11 Days Sailing the British Virgin Islands-Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of this Blog, featuring Jost Van Dyke, Norman Island, The Baths, and Cooper Island. If you haven't read part 1, you can read it here.
White Bay - Jost Van Dyke
Let's start with one of the most undeniably popular destinations amongst all BVI visitors, and our favorite stop in all the British Virgin Islands...White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. Not only is it our favorite white sand, stunning crystal water, and fun people, it is the home of the world-famous Soggy Dollar Bar and Hendo's Hideout.
Jost Van Dyke
Named after a dutch privateer, and one of the British Virgin Island's original Dutch settlers in the early 17th century, Jost Van Dyke created a small settlement in Soper's Hole on the island of Tortola and began secretly trading tobacco and cotton with Spaniards in Puerto Rico. The Spaniards became alarmed when pirates also joined forces with the settlement. In 1625, the Spanish garrison in Puerto Rico attacked the Dutch settlement, causing Jost Van Dyke to escape to the island bearing his name today.
Now Jost Van Dyke is known as "BVIs Ultimate Playground", boasting some of the best restaurants, bars, and resort villas in the BVIs. White Bay is our all-time favorite beach in the BVIs due to the silky white sand, and the artistic pockets of cyan and azure blue water, we can never resist taking a dip!
White Bay Villas
White Bay Villas is an 18-acre beachfront property with 20 standalone units where guests can relax in a simple, elegant Caribbean style. As a guest, your stay will be complete with a private bathroom with oversized showers, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, Roku, and indigenous tropical foliage, A fully appointed kitchen will satisfy the cook in your group, or perhaps you would rather take advantage of a private chef to cook in your villa (reservations required), the choice is yours! Enjoy a day on the beach with cushioned lounge chairs, coolers, beach towels, and snorkel gear available upon request. For more information and booking, click here.
Dining - White Bay - Jost Van Dyke
Soggy Dollar Bar
The originator of, and still leading source of the best Painkiller in the British Virgin Islands, Although every establishment in the BVIs serves their version of this cocktail made with rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice, orange juice, and a sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg, the Soggy Dollar lays claim to being the original creator dating back to the 70s. We've asked many times, but they refuse to share their secret recipe.
The painkillers aren't the only thing not to miss at Soggy Dollar. Their kitchen is open for business keeping weary travelers fed with a full lunch menu from 11:00 - 4:00. Whether you're hankerin' for a Caribbean lobster roll (when in season), a Mahi Mahi sandwich, a Veggie Burger, or as our friend Jimmy Buffet would say, a "Cheeseburger in Paradise", Soggy Dollar has you covered. Fish and Chips, a selection of salads, and some amazing appetizers such as some of the best conch fritters in the Caribbean (when in season), wings, coconut shrimp, and fried calamari are also available, and so much more! Check out their menu here. The menus are subject to change seasonally to utilize the freshest local ingredients.
Don't leave without a visit to the boutique for your own Soggy Dollar gear!
Hendo's Hideout is just next door to the Soggy Dollar. They aren't very good at hiding, but they are excellent at cooking! Hendo's offers lunch, dinner, sushi, and Sunday brunch. Their lunch menu has an impressive selection of sandwiches including their famous rum and coke pulled pork sandwich, a crispy chicken sandwich (which our group gives 2 thumbs up to!), and a portobello panini just to name a few!
Hendo's Hideout has an excellent dinner menu as well. Start with a well-curated charcuterie plate filled with mortadella, peppered salami, spicy chorizo, brie cheese, Roquefort cheese, gouda, herb goat cheese, jam, olives, cornichons, pepperoncini, and toasted bread. (items subject to change). Add a glass of wine and I could make a meal out of that! Maybe you'd like to start with some sweet, sticky Asian bbq ribs, some fresh tuna tartare, or a bowl of baby mussels!
Now that you've finished your appetizer, let's move on to the sumptuous main course. The carnivores in your group might struggle to decide between the sous vide center cut filet mignon, the 16 oz ribeye cooked to order, veal shank, or the sharable 32 oz tomahawk steak! The lighter eaters can choose from a savory chorizo stuffed chicken with a vermouth tarragon sauce, pan-seared salmon with lemon butter cream, or grilled Mahi and shrimp. There is a full dessert menu as well. DO NOT miss the key lime pie! It's pure Heaven! Check out the full dinner menu here. Menus are subject to change seasonally to utilize the freshest local ingredients.
