More than 60 islands, rocks, sand banks and reefs of the most varied sizes form the British Virgin Islands, an archipelago located about 100 km east of Puerto Rico. They are located between the 64th and 65th degree of west longitude and between the 18th and 19th degree of north latitude. Yet only 21 are permanently inhabited and a dozen are under private ownership.
With the exception of Anegada, a coral and limestone atoll, they are all of volcanic origin and came into being approx. 25 million years ago. The islands are mountainous and Mount Sage on Tortola has the highest elevation at 543 metres above sea level.
With a total area of 153 square kilometres, 54 square kilometres alone are allotted to the main island of Tortola that is 20 km long and 5 km wide.
In total 20,000 inhabitants live on the islands; 16,000 on Tortola, 3,000 on Virgin Gorda and 200 on Jost van Dyke.
Tortola’s most beautiful beaches are on the north-west coast, starting with Brewers Bay, the popular 2.5 km long Cane Garden Bay, Apple Bay, the famous Long Bay Beach and the somewhat tucked away Smuggler’s Cove.
There are no beaches in and around Roadtown. In return there are scores of unmatchable, beautiful beaches on the neighbouring islands, e.g. “White Bay” on Jost van Dyke, “Deadman’s Bay” on Peter Island and “Devil’s Bay” on Virgin Gorda.
Wind and sailing conditions in the British Virgin Islands: constant trade winds. Southeasterly in the summer at 3-4 on the Beaufort scale and northeasterly in the winter at 4-6 on the Beaufort scale. Short distances, easy visual navigation.
The British Virgin Islands climate chart:
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Copyright for all pictures: Caribbean Tourism Organisation