Easter in the Caribbean

Easter is the perfect time to plan for a Caribbean vacation.  The March break crowds have gone, the beautiful dry season has begun, and the weather is simply gorgeous.  Whether you are planning British Virgin Island holidays or a jaunt to Jamaica; Easter is also a time for services, celebrations and festivals all over the Caribbean.  Here’s what you can look forward to on your Easter Weekend in the Caribbean, no matter where you are planning to visit.

Go Fly a Kite

One of the most popular Easter traditions all across the Caribbean is to fly a kite. On Good Fridays, families pack a picnic lunch and head out to any wide open space to fly a kite or two.  And it’s not just for kids.  It is a breathtaking sight; a bright blue cloudless Caribbean sky, dotted with thousands of colorful kites of every shape, size and dimension.  Box kites, dragon kites, home-made kites. This is a beautiful opportunity to feel like a kid again on a windy, sunny day on a tropical island.  Many Caribbean islands actually hold kite flying festivals and competitions on Easter Weekend.

Head to the Beach

There is a strange Easter old wives tale here that makes Easter weekend one of the best times of the year to head to a Caribbean beach.  For centuries, there was a belief all around the Caribbean believe that anyone who dips a toe in the ocean on Good Friday will turn into a fish.  While most people these days don’t believe that to be true, you’ll still find that the locals will avoid the beach on Good Friday, meaning it’s your chance for a truly romantic desert island experience of having the beach to yourself.  Spend a day on your own on James Bond Beach in Jamaica, or experience the incredible beauty of Virgin Gorda’s world-famous beach known as the Baths, and have the beach all to yourself.

Celebrate with an Easter Feast

Traditionally, Christians have avoided red meat on Good Friday, and it is certainly not missed in the least here in the Caribbean, where fresh fish and shellfish play an important role in Easter feasts.  Many local bakeries will also offer special Easter buns, made with spices and dried fruit and raisins.  Easter buns are particularly popular in Jamaica, where many families have handed down recipes for generations, and buns are often serves with a slice or two of delicious cheese.

Easter Festival on Virgin Gorda

Easter is the best time to plan for a visit to a villa Virgin Gorda.  This pretty British Virgin Island throws a wonderful Easter Festival, which is full of music, dancing and entertainment.  The festival lasts for four days, ending with a grand street parade in Spanish Town on the Easter Monday.  Every night, all over the island, there are calypso band competitions, dances and lots of beach parties.

A Twist on the Easter Egg

In Jamaica, the idea of the Easter Egg is very different than the chocolate variety hidden all over American homes.  Here, many Jamaicans believe that the egg has the ability to predict what the coming year will look like.  On Holy Thursday, crack an egg into a container of water, and the shape that the egg forms predicts the future.  For example, if the cracked egg looks like a ship, it means you will be going away in the coming year.

The Trelawny Yam Festival in Jamaica

Easter Monday is the time for one of Jamaica’s biggest food events; the Trelawny Yam Festival.  It’s held every year in Albert Town to celebrate one of Jamaica’s favorite foods; the yam. There are cooking demonstrations, food stalls, and some truly inspired ways of serving yams, including yam wine, yam pudding and yam buns.  Tens of thousands of people come for this delicious event and it’s well worth a visit.

Celebrate Sailing in BVI at the Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

The best sailing in the world is a big part of British Virgin Island holidays, and every year, the main event is the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival.

This world-class regatta runs from is always the highlight of the international sailing season. In 2012, there were entrants registered from the U.S., South American and as far away as Russia and Croatia.

For anyone who loves sailing, British Virgin Islands holidays are more than a dream come true. this year, the Regatta Chairman Bob Phillips described the event as seven days of fun and a true celebration of all the British Virgin Islands has to offer.

The event always breaks down into a four-day Sailing Festival and a three-day Regatta. However, for most visitors, the highlight will be all the great parties on shore.

A villa Virgin Gorda is the ideal island for Caribbean family vacations to see the sailing.  Every year, the sailing festival kicks off with the Bitter End Cup, a race to the Bitter End Yacht Club, where there are plenty of parties and events.  The pub at the Bitter End is one of the most popular places in BVI to watch all the action.

