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Part of the British Virgin Islands, Jost (pronounced Yost) Van Dyke has a reputation as the Caribbean's party central -- and it's well deserved. Watering holes like the Soggy Dollar, Foxy's and Ivan's attract yachts and sailboats from around the region, all of which gather for a little camaraderie over cocktails.
 
Other than bars and beaches, there's not much to do on Jost, which, at three square miles, is the smallest of the BVIs' four main islands. And that's just fine with most visitors, who come to this mostly undeveloped spot to relax and have a good time. The two areas where cruise ship passengers usually visit -- Great Harbour and White Bay -- only have a minimum of services. Stores and shops cater mostly to yachters who come for provisioning; the island only has about 150 full-time residents. Daytrippers from Tortola abound. (The cruise lines that make Jost Van Dyke a port of call are mostly luxury lines, such as Seabourn or Windstar.)
 
One thing that Jost Van Dyke does have is water sports. The Caribbean is particularly gorgeous in the BVI, as evidenced by its popularity among divers, so getting in some underwater playtime should be paramount. While outfitters are few, you can arrange snorkeling, sailing, speedboat and standup paddleboarding excursions or even rent your own dinghy for the day. Just make sure you save the Painkillers (rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juice) until after you're done.
 
As ships are moored or anchored in this port, you will be tendered ashore. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the pier to the town center.
At roughly 8 square kilometers, Only a few hundred people live on Jost Van Dyke. Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands. It was only in 1991 that electricity was introduced here.
 
The most frequent mooring destination is Great Harbor (or Great harbor). The beach strip around the harbor is lined with small bars and restaurants. Since the late 1960s, Foxy's Bar in Great Harbor has been a popular stop for Caribbean boaters. Foxy's and the other bars in Great Harbor now host a modest crowd year-round and are filled with thousands of partiers on New Year's Eve (locally known as "Old Year's Night"). Located in nearby White Bay is the Soggy Dollar Bar, another famous beach bar on the island. The Soggy Dollar is reputedly the birthplace of the popular drink known as the Painkiller. The Soggy Dollar bar is appropriately named because of the difficulty of navigating one's boat over the coral reef to reach the beach where the bar is located. It is a common practice for boaters to anchor beyond the reef, swim to the beach, and pay for their drinks with wet money.
Tip: Some cruise lines will host a barbecue on one of Jost's beaches (or if they want to go all-out, they'll offer champagne and caviar).
 
Coming Ashore -- Cruise ships anchor off of Jost Van Dyke and use tender boats or small zodiac craft to tender passengers into Great Harbour or the White Bay Beach, two of the three main harbors on Jost. Be prepared for a "wet" landing: The zodiacs can pull up right on the beach, and in some cases you'll be stepping off into shallow water or a sandy beach
 
Where You're Docked
Actually, you'll be anchored and tendered ashore to one of two different bays (the two are connected by a hilly roadway and intrepid hikers can walk from one to the other): White Bay and Great Harbour.
 
Getting Around
Walking is the easiest method of transportation on the island. Paths and roads are available between each population center, bay and beach. The island is very hilly and can be muddy in the frequent rainstorms, so it's not the easiest place for those with disabilities, etc.
 
Walking between the tiny main "town" on Great Harbor, up over the hill to White Bay is one of more peaceful, beautiful short walks in the Caribbean, allowing views from Tortola all the way across St. John to St. Thomas in the distance. Shoes for this hike are advisable as the terrain is rocky. It can be done barefoot, but people usually regret this choice half-way through this hike. JVD Scuba can set you up with ecotours, kayak rentals and dives.
 
On Foot: Easy. At White Bay, divided in two by a crop of rocks, use the beach to walk from Ivan's "Stress Free Bar," bearing in mind that you have to negotiate a rocky path to cross over to the Soggy Dollar side. Wear shoes. At Great Harbour, there's a roadway (sometimes a sand roadway) that runs along the harbour and all the cafes and bars front that.
 
Taxis: Not really necessary unless you don't want to walk from one bay to another. Ask a bartender to call one for you or look for one at the dock at Great Harbour.
 
