Living In The British Virgin Islands Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean east of Puerto Rico is the British Virgin Islands, a UK overseas territory famous for its status as an offshore financial service center. If you’re looking to explore an Island territory, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit the British Virgin Islands.
But technically speaking, the British Virgin Islands are part of the British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, and they are, thus vested, and relied upon the Queen. In fact, all citizens, regardless of their origin, are considered Europeans, thereby making English their official language.
Geographically, these Islands are part of the grandiose Virgin island archipelago set on the boundary of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Besides, most of the Islands, including those inhabited, are known to be volcanic creations with montane land. As result disclosed, we have it that in 2017, the country was hit by Hurricane Irma, with the major island of Tortola suffering the greatest damage.
Although cruisers most commonly visit these islands, but they can also be accessed by air. Meanwhile, the only international airport in the country is located on Beef Island, just off the eastern shore of Tortola and connected to it via a bridge. At the same time, there are also two smaller airports.
Have you been surfing the internet to get the right information about living in the British Virgin Islands? Look no further as we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will walk you through the pros and cons of living in the British Virgin Islands. Not only is that, but we have compiled the valuable things you need to know about this territory. Would you love to see what we have for you? Read further to get a glimpse.
10 Interesting facts about Living in the British Virgin Islands
Living in the British Virgin Islands could be among your best decision this year. In the beginning, we will explain better some interesting facts you need to know. But, in the long run, you’ll understand why this territory seems to be the next expat’s destination. Without further ado, below are the fun facts.
1. Expats Won’t Get Bored Here
Home to several islands, you won’t have anything that’d get you bored while living in this place as an expatriate. In fact, there are many things to explore as it offers the guests a wide variety of vacation accommodation, from luxury resorts and private islands to villas.
Both you and your family or even your friends will enjoy a calm and safe holiday. Besides, you’ll also enjoy a warm welcome from the BVI residents, stunning views of wide bays, clear turquoise waters, the natural beauty of mountains, botanical gardens, and about fifteen National Parks, with world-famous attractions.
2. Best Place to Spend a Honeymoon
Have you ever been wondering the best place to spend your honeymoon with your chosen partner? With the British Virgin Islands’ deserted beaches and secluded coves, the islands are the embodiment of romance and just the perfect place for a romantic date or even a sentimental walk in the rays of the setting sun. Moreover, many hotels and villas offer special wedding tours.
That being said, Newlyweds can also indulge in a yacht charter with an experienced crew and enjoy the unforgettable charm of the open sea. More so, weddings are easily arranged in the British Virgin Islands because most of the hotels and villas assist in their implementation and obtaining a marriage license.
3. Home to a Beautiful Flag
This territory’s flag is exciting! It’s a blue flag with the British flag and the coat of arms of the British Virgin Islands with St. Ursula and 11 burning lamps. Meanwhile, the civilian flag is the red flag bearing the coat of arms of the British Virgin Island, and it was mainly on the sides of the ships.
And what’s more surprising in these islands than when you see the governor of the British Virgin Islands has a separate flag. In fact, it is a British flag with a coat of arms. This is why we can tell you that the design is similar to the flags of other British Overseas Territories governing bodies.
4. Opportunity to See the USA While Traveling
If you’re traveling to the British Islands, you’ll most probably see the USA. And this is because; there are no direct flights to the British Virgin Islands from Europe or Asia to the local international airport Terrance B. Lettsome.
In that case, you can get to the British Virgin Islands with a transfer in the USA, the Dominican Republic, and several neighboring Caribbean Islands. Also, you can consider it as one of the unique things about British Virgin Island and see countries where you will stop. But we advise you to look closer to the direction of flights to find a more comfortable one.
5. Home to a Calm Weather
The weather is calm, and the climate is tropical marine, trade wind, and very even. Also, research made it known that an average monthly temperature throughout the year varies slightly from +22-24C in winter to +28-29C in summer. And the daily temperatures are also poorly traced.
On a similar note, the most favorable time for a trip to the islands is from mid-December to the end of April. Besides, this period is the peak of the tourist season, so prices are much higher than expected. But from May to August, when the weather conditions are also excellent for sea holidays, you’ll enjoy the British Virgin Islands when you come for a holiday.
6. Home to a Few Population
As of today, or even the time of writing this article, the population of the British Virgin Islands is about 23 thousand people. About 83 percent of the people are descendants of immigrants from the African continent, and the rest are mulattoes, Creoles, and representatives of other ethnic groups of the planet.
On the other hand, the dominant religion is Christianity (Protestants – 36%, Methodists – 33%, Anglicans – 17%, Catholics – 10%, and others), but representatives of other world confessions also live on the British Virgin Islands.
7. You’ll enjoy a Caribbean Style
Living or visiting the British Virgin Islands would give you have a feel of the Caribbean lifestyle. Moreover, most of the buildings in the British Virgin Islands are built in the traditional Caribbean styles, villas are usually built from concrete, and this is why they are characterized by wide verandas, bright colors, and high ceilings.
