10 Ways to Soak Up the Sun in the British Virgin Islands

Visitors are coming back to the BVI, where the islands themselves are making a comeback from the hurricanes of 2017.

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Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Photo By: BVI Tourist Board

Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina

The British Virgin Islands are coming back strong after two devastating hurricanes hit in 2017. Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, a private-island resort, has partially reopened, and its exclusive pool parties are cranking up again. The weekend parties, known as SPLASH, are held around a multi-level pool overlooking the beautiful Caribbean. They feature craft cocktails and live music by DJ Dagger. Note: Rebuilding is continuing in the BVI, so before you travel, check with your destination for up-to-date information.

Anegada Island

Anegada Beach Club has been rebuilt and is also open again. Try glamping in one of its luxurious beachfront tents, pop in for freshly caught grilled lobster or sip a rum punch in a comfortable hammock in the shade. The Four Diamonds Park Villas, known for their unique roof styles, are also open, along with Anegada Reef Hotel, where 20 renovated or redecorated rooms are located right on the beach.

Dinghy Championships

The hurricanes aren't stopping this year's BVI Dinghy Championships. Sponsored by the Royal BVI Yacht club, the race will be hosted at Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola from May 18-20, and the boats will sail in Sir Francis Drake Channel. This is the final event in this year’s Caribbean Cup, so prizes will be awarded. Sailors, you still have time to register—if you hurry.

Cooper Island

Cooper Island is home to the Cooper Island Beach Club, which has also reopened. This family-owned eco-resort is a great base to use for wreck diving and other water sports. The resort's microbrewery made it through the storms, so guests can still quench their thirsts with homemade beers. Accessible by private boat, the Beach Club offers 30 moorings and two dinghy docks.

Soggy Dollar Bar

Savor the flavors of the Caribbean at the reopened Soggy Dollar Bar, where the BVI-famous Painkiller, a blend of premium dark rum, pineapple and orange juices and cream of coconut, is served with freshly grated nutmeg. You can reach the bar, which is on Jost Van Dyke, by ferry or charter boat from West End Tortola. Still thirsty? Head over to the legendary Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, also recently reopened on Jost. Just don’t enjoy yourself so much, you miss the last ferry out.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is still going strong in the BVI. At Sail Caribbean Divers, which recently opened a new location on Cooper Island, Course Director Mike Rowe says reports from his dive operators about dive sites and the marine environment are "reassuringly positive." He says they're seeing humpback whales in the Sir Francis Drake Channel (and hearing their songs), and adds, "Our most famous wrecks...have experienced a little 'shapeshifting,' exposing previously hidden structures to navigate and enjoy."

On Tortola, the retail shop at We Be Divin' is open and the business is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2018.

Spring Bay

Despite the 2017 hurricanes, almost all the BVI beaches are open, and with fewer tourists around, they're less crowded. You'll find some of the clearest water on Virgin Gorda. Huge rocks line the shore at Spring Bay National Park, forming coves where visitors can swim and snorkel. The Baths, another national park on the island, is also open.

Tortola Pier Park and Moorings

About half the retailers have reopened at Tortola Pier Park, including Aromas Cigar & Martini Bar, Camdem Gourmet Market and JBY Fashions. The park should be fully restored, and the other retailers should be open, by the summer of 2018. The Moorings, a luxury yacht charter company, is also operating, and most cruises and charter boats are sailing again.

BVI Emancipation Festival

Help celebrate the British Virgin Islands' comeback with a party like the 2018 BVI Emancipation Festival, scheduled for July 27-August 10. It commemorates the end of British colonialism and features parades, regional foods, a Miss BVI pageant and more.

Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus says, "Come prepared to try local cuisine, such as the national dish of freshly caught fish and fungi (made up of cornmeal, okra, butter, water, butter, salt and pepper). Be prepared to learn about what emancipation means to the locals...to dance and enjoy the various forms of calypso and reggae music in the adorable festival village!" (In case you're wondering, these dancers are blowing green whistles to get the party going.)

Leverick Bay Poker Run

For more fun in the sun, catch the 17th annual Leverick Bay Poker Run, when more than 300 boats are expected to converge on the BVI over Memorial Day Weekend. Visitors come from all over the U.S. and the Caribbean to watch participants from Miami, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other locations compete for cash prizes. To date, the Run has contributed more than $100,000 to local charities like the Red Cross and Virgin Gorda Diabetes Association.

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