ISLAND VIBES - UPDATES ON THE BVI, USVI AND OTHER DESTINATIONS

At Carefree Yacht Charters, we have several trusted crews, managers and other key sources that keep us abreast of charter news and other updates regarding the BVI, the USVI as well as our other charter destinations. We also rely heavily on our long list of clients that charter in these areas season after season.

When it comes specifically to the BVI and USVI, by far our most popular charter destination, the positive feedback about the destination is consistent and our recommended yachts and crews continue to deliver on "trips of a lifetime”.

BVI & USVI UPDATE 9/16/2019: A CAREFREE CLIENT GROUP SAYS THE ISLANDS AND COVES LEFT PERMANENT IMAGES OF BEAUTY IN THEIR MINDS!

Aerial view including St. John, USVI and Tortola, BVIA group of Sisters & Friends that we booked aboard 52' Catamaran Island Hoppin' in 2019 told us this about their crewed charter through the BVI and USVI; "Where on earth do I begin? We booked our catamaran boat trip through Carefree Yacht Charters with Jamie and Susannah on Island Hoppin almost a year in advance. So believe me when the day came to begin our trip we were more then ready and excited to go! The islands and coves we visited and moored in, left permanent images of beauty in our minds and hearts, sunsets to beat all sunsets and a sense of being so far removed from reality that there was no room for worry. Someone once defined luxury as "the absence of worry" well that is what Jamie, Susannah and Island Hoppin provided for us... complete and total luxury! A big thank you to Lynne from Carefree Yacht Charters for connecting us with this wonderful boat and crew! Best regards from the Island Hoppin "Hotties". Beth B., Colorado

BAHAMAS UPDATE 9/11/2019: THE BAHAMAS WANTS TOURISTS TO KNOW IT’S STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS:

An article in the Washington Post by Hannah Sampson noted the following about tourism and the geography of the Bahamas post Dorian: “When people say the Bahamas has been devastated, it gives the wrong impression,” says Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, deputy director general of the tourism ministry. He acknowledged that Grand Bahama and the Abacos, two of the country’s northernmost areas, have suffered a terrible blow. Hotels and airports there are closed, and ports are only open for humanitarian purposes. “It’s going to take years to get those islands back up, so we need the tourism revenue in order for us to sustain the reconstruction that’s going to be necessary,” Thompson says. “We definitely need the visitors to come.” He said tourists have been canceling their visits at what is already a slow time of year because of the storm, which experts say could hurt the economy as recovery efforts move forward. In a news release this week, the tourism ministry said 14 of the country’s most-visited islands are unaffected, including Nassau and Paradise Island, the Exumas, Eleuthera and Harbour Island, Bimini, Andros, Cat Island and others. Overall, the country has more than 700 islands and thousands of cays in a sprawling archipelago southeast of Florida. “One of the things we want to get across is the fact that the Bahamas is not one island,” Thompson says.

BVI UPDATE 9/6/2019: ON THE 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE IRMA, BVI TRAVELLER REPORTS THAT THE BVI IS LOOKING PRETTY GOOD!

British Virgin Islands Traveller is dedicated to helping the BVI recover by promoting travel and tourism after the hurricanes Irma and Maria. As BVI Traveller reports, “Two years later, the BVI is looking pretty good as evidenced by the sheer number of businesses that have reopened. Looking back to December 2017, shortly after Irma struck, we can see that our lists of places open for business have grown significantly since then: Hotels, Resorts & Villas open have increased from 45 to 225, Charter Companies, Marinas & Watersports Companies open have increased from 40 to 93, and Restaurants & Bars open have increased from 75 to 154.”

BAHAMAS UPDATE 9/6/2019: WAYS TO HELP THE ABACOS AND GRAND BAHAMA POST DORIAN:

A South Florida based company and just over 100 miles away, at Carefree Yacht Charters our thoughts are with those in the Abaco’s and Grand Bahama (northern Bahamas) in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. With our Active Membership in CYBA (Charter Yacht Brokers Association) and IYBA (International Yacht Brokers Association), we’ve been informed through CYBA that these key industry associations are joining forces “to provide financial assistance to the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian”. While there are various ways to contribute and help, CYBA has suggested the following list of legitimate charities for those that want to contribute: Bahamas Red Cross, Yacht Aid Global - Operation Topaz, and World Central Kitchen. For those with concern about their yachts or upcoming charters, it should be noted that our typical Bahamas itineraries start and end in Nassau and go south from there into the Exumas, which had minimal impact from this storm.

BVI & USVI UPDATE 9/4/2019: PUERTO RICO’S OFFSHORE “SPANISH VIRGIN ISLANDS” EXPAND CHARTER ITINERARIES, OFFER NEW CRUISING GROUNDS TO EXPLORE!

As noted in a Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) press release today: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Visiting Puerto Rico’s eastern islands of Culebra, Culebrita, Vieques and more, often nicknamed the ‘Spanish Virgin Islands’, is now easier. Members of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) have received a ruling from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in Washington, D.C., clarifying entrance and departure requirements specifically for VIPCA-member yachts. This development offers an alternative destination to the British Virgin Islands. For charter guests, this provides the chance to see, explore and enjoy lesser traveled cruising grounds, and is a great travel opportunity for U.S. Citizens who may not hold a U.S. passport to visit the islands of both the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as well as Puerto Rico.