8. Home to Pirate Hangout
As history disclosed, this British Virgin Island was known to be a pirate hangout. Meanwhile, almost every pirate of the Caribbean spent time in the archipelago that is now a British Overseas Territory. Aside from this fact, Blackbeard supposedly marooned 15 men on an island that has since been given the grim name of Dead Chest. In fact, Norman Island reputedly inspired the classic story of Treasure Island, while no less than five other islands were named for residents.
9. A Bar named After Wet Money
It’s only in the British Virgin Islands that you’ll see a bar that’s named after wet money. Before cruising sailboats were equipped with rubber boats for going ashore, a bar on Jost van Dyke, one of the four main islands in the archipelago, got a strange name. And come time to settle the bill, they reached into their bathing suits that are why the bar was named after the wet money.
10. Home to a Massive Tourist Region
As you may expect in the Caribbean, BVI has one of the most prosperous economies in the Caribbean. And thanks to its thriving tourism sector. That being said, you should know that there are many things to explore in the country. You can even see the country exporting fresh fish, fruits, rum, and many others, to mention a few.
Best Places to Stay in the British Virgin Islands
A long favorite of sailors and seafarers, the British Virgin Islands are a collection of gorgeous isles on either side of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. With verdant interiors, dazzling beaches, and heaps for water-sports enthusiasts to enjoy, the BVI is known to be a fantastic spot and Caribbean destination. In this section, we have compiled the best places. So, let’s quickly walk you through it.
● Peter Island
This is one of the best places suitable for expats to reside on the British Virgin Island. It is a 1,800-acre paradise that’s close to Tortola. Here, you can reserve a beachfront suite, book a 3-bedroom villa or take over the whole island for the ultimate wedding party you crave for. Boasting a marina, a legendary spa, stacks of activities, and bright contemporary décor, this is one of the best places to stay in the country.
● Rosewood Little Dix Bay
This is a gorgeous resort that’s tucked amidst palm trees on a hillside overlooking a striking half-mile stretch of brilliant beach in Virgin Gorda. This place comes with a superb spa, vast array of watersports, lively kids club, and wonderfully secluded location. Besides, it is known to be among the best place suitable for families and couples.
● Guana Island
The Guana Island is an exclusive private island retreat, with just 18 exquisite rooms and villas. Not only is that, but there are also 850 acres to discover, seven beaches, a glorious spa, a plethora of water sports, dining, and many more, to mention a few. It’s home to a secluded escape for just 35 guests founded in 1934 and remains a real BVI icon that’s very romantic.
● Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
This is another place to take into consideration while moving to this country as an expat. This place promises a five-star stay close to Tortola. You can pick this private island for a fabulous spa, wide array of activities, and onsite marina. Not only is that, but it’s great for sailors looking to moor up. Meanwhile, there’s a range of suites and villas with space for couples, groups, or families in up to six bedrooms.
● Necker Island
Hammocks swaying gently above soft white sand, a crow’s nest hot tub perched above an art-filled open-air great room, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy living in this area. For most of the year, Necker is rented out entirely, meaning the only people on the island – besides the friendly staff – are the ones you bring with you. So, you can explore this place if you’re living in the country as an expat.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the British Virgin Islands
Ravishingly beautiful, the British Virgin Islands, in no doubt, encompasses more than 60 islands, scattered like emeralds between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic. As history disclosed, the British planters took over the islands from the original Dutch settlers in 1666.
Today, the British Virgin Island remains a territory under the British Crown and is world-renowned for its excellent sailing and yachting and dazzling beaches. Are you wondering why this territory remains the best expat destination today? Worry less, and check out the tourist attractions in the region.
1. Exploring the Baths National Park, Virgin Gorda
The Virgin Gorda Baths are a busy anchorage and one of the British Virgin Islands’ most famous landmarks today. This wonderful bay is scattered with giant granite boulders, creating sea pools and caves perfect for snorkeling, and exploring. However, this place was declared a national park in 1990 to preserve this beautiful boulder-strewn bay.
2. Visiting the Gorda Peak National Park
If you’re looking for a change of pace from all the aquatic activities, Gorda Peak National Park is a great place to visit. Aside from this fact, Gorda Peak National Park is also a great place to visit for some land-based nature.
Meanwhile, it’s also one of the most beautiful spots in the British Virgin Islands for photography. Rich in biodiversity, the park comprises 107 hectares of semi-rainforest, with dry forest cloaking its upper slopes and rare plants flourishing within its borders. This includes six species of native orchids.
3. Exploring the North Sound in Virgin Gorda
The North Sound, on the northeast shore of Virgin Gorda, is a significant water sports center in the country. This area offers well-protected waters and many anchorages, with every kind of boat and water activity available. Some of the ones available include; diving, windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, glass-bottom boats, and trips to secluded beaches.
