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Throw Out Stress – Try the VI Ferry System

This season discover the beauty of St. John, Tortola, Jost
Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada for just the price of a ferry ticket. Grab
your backpack – I’m going to show you the Virgins – the laid back way –
camping!

Let’s start our trip in St. Thomas – enjoy the lovely waterfront
of Charlotte Amalie and visit Coral World & the undersea aquarium, close to
Redhook, where your adventure begins. Don your hat, lotion up and purchase a
ferry ticket to St. John, which runs hourly (always buy 1-way tickets as plans
change). The trip over to St. John is a great introduction to the Caribbean way
of life, gentle breezes and aqua water.

St. John is
beautiful and lush. 75 % of the island is a national park with a choice of
campgrounds. At Cinnamon Bay campers select from bare sites, canvas tents, and
screened shelters. At Maho Bay, enjoy screened tent cottages, connected by a
network of raised boardwalks. See the island – open-air taxis go everywhere and
are inexpensive. As there are many beaches, wear your swimsuit with a shirt
& shorts over it. These are not the French islands so remember to dress
conservatively. Take your time and enjoy St. John then check the BVI ferry
schedules.

All islands
in the BVI have spectacular beaches that are public domain up to the high water
mark. Water sports locations are available and bicycling is a popular sport
with bike rentals available. Each of the islands has its’ own set of small mountain
ranges (great for hiking) with picnic tables and restroom facilities. Parks are
maintained by the National Parks Trust of the BVI.

My suggestion is to take a ferry to
West End, Tortola, the largest island in the BVI. Bring your passport to clear immigration. Upon arrival
get a copy of THE WELCOME MAGAZINE ( www.bviwelcome.com).
It is loaded with information – events, where to stay, eat & shop. Take the
next ferry to JVD (Jost Van Dyke). Hike to White Bay Campground at White Bay on JVD, a real winner and
one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Ivan Chinnery, a local
authority on flora and fauna, is the owner and will really help you get
settled.

After exploring JVD take the ferry
back to Tortola. You will find excellent campgrounds on the northeast side of
the island. Brewers Bay, a long curving bay, has a small beachside campsite
with plenty of shade. On the way stop at Carrot Bay, the site of good local
bars & restaurants then continue on to Cane Garden Beach.

Another nice beachside campsite is
at Josiah’s Bay. Long Bay and East End have nice beaches, but no camping. The BVI does not have the best
bus system but you can safely hitch-hike as people are very friendly and take
great pride in their island. Although there is relatively low crime, don’t
invite it by bringing valuables with you.

Several private ferry companies
service the island of Virgin Gorda – again, just buy a one way ticket – you
have no idea when you want to leave. Fares between Tortola
St. John are approximately $20 adult
(Children 3 – 11 $14.) Fares from Tortola to Virgin Gorda are approximately $10
adult. Fares from Tortola (West End) to Jost Van Dyke are approximately $10
adult.

A trip to Anegada takes a little
more planning but is a wonderful option. There are campgrounds and inexpensive inns on these islands – just ask
the taxi drivers when you arrive and they will take you.

So hop out of your holiday blues and
head for the nearest ferry. Treat yourself – visit the US & British Virgin
Islands and feel renewed.

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