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Jost Van Dyke – Small Island, Big Experiences

Jost Van Dyke – Small Island, Big Experiences

Packed with attractions, tiny Jost Van Dyke’s is one of BVI’s “must visits”. By April Glasgow

‘Yes, you can dinghy in, but many of the bay’s visitors jump overboard and swim ashore.’

“Jost Van Dyke is a small island, but big on experiences.”

This is what RaeNisia Scatliffe, BVI Tourist Board regional marketing manager, says about the 3.1 square mile island. “No one can get bored, there’s just always something to do.” In this feature, Scatliffe, along with other JVD faces share the JVD “gems” that visitors and locals alike love about the island

White Bay

If you’re sailing into the southern side of Jost Van Dyke, you’ll see a white, pristine shoreline. That’s where it gets its name. White Bay is one of the island’s most popular beaches for good reason. Not only is the beach good for swimming because the waves are somewhat “broken” by the coral reef which protects the bay, it’s also the go to spot for sailors on day trips who are looking for good food, good fun and good vibes. Popular spots include Hendo’s and Soggy Dollar Bar, named for patrons’ usual form of payment – beach-soaked dollar bills. Yes, you can dinghy in, but many of the bay’s visitors jump overboard and swim ashore. Also on the bay is Ivan’s Campground, ideal for people wanting to sleep in a tent under the stars or in the comfort of a quaint cabin on the beach.

Foxy’s

Even if you’re not from BVI, you may have heard about Foxy’s. Since1968, the beach bar and club in Great Harbour has been a crowd favourite for its cuisine, cocktails and spectacular entertainment. Weekends are the time to sample Foxy’s famous beach BBQ, where you may see the man himself – Sir Foxy Callwood, strumming his guitar barefoot (he never wears shoes) and singing original reggae and folk ballads. And yes, he’s a “sir”, as he was knighted by the Queen of England in 2009, for his work in tourism and preservation.

Foxy’s son Gregory, resident and musician, says Foxy’s is the “party capital of the world”, known for its annual Old Year’s Night celebration, a huge attraction that brings together hundreds of partiers who come to watch international and local musical acts, and ring in the new year with great fun and excitement. The pandemic has put a “pause” on the party, but interested patrons should continue to check out the Foxy’s website (https://foxysbar.com/) for updates on the next big event.

Methodist church

Methodism runs deep in Virgin Islands culture and the Great Harbour Methodist Church is a good reminder of the islands’ history. Damage caused by major hurricanes has left the church only a semblance of its former glory, but it is still a good pit stop for history buffs and religious visitors.

Bubbly pool

Businessman and JVD’s elected representative Honourable Melvin “Mitch” Turnbull, says the entire island is special because it’s “one of the staples of BVI’s tourism product”. But one of his favourite gems is the Bubbly Pool, where “you feel like you’re in a jacuzzi.”

The Bubbly Pool is a natural attraction on Jost Van Dyke’s eastern side. The “pool” is formed by the crashing of waves over and between a rock wall, forming a wading area fit for children and other seawater newbies. You can sit in the pool and enjoy the bubbles, and you’ll definitely want to take photographs of the relaxation spot, and the scenery, along the 20-minute hike to get there.

Little Harbour

The scene is idyllic, with glass-like water framed by lush green hillsides. Little Harbour is a different side of Jost Van Dyke: sailors dock up right next to Sidney’s Peace and Love Bar and relax with a drink in hand as they wait for a scrumptious local dish. Abe’s by the Sea is another Little Harbour restaurant, known for its fresh grilled lobster.

An upcoming gem – Jost Van Dyke Fish Festival

The BVI Tourist Board is gearing up for the first ever Fish Frenzy/Festival on Jost Van Dyke in December. Many of the island’s residents are fishermen, and seafood is the highlight of many of its restaurant menus, so it was a “no-brainer”, says RaeNisia. This new festival will be part of the annual BVI Food Fete celebrations.

While Jost Van Dyke gems can be found in its great restaurants, beautiful scenery and fun events, Scatliffe also says JVD’s hospitality is the real diamond: “the people make it special”.

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