Several taxi services are available, but operate very erratically. Don't expect lightning service... plan ahead. Taxi to White Bay costs around 5$ per person (3+)
If arriving by ferry, taxis are waiting to take guests to popular spots like White Bay. Guests can arrange with taxi drivers in advance for a time and location to be picked up and returned to the ferry dock.

4x4s and vehicles can be rented from locals. No chains here. Two reliable companies are Abe & Eunice's and Paradise car rental. Can be expensive and they don't offer insurance, but they are effective for getting around. Most business is done on a handshake and smile on island. They will accept cash for your rental. Renters are instructed to leave the vehicle at the ferry dock on the day of departure with the keys under the mat.

Vehicles are not always necessary if you are up for some energetic walking. However, the island is very hilly and if you want to venture beyond White Bay and the popular tourist spots, a taxi or vehicle is advisable.
 
Renting a Car: No need.
 
The mountainous Jost Van Dyke, just 4 miles long and home to about 150 residents, is compact -- and one of the Caribbean's true getaway spots with nary a posh resort or casino in sight.
 
Great Harbour is the more "developed" side of the island, with numerous wood-shack eateries, open-air cafes, and bars. The most famous attraction on Jost (pronounced Yost) is Foxy's, a sprawling open-air bar in Great Harbour that's centered around the infamous Foxy. There's live entertainment, wacky celebrations and okay bar food. It's a big yachter's destination.
 
More peaceful is White Bay, where Ivan's "Stress-Free" bar and the infamous Soggy Dollar are located. As are the nearly-endless lines of lounge chairs, at no charge. For shoppers, there's not much except for Cocoloco's in White Bay, which stocks fun and funky Caribbean fashions, jewelry and souvenirs.
 
Things To See and Do
For the barefoot island, casual is the name of the game for the 4-mile (6.4 km) long paradise known as Jost Van Dyke. The smallest island in the British Virgin Islands, visitors indulge in the many beachside bars and restaurants, protected anchorages, and of course its famous “Lobster Feasts” at Stress Free Bar, rumored to be the best lobster in the Caribbean. Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts may enjoy the islands diverse and beautiful marine and exotic fish life. Jost Van Dyke is also known as one of the most popular destinations for yachters, boaters, and those yearning to enjoy a seclusive experience on one of its many coral sand beaches – truly the definition of laid back.
 
With only 300 residents on the entire island keeping the paradise island relatively empty year round, Jost Van Dyke is recommended as a short-stay option to those visiting the British Virgin Islands, perhaps spending an evening on the islands much heralded Harbor Bay.
 
Only five miles from Tortola, the main commercial center of the British Virgin Islands, minuscule Jost (rhymes with “toast”) Van Dyke is a little island with a big reputation. The scant 8-square-mile island — dubbed the “New York of the Virgin Islands” because it offers so much nightlife — probably packs more fun per square inch than any other island in the BVIs.
 
Sailing, snorkeling, diving, and drinking are the four major pastimes on the small, minimally inhabited island of Jost Van Dyke.  In order to get much else done, you're typically required to visit another island in the British Virgin Islands chain, but there are a few things that can easily occupy your time right on the island – most of which revolve around water. 
 
Beaches
White Bay Beach
You'll discover a handful of beaches to consider visiting on the island. Snorkeling is available at some of the beaches, for people who enjoy the underwater scene. Click on the name of the beach to get additional information about that particular location.
 
White Bay Beach: A long stretch of curving beach, this spot is very popular with boaters because its located on the smaller island of Jost Van Dyke.
A second alternative worth considering is Green Cay Beach. Green Cay is a speck of an island east of Little Jost Van Dyke and extremely isolated. A few people may pepper this beach, but otherwise you'll be alone in paradise if you make the journey here.
 
Sandy Spit: This beach is accessible only by boat, but well worth the trip.
The island has other beaches. Readers can get more information clicking on this link.
 
Landmark Attractions
Callwood Historic Distillery
Belmont Archaeological Site is a historical site just outside of Jost Van Dyke. Belmont is an archeological site near North Sound in which archeologists have procured dozens of objects from the Ostinoid period, helping them to piece together pieces of the historical puzzle regarding what life was like on the islands between the years 900 and 1 B.C.
 