Tortola villas are another good place to be for the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, as the sailing festival also features a race to Nanny Cay Marina. The Sailing Festival concludes with a return race through the beautiful islands to Tortola.  As well, most of the sailing fleet will be moored at Nanny Cay for the Regatta portion of the festival.

There are plenty of tropical island villas available in both Tortola and Virgin Gorda, so you can combine all the comforts of home, with an exotic locale, a world class festival, and some of the best sailing in the world.  Why not celebrate sailing in BVI by planning a visit this March?

Savor Pusser’s Rum in the British Virgin Islands

The taste of fine rum is as much a part of a Caribbean vacation as sun, sand and the sound of steel drums. Rum is a part of the history of the Caribbean, and here in the British Virgin Islands, Pusser’s Rum is the flavor of the day.

The name comes from a centuries-old tradition, where British sailors were given a daily rum ration from the ship’s purser.  That evolved over time to the expression “pusser’s”, and a “pusser’s issue” became anything supplied directly by the Royal Navy.

In 1970, the daily rum ration was discontinued by the Royal Navy, and Charles Tobias, founder of Pusser’s, bought the right to the blending recipe associated with the sailors’ rum.  To this day, Pusser’s still gives a portion of its royalties from every bottle to the Royal Navy Sailor’s Fund, a naval charity in the U.K.

Today, Pusser’s Rum is produced right here in Tortola.  It’s the same blend of five rums from the Caribbean that was issued to the sailors.  It is one of the few types of rum in the world that has no flavoring agents.

Award-winning, rich and full bodied, Pusser’s is one of the smoothest rums.  In fact, it is produced using the same distillation process as single malt scotch, which produces the depth and silkiness of the flavor.

Booking a  trip to one of our relaxing Tortola villas? Come check out the Pusser’s Co. Store on Tortola, where the company has its tasting room.  Taste some glorious rum in the British Virgin Islands.  Pick up some shorts, a tee-shirt, a few bottles of tasty Pusser’s Rum and maybe a rum cake or two, so you can fully enjoy the Caribbean flavor of your stay at one of the gorgeous villas in Tortola.

How to Spend a Day in Virgin Gorda

There are so many great ways to spend your days at a villa Virgin Gorda.  Lounge by your own private pool. Curl up in a corner of your BVI villa rental and read a good book.  Sit on your deck and admire the view.

However, let’s face it.  Eventually you’re going to want to get out and see what the island has to offer.  A trip to Virgin Gorda is one of the prettiest of the British Virgin Island holidays, and there is plenty to see and do here. Here are some suggestions for how to spend a day in Virgin Gorda.

The main town on Virgin Gorda is Spanish Town, which is home to a beautiful harbor.  There are lots of charming shops and restaurants at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, as well as at the Little Dix Bay Resort, and on the other side of the island at the Bitter End Resort on the North Sound.

When it comes time to grab a bite for lunch, head to the Bath & Turtle in Spanish Town for great burgers and fresh seafood.

If you want an active day, plan a day of snorkeling or scuba diving off the coast.  There are lots of excursions you can book which will take you to explore the shipwreck of the RMS Rhone, which sank in a hurricane in the 19th century.   You can also head over to the Bitter End Yacht Club and rent a sea kayak to explore the shoreline.

For a day at the beach, head to The Baths.  The beach is covered with volcanic rocks, which are the perfect setting for photos.   There’s a restaurant right near the beach called Top of the Baths, which has a great lunch menu.

If you’re looking for a day trip, book a boat trip over to Norman Isle, just off the coast of Tortola.  The island is a real deserted island, and local rumor has it that it inspired the novel Treasure Island.  Pack a picnic and spend the day exploring the caves and beaches.

A Day in Road Town, Tortola

The gorgeous Caribbean island of Tortola has been fought over by pirates and many European nations, but today, it is a gorgeous place to spend a relaxing vacation in the sun.

If you plan an idyllic vacation at one our pretty Tortola villas, plan to spend a day or two exploring the island.  Here are some of the great things to do during a day in Road Town and all across Tortola.

For a day of shopping, hit Main Street in the town of Road Town.  There are lots of neat little shops here, including the Sunny Caribbee Spice Company, which specializes in Caribbean spices and crafts.  There is also a lovely market right near the waterfront, where you can pick up handmade crafts and clothing.

