At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks


GloboTreks is reader-supported through affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! – Norbert

When it comes to exploring the beauty of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), there’s no better way to do it than aboard a yacht or catamaran. The BVI counts with around 60 Caribbean islands ranging from its largest, Tortola, to small uninhabited inlets peppered between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

With so many islands showcasing a myriad of landscapes, cultural heritage, and historic moments, as a traveler, the best way to make the most of our limited time in the BVI is by island hopping. 

I had already visited the BVI once doing my traditional on-land backpacking travel. I enjoyed my time on the white sand beaches of Tortola and Virgin Gorda, the two largest and better-connected islands in the archipelago. However, I still left with a sense that I wanted to see more and that I needed to plan another trip, a different trip. 

Sailing the British Virgin Islands with Navigare Yachting

The great thing about the British Virgin Islands is that it has a well-developed sailing culture that has explored even the smallest and remotest islands in the archipelago, and they make them all accessible to you. 

As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico, less than 100 miles from the BVI, and with a similar sailing culture, I knew that the best way to plan this trip was to charter a catamaran for a few days. 

Our Catamaran at Salt Island, BVI

I have chartered many catamarans for the day or just a few days, but this would be the first time I’d be chartering a “luxury-like” catamaran for an entire week. I thought my learning curve was steep, but as I learned through the process, it was much easier and more accessible than anticipated.

Of the many sailing and charter companies in the BVI, I went with Navigare Yachting (Or Navigare Yachting BVI) as it stands as one of the premier companies for those seeking an unforgettable sailing experience in this Caribbean paradise. 

Navigare Yachting currently operates in 12 destinations around the world, including the Bahamas, Croatia, Greece, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, Seychelles, Thailand, and, of course, the British Virgin Islands.

Throughout my research (and later through my experience), I came to find that Navigare is known for its top-notch catamarans and attentive service, making your trip a seamless blend of luxury, adventure, and relaxation.

So, how can you plan a sailing trip in the BVI? Or better yet, how can you plan a sailing trip anywhere in the world?

While many companies offer different sailing experiences, I’ll share my experience and what I know about chartering a catamaran with Navigare Yachting.

As you’ll see, it’s almost like planning and booking a cruise, but with more flexibility!

Our Catamaran from Above at Salt Island, BVI

What are the Charter Options for your Sailing Holiday

Navigare offers various chartering options specific to each destination, depending on what type of boats they have there. These are the main options:

Sailboat Charter

You can charter a sailboat (monohull) either bareboat charter – meaning, without a crew – or with a skipper. You can bareboat if you have the required license and experience to skipper the boat. 

You can pick the duration, departure date, and route for your sailing trip. At least in the BVI, the minimum charter duration is three days.

One thing to note is that any crew (skipper, hostess, etc.) costs extra from the base charter price. In addition, there are other charges to keep in mind, like mooring fees, taxes, fuel, etc. I’ll go into more details below. 

If you’re interested in chartering bareboat, you can check this page for more info.

Island Nomad from Above in the BVI
The Island Nomad – the catamaran we chartered for a week in the BVI.

Catamaran Charter

Similar to the Sailboat Charter, but with catamarans. This is the option I went with. Of course, since I don’t, nor any of my friends, have any skipper experience, I couldn’t charter bareboat. So, I chartered with a skipper and a chef to have a hands-off experience during our trip. 

I highly recommend chartering a catamaran with friends and family to split the cost among everyone.

One great thing about all Navigare Yachting charters is that they offer their “Carefree package” to simplify things, especially for rookies like me. Instead of separating all the additional fees, they combine them in the Carefree package. For simplicity, you only pay one fee that covers everything. 

The Carefree package is not just yacht insurance and a damage waiver; it also maximizes your money by including products and services most charterers need and pay for separately when booking with competitors.

