole concept of pour your own is wild, at Gertrude’s you pick out the size of the glass you want and they give you the bottle to add your alcohol. Another very nice woman to talk to, as well as at Jewel’s. Good food too at both places!
There’s a couple different ways to ferry back to STT, we took one that went first to West End Tortola, than to STJ for customs (wanted to say we had at least been to STJ this trip!), where you get off, go through customs then get on another ferry then to Red Hook where we ate a leisurely lunch at Fish Tail then taxied to the airport.
Final thoughts is we would easily return; both islands were much more low key and we liked that very much. We got the hang of the ferries/schedules and they were easy to work with. It was a wonderfully relaxing trip!
Last edited by toni on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Your report took me back! Nice to see your pictures and to hear about your good times. I totally agree on Coco Maya, but am surprised and disappointed that Hog Heaven didn't meet your expectations. I admit to not being a connoisseur of BBQ and realize that with food and restaurant reviews there are many variables (unless always down right awful! )
Your Jost stay sounded very relaxing! Overnights there are always of interest; thank you for sharing your stay in a fun read!
... no longer a stranger to paradise
I'll show you my pics Minde and you can show me yours and tell me about your planning for your next trip
lprof, for me Hog Heaven was all about the location. We got there as dusk was setting in and it was beautiful to sit there and watch lights twinkling. The bartender/waiter was really funny and nice, food was ok and they gave you lots of it. I had ribs and husband had chicken. I don't think I had high expectations so I wasn't disappointed. I'd definitely go again
Thanks for the nice report and pics. We've been to VG once and loved it. Very quiet and laid back. Savannah is a stunning beach with great snorkeling. We visited Nail Bay for the day and enjoyed the beach and restaurant there. My husband has wanted to stay in the Sugar Mill - a unique place. Did you like staying in it? Was anyone staying in the other room? It doesn't seem very private from looking at the pics. Did you eat at the restaurant there? Is the resort kept up ok - pool, grounds, room?
We flew in to the VG airport in a little 9 seater plane. Indeed, it was an experience, although it was a lot faster than taking the various ferries.
We stayed at Guavaberry, and enjoyed Spring Bay beach, Devil's Bay, and the Baths several times. They are both very scenic, but were very busy with dinghys coming and going from the many boats moored near the baths.
Sounds like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing.
Aquagirl: Here's a few more pictures of the Sugar Mill
We were lucky that no one was in the bottom rental while we were there. I like my privacy and think it could be an issue. The building is set up such that if you rent the upstairs you park up higher and enter at your level. When you enter the main front door there is an stair going down to the left that takes you down to the lower unit. You then have another door to enter the upper unit. They have their own parking below and their own entrance below. To access the upper deck (which goes with the upper rental) you need to exit out of the villa and go up stairs on the outside of the building. The upper area is beautiful, it is a small plunge pool as shown. The lower level has the bigger pool.
It did get "tiring" going around in a circle to get anywhere inside. The picture of the kitchen can show that somewhat. The finishes are lovely, nice kitchen if you want to cook, nice bathroom area, great to have a deck off the bedroom, and again a beautiful outer deck area up top.
Nail Bay is very very nicely maintained. We thought December would have been busier but it was extremely quiet at the house and on the island as a whole. We ate at the restaurant one night-we eat about 6 and were the only ones there. Food was very good. The office manager was helpful, stored our luggage, gave directions, answered any email questions very promptly. There is a beach w/i walking distance of the sugar mill property and I believe two other beaches within Nail Bay also, but we didn't make it to those two.
Outstanding views from this rental, just gorgeous. Well run resort and would definitely recommend it. Properties are spaced out, not very visible and everything seemed well taken care of.
Feel free to ask any other questions and I'll try to answer for you.
Thanks for sharing. We stayed on VG in 2009 for 10 nights. Your comments about the Baths made me smile, I was recently remembering how we needed to squeeze through those passages, something I do NOT need to do again. Spring was our favorite beach and best beach day. We did fly into VG in a small plane, fun!
We really enjoyed VG but that extra ferry step combined with flight times has kept us from going back. It is at the top of our list for next trip. Your three island hop sounds like a good way to handle the logistics.
ETA- I have had that VG rental book marked for years.
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