If you would like to explore some gorgeous Caribbean landscapes, you can walk from Main Street up to the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Garden.  This beautiful public garden showcases the stunning tropical flowers and trees that are native to this corner of the Caribbean.

For a day at the beach, head to Cane Garden Bay Beach, on the north shore of Tortola. The soft white sand stretches on forever, and there are plenty of facilities here, including restaurants and sports equipment rental.

For a day of hiking through picturesque countryside, visit the Sage Mountain National Park.  This beautiful rainforest covers more than a hundred acres of Tortola, with clearly marked hiking paths. Check in at the park office right at the entrance for a free map of the whole area.

For a dinner out on the island, you may want to try a night at Drakes Point, in the Fort Burt Hotel. It is one of the oldest restaurants in all of the British Virgin Islands, and has an incredible view over the Drake Channel.  You can also head over to West End, where the Sugar Mill Restaurant is set in a centuries-old sugar mill, and serves fresh local Caribbean cuisine.

There is plenty to do and to see on this gorgeous Caribbean island.  Why don’t you consider organizing a luxury BVI holiday villa in Tortola for your perfect family vacation?

The British Virgin Islands: Planning Your BVI Vacation

If you are dreaming of that perfect Caribbean vacation, here’s why you should choose British Virgin Islands holidays, either at a villa Virgin Gorda, or at lovely Tortola villas.

There are four main British Virgin Islands; Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Anegada and Jost Van DykeTortola is the largest and it is the most developed, with homes and vacation rentals wrapping up the mountains, and through pretty mangrove forests.  There are also lots of Virgin Gorda rentals, which is widely described as the prettiest island, with the feel of an untouched tropical paradise.  Plan to book a BVI villa rental property on one of these two islands for the best access to attractions and activities, and don’t worry!  It is easy to island hop.

Only about 100 people live on Jost Van Dyke, but the island’s excellent night life has earned it the reputation for great parties.  Plan to spend an evening at one of the island’s six wonderful restaurants.  Also make sure to take a ferry one day over to Anegada, which is the most northerly British Virgin Island.  It is a the second largest island, but there are only about  200 people who call it home, mostly in the small town called The Settlement.

BVI was one of the first places to embrace the ideals of eco-tourism, which is why a BVI vacation is guaranteed to have the feel of visiting an untouched tropical paradise.

So, if you’re thinking that a Caribbean beach vacation is the perfect choice for you and your family, check out some of the excellent luxury BVI rentals available, and start packing.  Spend your days at The Baths, Virgin Gorda’s world famous beach, or explore the 400-year old sugar mill on Tortola. Book a tour to scuba dive around Anegada’s mysterious shipwrecks, or charter a yacht for an evening on Jost Van Dyke.  There is so much to do and explore here in the British Virgin Islands!

Enjoy a Refreshing Fruit Smoothie on Tortola

One of the best parts of any glorious Caribbean vacation to Tortola villas is all the wonderful fresh fruit and fresh produce available here in the British Virgin Islands.

The best of the best is a refreshing fruit smoothie made by local resident Abdul Shabazz and his company Bazz Natural Juices. It has three juice stands on the island, after a recent expansion from the original fruit stand in the community of Johns Hole.

Shabazz says he goes through a hundred pounds each of oranges, pineapples and mangos a week, creating his signature frozen drinks and fruit smoothies so sought after on the island.  Now, the stand in Road Town is so busy, Shabazz has his son running the stand at night.

Made fresh right on the site, there is nothing as refreshing on a hot Caribbean afternoon in the sun than a frozen blend of ice and tropical Caribbean flavors such as banana, pineapple, mango, orange, lemon or lime.

One of the best things to do on any visit to Tortola is to wander around Road Town, checking out the charming local shops and markets.  The capital of the British Virgin Islands, this town wraps around a beautiful, clean harbor nestled at the base of surrounding hills. Fishing boats and sail boats dot the harbor, and shops line the quaint streets.

Book one of the many Tortola villas and come visit Road Town for a day in the Caribbean sunshine.  Make sure to stop by Bazz Natural Juices on Waterfront Drive, about a block from the ferry terminal and the Road Town Folk Museum.

