[y] British Virgin Islands Visitors Guide
Jost Van Dyke is what you want, but so rarely get, from an island vacation. Here you’ll have quiet days lounging in a hammock under the palm trees, and lively nights sharing stories with yachties about their travels around the islands. With just 150 residents, and occupying only four square miles this is a perfect Caribbean getaway if you are truly seeking peace and quiet because there is little else to do but soak in the sun on the beaches.
And the beaches outnumber the hotels here, making it the least crowded island in the Caribbean, except when the occasional cruise ship ports. The best beaches and most of the accommodations and restaurants are on the southern side at White Bay and Great Harbour, also where the islands two famous bars, Foxy’s and Soggy Dollar, are located.
And White Bay was noted by Travel + Leisure as one of the best beaches in the world. If you are island hopping, Jost Van Dyke makes a for a great stop with its popular swim-up Soggy Dollar bar and friendly locals.
Getting to Jost Van Dyke
The best way to get to Jost Van Dyke is to fly to St. Thomas, USVI, which is reached via American, Continental, Delta or US Air. From the airport take a cab to Red Hook, on the eastern side of the island, where the ferry departs to Jost Van Dyke.
Ferries from Red Hook depart Friday, Saturday and Sunday, about twice a day. Departure times do not always match those printed, so you may have to wait, or end up taking a private charter if you miss the regularly scheduled ferry.
Privately operated water taxies are a good idea, just make sure to negotiate the price carefully before you depart.
Monday through Thursday, you can take a ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to Tortola’s West End. The ferry from West End, “The When” leaves five times a day and is a 25-minute trip. It cost around $12 each way. The last ferry is at 4:30 p.m. Call the New Horizons Ferry Service (284/495-9278) for information about Tortola ferry services.
Do any shopping or pick up any supplies like sunscreen while on St. Thomas. They have a large shopping district and things are much cheaper.
Once on the island, a car is not necessary. You can walk anywhere in 15 minutes. Jeep rentals are available, but the entire island can be seen on foot in a day.
Hotels will arrange for your transportation when you land on Jost Van Dyke for the quick trip from the docks.
Jost Van Dyke Attractions
Fishing, scuba diving, hiking, snorkeling, sunbathing, sailing and kayaking are all favored activities on Jost Van Dyke. Head down to White Bay or Great Harbour for watersports centers.
SCUBA AND SNORKELING
Much of the water is less than 80 feet deep, making for beautiful viewing of marine life from on a boat. Jost Van Dyke Water Sports operates the local diving spot. They take groups out to dive in the surrounding areas or are available for a private charter. They have scuba diving, snorkeling or site seeing charters.
Fishing around Jost Van Dyke will yield Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphin Fish, Tuna (black and yellowfin), Sailfish, White Marlin and Kingfish. You can throw a line off White Bay or go on out in a boat. Jost Van Dyke Boat Rentals has various boats available from a 12′ inflatable with a 15 horsepower engine to a 26′ Mako with twin 200 horsepower engines. Larger charter boats and rental boats are also available. Or you can rent a dinghy at Sharkey’s Dinghy Rentals and explore the shoreline.
The entire island is covered with nature trails so you can spend a day seeing the entire island on foot.
The Soggy Dollar bar is famous for boaters who will travel from the other islands. They have a menu of lunch selections, but The Soggy Dollar is best known as the home of the “Painkiller”.
Foxy’s is a favorite for many day visitors who come from surrounding islands to tour and hangout. Foxy is always entertaining with his singing or stories. Dinner served seven days a week, is steaks and seafood, and there is always music and dancing.
Jost Van Dyke Weather
Jost Van Dyke has an average temperature of 86 ° in the summer, and 80 ° in the winter. The water temperature, usually 83 ° in the summer, drops to 78 ° in the winter. The average rainfall is 60″, and the rainiest months are May through November.
Where to Eat on Jost Van Dyke
Ali Baba’s (Great Harbour; 284/495-9280), is an open-air veranda near the harbor serving fresh catches like grilled wahoo, kingfish, tuna, and snapper.
Foxy’s Tamarind Bar (Great Harbour; 284/495-9258), is famous in the British Virgin Islands with yachties, mostly due to owner Foxy Callwood who opened this place 30 years ago and creates an entertaining atmosphere with impromptu calypso and live bands and his famous cocktails.
The Sandcastle (at the Sandcastle Hotel, White Bay; 284/495-9888), serves a four-course meal with dishes like mahimahi Martinique (marinated in orange-lemon-lime juice and cooked with fennel, onions, and dill), or grilled Cornish hen marinated in rum, honey, lime, and garlic. Homemade desserts are great, especially the pina-colada cheesecake and a mango mousse.
Abe’s by the Sea (Little Harbour; 284/495-9329), is a local spot for fish, lobster, conch and chicken very popular with the sailors.
Where to Stay in Jost Van Dyke
Most accommodations on the island come with kitchens because they are actually privately owned condos. Sandcastle hotel has received raves from travelers, but wherever you stay it’s a short walk to restaurants and lively bars.
Sandcastle (White Bay; 284/495-9888; sandcastle-bvi.com), has six secluded cottages on a beautiful beach with a beachside bar where you can mix your own drinks or order up the island’s own “Painkiller” from the friendly bartender. The rooms are spacious with a tropical motif and king beds. Snorkeling or hiking is available if hanging under the palm trees in a hammock gets old. There is a restaurant on-site and nightlife is within walking distance.
Sandy Ground Estates (East End; 284/494-3391; sandyground.com) rents two and three-bedroom privately owned apartments on the beach and hillside. All units are fairly large with kitchens and balconies. The staff can help with watersports and hikes.
Sea Crest Inn (White Bay; 284/495-9024 or 340/776-4197; www.bviwelcome.com/seacrestinn/seacrestinn.html;), has beachfront apartments with views of the Great Harbour and is a short hike from White Bay. All units have queen size beds, kitchens, cable TV and air conditioning. Day sailing, sport fishing, power boat cruises to other islands, and island tours can all be arranged by the management.
White Bay Villas (White Bay; 800/778-8066; jostvandyke.com), has six private houses with one, two or three bedrooms, sitting above White Bay. Steps away from the beach, the villas have full kitchens with all cookware and glassware, fantastic views and balconies, gas grill and TV and stereo.