Among the things included in the Carefree package are:

  • Yacht Insurance
  • Damage Waiver
  • Wi-Fi, 10 GB in the Mediterranean
  • Final Cleaning
  • Full water tanks
  • Full fuel tanks
  • Cooking gas
  • Dinghy with outboard engine and fuel
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Bed sheets, bathroom towels, beach towels 
  • Welcome package, including household essentials (see detailed list here)

One important note, though, is that while I got the carefree package, my specific catamaran’s carefree package did not include Wi-Fi (we paid $80 for unlimited Wi-Fi).

Another important note is that while the Carefree package includes full water and fuel tanks when you begin your trip, you are responsible for returning the charter with the same amount of water/fuel in your tanks.

Having said that, I can’t stress enough how much the Carefree package made our pre-trip and end-of-trip logistics so much easier. 

Island Nomad Dining Area in the BVI
We spent lots of hours here during our meals and just chilling together.

Luxury Crewed Charter

This is the top end of their offerings. It is similar to the catamaran charter, but this one comes with a full crew including the skipper, hostess, chef, etc. This is a fully hands-off experience!

Cabin Charter

This is a great option to choose from if you don’t mind sharing your catamaran with other travelers and don’t want to spend too much chartering an entire catamaran.

For example, I debated going on this single cabin rental route first before I decided to do this trip with several of my friends. Currently, cabin rentals are only available in Greece, Croatia, and the BVI. 

One of the main differences between Sailboat/Catamaran Charters and Cabin Charters is that you don’t set the route, duration, or departure days. Instead, you pick the sailboat/catamaran you’re interested in sailing in, and you hop on the pre-planned route for such boat.

The Cabin Charter, though, is almost like a traditional cruise experience. In fact, they call it the “Navigare Carefree Cabin” package, where you get a pre-planned route for a 7-night cruise with half-board service (breakfast + lunch or breakfast + dinner), including a skipper and hostess. All other expenses, like fees, fuel, moorings, tax, etc., are included in the price. 

If you’d like to check the Cabin Charter options, go to the Yacht Charter page and select “Cabin Charter” under the Charter Type drop-down menu.

Island Nomad Double Bed Cabin
This is one of our cabins at the Island Nomad. We rented the full catamaran in the British Virgin Islands.

How to Charter a Catamaran or Sailboat

My experience chartering the catamaran with Navigare Yachting was very easy. It can be booked online or via a booking agent. I went the online route. In fact, the most difficult part of the process was picking a catamaran and sailing date with my friends. 

We reviewed several catamarans, all of them with various features and qualities, but we all landed on this Fountaine Pajot Tanna 47 called Island Nomad (the name is quite fitting!)

You can see a virtual tour of our catamaran cabins and main spaces here

Navigare Yachting Homepage View

On Navigare’s page, you go through the typical booking search engine process of putting your destination, dates, charter type, and number of cabins. If you don’t know which charter type of number of cabins you’d like, leave those empty to see all options. 

Once you get your results, they look like in the image below. It shows you the name of the boat, the year it was built, the length, how many cabins it has, the maximum number of people it can carry, and whether it has air conditioning, a generator, and a watermaker, among other things.

Sailing the British Virgin Islands: How to Plan The Perfect Trip 1

Once you go to a specific boat page, you’ll see more details like the number of bathrooms, crew beds, yacht equipment, pricing, specs, and more. If it all looks good to you, you can either book it right away with a 5% deposit or send an inquiry to learn more about the charter via a booking agent. 

Before booking, I asked them a few questions about things I didn’t know about the “chartering world,” and they were all answered promptly and in a way that helped me understand what I was doing. (I’m sharing all those answers here in this article)

You can also add extras like Wi-Fi, a stand-up paddle board, needed crew (like the skipper and chef), and more during the booking process. You’ll notice the Carefree package and cruising tax are already included in the pricing.

How Many People Can Go on Your Catamaran

This was one of my biggest questions when planning the trip, and the answer varies depending on the crew on board. But, for example, on the Island Nomad, we had five cabins and one crew peak cabin (a tiny cabin for the skipper – but not the most comfortable cabin, to be honest).

So, we had the option of having the skipper sleep in the peak cabin (which makes the skipper’s daily rate a bit more expensive to compensate for the uncomfortable cabin) and the chef in another cabin, or both could share the bunk bedroom.

