WHERE CAN I CRUISE?
Charting Your Course.
Planning where to go and what stops to make are half the fun! There are many anchorages and many ways to sail the Virgins. Browse this section and click on the links in the text and on the charts to learn about some of the anchorages and interesting things to see.
We've also suggested a 7-night and a 10-night itinerary, that may be helpful in planning your trip.
Be sure to get a Cruising Guide to the Virgins to learn more details about the places you will visit. Our advice is to plan a relaxing trip and don't try to see everything. There's always next year.
U.S. Customs & Immigration offices are located in Charlotte Amalie at the ferry terminal on the waterfront (about a 10 minute walk from CYOA's base).
MARINAS: Crown Bay Marina, Yacht Haven Marina, American Yacht Harbor, Sapphire Marina
NO PUBLIC MOORINGS
ST THOMAS IS HOME OF CYOA YACHT CHARTERS and a great jumping off point to the U.S. and British Virgins. Our base in Frenchtown is near excellent gourmet restaurants, pub-style eateries and downtown Charlotte Amalie world class duty-free shopping. Spend a night on the dock or anchored nearby to enjoy the sights and lights of our busy Caribbean port. Some of the largest cruise ships in the world, the wildest party boats, and most elegant mega-yachts are part of the picturesque harbor.
If you need some last minute supplies, Crown Bay Marina is close by and has a full gourmet grocery, marine store and beauty salon. You don't have to worry if you "forgot something" - St Thomas has everything from trail mix to rib eye steaks, and bikinis to gold watches.
Water Island, the "4th Virgin", is in our neighborhood and has a pleasant anchorage at Honeymoon Bay. There's a quiet swimming beach and for the athletes, this island is great for walking, jogging and running, since there is no commercial traffic and only small paved roads.
GREAT ST. JAMES
PUBLIC MOORINGS: About 20 free public moorings
PLAN A FIRST OR LAST NIGHT stop in Christmas Cove. It is a short distance from our base and has pleasant swimming and snorkeling. It's a great location for a sunrise breakfast or sunset cocktails in the cockpit of your own boat.
U.S. Customs & Immigration offices are located in Cruz Bay, directly across the channel from the National Park Headquarters.
Dinghy fuel available at Caneel Bay dock in Cruz Bay
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Caneel Bay, Hawksnest, Maho Bay, Francis Bay, Leinster Bay, Salt Pond, Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur, and Cinnamon Bay.
MOST OF ST JOHN IS NATIONAL PARK. There are excellent anchorages on the North and South sides of the island. Cruz Bay has a U.S. Customs & Immigration office for clearance purposes, and Cruz Bay has some of the best shops in the Caribbean (Be sure to visit Mongoose Junction, especially if you like artistic and exotic things). There is a variety of restaurants from fancy gourmet to ethic mix, Italian, Tex Mex, Pizza and pubs galore. Take your pick. On a busy might you may need reservations at some places - if you didn't plan ahead, just wander down the small streets to the next place. The town is tiny and most places are no more than a block off the waterfront.
Leinster Bay is a well protected anchorage with great snorkeling around Waterlemon Cay. The Annaberg Ruins are of historical and cultural interest. Caneel, Maho, and Francis Bays are also beautiful spots on the north side as long as the north swell is not up. On the south side, visit Salt Pond or Lameshur Bays, Hurricane Hole, or Coral Bay (where very laid back locals and funky bars are what 's up). You sense island time here, so kick back and go with the flow...as a matter of fact go with the flow throughout the islands. You are on vacation and island time is a real t'ing mon!
JOST VAN DYKE
BVI Customs & Immigration offices are located in Great Harbour near the public dock.
MARINAS: North Latitude Marina (fuel, water, ice - NO DOCKAGE)
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Great Harbour, Little Harbour and Diamond Cay
IT IS EASY TO CLEAR BVI CUSTOMS and Immigration at Great Harbour. The office is located right on the beach and a short walk down a sandy path brings you to Foxy's Bar. Around the next bend you'll find Little Harbour. Dine and dance, eat lobster at Harris' Place or Sydney's.
Snorkel and swim at Green Cay or Sandy Cay right off Jost. These little islands are the ones you dream about (paradise found) with white sands and a few palms for shade, and a perfect lunch stop on your way to Cane Garden Bay or points further east.
