Soak up every shade of the color in the dramatically beautiful British Virgin Islands
The 10-seater prop jet flies low enough over the waters off San Juan to see the blue Caribbean waters below. But keep an eye out the windows (and your mind off the bouncing and bumping) and watch for the change. Something somewhat magical happens during the 45-minute flight that takes visitors beyond the U.S. territories and into the British Virgin Islands.
Bordered by the Caribbean on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north, the BVI blends the best of both waters into shades of blue that almost defy description. The most vivid is in the deep, where synonyms of sapphire and royal blue come to mind. Streaks of cyan mark the shallow spots, and variations of crystal and turquoise lap at the beaches of rugged outcroppings that make up this string of tropical retreats. Add to the palette the cloudless, azure sky, and it’s a wonder the Crayola company hasn’t produced an entire collection of just BVI blues. Prop jets from Puerto Rico land in Tortola, the main embarkation point for boats sailing off to one of more than 50 islands that make up the BVI. More than a dozen are uninhabited, while some, such as Virgin Gorda, feature small communities where life revolves around the water. One destination that combines luxury with seclusion is Scrub Island, a 10-minute speedboat ride from the Tortola airport.
What luck to have landed on Scrub the weekend the world went mad over COVID-19! Yes, the island has television and internet access, but what happens on the rest of the planet seems blissfully distant from this tiny spot in the stunning sea. Life here is centered on ones: a one mile-long ring road, one Marriott resort, one marina, one broad expanse of white-sand bathing beach and one idyllic escape from reality. The only thing guests are required to do is to fall into the pace of island life and unwind.
That’s quickly done in one of the resort’s 52 guest rooms, 55 boat slips or 11 villas, ideal for groups and families with two to six bedrooms and upscale trimmings (outfitted gourmet kitchens, private plunge pools, spaquality bathrooms, multiple decks and porches). One small but well-stocked market, complete with deli counter, bakery and wine selection, can provide cooks with options, but the resort’s two restaurants easily keep guests sated while they kick back at tables with sweeping ocean views.
Visitors who need more activity than soaking up the sun or coming up with different words for “blue” can pick up paddles and head out in kayaks to explore the pristine beaches of nearby islands. Boat charters ferry guests on day trips to check out the best spots for swimming and snorkeling. And a boutique spa, set on the edge of cliff overlooking the sea, offers a range of pampering experiences to fill an entire day.
Scrub and its neighboring islands do boast one unfortunate shade of blue. It’s the sinking feeling that overtakes travelers who have to board that prop jet and watch the BVI blues fade into the distance as they head back to reality.
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.