As a member of and the current Broker Director of VIPCA, Lynne Campbell of Carefree Yacht Charters was quoted within the release as follows: “The ability to add the Spanish Virgin Islands to our destination options for new and repeat clients is truly exciting news,” says Campbell. “Many of our clients return to the USVI and BVI repeatedly due to the easy sailing, abundance of islands and anchorages, world class snorkeling and diving, stunning beaches and unique beach bars. Being able to now offer the Spanish Virgins as an alternative to or in addition to our typical USVI and BVI itineraries will only add to the reasons our clients will continue to return to the area. Plus, with easy and affordable flights in and out of St. Thomas or Puerto Rico along with a new and unique set of islands to explore, this will keep many clients with interest in ‘the next destination’ from exploring options beyond the VI.”

BVI UPDATE 8/16/2019: LITTLE DIX BAY ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS STARTING MARCH 1, 2020!

As reported by BVI Traveller, “Just received the following update via email from Andreas Pade, Managing Director at Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda. He said, “I am delighted to share the latest news on the rebirth of our treasured resort. Behind the scenes my team is busy working on our re-opening plans, including the recruitment of exceptional associates who are all an integral part of what makes Rosewood Little Dix Bay so special.” “The new Rosewood Little Dix Bay will maintain its heritage from the Rockefeller years with the addition of an incredible elevation in room product, food and beverage offering, level of service and exceptional attention to detail that will bring a new meaning to the term ‘barefoot luxury’, he added. And finally, the best news yet for fans of Little Dix Bay as he stated, “We are thrilled to now be accepting reservations for arrivals on March 1, 2020. We encourage you to visit our website and be the first to reserve your long-awaited adventure. The team and I look forward to welcoming you back to Rosewood Little Dix Bay very soon.””

BVI UPDATE 8/7/2019: PORTIONS OF THE BITTER END YACHT CLUB TO OPEN AS EARLY AS 2019!

BVI Crewed Yacht ChartersAs noted in an August 7 Cruising World article, “Located in the British Virgin Island and popular among sailors, the BEYC was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Portions of the property should be open again by the end of 2019.” The article goes onto say, “Good news for cruisers and charterers heading to the British Virgin Islands this coming winter: The much-loved Bitter End Yacht Club will be back! Along with steady breezes, strong Painkillers and great sailing, fun times at the BEYC are lodged firmly in the collective memory of cruisers and vacation sailors who have frequented the BVI over the years. Afternoons spent tearing up Virgin Gorda’s North Sound on one of the club’s Hobie Waves or relaxing in one of the beach hammocks with a rum punch is a highlight of many a sailors’ visit to those storied waters.”

BVI UPDATE 8/1/2019: FERRY SERVICE RETURNS TO WEST END, TORTOLA!

Prior to Hurricane Irma, the ferry terminal at West End, Tortola, BVI was the predominant terminal used by Carefree Yacht Charter clients with its proximity to St. Thomas as well as St. John in the USVI. In the meantime, the BVI has relied on its main ferry terminal in Road Town, Tortola, BVI. As reported by a trusted BVI Clearinghouse Manager, “According the the BVI Tourist Board, scheduled ferry service is set to resume today, the 1st of August (finally!) from the ferry terminal on Soper's Hole, West End, Tortola” Reported ferry companies that will operate from this facility include Native Son, Inter Island Ferry Services and the Tortola Fast Ferry (commonly known as Smiths).

BVI UPDATE 7/10/2019: HURRICANE IRMA WRECKAGE TO FORM NEW AND EXCITING DIVE SITES!

A trusted BVI Clearinghouse Manager sent us this update today: “Members of the BVI dive community on Tortola are busy turning Irma wreckage into dive sites… Several small ruined airplanes from the Beef Island Airport are getting the shark-makeover, and will be submerged near the Dogs, the small group of islets lying between Beef Island and Virgin Gorda, to form a new dive site. Likewise, the old William Thornton floating restaurant and bar, now hard ashore in the Bight of Norman Island, will be re-imagined as a pirate ship before being sunk off the backside of Peter Island in Key Bay. These good efforts are all being taken by the same folks that remade an old WW2 oiler into a dive site inhabited by the mythical Kraken just before Hurricane Irma in 2017. While aiding the BVI charter and dive economy, the retooled wrecks also become "recycled" and these hulks will eventually entice local inhabitants to remake them into artificial reefs and "homesites" for the BVI's native undersea floral-and-fauna.”

BVI UPDATE 7/1/2019: THE WILLY T RETURNS TO HER HOME ON NORMAN ISLAND!

Carefree clients jumping off the new Willy T, Norman Island, BVIThe iconic Willy T has once again returned to her original spot within the Bight on Norman Island. A guest favorite, we’re thrilled by the news as reported by a trusted BVI Clearinghouse Manager: “The William Thornton floating restaurant and bar has returned to her original home in the Bight of Norman Island. The crew packed up and moved back "home" on the morning of Territory Day, the 1st of July, and she is once again moored in her "normal" position in the southwest corner of the Bight.”