If you’ve seen Kenny Chesney’s music video for “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems”, you’ve got a glimpse of the barefoot island. Over the years its been a haven for pirates, Quackers and now sailors. Between spectacular beaches and popular beach bars, Jost Van Dyke has become a popular destination for yacht charterers.
The island of Jost Van Dyke, one of the four biggest islands in the British Virgin Islands, is named after a 17th century Dutch privateer, Joost van Dyk, who used the island as a hideout. In the 1800’s Jost was used for to grow cotton and had a population of mostly slaves, 397 out of a population of 506. At its peak in 1853, it had a population of 1,235. In the 18th century it became a home for Quakers. Today the permanent population is around 200 and cotton is no longer grown there.
The volcanic island covers 8 square miles. The highest point, Majohnny Hill, is 1054 ft high with stunning 360 degree views. You can hike or drive to the top.
There are four main harbours for yacht charterers on Jost Van Dyke: White Bay, Great Harbour, Little Harbour and Diamond Cay.
You shouldn’t miss White Bay. It’s not an overnight stop as the bay isn’t protected enough but people show up early! Most people stay in nearby Great Harbour or Little Harbour and come over in the morning.
You need to get there early if you want a mooring ball. If not, anchoring is relatively easy in the shallow water.
White Bay has lots of white sand, turquoise water and beach bars. Most famous of the beach bars is Soggy Dollar Bar which is credited for inventing the Pain Killer (a mix of rum, orange juice, cream of coconut and nutmeg.) It’s called Soggy Dollar because you anchor or moor your boat and swim in. Although many dingy in these days and pull the dingy up on the beach. We put the kids on a float, put our books in a dry bag and kick to shore. It’s great fun.
There aren’t a lot of places to stay on Jost van Dyke but there is camping on White Bay as well as several villas for rent. Some people come and spend a week or two here. Once you’ve been there you might too!
There are a lot of pelicans fishing in White Bay. I spent hours trying to get the perfect shot of a pelican swooping down to catch a fish. In spite of seeing hundreds of pelicans do it, I didn’t get any good shots!
Great Harbour is population central for Jost – most of the 200 permanent residents live here. Great Harbour has 5 restaurants, a church, school, library, grocery store, bakery and ice house as well as several small stores.
A couple establishments that you should check out are: (You can see all of them in a quick walk and decide which ones you want to try out.)
Foxy’s. Great music and partying as well as an excellent barbecue. Foxy himself has received a medal as a Member of the Order of the British Empire from her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his contributions to tourism and preservation of the Territory’s culture.
Jost Van Dyke Scuba. This is a dive shop. If you are diving and need any gear or advice, this is the place to go. You can also sign up for dive trips.
Corsair’s is an awesome restaurant. Vinny, the owner, likes to joke and ask people if they know why his conch fritters are so much better than all the rest. “Because they have conch in them!” He gave our six year old a gun and told him to shoot all the lizards – pretending to shoot all the lizards kept him busy until dinner came. As you can see, he took his job seriously. (Vinny is one of the few non BVI residents to own a restaurant in the BVI. He’s originally from Colorado where he owns Tiny Town.)
Christine’s Bakery is a great stop in a morning. Fresh baked banana bread makes a great change from the typical boat breakfast.
Ali Baba’s has a Monday night pig roast.
This is a great alternative to Great Harbour. A quiet anchorage with moorings as well. (There are about 20 mooring balls and we’ve never had a problem getting one.) There are several restaurants like Abe by the Sea if you are looking for dinner or just to buy some ice. Little Harbour is a short cab ride over to the parties in Great Harbour.
The Bubbly Pool is one of those natural phenomenons you shouldn’t miss. You can only see it when the swells and surf are up. Foxy’s Taboo is close by if you need a meal or just a drink.
Diamond Cay has booth mooring balls and good anchorage.
You can get to most major attractions from your yacht. You can also call a cab (Abe’s 1-284-496-8429) or you can walk. You can walk from White Bay to Great Harbour in about 20 minutes.
You can also rent a car. (Paradise Car Rental, 284-495-9477)
Most of you will be sailing there.
You can sail to Jost Van Dyke directly from the US Virgin Islands as it has customs office. There are also ferries from Soper’s Hole on Tortola and from St. John.
Everyone should visit Jost Van Dyke and be barefoot in paradise at least once!