In more than 20 years as a travel writer, Ive visited the British Virgin Islands (BVI) at least twice. It may be three times. Honestly, Ive forgotten. Anyway, those stopovers were all one-day affairs. Each time I was a cruise passenger aboard a ship calling at Road Town in Tortola, the territorys capital.
A single day provides plenty of time for a hike in Sage Mountain National Park or some Road Town shopping and sightseeing. But all these years I could never truthfully say I knew very much about the BVI.
MORE Destination & Tourism
That changed this past week: I joined a small group of reporters for a four-night journey through the BVIs 50-plus islands and cays hosted by the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board. And unlike my first BVI exposures, this time I traveled in a manner befitting the sailing capital of the Caribbean.
Our group sailed the territory aboard two four-cabin, deluxe catamarans provided by Dream Yacht Charter. Each vessel accommodated three writers in small but comfortable, air-conditioned cabins. A captain, chef and first mate (who also piloted the second catamaran) comprised the highly capable crew.
Our trip focused on the launch of Food Fte, a month-long, territory-wide culinary festival now in its sixth year.
Implemented by Sharon Flax Brutus, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Boards director, the increasingly popular foodie festival is the territorys premier promotional event and a terrific opportunity for foodies to experience one of the Caribbeans under-appreciated destinations.
Flax Brutus describes Food Fte as the future of BVI culinary for its focus on creative dishes infused with Caribbean flavor and local, Caribbean-born and international chefs showcasing distinctive fusions.
Now Im far from a food writer. However, I do enjoy food. Thus I couldnt help but note the cuisine I encountered during our tripfrom the food to wine to the cocktailswas uniformly delicious and representative of the regions characteristic blend of African, Caribbean and European gastronomy.
Two gatherings highlighted our Food Fte experience, both of which are open to travelers and residents alike. Gourmet Soiree kicked off the months events with a night of elegant and decadent cuisine at the Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, where our group stayed for one evening before our catamaran excursion.
At the Gourmet Soiree, at which Scrub Island officials also introduced Chloe St-Cyr, the resorts new executive chef, we dined graciously on fare from award-winning local and international chefs, including Adrianne Calvo and Kerry Heffernan.
During dinner I chatted with young local chef Kevin Jones, whose jerk pork belly tacos have created a local sensation following his return to his home territory after two years in the UK.
Two nights later, perfect early evening weather created an ideal environment for A Taste of Tortola, an open-air celebration at Tortolas Queen Elizabeth II Park.
The casual foodie festival featured exceptional local restaurant fare and the best dishes from BVI food trucks and vendors of regional delicacies. Visitors paid $25 per person for free run of the numerous food and drink vendors, while live musical entertainment played throughout. Its a terrific deal.
Personally I enjoyed a unique version of my favorite Caribbean cocktail, a mojito, made with specialty tequila (in place of the traditional rum).
After the drink, I took in one pork belly and johnny cake combo; a slider composed of 40 percent ground beef and 60 percent brisket and topped with wasabi sauce; a magnificent ceviche I still recall; and two slices of sweet potato and coconut pie (as I said, I enjoy food). Then I drank another tequila mojito.
In between the festivals, our group embarked aboard our all-day catamarans tours of BVI resorts and attractions, beginning with Jost Van Dyke, the smallest of the BVIs four main islands (after Anegada, Tortola and Virgin Gorda).
At White Bay, our group shared tropical libations and fresh seafood at casual beachfront eatery Hendos Hideout, and then took a few steps down the beach to the Soggy Dollar for signature painkiller rum cocktails.
We also called at Richard Bransons legendary Necker Island, still in recovery from the late 2017 Caribbean hurricanes.
While some work remains to be done, (the official re-opening is set for April), the island remains extraordinary.
Necker is a combination of a deluxe luxury resort with sumptuous accommodations featuring Balinese-style furnishings; with a dedicated animal reserve for threatened flamingos and lemurs; plus a sports-and-adventure themed getaway with premium tennis facilities and guided kite-surfing in its blue windward waters.
Later we wound around to The Baths National Park on Virgin Gordas north shore. We trekked in between and around The Baths massive granite boulders at the beach's edge, a frame for endless Instagram posts.
We also toured the Rosewood Little Dix Bay, the historic Laurence Rockefeller luxury property that was also impacted by the 2017 hurricanes. The 80-room resort on 500 lush acres is slated to re-open in January.
At Norman Island, the catamarans anchored near Willy Ts Floating Bar and Restaurant, a former cargo ship converted into a bar reachable only by boat or water taxi. At various points, some of our group jumped off our catamarans into the cooling blue ocean waters for swimming and snorkeling.
Each day we all reveled in the territorys warm breezes and sunny skies and marveled at the rich blue waters and lush green hillsides we found in nearly every direction.
