US Virgin Islands
St Thomas, the Caribbean’s most renowned shopping mecca, is visited by more than one million guests each year. With duty-free shopping unrivaled by any other Caribbean destination, St Thomas is a treasure trove for travelers. Stretched along the waterfront, one of the most beautiful harbors in the world, Charlotte Amalie’s historic shopping district houses a variety of unique shops, wonderful restaurants, and exciting nightlife and is the most alluring attraction on island.
Very different from St Thomas is the island of St John, the smallest of the three US Virgin Islands. Two thirds of St John is made up of The Virgin Islands National Park which was purchased by Laurance Rockefeller in 1956. There are 22 preserved nature trails, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and a bounty of wildlife and marine life.
There are many wonderful places to stay and play in the US Virgin Islands. Once you sail out of Compass Point Marina, your first opportunity to moor or anchor is Christmas Cove on Great St James, famous for Pizza Pi, a floating pizza kitchen. This is a great snorkel spot where you can very often spot turtles or sting rays. Cruz Bay is most visitors’ first glimpse of St John. It’s also the economic and social hub – with a busy ferry dock and bustling bay rimmed with restaurants and shops. This is where you will clear back in through customs if you have visited the British Virgin Islands.
Just past Cruz Bay you will see Honeymoon Beach, one of the seven beaches that make up the Caneel Bay resort. Take a cruise through Hawksnest Bay with its dramatic shoreline and shimmering white beaches. Trunk Bay, the most famous beach on St John, is known for its 225-yard-long self guided snorkel trail with underwater information about coral formations and sea life. You can’t miss seeing Cinnamon Bay, one of the largest and most breathtaking beaches in the world. A fantastic family beach, Francis Bay beach doesn’t get the crowds that some of the other beaches get. A long white sand beach offers plenty of space with ample shade. Unlike some of the other St John beaches, Francis has a wide beach regardless of tides.
For overnight anchoring or mooring between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. there is a $15 self-registration fee. Overnight fees must be paid prior to spending the night at one of the many payment stations. White moorings with blue stripes can be used by vessels less than or equal to 60’ in length.
Boating in the National Park…
Please see the National Park Service’s information on boating in the National Park waters if you are visiting by boat or operating your own vessel. You will find information on mooring, anchoring, fishing and laws and policies that are specific to the Virgin Islands National Park. Please familiarize yourself with the boater information, policies, and regulations.
British Virgin Islands
THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS locally known as NATURE’S LITTLE SECRETS, are easily the best sailing destination in the Caribbean, and arguably one of the best in the world. Warm weather year round, consistent trade winds and line of sight sailing make the BVI a sailors paradise. This beautiful country is made up of over 60 islands and cays, mostly unspoiled, with fabulous white sand beaches, plentiful marine life, crystal clear waters and a relaxed island vibe. There are the spectacular boulders of Virgin Gorda and the picturesque village and beaches of Jost van Dyke along with the diversity and seclusion of the other sister islands, islets and cays.
The British Virgin Islands truly do offer something for everyone. whether you are looking to escape it all, in the privacy of your own secluded beach, or join the exhilarating and debaucherous escapades where most charterers begin, and the place to which cruising sailors the world over make pilgrimages by the hundreds, year after year.