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British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands are popular destinations in the Caribbean Sea that will suit everyone’s travel goals. The islands are located approximately 90 miles from Puerto Rico. In addition, an unseen boundary on the map separates the British Virgin Islands from the US Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands is the Caribbean Sailing Capital for bareboat and crewed yacht charters.

We’ll journey through both sides of these captivating islands, providing insights into what to expect. Although they may seem like one paradise, each island offers a distinct flavor of fun and a unique charter experience.

Overview

The Virgin Islands are comprised of two territories—the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands. These islands offer much more than beautiful beaches. Its green backdrop, hills, rich culture, white sand beaches, and various attractions make it a perfect destination for a yacht charter.

The BVI

Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, and 32 smaller cays make up the BVI within the British Overseas Territory. It has a total area of 59 square miles. The islands are ideal for those seeking blue water, white sand beaches, and a low-key atmosphere.

The BVI also offers excellent sailing opportunities with white-sand beaches, hidden coves, scuba diving, and snorkeling spots. Each island promises a unique experience, such as Anegada, where you’ll discover vibrant coral reefs and shipwrecks.

The USVI

Located in the United States Territory about 45 miles east of Puerto Rico. The USVI has a total area of 133 square miles, with a larger land area than the British Virgin Islands.

The USVI offers three main islands: St Thomas, St John, and St Croix. Beyond these, there are 50 smaller islands you can explore aboard a boat. Begin your yacht charter adventure in Charlotte Amalie, the islands’ capital. Then, island hop between anchorages.

The USVI vs BVI: What’s the Difference?

Climate | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

The USVI and BVI have a tropical climate year-round. Moderated by gentle trade winds, whether it’s during the rainy season or the dry season. This climate status helps visitors to enjoy the islands’ beauty regardless of the time of year.

Language | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

English is the official language of both countries. On the other hand, you may encounter locals who are fluent in Spanish or Creole.

Population | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

The USVI is more densely populated than the BVI, catering to thousands of locals and visitors yearly. However, the islands still offer secluded beaches for those seeking a more laid-back vacation experience.

Residents of the US Virgin Islands hold US citizenship, reflecting the territory’s status as part of the US. Conversely, residents of the British Virgin Islands are UK citizens.

Accessibility | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

Compared to the BVI, the USVI is more accessible to U.S. citizens. Only citizens from other countries need a passport to enter the USVI.

Entry requirements, such as a valid passport, are crucial if you plan to travel to the BVI on day trips.

Note that visitors from overseas to the British Virgin Islands will need a valid passport. Some countries require a visa to ensure a hassle-free travel experience.

Most major US Airlines operate flights to St. Thomas and St. Croix. This helps the BVI, with visitors traveling to St. Thomas and then taking a ferry, water taxi, or puddle jumper flight to the BVI.

Culinary Experiences | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands are also excellent spots for the foodies. On a yacht charter, include a food tour to savor the islands’ local cuisine.

St Croix is the culinary gateway in the USVI. In addition, rum tasting can be fun in the most famous rum distilleries.

For a vibrant experience, head to the beach bars and restaurants in the BVI. Visitors can’t go wrong with iconic spots like the Soggy Dollar and Foxy’s Taboo Bar in Jost Van Dyke.

Island Adventures | British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

Nonetheless, each island welcomes plenty of visitors annually. The US Virgin Islands appeal to those seeking a more vibrant vacation experience combined with shopping and historical sites.

On the other hand, the British Virgin Islands hold a strong reputation for sailing enthusiasts. The pristine waters are perfect for exploration. It is quieter than the USVI, with fewer visitors and a smaller population.

The Destinations


Explore the British Virgin Islands

Tortola

Tortola, the largest island in the BVI, is home to the capital city, Road Town. Experience a yachting paradise on its islands. Additionally, Tortola offers excellent opportunities for hiking and surfing.

While in Cane Garden Bay, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Callwood Rum Distillery. Here, you can observe the process of rum-making and enjoy tasting sessions.

Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke is the smallest among the main islands of the BVI. Swim in the crystal-clear waters and soak up the sun on the pristine shores of White Bay.

Furthermore, Jost Van Dyke has a vibrant beach bar scene, making it the ultimate party destination in the BVI. With stunning beach bars and restaurants, you’ll find yourself dancing, drinking, and reveling in the island’s festive spirit.

Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda is the second-largest island in the BVI. It is famous for its luxurious resorts, making it an ideal destination for honeymoons and romantic charters.

This picturesque island is also home to natural wonders like the Baths and Gorda Peak National Park. Additionally, along your charter journey, indulge in the flavors of the Caribbean amidst breathtaking island scenery at CoCoMaya.

Anegada

Anegada is known for its rich marine and wildlife. Here, you can observe flamingos gracing the beaches and catch a glimpse of rock iguanas on the island.

Explore the US Virgin Islands

St Thomas

Exploring St. Thomas on a yacht charter offers a unique blend of both land and water experiences. Whether paddle boarding on Magens Bay or simply strolling around Charlotte Amalie, your stay will be fun.

Or consider taking the Skyride to Paradise Point, showcasing the aerial views of the surrounding islands.

Don’t overlook Water Island, a charming small island worth exploring during your stay in the US Virgin Islands.

St John

A visit to St John will experience the Virgin Islands National Park, the main attraction. Here, you’ll encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna alongside fascinating wildlife that calls this pristine park home.

St. John is home to world-famous beaches, including Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, and Francis Bay. The island also offers an array of hiking trails and underwater adventures.

St Croix

St Croix is the largest island, with historic forts, sugar mills, and rum distilleries. A few kilometers away, Buck Island is ideal for a private sea adventure.

The island of St. John reflects its Danish influence through its national park, where the remnants of 18th-century buildings stand.

Buck Island
Buck Island

Choose the US Virgin Islands if you don’t have a valid passport

U.S. citizens who stay within the United States while enjoying a tropical getaway must choose USVI. Located in the United States, traveling to the USVI is hassle-free for American citizens.

Choose the BVI if you want to visit more islands.

The British Virgin Islands is the mecca of the Caribbean. It offers more sailing destinations for yacht charters to explore than the USVI.

The BVI is the best option for UK citizens who prefer to travel freely, either for short or long sailing durations.

Read “What is Sailing in the BVI like?” for more details.

FAQs

When is the best time to visit the British Virgin Islands?

The best time to visit the British Virgin Islands is during the dry seasons. However, September to November are the best times to go to the BVI to avoid larger crowds and enjoy lower rates. Spring, particularly during the Regatta season, is popular among sailors.

When is the best time to visit the US Virgin Islands?

Plan your visit to the US Virgin Islands between December and mid-May to make the most of the favorable weather. While Spring brings minimal rainfall, enhancing the fun and safety of water activities.

Can you charter a yacht from the US Virgin Islands and go to the British Virgin Islands?

From St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, charter a yacht to visit the nearby destinations in the British Virgin Islands. Many all-inclusive charters are now sailing in the BVI.

Can you charter a yacht in the British Virgin Islands and go to the US Virgin Islands?

Certainly, the British Virgin Islands abound with sailing opportunities. This allows you to charter a crewed yacht to St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

How do you get between the two countries?

Traveling between the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands can be done by ferry or plane. However, the schedules can be tricky. We recommend a yacht charter, allowing you to explore must-see spots at your own pace.

Visit these Caribbean Islands with BVISAIL!

Begin your Virgin Islands journey with the experts. BVISAIL’s Yacht Charter Brokers will find the perfect yacht and arrange your dream sea escape.

Read more about chartering in the USVI and BVI.


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