Cruising the Spanish Virgin Islands
The Spanish Virgin Islands
The Spanish Virgin Islands are a lovely series of small, sleepy islands just east of Puerto Rico and approximately 20 miles west of Island Yachts base in Red Hook, St Thomas. Cruising to this area is allowed with Island Yachts and charts and cruising guides of the area are provided to our guests who wish to venture to these relatively untouched and moderately traveled islands.
Sailing to the SVI takes about 5-6 hours downwind from Red Hook, a lovely and rather easy sail west. Culebra is the most cruiser friendly of the two islands as it has been open to cruising for many years. The main town of Ensenada Honda has a nice anchorage for dropping hook and dining ashore with several restaurants from which to choose.
Culebrita is a must see and just a short sail from Culebra heading NE. This lovely island is a nature preserve with adequate moorings available in the south western anchorage. A short and easy hike will bring you to the Northside and Dry Tortuga Bay where you will find a stunning white sand beach where you can enjoy the day. A short hike to the top of Culebrita is worth the walk to see the well preserved vintage lighthouse.
To the south west of Culebra is Vieques, which recently opened up to cruising and is more moderately traveled. The south side of the island is the most lovely cruising area. The first easily accessible anchorage (after those closed to anchoring due to government clean-up of navy bombing remnants) is Ensenada Honda. You may be the only boat in this amazing anchorage. It is quiet and remote with no artificial light at night, an amazing place to see the stars and enjoy a secluded night with only nature all around you.
Beyond this anchorage is Sun Bay, a great place to spend the night without the noise of nightlife that you may find at Esperanza, which is the town in the next westerly bay. Esperanza has a few restaurants and options for picking up provisions. Vieques is not set up w/ moorings so anchoring is the only option in the anchorages, although there is talk of moorings planned to be set soon in Esperanza. A highlight of this area not to be missed is the Bioluminescence at Puerto Mosquito. To learn more about these amazing bioluminescence or to find companies that offer Biobay tours go to: http://www.vieques-island.com/biobay.shtml.
A thorough chart check out will be done upon you arrival and full details of the in’s and out’s to the SVI will be shared with you at that time. Prior to arrival we recommend picking up the Cruising Guide to Puerto Rico and the Spanish, VI by Stephen J. Pavlidis. A copy is provided for your use while on board as well as a chart of the area. Note: Cruising to Puerto Rico is prohibited on Island Yachts vessels.
Note: Chase calls to the SVI are not logistically possible. Should you have a mechanical failure you would be asked to venture back to ST Thomas’ west end so that an IYC team member can assist you.
Please note: Effective 12/1/21. Sailing to the Spanish Virgin Islands during Covid-19 .
IYC is happy to announce that as of 12/1/2021, we will again allow our vessels to sail to the lovely US/Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra, Culebrita & Vieques. Protocol is: Arrive to Culebra with vaccination card OR, if unvaccinated, arrive with a negative PCR rapid test taken within 72 hours or less prior to arrival. IYC will send the latest, specific protocol to you in your pre-planning e-mail prior to your arrival.
The British Virgin Islands remain strictly off limits.