We went with both of them sharing the bunk bed room, leaving four cabins for us (a maximum of 8 people).

The Group at The Baths, Virgin Gorda
Our group at The Baths, Virgin Gorda

If you noticed, the Island Nomad has a capacity for 12 people. Well, that also considers the living area/salon sofa, which can turn into a bed.

BUT!… We only learned a week before the trip that our chef was female and our skipper male. We weren’t sure if they would share a bunkbed bedroom, but we figured it out. The chef kept the bedroom, and the skipper bounced back and forth between the peak room and the salon. 

When is the Best Time to Sail in the BVI

The British Virgin Islands have a tropical climate year-round. However, the best time to visit depends on what you prefer and what activities you plan to engage in during your stay. Here are some considerations for different times of the year:

  1. Peak Season (December to April):
    • This period is the high tourist season due to the favorable weather conditions.
    • The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29°C).
    • The trade winds are consistent, creating excellent sailing conditions.
    • Expect higher prices for accommodations and more crowded tourist attractions.
  2. Shoulder Season (May to June):
    • This is a transitional period between the peak and off-peak seasons.
    • Weather remains pleasant, with temperatures slightly warmer.
    • The trade winds may decrease during this time.
    • Prices for accommodations and activities may be more moderate compared to the peak season.
  3. Hurricane Season (July to November):
    • This period coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season.
    • While hurricanes are infrequent, there is a higher risk of tropical storms and rain.
    • Accommodation prices may be lower, and there are fewer tourists.
    • If you plan to visit during this time, monitor weather updates and consider travel insurance. I use HeyMondo on all my trips and I highly recommend it.
  4. Late Fall (October to November):
    • This is the end of the hurricane season, and the weather begins to stabilize.
    • The islands start to recover from the wetter months.
    • It’s a quieter time with reduced tourist numbers, and prices may be more favorable.
  5. Festival Season (August to October):
    • The BVI celebrates its Emancipation Festival, which includes colorful parades, music, and cultural events.
    • While the weather may still be warm, there’s an increased chance of rain during the festival season.
Dinner in Anegada in the BVI
Having drinks in Anegada. This photo was taken after the power went out, so we made lanterns with our iPhone flashlights and Coronas.

It’s important to note that Navigare’s base in the British Virgin Islands is open from mid-October through early August. The high season runs from mid-December through mid-April.

We sailed the week of October 21st to the 27th, which is late in the hurricane season, and we still got one day of bad weather due to Tropical Storm Tammy passing very close to the BVI. Our first day was rainy, but the rest of our trip was sunny and perfect!

Now that you’ve chartered your trip, how do you plan for it?! 

How to Prepare for Your Catamaran Trip in the BVI 

How To Get to the BVI

Most people flying from the US and other countries will fly to Puerto Rico and take a smaller plane to Tortola’s Beef Island Airport (Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport). Nanny Cay (Navigare’s base) is about a 30-minute taxi ride from the airport.

I typically find the cheapest flights on Kayak and Skyscanner.

Alternatively, some people fly to the USVI, which is often cheaper, and take a ferry to the BVI. Space is limited, and reservations can only be made directly with the ferry operators:

How to do Provisioning in the BVI

When chartering a catamaran, you must buy provisions beforehand to prepare your meals while sailing or island hopping. 

If you’re chartering bareboat, you’re responsible for doing this. You can get your provisions in Tortola at Bobby’s Supermarket and Riteway. There’s also a Riteway in Virgin Gorda. Then, you can get more stuff or replenish as needed at smaller shops on other islands (where available).

Many people fly to the USVI and then take a ferry to the BVI to start their sailing trip, so in that case, you can provision at Cost.U.Less in the USVI. 

But, if you hire a chef, they take care of the provisioning for you. Our chef, Abby, wrote to me via WhatsApp about a week before the trip. We discussed what my friends and I were interested in eating, and she prepared a half-board menu for the entire week. Once approved, she grabbed all the provisions before we arrived at the BVI.

