What Should I Know About the British Virgin Islands?

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  • Written By: Kathy Hawkins
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2020
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The British Virgin Islands are a series of islands east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. They are part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the rest of which is United States territory. The primary islands in this group are Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda. Though there are more than 50 other islands and cays in the territory, only a few are inhabited. On the whole of the British Virgin Islands, there are approximately 22,000 residents.

These islands are a major tourist destination, with about 45% of the territory's income resulting from tourism. They attract several hundred thousand visitors from the United States each year, along with a number of tourists from Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries. The British Virgin Islands are renowned for their warm climate and beautiful beaches, which attract many snorkelers and scuba divers. They are also a popular destination for cruise ships.

The majority of the natives of the British Virgin Islands are of Afro-Caribbean ancestry and are descended from the slaves that the British brought to the islands when they first settled on the land in the 1600s. About 80% of the population is black and 8% is white; the remainder of the population is biracial, East Indian, or of another ethnicity.


The British Virgin Islands are home to a wide variety of wildlife, both plant and animal. They have many types of trees and vegetation, including the Century Plant, which blooms only once every eight years. The islands also have many fruit trees, including the papaya and the breadfruit, and an array of lizards, iguanas, and birds.

Because of the territory's proximity to the Caribbean Ocean, the cuisine there is primarily seafood-based. Some of the area's specialties are the conch, a type of mollusk similar to a clam, and the Anegada lobster. These are often served with a side dish called fungi, which is a combination of cornmeal and okra.

The British Virgin Islands are a major destination for special events, such as weddings and honeymoons. Many people decide to hold a wedding on the beach, and there are a wide variety of wedding planning companies on the islands to help create the perfect day.



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