People travel the entire world in search of tropical paradise, when all along it’s been sitting right here—hanging out in plain view. Here on tiny Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, yachties, bar flies, sunseekers, and divers all gather together on a white sand cove that’s back by a turquoise sea. Grab a snorkel and swim through schools of small, silvery fish, or watch as pelicans swoop through the sky in search of an easy meal. After splashing in the shallow waters, order a plate of conch fritters from one of the beachside restaurants, or sip on a frozen “Painkiller” cocktail at the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. The name, it’s said, is derived from sailors who would swim to shore and purchase drinks with wet bills—which is still a tradition that visiting yachties casually enjoy to this day. To stretch your legs between drinks and meals, stroll the length of White Bay and scramble around the rocks, taking in views of the natural harbor that’s dotted with sailboats and yachts. Even for all of its beauty, however, and renowned tropical fame, Jost Van Dyke remains unpretentious and true to its casual roots.
Jost Van Dyke is most easily accessed by boat from St. Thomas or St. John. Both islands have regular ferries that visit Jost Van Dyke—although passports are required when re-entering the small U.S. territory. It’s also possible to visit from Tortola or neighboring Virgin Gorda, or charter your own boat and drop anchor directly offshore White Bay.