Abby at the Island Nomad Catamaran, BVI
Abby doing her magic on board the Island Nomad

While we are still responsible for the cost of all the food and beverages purchased, Abby helped us tremendously because she knows where to go to get the food and drinks at the lowest price possible.

Also, a massive shout-out to Abby, who was an excellent chef! Every single meal she prepared was delicious! And we are talking lamb chops, BBQ ribs, French toast casserole, tacos, steak and pasta, and more. Really three-course “chef’s kiss” meals!

Abby's Dinner
Our first dinner on board!

She also made delicious margaritas that kept us happy while swimming around the catamaran!

Abby and I also planned our dinners on the boat every other day (based on our itinerary); that way, we also had the chance to try the local cuisine on different islands. In my opinion, though, except for CocoMaya, which was a delicious restaurant in Virgin Gorda, Abby’s food was always much better than the food we had on shore.

When provisioning, don’t forget to include snacks, water, drinks, and alcoholic beverages you’d like to have while on board.

CocoMaya Restaurant
CocoMaya

What to Pack and Wear When Sailing The British Virgin Islands

Packing for a catamaran trip is similar to packing for any other beach trip, but there are a few extra things you should consider packing to enhance your experience on board.

In addition to the typical swimsuit, sandals, warm weather light clothes, hats, sunglasses, and such, make sure you also pack:

  • Water shoes: for walking through water, climbing The Baths, and walking through some of the rocky beaches on some islands. I have never been a water shoe person, but I used them several times in the BVI.
  • Diving socks: These are different than water shoes as they are commonly used with fins for snorkeling/diving. These prevent your feet from hurting after wearing those fins for hours, several days in a row.
  • Clips: Essential to secure towels/shirts/trunks to guide rails on the boat while they dry. It can get windy pretty quickly, and you don’t want to see your clothes flying out!
  • Microfiber towel: While the catamaran includes a bath towel and beach towel, microfiber towels are the best option to towel off after a dip, and they air-dry super easy.
  • Rasher: This is super convenient to keep your body from getting sunburned too quickly when spending many days under the sun. It’s definitely a good idea while snorkeling to avoid back burns.
  • Croakies: You don’t want sunglasses flying off into the water! The floating ones, in particular, can be nice.
  • Dry bag: Don’t let your goods get wet as you wade from the boat to the shore! We used our dry bags often to keep our phones, money, and other essentials dry as we swam from the boat to the beach. They even served as unofficial flotation devices!
  • Travel pack of disposable wipes: Marine toilet paper is specially designed to break down fast in boat systems and can be really flimsy. Having said this, your skipper will probably tell you to never flush any toilet paper/wipes (even the sewer-safe ones), as catamaran plumbing is very finicky and clogs super easily. Also, unclogging those pipes costs $500. Trust me, we didn’t want that bill, so we played it safe by tossing our tissues in the trashcan.
  • Earplugs: Useful if you’re sharing a cabin with a friend or not used to the generator hum on the catamaran. To me, the generator hum wasn’t that noticeable to bother me.
  • Lens cleaner: Dried saltwater on glasses sucks!
  • Sunscreen: Buy plenty of it while in the BVI. You’re going to use a lot of it.
  • After Sun Cooling Spray: Also worth having should you get too sunburned.
Aerial View of Norman Island, BVI
Our catamaran at Norman Island

Planning Your Route and Where to Sail in the BVI

Just like with the chef, Navigare will get you in touch with your assigned skipper a few days before the trip. While my friends and I had a planning session to know where we’d like to go and the logistical way of going from one island to another, in the end, the skipper had the last say on whether or not the itinerary worked.

Thankfully, our itinerary was realistic, and our skipper, Shaka, was happy to follow through with it.

One comment I heard often is that skippers (and the crew, in general) tend to go above and beyond to make things happen because they understand this is your vacation and, for many people, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I want to give a huge shout-out to Shaka because he proved he’s not only a great skipper (and, as many people on the marina told us, one of the best in the British Virgin Islands), but he was also a great guy to sail with, fun, and for us, he was like one more of us in the group.

Our Navigare Yachting Skipper Shaka
Shaka, our wonderful skipper!