BVI Customs & Immigration offices are located in West End at the ferry terminal.
MARINAS: Soper's Hole Marina, Nanny Cay Marina, Village Cay Marina, Marina Cay (fuel and water, no dockage)
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Cane Garden Bay, Fat Hogs Bay, Trellis Bay, West End, Marina Cay
THIS IS THE LARGEST BVI ISLAND and Roadtown is the main town. You'll find several good grocery stores and a few shops with unique merchandise.
West End Tortola is the place to clear in and out of BVI Customs & Immigration if not doing so on Jost Van Dyke. There's a marina with many shops, Pusser's Restaurant, and the Jolly Roger pub is nearby.
On the south side, you may spend a night in Fat Hogs Bay. There's a good grocery store, a marine store, and dive shop. On the north side of the island, a stop at Cane Garden Bay is always fun, and if you are here for full moon and want a wild evening out, the Bomba Shack is the spot (take a taxi from Cane Garden Bay).
Heading east you'll pass Guana Island, and Monkey Point (a great lunch and snorkel spot). Plan to spend a night at Trellis Bay and dine at Da Loose Mongoose (Sunday is BBQ and music night) or the famous Last Resort (every night is a show that is unique, and they are famous for their singing chef - check in on the VHF or go ashore to make a reservation. There is only one seating). If you don't stop in Trellis Bay, head to Marina Cay where there is a lively Pusser's Restaurant, or just across on Scrub Island, you'll find quieter dining (see below).
NORTH OF TORTOLA
Heading east along the north side of Tortola you'll pass Guana Island and Monkey Point (a great lunch and snorkel spot). Plan to spend a night at Trellis Bay off Beef Island and dine at Da Loose Mongoose (Sunday is BBQ and music night) or the famous Last Resort (every night is a show that is unique with full buffet dinner - check in on the VHF or go ashore to make a reservation and confirm the time. There is only one seating).
MARINA: fUEL, WATER, ICE, NO DOCKAGE
If you don't stop in Trellis Bay, head to Marina Cay where there is a lively Pusser's Restaurant. While here, be sure to visit the historic Robb White house on top of this lovely 8 acre island, where the porch bar features a daily happy hour and entertainment. Marina Cay features two restaurants and a nightly BBQ with a breathtaking 360 degree view on top of the island.
MARINA: Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
If you’re ready for a marina and some luxury time ashore, it’s time to visit Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina. The spa has a full-service menu to pamper your exterior, and multiple bars and restaurants will refresh your appetite. There is also a gourmet market and boutique, for a high-end shopping break.
MARINAS: Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Bitter End, Leverick Bay (also has water toys for rent, Mocko Jumbies & BBQ on Friday night in season, and a spa!), Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (über elegant).
Limited facilities: Saba Rock (water and ice)
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Spanishtown
North Sound: Bitter End, Prickly Pear, Mosquito, Saba Rock, Leverick Bay, Biras Creek
A NIGHT IN A MARINA to refresh the crew, provisions, water supply etc. may be a good thing. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is a lovely facility with shops, casual dining in the marina, or tasty dinners just up the street at Chez Bamboo (Monica is a great chef and there is music some nights too).
Explore the Baths! It is best to start at the marina and take a short taxi ride or hike (about 2 miles) to The Baths for a swim and snorkel. When the north swell is up or the tradewinds are strong, you won't be comfortable on a mooring and you may swamp your dinghy trying to go ashore.
North Sound is a for-sure stop. Eat and drink at the Bitter End, Saba Rock, or the low key Fat Virgin's at Biras Creek (with a name like that, how can you pass it up). Explore the area by dinghy and visit the Sand Box on Prickly Pear. If you want to try windsurfing, this is an ideal location. Top off your provisions, water, or dinghy fuel at the Bitter End or Saba Rock Dock.
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Machioneel Bay
MANCHIONEEL BAY is home of the Cooper Island Beach Club, casual dining, and a great beach to hang out on. Be sure to plan an early arrival. This is a popular anchorage and the moorings are taken early. There is limited space for safe anchoring.