If you are looking to do more sight-seeing, visit Vigilant Sloop. It is located in Frenchman's Cay, Southeast of Jost Van Dyke. Vigilant is the mascot for sailing in the British Virgin Islands. The traditional wooden boat is 25-feet long and one of three original Tortola Sloops remaining in the islands.
St. Michael Church Ruins: Once reportedly headed by a pirate priest, St. Michael Church now stands in ruins on the North Beach Coast.
 
That's not all -- you'll find a full range of other sites to visit. Those interested can learn more about other sites worth visiting within reach of Jost Van Dyke here.
 
Sage Mountain National Park
Tourists who enjoy being outside frequently enjoy visiting Diamond Cay National Park. One of Jost Van Dyke's smallest natural attractions is Diamond Cay National Park. This tiny little swatch of land off the coast of Long Bay near the Diamond Cay Marine is accessible by walking along a sand bar that can easily be covered in high tide. It is a fun jaunt, but not much to be seen.
 
A second place that you might enjoy is Little Tobago - Great Tobago National Park. Tobago Cay, at the northwest corner of the British Virgin Islands chain is home to Great Tobago (210 acres) and Little Tobago (55 acres) of protected lands established in 1995 as national parks. Birders visit these island because it is the only nesting site in the British Virgin Islands for frigate birds, and divers love the waters around Mercurious Rock.
 
Jost Van Dyke has a wider range of nature attractions. For more in formation concerning natural attractions on and around Jost Van Dyke Jost Van Dyke Scuba offers both scuba diving trips and eco-excursions around the island.
Stroll barefoot through Jost Van Dyke’s “city center” (though this’ll probably only take you 20 minutes, even with a strong headwind).
Best Cruise Line Shore Excursions
Jost Van Dyke Sailing ($79 for 4 hours.): There's not a whole lot to do on Jost except sun, swim and snorkel. You can do all three on this tour. Swim or snorkel off two locations around the island, both of which sport clear, blue water. One of them, Sandy Cay, was purchased by magnate Nelson Rockefeller in order to preserve its birds (it's still owned by the Rockefeller family) and has a wonderful white-sand beach.
 
ATV Adventure ($79 an hour): This ATV tour should satisfy some of your curiosity about Jost's interior landscapes. You'll cover quite a bit of ground over the course of 45 minutes. On the tour, you'll be able to see Tortola and Virgin Gorda from the views atop Jost's second-highest peak.
 
On Your Own: Within Walking Distance
Great Harbour is the main event, town-wise, on Jost. It's most renowned for a collection of beachside bars ringing the harbor. You can easily walk to this beach town's main (sandy) road from the tender pier. There's a school, a custom's house, a few shops and, of course, the bars (see "Great Local Restaurants & Bars," below).
 
Other tenders may pull up directly on the beach in quiet, secluded White Bay. This spot is perfect for snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing. On the left-hand side of the beach is a small reef with easy beach access.
Great Harbour and White Bay are connected by a winding road that climbs up a steep hill. It's about a 35-minute walk from one beach to the other (though, because of that uphill climb, we suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes and toting some water. And, of course, sunscreen.)
 
On Your Own: Beyond the Port Area
 
Tiny (1.25 acre) Diamond Cay, declared a national park in 1991, is located off Long Bay, Jost Van Dyke. Like most other islands that have been declared National Parks, Diamond Cay is a bird sanctuary. The nesting site is home to several species of bird, including terns, boobies, and pelicans. Also in the area: Foxy's Taboo (see "Great Local Restaurants & Bars," below).
 
Nearby is the famous Bubbling Pool, a natural Jacuzzi. The rocks here form a small pool, and the foam from crashing waves is funneled through a small hole to produce the bubbles
 
Eating Out
Most of the action occurs on the south side of the M-shaped island, in either White Bay (to the west) or Great Harbour (in the south-central area), though rugged Little Harbour, way to the east, is making a play for adventure- and fun-seekers, as well. Moving roughly west to east, what follows are some of Jost Van Dyke‘s brightest, shiniest hot spots. Casual dining, in-town joints: Soggy Dollar (White Bay, 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) makes a great burger or flying fish sandwich -- plus the aforementioned Painkillers. Relax in one of the bar's great wicker rockers while you wait.
 