While Shaka approved our itinerary, we had to make some last-minute changes due to logistics that included some restaurants on some islands being closed the days we were planning to be there, accommodating the dive trip we wanted to do, and needing to delay our departure because of the stormy weather we experienced the first day.

While we were eager to depart immediately, Shaka recommended we stay in the marina the first night to avoid the rough seas created by Tropical Storm Tammy. It was a sensible call, so we all understood.

The lesson learned is that flexibility is essential when sailing, but your skipper will do their best to accomplish everything you want to do.

If you plan on diving, coordinate with your skipper and the dive shop where you’d like to go diving and when so they know where to pick you up. We went diving on the Rhone Shipwreck with Blue Water Divers (highly recommended!), and they picked us up from our boat at Cooper Island.

Another thing you should plan is any water toy rentals, like stand-up paddle boards, floating mats, noodles, etc. We rented ours with BVI Water Toys as they were affordable, and they coordinated the delivery and pickup, which was seamless.

Water Toys next to our catamaran
Playing with the water toys we rented

Anyway, in terms of our itinerary, we ended up doing the following (which included everything we initially wanted and more):

  • Day 1: Stay in the marina due to weather
  • Day 2: Sail from Nanny Cay, Tortola, to Norman Island, then off to Cooper Island
  • Day 3: Sail to Salt Island to dive the Rhone shipwreck, then off to Marina Cay
  • Day 4: Sail to Virgin Gorda and spend the day at The Baths (one of my favorite beaches in the world!). Spend the day in Virgin Gorda.
  • Day 5: Sail to Anegada and spend the night there.
  • Day 6: Sail to Jost Van Dyke and spend the day at White Bay
  • Day 7: Sail back to Nanny Cay

If you don’t have an entire week, there is a range of route options, each presenting a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and exciting activities. Among them are:

1. Tortola Circuit

Embark on a journey around the largest island in the BVI, Tortola. Explore secluded anchorages, such as Brewer’s Bay and Cane Garden Bay, while enjoying the lively atmosphere of Tortola’s marinas and beachfront restaurants.

2. Anegada Escape

Sail northeast to Anegada, a low-lying coral atoll known for its pristine beaches and vibrant marine life. This route offers a serene escape and a chance to indulge in local seafood delicacies at Anegada’s charming beachside restaurants. If you love lobsters, this one is for you!

Lobster at Anegada, BVI
Lobsters at Anegada!

3.Virgin Gorda and The Baths

Cruise to the iconic Virgin Gorda and discover the enchanting Baths – a series of unique granite boulders forming scenic grottoes and pools. This route provides a perfect mix of relaxation and exploration. This is a great place to see some of BVI’s iconic beaches.

4. Jost Van Dyke and White Bay

Head northwest to Jost Van Dyke, famous for its lively beach bars and the picturesque White Bay. Experience the vibrant nightlife at Foxy’s or unwind on the pristine sandy beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters.

5. Norman Island and The Caves

Navigate south to Norman Island, reputedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Explore the mysterious sea caves, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, and bask in the natural beauty of this uninhabited paradise.

Island Nomad at Anegada in the BVI

The Experience On Board the Island Nomad

To play it safe, we all traveled from New York to the British Virgin Islands (via Puerto Rico) a day before the start of our catamaran trip. Instead of heading straight to Nanny Cay, we decided to spend a night in Road Town to explore it and visit their famous Pusser’s Pub.

The following day, we made our way to Nanny Cay, where we were welcomed by Navigare Yachting staff. They gave us a pre-boarding prep where they gave us an emergency phone, the Wi-fi we purchased, navigating charts, tools, and other “getting ready” info.

It’s interesting to describe our first impression when setting foot on the catamaran for the first time. We felt like it was unreal! Our catamaran, Island Nomad, felt like a floating apartment.

We had five cabins, all comfortably fitted with enough storage and private bathrooms. The salon was comfortable enough for us to chill, eat our meals, and cook as needed.

But, we all spent most of our time outside, either on the outdoor dining table, the lounge area on the upper deck, or the mats and net on the bow. This was total relaxation.