4. Visiting the White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
The white bay is Jost van Dyke’s most famous beach and one of the most beautiful in all the British Virgin Islands. Expats coming to this place for the first time can Steep hills plunge to this long sweep of dazzling white sand, which is sheltered by a brief reef.
Meanwhile, a channel through the center of the reef allows entrance for the many boats that anchor in the clear turquoise waters. But after a few hours of the sun and sea, you can refuel at one of the convivial restaurants along the beach.
5. Visiting the Smuggler’s Cover Beach
Since this country is an island nation, you should expect to see tons of beaches. Would you love to escape from the busy resort scene in Tortola? If that sounds like a yes, then Smuggler’s Cove, at the westernmost end of Tortola, is among the perfect gateway.
It’s a secluded, sheltered, and relatively undeveloped beach. On the other hand, it merges with an undulating emerald-green headland, making for a picturesque backdrop to your aquatic adventures. Meanwhile, you won’t find any shops, resorts, or restrooms here, but you can purchase snacks and refreshments at a couple of rustic beach shacks along the shore.
6. Exploring the Anegada Island
This is another tourist attraction to explore during your stay in the British Virgin Atlantic. Surrounded by a maze of coral reefs that extends for many kilometers offshore, this beach creates an ideal opportunity for reef and bonefishing. Besides, the island is protected by the Horseshoe Reef, which is one of the largest reef systems in the world.
Aside from this fact, the Anegada is so low that many mariners cannot see the island until caught in the reef, a fate that has caused more than 300 ships to sink off its coast. Not only is that, but there are more wrecks off Anegada than anywhere else in the Caribbean.
7. Visiting the Cane Garden Bay
Can you see why we tell you that the benefits of living in the British Virgin Islands cannot be overemphasized? Shaped like a crescent, cane garden bay Beach is Tortola’s most famous stretch of sand. Also, it is backed by steep green hills, and they are sheltered from winds inside the barrier reef.
If you want a less crowded cane garden Bay experience, you can try to avoid heading here on days when the cruise ships are in port. Meanwhile, the beach is a busy anchorage, with numerous opportunities for snorkeling and water sports.
8. Visiting Rhone National Maritime Park
The Rhone National Marine Park is the only national marine park in the British Virgin Islands that owes its existence to a shipwreck. As of today, we can tell you that the wreck is one of the best diving sites in the Caribbean for intermediate to advanced divers. Not only is that, but you can swim inside the coral-encrusted steel among schools of soldierfish, snapper, grunts, and parrotfish.
However, the marine park also encompasses two coral caves, 26 meters below the sea’s surface, and Blonde Rock, another prime diverse site with overhangs, caves, tunnels, and abundant marine life. And you’ll not be bored while living in this country as an expatriate.
9. A vacation to the Sandy Cay
Sandy Cay is the quintessential desert island known in the British Virgin Islands as the all-beach island. The water here is deep, almost until the shore, and they are excellent for snorkeling and kayaking thanks to the fringing reefs on both the north and south sides of the island.
However, several mooring buoys make it easy for boaters to come ashore there. On land, expat can hang out with the hermit crabs, enjoy a picnic, and explore the short hiking trails with cliff-side vistas.
10. Exploring the Peter Island
Only 6.5 kilometers south of Road Town, this Peter Island is the largest private island in the British Virgin Islands. It is a rich history, featuring famous explorers, pirates, and slave traders. Meanwhile, in 1978, a keen sailor purchased it and established the luxury Peter Island Resort & Spa.
As of today, this island remains mostly underdeveloped but the shores of Deadman’s Bay and Sprat Bay, where the resort and the Peter Island Marina are located. Also, the island offers excellent diving and snorkeling sites, five beaches, and trails for hiking and biking.
Frequently Asked Questions about BVI
Can I live in BVI as a British citizen?
If you’re wondering how to move to the British Virgin Islands, it’s important to note that foreigners wishing to reside in the territory, even citizens of the UK, must ask formal permission to stay. So, have it in mind that more extended stays must be approved by the BVI Immigration Department (located in Road Town Tortola).
What is the official language of BVI?
The official and most widely spoken language in the Virgin Islands is English. In fact, the literacy rate in the Virgin Islands is around 90-95. Meanwhile, it’s common to hear French Creole and Spanish speakers, particularly on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Can the British work in BVI?
Of course, the answer is a yes. All persons not deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands, not holding a valid certificate of residence, or exempted from a work permit are required to have a valid work permit to engage in gainful employment in the Virgin Islands.
Anyone who lives on the British Virgin Islands pays no tax on income. And this should be among the first things that’d lure you into relocating to this country. The economy is mainly supported by the tourism and off-shore finance sectors, and the economy is one of the strongest in the Caribbean. So, what are you waiting for? Apply for a visa now, and check what the territory has to offer.