The four nights seemed to unfold as an extended dream of good food, good weather, good company and good times. Something like four great one-day visits, only infinitely more rich and rewarding.
Here is the original post:
- 5 Caribbean Islands Where You Can Go Beyond the Beach - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
- Caribbean tourism threatened by the region's first cases of COVID-19 - Global Voices - March 5th, 2020
- Is This The Next Big Vacation Spot In The Caribbean? - Forbes - March 5th, 2020
- Cruises and the Coronavirus: What Passengers Need to Know - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
- Why Shares of Royal Caribbean Were Down in February - Motley Fool - March 5th, 2020
- When is Wild Cuba: A Caribbean Journey on TV? - BBC Discover Wildlife - March 5th, 2020
- Cook Like the Chefs on Taste the Islands with New Caribbean Cookbook - Island Origins - March 5th, 2020
- Flycana: Dominican start-up LCC working to be viable in the Caribbean - CAPA - Centre for Aviation - March 5th, 2020
- Caribbean-style roti shop, On the Double, coming this spring to Union Market. - PoPville - March 5th, 2020
- "The new authentic Caribbean street food eatery and Rhum bar will serve many of the menu items from its acclaimed sister restaurant, Cane Rhum... - March 5th, 2020
- Pirates Of The Caribbean 5: Why Keith Richards Was Replaced By Paul McCartney - Screen Rant - March 5th, 2020
- Royal Caribbean Is Starting To Look Attractive - Seeking Alpha - March 5th, 2020
- Johnny Depp Never Actually Lost His Pirates Of The Caribbean Role - ScreenGeek - March 5th, 2020
- From the Newsroom: Cruising along in the Caribbean - The Columbian - February 29th, 2020
- The Invention of the "Healthy" Caribbean - JSTOR Daily - February 29th, 2020
- The 4 best Caribbean spots in Baltimore - Hoodline - February 29th, 2020
- Import Substitution: Local Fruits And Veggies Can Feed Caribbean Economies - Forbes - February 29th, 2020
- Kamau Brathwaite and the Voice of the Caribbean - The New York Review of Books - February 29th, 2020
- St Maarten Is the Caribbean's Fastest-Growing Destination Right Now - Caribbean Journal - February 29th, 2020
- Faces & Places: Jews of the Caribbean Detroit Jewish News - The Jewish News - February 29th, 2020
- What in the world are those things washing up on Floridas beaches? - TCPalm - February 29th, 2020
- I spent a day on the most beautiful island in the Caribbean and never left my room. It was incredible. - Business Insider - February 29th, 2020
- Cooks from parts of Africa, the US, and the Caribbean share their heritage recipes - The Philadelphia Inquirer - February 29th, 2020
- Silver Airways applies to fly larger aircraft to Caribbean - Flightglobal - February 29th, 2020
- Dominican Republic: first in the Caribbean to use technology for maps of coastal marine habitats - Dominican Today - February 29th, 2020
- Top airports for private aviation in the Caribbean* - Travel Daily News International - February 29th, 2020
- Pirates Of The Caribbean: 10 Things Everyone Missed About Davy Jones - Screen Rant - February 29th, 2020
- More Work Needs to be Done to Develop Caribbean Sports Talent - caribbeannationalweekly.com - February 29th, 2020
- Why Shares of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Delta, and Southwest Plummeted Today - Motley Fool - February 29th, 2020
- Why Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Hertz Global Stocks All Dropped Today - Motley Fool - February 29th, 2020
- Grandfather of child who died on Royal Caribbean ship pleading guilty - Business Insider - Business Insider - February 29th, 2020
- Disney Reportedly Considering Bringing Johnny Depp Back For Pirates Of The Caribbean Reboot - We Got This Covered - February 29th, 2020
- Grandfather of 1-year-old who fell to her death from Royal Caribbean cruise ship to plead guilty - USA TODAY - February 29th, 2020
- Petition To Bring Johnny Depp Back To Pirates Of The Caribbean Almost At Its Goal - We Got This Covered - February 29th, 2020
- Caribbean & Mexico Vacation Packages - All Inclusive Resorts ... - January 27th, 2020
- From Pakistan to the Caribbean: Curry's journey around the world - CNN - January 27th, 2020
- Cat sails the waters of the Caribbean since she was a kitten - Metro.co.uk - January 27th, 2020
- Reimagining the Caribbean's identity - Dominican Today - January 27th, 2020
- Women Who Made Their Mark on Caribbean Music to Headline Best of The Best Music Fest - South Florida Caribbean News - January 27th, 2020
- 15 Luxurious All-Inclusive Resorts In The Caribbean (That Are Cheaper Than You Thought) - TheTravel - January 27th, 2020