Since our first night was spent at the marina, we made the best of it by going out for drinks at Peg Leg, a bar and restaurant within walking distance, and a quick swim at a nearby beach.

Our Catamaran at Norman Island, BVI
At Norman Island

The next day, with the most gorgeous sunny weather, we sailed first thing in the morning to Norman Island, where we explored some of its stunning underwater caves and natural pools and snorkeled with hundreds of fish in some of the clearest Caribbean waters you’ll ever see. Norman is also a beautiful island if you have the chance to explore it further.

We also made a quick stop at Willy T, a floating bar and restaurant on a decommissioned tanker turned “pirate ship” just a short sail away from the caves. It was a fun place for drinks, a snack, and a break between snorkeling and swimming.

From there, we sailed to Cooper Island, where we would spend the night on a mooring. One important tip to know about mooring in some of the islands in the BVI is that you must reserve your spot ahead of time, especially if you’re sailing in the peak of the high season.

Shaka told me the night before to head to boatyball.com at 7 am on the dot to reserve our mooring ball for that night. And so, I did. Thankfully, we were traveling just before the season started, so the moorings didn’t fully book that quickly. However, I’m glad he insisted we reserved it the moment they became available online to guarantee our spot – and a good spot in the mooring field!

Of course, there are first-come-first-serve moorings, but we wanted to take our time at sea and not worry about not finding a spot later in the day.

Another thing I loved about our experience with Shaka; we learned how to tie the catamaran to the mooring buoy. We felt like new sailors!

Beautiful Sunset at Cooper Island

At Cooper Island, we saw a beautiful sunset while tasting various rums at the Rum Bar, located at the Cooper Island Beach Club. The Rum Bar has over 280 rums available – the largest selection in the Virgin Islands. Some of their signature cocktails are delicious! 

​While there, you can also walk to Cistern Point for a panoramic view of the sunset.

We also had a lot of fun riding the dinghy aimlessly. We were the captains of our own boat!

The next morning, we were picked up by our dive shop to dive on the Rhone Shipwreck. The RMS Rhone was a UK Royal Mail Ship that wrecked off the coast of Salt Island on October 29th, 1867, during a hurricane, killing 123 people.

Diving the Rhone Columns in the BVI

Diving the Rhone was such a wonderful experience and one of my favorite shipwreck dives to date. As people say, it is one of the best places to dive in the BVI. We did two dives, one on the bow area and another on the stern (the Rhone split into a few parts, like the Titanic).

We swam between the wreckage structure, saw the coral reefs growing out of the wreck, and plenty of sea life that now call the Rhone their home, including a barracuda and a Caribbean reef shark.

After diving and chilling at Salt Island (which derives its name due to its natural salt production), we crossed the Sir Francis Drake Channel and made our way to Marina Cay and Trellis Bay to be closer to Virgin Gorda.

We wanted to reduce the nautical miles between us and Virgin Gorda to have as much time as possible at The Baths! The main attraction in Virgin Gorda and possibly all of the BVI.

The Baths at Virgin Gorda, BVI
Walking in The Baths, BVI
The Caves at The Baths, Virgin Gorda

The Baths, located at the Devil’s Bay National Park, is one of my favorite beaches in the Caribbean (and even the world!). Its white-sand beaches, giant boulders, and grottoes are so unique that it’s hard not to be in awe of it.

After exploring the beach a few times back and forth, we all settled on a small section of the beach, nestled between several granite boulders, where the waves made it incredibly fun to body surf.

Later in the day, we headed to the marina in Spanish Town, from where we walked to the one restaurant we were all looking forward to trying, CocoMaya. We actually adjusted our itinerary to make sure the restaurant wasn’t closed the day we were at Virgin Gorda. It was worth it!

Bitter End Yacht Club is another spot people like to try for dinner, but it was pretty far from us, so we were happy staying at CocoMaya.

The next day, we embarked on one of the longest sails of the trip to reach Anegada. This sailing day was one of our favorites as both sails were in full display, the steady trade winds were great, and even though the water was a bit choppy, it made it fun for us, who decided to sit and lay down on the net to get splashed as we drank and chatted our way to Anegada.

