Jost Van Dyke Attractions
Covering only 4sq.mi/10sq.km of land, Jost Van Dyke lies less than 5mi/ 8km north of Tortola. Known as the "barefoot" island, the casual lifestyle on Jost Van Dyke draws yachters and hikers looking for a remote and rustic retreat.
The island and adjacent islets of Little Jost Van Dyke, Green Cay and Sandy Cay, are comprised of beaches, coves, and mountains. Majohnny Hill reaches 1000ft/305m above sea level. Several hiking trails lead over the mountains to the rugged north shore and almost isolated east and west ends if the island. The green hills of Jost Van Dyke remain largely undeveloped in comparison with the other British Virgin Islands.Jost Van Dyke's history spans 400 years and became known through the Dutch pirate Jost Van Dyke, for whom the island is named. In the early 17th C, Van Dyke used the island as a base for operations. Quakers arrived on Jost and Little Jost Van Dyke in the 18th C fleeing the religious tyranny of England, and Quaker surnames survive among today's islanders who descend from freed slaves. Electricity only arrived on Jost Van Dyke in 1991. Jost Van Dyke hosts a low-key resort trade with several restaurants and shops catering to visitors who generally arrive by yacht. There is also a popular campground found at White Bay. Local islander Foxy Callwood is famous for the creation of the annual Woodenboat Regatta.
The quintessential desert island, Sandy Cay is an uninhabited small islet off Little Jost Van Dyke, known in the British Virgin Islands as the "all-beach island". The waters here are deep almost until the shore, and make for good snorkelling and kayaking as there are fringe reefs on both the north and south sides of the island. The cay also features some short hiking trails as well as an anchorage that attracts yachters for daytime picnics. A lone palm on Sandy Cay rises above the beach.
Foxy's Woodenboat Regatta
Foxy's Woodenboat Regatta on Jost Van Dyke is an annual event which takes place each year at the end of May on the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. The regatta takes place over four days and features light racing and a festive atmosphere. Foxy's Woodenboat Regatta (since 1974) draws classic wooden yachts from all over the Caribbean. More recently the regatta has expanded to include non-wooden boats as well.
Little Jost Van Dyke & Diamond Cay National Park
Little Jost Van Dyke is a small offshore island on the east end of Jost Van Dyke. Located here is the small Diamond Cay National Park (1.25ac/0.5ha) featuring the nesting grounds of wild birds such as boobies, terns and pelicans. There is good snorkelling on the coral heads in the shallow Long Bay, as well as a boat anchorage.
Great Harbour, British Virgin Islands
Great Harbour is the main settlement on Jost Van Dyke. The settlement stretches 400 yards along Great Harbour Beach and about 100 yards toward the foot of the mountains. The quiet village seems to coming alive with restaurants and bars.
Great Harbour Beach
The broad Great Harbour Beach borders Jost Van Dyke's main settlement. Come here to sunbathe only since the beach is littered with dead coral and turtle grass and the waters are shallow. This beach is also an anchorage and one of Jost Van Dyke's main points of entry.
The tiny Green Cay off the coast of Little Jost Van Dyke is a good place to stop for a swim if you are boating or kayaking in the vicinity. Just off of Green Cay is Sandy Spit, which is little more than a beach with some greenery in the middle.
Great Harbour Surroundings
Beyond Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke is characterized by undeveloped coast and steep mountains.
White Bay Beach
White Bay is Jost Van Dyke's most popular and attractive beach. The long, white-sand beach is pressed to the sea by steep hills and is sheltered by a barrier reef. The reef protects the waters from waves and swells and creates good swimming and snorkelling opportunities. A channel through the center of the reef allows entrance to an anchorage.
Little Harbour Beach
Little Harbour is a quiet, calm lagoon totally protected from wind and waves, making it a perfect site for swimming and sunbathing. As an anchorage, these conditions make it very easy to enter. The beach here is a thin stretch of white sand.