There is so much to do aboard your crewed charter but sometimes it’s just nice to get off the boat and stretch your legs or get to the top of an island for a stunning view! There are so many nice trails that make for a good hike, run or walk. Below we’ve listed our favorite hikes in the BVI and a couple on St John.
A sturdy pair of running shoes is adequate for most hikes but be sure to bring plenty of water. The hikes are usually done either early in the day or later in the afternoon. The midday Caribbean sun can be brutal.
Your crew will generally be happy to walk with you unless they are preparing for meal service. They can usually explain some of the local flora and fauna found on the hikes. There are several small creatures but nothing bigger than a goat or an iguana. There are also no poisonous snakes on the islands so nothing to worry about as you take your stroll.
If you’re someone who still enjoys having a book in hand then here are two guides for hiking the Virgin Islands. The first guide has been designed by a local BVI hiker. The second is a broader guide that also encompasses both BVI and the USVI.
I’m going to start with a doozie, but trust me this one is worth it. From Peter Island Marina take the road heading towards Dead Man’s Beach. At the split stay to the right and head up the hill. There is a steep and steady climb on a paved road at the beginning of this trail. It’s tough but at the top of
the hill is a water station and a bench. Peter Island Resort does a great job of making sure the water cooler is full of cold water. The rest of the walk turns into an unpaved road with beautiful views of the BVI. At the far end of the 2.5mi walk sits another water station and colorful Adirondack chairs that make for great pictures.
The hike on Norman also offers great views. The trail begins behind Pirate’s Bight Restaurant. The trail splits at one point. Take the trail to your left and you will head to the top of the hill. On your way up you’ll have a beautiful view of The Bight and your boat if that is where you are anchored. Once you get to the top you can look down on Moneybay. If you look really closely you’ll see lots of turtles feeding in the shallow waters below. From here you can either take a right that leads in a circle around the island and back to the Pirate’s Bight or you can take a left and take a trail that leads to the view over Benures’ Bay. There are a couple of paths off to the left for yet another circle back to The Bight. There are lots of options up here but it’s pretty hard to get lost.
Jost Van Dyke
Bubbly Pool – On the right side of Foxy’s Taboo on the East end of Jost Van Dyke you’ll find a trail that runs alongside the lagoon. Keep an eye out, quite often you’ll see baby reef sharks out there feeding. Keep an eye out for a marker to take a little left into the brush. The trail has been marked over the years
so it is usually pretty easy to stay on. The Bubbly Pool itself is a cut in the volcanic rock that allows the swell to roll in creating a natural jacuzzi.
Walk from Great Harbour to White Bay or to Little Harbour– If the boat is moored in Great Harbour you have the option to walk to White Bay taking the little road to the left. Be sure to Painkiller up at Corsair’s before you begin your walk and again at Soggy Dollar when you get there. The same distance in the opposite direction is another nice walk. Starting on the right side of Foxy’s and going up and over the hill brings you to Sidney’s Peace and Love or Harris’s for a rum punch.
This short but steep hike takes you to the top of Guana. You’ll have to have your crew drop you off on a little dock at the base of a cliff. There you’ll see a set of stairs that will take you to the top of the cliff. This is a great place to view the sunset or watch for whales during their winter migration.
Sage Mountain – A short cab ride will bring you to the entrance of the park. Sage Mountain is 1716 ft above sea level and the highest point in the BVI. The altitude and dense tropical forest keep the temperature cooler and a bit refreshing. There are three hiking trails, North, South and Central and all three meet at an old Fig tree on the far side of the park. The National Park has markers identifying several of the trees, plants, and flowers. Allow about 2hours to explore this beautiful park.
Walk to the Callwood Rum Distillery – Get dropped off at the dock in front of Rymer’s in Cane Garden Bay. Walk to the road and take a right. You’ll have a cute leisurely stroll through town. About a ½ mile down the road you’ll see Callwood’s on your left. There is a small fee but they will give you a tour of the factory that still makes rum just as they did 200 years ago.
*Several of Virgin Gorda’s hikes are still not available due to their destruction from Irma. We will have those back up when we hear they are available again.
The Baths – The Bath’s are truly the stand out of the BVI. Though they have yet to be designated a UNESCO site they are a stunning natural beauty. Mammoth granite boulders cascade onto the water’s edge leaving pools of water and caverns to explore beneath the rock. This is one of the greatest benefits your crewed yacht charter can provide. It can be difficult to get through the trail during high season. Cruise ships drop their guests off in mass numbers. However, your crew can make sure that you see them before the crowds arrive or after they have left for the evening.
All of that being said if you are dropped off at the top of the Bath’s then a trail will lead you down to the beach. (You could also swim in or be dropped off by dinghy depending on sea state) From here you’ll see a sign to Devil’s Beach that will lead you through a hole in the rocks. There is an obvious path through but it’s more fun to take some time and wander in all the little nooks. You’ll pop out on Devil’s Beach. Take some time to look at the rocks. Just like looking at clouds as a kid you can see objects in the rocks. There is a whale and a skull…be creative.
A lot of our charters begin and end in the US Virgin Islands with the first or last night spent near St John. St John is a hikers island and it’s a great place to see wild donkey’s, painted tortoises and small island deer. There are even some Petroglyphs on the Reef Bay Trail that date back to 1AD.
The National Parks Service has a great site with all the trails. We list our two favorite hikes below but this a great island to spend some time hiking on so check out the National Parks website for more info or ask your crew for advice on their favorite trails.
The Reef Bay Trail
The Reef Bay Trail can be considered strenuous. It’s rocky and steep so good shoes are a must. Not a hike for flip flops. Also, pack a little backpack with water and a little snack as well. Don’t forget the camera! Take a quick cab to the top of the trail. From here you’ll walk down the almost 3 mile trail. At one point you’ll come across a sign for the petroglyphs, it’s a little side shoot from the main trail. The glyphs are at the base of a waterfall. Depending on how much rain the islands have been getting will decide how
impressive the waterfall is. You might recognize one of the petroglyphs as the symbol of St John. Continuing back to the main trail you keep heading down and will find the old Reef Bay Rum Factory. Just a little bit further you’ll come to the beach. Time to stop for a rest and to build up strength to hike back up!!
The second walk doesn’t have a name but it starts at Leinster Bay and then you work your way to Francis Bay stopping at Annaberg Sugar Plantation. It’s an out and back so you can go either direction. Pick up the trail behind Leinster, where you’ll walk along the water to the road. At the road, there is a parking lot for Annaberg Sugar Plantation take a left to walk around the Plantation. After you’ve viewed the plantation you can rejoin the road turning left and you’ll walk under a bunch of Maho, Mangrove and Manchineel Trees. Take care if it’s raining as the sap from the Manchineel tree is poisonous and its sap can burn you. At the stop sign veer right and you’ll end up at Francis Bay. Turn around and head back to your boat!
Contact us to find out which boats have crews that love to hike!