Tune In to Jamaica

As if you needed another reason to celebrate Jamaican music!  After decades of enormous influence on the world’s music, the island home of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, is about to get a new way to promote its incredible young artists.

American R&B artist and star record producer Ne-Yo has announced that he’s starting a new label to help promote Jamaican artists. The new label will be called Compound Island, and will be a branch of his existing label, Compound Entertainment.  The new label will hold an online talent search for Jamaican musicians, and Ne-Yo says it is his effort to pay tribute to Jamaica’s musical legacy.

Ne-Yo is starting up the label with his manager Tishawn Gayle, and both men say they chose to highlight Jamaican artists because of the enormous global impact of its musicians and its musical history.

Reggae grew out of the political landscape of Jamaica in the 1960s, and went from here to capture the world’s imagination.  The songs of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff helped shape a generation, and influenced musical traditions around the world from punk music and New Wave to rap and Hip Hop.

Ne-Yo says his new label will pay tribute to that rich history.  He describes reggae as a global music heard around the world, and one of the most influential sounds of the last century.

Ne-Yo has had five top 10 hits, two number one albums, and an entire catalog of hit songs that he wrote for other artists.   Ne-Yo is currently working on his fifth album, which he’s aiming to release in September.

Keep in mind that the very best way to hear Jamaica’s latest artists and newest musical traditions is to come here to Jamaica!   A Jamaica villa rental can put you right in the heart of this musical landscape, where you can explore the local clubs and restaurants, and feel the beats first hand!

Preserving the Marine Ecosystem in USVI

The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have signed a new partnership to help preserve and protect their beautiful and profitable coastal and ocean resources.

The partnership will focus on the impact of fishing, pollution, and tourism on the waters all around these islands, with an eye to developing tourism while still protecting these delicate marine areas.

Preserving the marine environment is critical for USVI, as the waters all around these islands are some of the richest and most diverse in the world. Of course, this makes St. John vacation rentals ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving adventures, so USVI also has a long history of protecting these natural environments because of the popularity and potential stresses of these tourist activities.

Right off the coast, the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument was established in 2001, covering a massive system of coral reefs and sea grass beds. It stretches over about for about three miles of oceans surrounding St. John, and covers the popular diving point of Hurricane Hole.

Research here in National Monument has turned up previously undiscovered kinds of coral ecosystems, and more than 30 different species of coral, which is an amazing amount of natural diversity in one area.

The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument is part of the Virgin Islands National Park, established back in 1956, and preserving more than 60 per cent of the island of St. John.

While staying at St. John vacation rentals, visitors to USVI can be sure that everything is being done, both on land and in the surrounding waters, to make sure the beauty of the ecosystem in USVI is being preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Deck Your Yard for Christmas in Tortola

One of the most delightful signs of Christmas in Tortola is the annual “Deck Your Yard” competition that brings the Christmas spirit right into every home on the island.

The idea took hold several years ago, when the East Beautification Committee and the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board thought it would be a fun thing for Tortola residents to get their homes and gardens holiday ready.  Today, a competition runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and families get together to creatively deck out their homes with holiday joy.

There are cash prizes for first, second and third place winners, decided after Christmas ends, and a number of local businesses kick in gift certificates and free prizes for other entrants.

Festive yards are judged twice – once mid-December and once after Christmas.  They are judged on cleanliness, maintenance and plant choice and design.  Some people just use the season as an excuse to cut the lawn and freshen the plants.  Others go all out, creating an explosion of festive color.

If you have planned a Christmas vacation at any one of the many gorgeous Tortola villas, you are in for a treat.  The nice thing about choosing tropical island villas for your vacation is that you are staying in a real neighborhood, surrounded by locals who are full of the holiday spirit.  You don’t have to put any work into your garden, since the grounds are maintained for you, but you certainly get the chance to enjoy the festive beauty all around.

Next year, why don’t you consider villas in Tortola for your Christmas vacation?  Leave the snow and cold behind, and trade it in for a festive season of lush tropical gardens, warm Caribbean breezes and a house to call your own on the gorgeous island of Tortola.