This is the first in a series on beaches in the British Virgin Islands, or BVI – known as Nature’s Little Secret. Renowned as a mecca for sailors, with some of the most beautiful waters and islands in the world, as well as vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life – it is also paradise for those of us who prefer the beach life. Some of the most jaw dropping beaches in the world can be found here and if solitude is what you seek, then you are in luck because there are spots here where you can walk for miles on a calendar-perfect beach and never see a single living soul. And there are other beaches where beach shacks and beach bars are plentiful, and often there will be live music and always fellow beach bums and sailors to get to know. Even on the remote beaches there will often be a little shack or bar to pop into for a much needed glass of something cold and refreshing. This series will reveal some of those spots and, as always, give you the low-down on the beach itself and what it has to offer. So let’s go exploring the BVI!!
The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited and some are privately owned. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola which is the largest island at about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide.
There are two Long Bay’s in the BVI’s – one is on Beef Island, close to the airport. Beef Island is connected to Tortola by a short bridge so one could confuse that Long Bay with the one on Tortola. One is known as Long Bay (East End) – the Beef Island one, and the other is Long Bay (West End) – the one that is on Tortola.
Long Bay, Tortola is a beautiful beach at just over a mile long at the west end of the island between Smuggler’s Cove and Apple Bay (both of which will be reviewed in upcoming posts). It is fringed with palms and sea grape trees and the sand is creamy white and sugar soft. The west end of the beach offers solitude and privacy and is a great spot to swim. The eastern end has a large resort, Long Bay Beach Resort, that has cabins tucked into the palms that line the beach, along with a restaurant.
The resort continues back into the hillside with a reception building, pool and shops, and villas dotting the hills. The villas are privately owned but rented out through the Resort. Weddings are popular events here, and I can personally attest to it being a sublime location for a romantic ceremony and that the staff at the resort will work hard to make your wedding dream a reality.
But back to that gorgeous beach!! It is usually a great spot to swim, with gentle waves lapping the white sand. It can, on occasion, be huge surf with pounding waves which would make it very dangerous for swimming. I have witnessed both conditions and the difference is vast. The first time I was on this beach, a February, the waves were huge and there is no way I would have attempted to swim. The second time I was there, two years later and in April, it was perfect for taking a dip.
At the east end of the beach, where the resort is, if you purchase a drink or food at the beach-side restaurant, you are more than welcome to make yourself comfortable one one of the many loungers on the beach and there is lots of shade provided by the trees to get out of the sun for a bit if that is your desire.
There isn’t any seaglass or even shells on this beach. It is pristine white sand so beachcombing isn’t what it is about here, it is about enjoying the sand, surf and the spectacular view of that Caribbean blue sea with Jost Van Dyke in the distance, drink in hand, laid back on a lounger. I mean, paradise really.
Up at the pool there is a swim-up bar and, again, if you order a drink you are more than welcome to use the pool, even though you aren’t a guest of the resort. So if you want a break from a sandy beach bum (does anyone really want a break from that though???) you can head up the hill to the pool and spend an hour or two floating, drinking, and lounging poolside.
This beach, although not one for good beachcombing, has something for everyone in that you can find solitude on one end; and loungers, food & drink, and fellow beachbums to socialize with on the other. And always, in the BVI, warm clear water for swimming when the waves cooperate.
Happy Beach Day!
Irma has decimated the BVI – the devastation is catastrophic and, I am so sad to report, Long Bay Resort was almost completely demolished. The resort is now closed, with no immediate plans to rebuild. I will keep you updated as this, hopefully, changes. The hurricanes of 2017 left the islands, and the people who call them home, in a desperate state and there have been many calls for financial aid. I donated to VISAR (Virgin Islands Search and Rescue), a reputable and non profit rescue service that has been operating in the Virgin Islands since 1988, and I recommend them if you are inclined to help. To donate through them or to see the work they are doing, visit http://visar.org/. You can be sure every penny will go to the rebuilding of the islands. In fact, you can see on their site how the money donated thus far has been spent.