NO PUBLIC MOORINGS
THE WRECK OF THE RHONE lies off Salt Island and has been a favorite of divers for decades. Many dive shops in the BVI offer "Rendezvous Diving". This means you schedule a dive with them and they meet your boat at the designated anchorage, gear and all. If you are only planning a few dives during your charter, this is the way to go. No extra gear to find storage room for below and no worrying about having enough water to rinse it off, and no need to plan your trip around shops and fill stations. Give Blue Waters Divers or Dive BVI in Tortola a call on the radio and plan ahead. Salt Island is well known for "salt". You'll find it in several shops throughout the BVI, and it is truly a unique and natural souvenir.
NO PUBLIC MOORINGS
Ginger Island does not have any marinas or suitable anchorages. It is the last of the larger islands in the chain before reaching Round rock, Fallen Jeruselam and the Baths on Virgin Gorda.
MARINAS: Peter Island Yacht Club
PUBLIC MOORINGS: Great Harbor
PETER ISLAND YACHT CLUB offers slips, water, ice, fuel and elegant dining! This is one of the few establishments in the Virgins that has a dress code and requires a jacket for gents and reservations. If the weather is right, anchoring off Deadman's Bay on a calm day is spectacular and a perfect spot for dinner aboard your own boat. Great Harbor is also a beautiful spot.
PUBLIC MOORINGS: The Bight, Privateer Bay
RUMORED TO BE THE "TREASURE ISLAND" of Robinson Crusoe fame, The Bight is a favorite stopover. Wine and dine at the William Thornton floating restaurant for steaks, fish and rotis, and sometimes a wild time. Or, visit Pirate's Bight, another popular shoreside watering hole, where you'll find everyone who isn't at the Willy T.
Snorkel the caves on Norman, a unique spot and favorite of pelicans. The Indians (a great day-time stop) not too far away, offer great snorkeling and diving. You'll see some spectacular views of St John from this location and a dramatic view up the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
ABOUT PUBLIC MOORINGS:
Moorings in the USVI are in National Park Waters. The fee is $15 per night, and is payable at marked locations on shore.
Moorings in the BVI are mostly $30/night.
MOST PUBLIC MOORINGS ARE LABELED "MOOR-SEACURE"***. This is the name of the company that installed these moorings. (Moorings without the MOOR-SEACURE label are private, and should not be picked up.) The fees are collected by local businesses (usually restaurants). The name of the business handling the moorings is usually painted on the mooring ball itself. It is best to check in with the establishment on shore and pay your fee. In some bays, a representative from the establishment will dinghy out to the boats in the anchorage and collect fees.
***Note: at The Bight on Norman Island, public moorings are not by Moor-Seacure. There are conical shaped markers for moorings managed by Pirate's Bight, and round markers for moorings managed by a different company (may not be labeled).
These are just a few highlights of the cruising area. There are many fine island publications that provide more details of the islands hot spots and cool spots and details about marina facilities. Since we all live here year-round and sail where you will sail, our staff is one of the best resoures for trip planning!
ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS
Not everyone is interested in, or qualified for, a 6 – 8 hour open water crossing to St. Croix; however, if you are interested and qualified, CLICK HERE to learn more and READ THIS FORM. If after reading the form you want to proceed, print the form, sign it, and send it to our reservation office with your other paperwork - fax it or scan it and email it.
Even if you are not qualified to bareboat to St. Croix, you can still enjoy this open-water adventure by hiring one of our skippers for your trip.
SPANISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
SPANISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Looking to add a Latin flair to your vacation? If you’d like to learn whether you are qualified to cruise to the SVI, CLICK HERE to learn more and READ THIS FORM. If after reading the form you want to proceed, print the form, sign it, and send it to our reservation office with your other paperwork - fax it or scan it and email it.
If you are not qualified to bareboat to the SVI, or you are nervous about making new landfalls, you can still enjoy this exciting adventure by hiring one of our skippers.
Have you heard about the lobster at the Anegada Reef Hotel and the gorgeous beach at Loblolly Bay? If you are interested in, and qualified for, the crossing to Anegada you should READ THIS FORM. If after reading the form you want to proceed, print the form, sign it, and send it to our reservation office with your other paperwork - fax it or scan it and email it. All vessels in our fleet are allowed to make the trip to Anegada.
If you have concerns about navigating to this flat island with its surrounding reefs, you can still experience Anegada by hiring one of our skippers for this adventure.
ST. MARTIN & OTHER LEWARD ISLANDS
CYOA vessels are not permitted to visit St. Martin or other Leeward Islands.