Great Harbour - Jost Van Dyke
Great Harbour is just around the corner from White Bay, on Jost Van Dyke. Although it doesn't boast the amenities of White Bay, all you need in Great Habour is Foxy's Tamarind Bar!
Old Man Foxy (Philicianno Callwood) was a native resident of Great Harbour and saw an opportunity in 1968 to open a bar under a tamarind tree to welcome sailors to his island home. Today, more than 5 decades later, Foxy still greets his guests with a song, a story, or a joke! We were fortunate to meet Old Man Foxy on his home porch where he regaled us with an original song, he wrote about our home state of California. He is a truly gifted musician and songwriter. His lively facial performance while singing added tremendous life to the story. I hope everyone gets the pleasure of meeting Old Man Foxy at least once in their lifetime. He leaves a smile in your heart that you get to keep forever!
With our affection for Foxy's and Old Man Foxy and the perfect atmosphere, we knew it would be the ideal location for our 80s dance party! As usual, the joint was jumping when we arrived, and we naturally attracted some attention! We even made Foxy's Facebook page! We're already planning next year's festivities.
While at Foxy's, refresh yourself with one of his custom craft cocktails like the White Van Dykian, Sly Fox, Dread Fox, or a Tropical Storm. He also has the classic rum punch and painkiller that he calls the Vanilla Killa. The menu can be found here,
Time to eat! For lunch, I highly recommend the Chicken Roti! It is a Caribbean specialty with curry seasoning served either over rice or in a wrap. It's delicious! He also offers fish and chips and jerk wings that will leave you wanting more!
Within the British Virgin Islands, you'll not find skyrise hotels with hundreds of guest rooms. If this is what you're looking for, you will need to direct your compass elsewhere. The charm of the islands is not spoiled by commercial blight, rather the accommodations are subtly integrated into the tranquil beauty of the natural landscape, preserving and capitalizing on the natural beauty. Cooper Island is no exception. Cooper Island Beach Club is an impressively environmentally responsible Eco Resort with 8 beach-front bungalows created in a uniquely eco-centric, sustainable fashion. Off the grid, and fully sustainable, Cooper Island Beach Club supplies the majority of its power through photo-voltaic solar panels. Water is also heated with solar and stored in cisterns beneath each building.
Cooper Island Beach Club goes far beyond just sustainable energy with its commitment to the environment. In a bold effort to reduce refuse, you'll find no beer cans or water bottles within the resort. All beer is provided by their onsite microbrewery and drinks are served in reusable, not disposable cups, made from biodegradable corn rather than petroleum. Straws are made from agave. Glass bottles are reduced to the consistency of sand and added to building aggregate for projects around the island.
The restaurant serves lunch from 12:00 - 3:00 and dinner from 5:30 - 8:30, serving fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and poultry sourced from local, organic farmers and fishermen, reducing reliance on importing, while supporting the local community.
For those of us at Windjammer, with a true passion for the natural sanctity of the islands, and our planet, Cooper Island Beach Club gets our highest praise for their innovative eco-friendly commitment to minimal environmental impact.
Cooper Island - Rum Bar
When in Rome, you drink Chianti, but when in the Virgin Islands, you drink Rum! There is no better place in the Virgin Islands than the Rum Bar at the Cooper Island Beach Club, featuring the largest selection of rum in the entire Virgin Islands! Although sampling over 280 rums from all over the world would be impossible, you will most certainly find your new favorite between the house infusions, the rare, aged rums, or a perfectly curated cocktail made by rum masters! For those of you who aren't rum people, (you know who you are!) Cooper Island Beach Club has a full selection of liquors, wines, and beers.
Virgin Gorda - The Baths
Virgin Gorda is said to have gotten its name from Christopher Columbus calling it "The Fat Virgin" because he said its profile on the horizon looked like a fat woman laying on her side. I'm not sure if that is true or not, but if it is, she is quite an exquisite woman!
Inarguably, one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the British Virgin Islands, and perhaps the world, is The Baths. A unique arrangement of boulders forming tunnels, pools, arches, and grottos, The Baths, a national park, is one of the most popular swimming and snorkeling destinations for tourists.
This is a must-stop every time we visit the BVIs. Although we've visited multiple times, each time is nonetheless as if not more enchanting than the last. Roaming in and around the boulders is a great adventure, sometimes requiring agility. Encountering each of the grottos is a glorious joy that never subsides, regardless of the many prior visits.
Free advice - Wear some sort of footwear, water shoes, etc.