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Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke was one of the islands discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and received its name ‘in honor’ of a notorious Dutch pirate!  Just 5 miles to the northwest of Tortola and 7 miles northeast of St Thomas, this small volcanic masterpiece – it’s only about 8 square miles in total –is the absolute epitome of a laid-back Caribbean gem. The only way to get here is by boat.

If you want gentle swaying palms, glorious views, pristine white beaches and a completely unhurried outlook on life – then Jost Van Dyke fits the bill to perfection.  

There’s not much on Jost Van Dyke – that’s the point of it. 

At the last count there were only 222 permanent residents – not that anybody bothers to count very much – and they didn’t get electricity until 1991 and roads until 1996.  What there is here, though, is, quite simply, magical.

The amazing picture-postcard hamlet of Great Harbour – the commercial hub of the island would be overstating it, but it’s where the administration building and the school are – and White Bay beach are the most established places.  

Great Harbour is sheltered by some very small volcanic mountains and a large reef just off the beach and, as well as its five restaurants it has a number of small stores and boutiques.  More especially, though, it’s the home of Foxy’s Tamarind Bar and Grill – the beach bar that is second to none anywhere in the Caribbean. 

‘Foxy’s’ is renowned for its sumptuously fresh fish – have a flying fish sandwich or a lobster here and you’ll never experience the like again- as well as its parties, which attract visitors from all over the islands.  

White Bay has an outstanding white sandy beach; so outstanding, in fact, that it was selected as one of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s 10 best in the Caribbean.  You’ll also find some restaurants, a small hotel and a few other places here in what is simply the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling or just lying in a hammock and remembering that this is why you work for the rest of the year!  

Amazingly, painkillers were invented in White Bay.  Well, there’s the local specialty drink known as the Painkiller, anyway.  This frozen concoction consists of dark rum – lots of it -, pineapple juice, orange juice, sweetened coconut cream known as Coco Lopez, and fresh nutmeg – all cunningly designed to make you never want to leave the island again!

 

The painkiller was ‘invented’, probably as a result of many years of meticulous research, at the Soggy Dollar Bar – so-named because sailors used to swim or wade ashore and then pay for their drinks with – you guessed it – a soggy dollar.  There’s also the Stress Free Bar in White Bay – which is just about the best place in the world for a bar with that name.  

Don't miss this place, it's a 'must see'!

Little Harbour, famous for its lobster feasts, and Diamond Cay, with the Bubbly Pool, a natural sea water jacuzzi, are popular, but even smaller, spots to find on Jost van Dyke.

There aren’t many roads here – but those that do exist just lead from one idyllic site to another.

Wherever you are staying in the Virgin Islands, make sure you don’t pass up on the chance to visit Jost Van Dyke – it really is a paradise island.


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