Laying on the Island Nomad in the BVI

We felt Anegada was a bit boring, but in fairness, we didn’t give it a proper opportunity to explore it. Instead, we stayed on the water just relaxing and paddle boarding.

Now, the longest sail was from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke. That one took about 4 hours + and the sea, this time, was very choppy. Some of us felt the sea sickness coming in – but nothing too crazy.

Jost Van Dyke was a great way to end the trip. It was one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches of the trip, and of course, there was the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, famous for inventing the painkiller.

Soggy Dollar Bar at Jost Van Dyke
Soggy Dollar at Jost Van Dyke

And there’s also Gertrude’s Beach Bar, which pretty much lets you prepare your own drink. Yup, some of us had heavy pours. There were other bars along this party beach, but those two were the most notable to us.

Lastly, the sail from Jost Van Dyke to Tortola was one of the most beautiful, as several islands, cliffs, and stunning landscapes surrounded us. Spectacular scenery all throughout! And that sunset sail was one we’ll never forget. It was a great way and the perfect place to end the trip.

Final Sunset Photo at the Island Nomad, BVI
Our last sunset group photo with Abby and Shaka.

The Total Cost of a Sailing Trip in The British Virgin Islands

To end this already comprehensive experience post, I want to share our cost for this experience. Keep in mind that your BVI yacht charter could cost more or less, but at least you have an idea of what to expect.

Pre-Trip Costs:

CostItem
$5,900.407-day catamaran charter with a 40% discount. These discounts can also be found when traveling during the off-season or whenever Navigare Yachting does a sale. 
$1,782.00Skipper
$1,452.00Chef
$814.00Navigare Carefree package
$216.22Cruising tax for nine people. While we were seven travelers, we also paid for the chef’s and skipper’s cruising tax.
$10,164.62Total

Expenses During the Trip:

CostItem
$135Mooring fees (Anegada: $40, Beef Island: $40, Cooper Island: $55)
$177.95Marina Fees (Virgin Gorda: include the electricity fee)
$628.56Fuel (We fueled once in Virgin Gorda and once at the end of the trip)
$21 Water (for the water tanks)
$84 Ice
$3,365.50Provisioning (A significant portion of this total went to many alcoholic beverages. The provisioning also covers nine people, as we are responsible for feeding the skipper and chef. In hindsight, we could have spent less on provisioning as we had extra food at the end of the trip.)
$20Trash Bag pickups (a small boat comes by every morning to take your trash)
$80Wi-Fi
$511Water toys (we rented a giant floating mat, noodles, two stand-up paddle boards, and a floating chair)
$399.48 Diving the Rhone (for three divers)
$5,422.49Total

Grand Total: $15,587.11

Our catamaran had a water maker and solar panels, which helped reduce replenishing water and generator usage costs.

Also, I would like to point out that tipping your crew, while not obligated, is highly appreciated. While the percentage varies, we based our tip on 15% to 20% of the charter cost, split among all of us.

In the end, after we included the meals on shore, drinks at the beach bars, the first night’s hotel, and other random expenses, we all ended up spending roughly $2,600 per person (plus flights), which is not bad at all for a week-long, luxury-like catamaran trip.

White Bay at Jost Van Dyke
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Would I Go Sailing in the BVI Again?

Absolutely!

Embarking on this week-long catamaran sailing trip has been one of the most thrilling and relaxing adventures in my life, and all of my friends echoed this sentiment. This trip combined the beauty of the open sea with the freedom to explore remote islands and coastal paradises, something most people associate with movies and the rich.

As first timers, Navigare Yachting took great care of us and made this trip as smooth and seamless as possible. This experience has proven that with proper planning, navigating the turquoise waters of the British Virgin Islands, or exploring any other idyllic destination around the world can be a reasonably affordable experience of a lifetime.

I certainly would love to do this again!

Sailing the British Virgin Islands | How To Plan the Perfect Charter Trip
Adventure Awaits

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