- Buy Royal Caribbean Even Though Coronavirus Fears Are Slamming the Stock, Scott Black Says - Barron's - January 27th, 2020
- Family of toddler who fell to her death off a cruise ship says Royal Caribbean provided a 'false narrative' - Wink News - January 27th, 2020
- Harry Potter Star Reportedly Eyed To Lead Pirates Of The Caribbean Reboot - We Got This Covered - January 27th, 2020
- Sally's: The Team Behind Sally Roots Brings Asian-Influenced Caribbean Food to Bed-Stuy - BKLYNER - January 27th, 2020
- Zac Efron Rumored To Play Jack Sparrow In "Pirates of the Caribbean" Reboot - Inside the Magic - January 27th, 2020
- 15 Under-The-Radar Caribbean Destinations Better Than Turks And Caicos - TheTravel - January 27th, 2020
- PAHO Director urges Caribbean to Prepare for Early Detection of Coronavirus - caribbeannationalweekly.com - January 27th, 2020
- Religious keep momentum of Amazon synod alive in wider Latin American, Caribbean region - Global Sisters Report - January 20th, 2020
- Royal Caribbean: Grandfather 'reckless' in toddler death: report - Fox Business - January 20th, 2020
- Mottley warns of attempts to divide the Caribbean - Jamaica Gleaner - January 20th, 2020
- Mix up financing to better protect Caribbean, say experts - World - ReliefWeb - January 20th, 2020
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 10 Best Jack Sparrow Quotes - Screen Rant - January 20th, 2020
- St. Thomas named one of Caribbean's best fishing destinations - Virgin Islands Daily News - January 20th, 2020
- 10 unexpected foods to eat on the Caribbean island of Curacao - USA Today 10Best - January 18th, 2020
- Dominica Is the Fastest Growing Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean Region Thanks to Booming Tourism and Citizenship by Investment, UN ECLAC... - January 18th, 2020
- A busy year in the Caribbean: Elections - Global Americans - January 18th, 2020
- I spent a day on Richard Branson's private island in the Caribbean. It was as spectacular as you can imagine. - Business Insider - January 18th, 2020
- From Vision to Action: Latin American and Caribbean Cities Ready for a Paradigm Shift in Road Safety - TheCityFix - January 18th, 2020
- PHOTOS: Disney Reveals Sneak Peek at February's Pirates of the Caribbean Minnie Mouse: The Main Attraction Line - wdwnt.com - January 18th, 2020
- Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean - Maps and ... - January 15th, 2020
- New Thoughts on the Colonization of the Caribbean - Archaeology - January 15th, 2020
- Stony coral tissue loss disease is sweeping through Caribbean reefs. Can these students find the answers? - News@Northeastern - January 15th, 2020
- Study puts the 'Carib' in 'Caribbean,' boosting credibility of Columbus' cannibal claims - University of Florida - January 15th, 2020
- The Rhythm Lounge & Grill is offering live music and Caribbean-inspired food at Marketplace Maill - Winston-Salem Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Church Shares Caribbean Culture to Build Local Connections - WGLT News - January 15th, 2020
- The face of reparations - Caribbean Life - January 15th, 2020
- Warming Climate Causes Dengue Fever Outbreak in Caribbean Leading to Almost 1400 Deaths in the Last Year - One Green Planet - January 15th, 2020
- Curtain Bluff, an All-Inclusive Caribbean Classic, Is Better Than Ever - Caribbean Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Leonardo DiCaprio saves man who fell overboard in the Caribbean - Consequence of Sound - January 15th, 2020
- Leonardo DiCaprio helps save man who fell overboard in the Caribbean - CBS News - January 15th, 2020
- Hilton Is Opening a New Caribbean Resort in St Kitts - Caribbean Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Win trip to the Caribbean by getting fit at F45 Training Tysons - Patch.com - January 15th, 2020
- Reflecting on 2019 and Caribbean finance | Business - Jamaica Gleaner - January 15th, 2020
- Latin American and Caribbean economies to grow 1.8 percent in 2020 - Global Americans - January 15th, 2020
- Can Bees Add a Fresh Buzz to the Caribbean's $56 Billion Tourism Market? - OZY - December 13th, 2019
- Revealed: how the Caribbean became a haven for Jews fleeing Nazi tyranny - The Guardian - December 13th, 2019
- Curtain Bluff, Antigua: laid-back luxury in the Caribbean - The Week UK - December 13th, 2019
- Spices of the Winter Gala celebrates Caribbean culture - The Ticker - December 13th, 2019
- When the Caribbean Islands became home to hundreds of thousands of Jews escaping persecution - Face2Face Africa - December 13th, 2019
- Bella Hadid went braless under a sheer halter top during her trip to the Caribbean - Business Insider - December 13th, 2019