Soggy Dollar Bar
If you’ve been to this place (large image, above), you know how fanfreakingtastic it is. If you’ve only heard tales about it, let me break it to you gently: it’s seriously more fun than your friends told you. If you’ve never heard of it, well … you lead a sad, sad life.
 
Named for a patron who reportedly anchored his boat, swam to shore for a drink, and paid for it with wet cash, the Soggy Dollar is probably most famous as being the birthplace of the potent yet refreshing cocktail known as the Painkiller.
If you’ve only heard tales about the Soggy Dollar, let me break it to you gently: it’s seriously more fun than your friends told you.

Shaded by massive sea grapes and cardamom trees, this nautically-themed open-aired bar boasts one of the finest, whitest beaches in the Virgin Islands. It offers ample space to relax — both actual chairs (if you can manage to hit the seat) and hammocks (if you just need to collapse). The bar has several ring-toss games set up, and the competition gets fierce as the rum flows. Alternatively, the property’s scattered tiki huts offer plenty of space for private chats, and there’s food grilling in back if you’re feeling peckish. Mercifully, if you’re just too tired (read: too drunk) to make it back to your boat, the adjacent Sandcastle Hotel offers delightful cottages ($190-$295/double, depending on the room and the season).
 
One Love Bar and Grill
This ramshackle restaurant (left) seems like it must’ve been cobbled together from junk that floated up on the beach, but the fact is: this place serves painfully cold Carib beers and heaping, open-faced lobster rolls ($20).
 
The dining area — if you can call it that — is the part of the beach under a sprawling sea grape shading scattered plastic chairs and tables. If you plan to visit, don’t worry about your outfit: you really can’t be dressed too casually for this dive.
 
Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar
Owned by Ivan Chinnery, the Stress-Free Bar (left) ranks several notches lower on the “Wild Scale” than the Soggy Dollar (most of the time). From the water’s edge, Ivan’s is nearly obscured by clumps of puffy sea grape bushes. However, as you approach the building, you quickly realize it’s really a giant piece of folk art. Decorated with hundreds of thousands of shells, Ivan’s is a sprawling, cozy, covered bar that offers a BBQ (on Thursdays, in season) and both campsites ($20-40, depending on season and amenities) and very basic cabins ($45-75).
 
What makes this place stress-free? Chinnery keeps the vibe mellow, but Ivan’s also boasts an “honor bar.” Feelin’ thirsty? Head behind the bar, mix your cocktail, and leave some money in a jar. No lines, no dealing with snotty bartenders, no watered-down drinks. If you time it right, Chinnery may even play some tunes. He’s no slouch, either — he’s played with Kenny Chesney, who filmed his video for No Shirts, No Shoes, No Problem here.
 
Foxy’s Tamarind Bar
Over in Great Harbour, situated at the base of the tallest hill on Jost Van Dyke and hidden by a thick mask of coconut palms, sits this shanty institution. Foxy (Philiciano) Callwood is the unofficial mayor of Jost Van Dyke (population 180), largely because of the interstellar success of this bar.
 
Decorated with dangling t-shirts, bandanas, hats, and underwear, Foxy’s (right) has an on-site brewery; mixes wickedly strong cocktails (a single $6 “Wrecked on the Rocks” will send you reeling); boasts live music on the weekends; and offers the islands’ best “all you can eat” ribs, chicken and fish on Saturday nights ($28/person). Be on the lookout for Taboo, Foxy’s adorable black lab, who doesn’t have time for head-scratches … though he’s always got time for a rib bone.
There's no better way to end a day than with a rum concoction on the terrace of one of the small hotels and guest cottages along Jost Van Dyke's south shore. Especially after a dinner of Jost Van Dyke's famous lobster-reputed to be the best in the Caribbean.
 
Shopping
There aren't too many options in Jost Van Dyke  Shopping is limited on Jost beyond food, drink, The main shopping strip is in Great Harbor and along a sandy road parallel to the beach. There are a variety of little shops, selling locally made goods or some unique items beyond the usual t-shirts. But Jost is not someplace you come to shop.
 
 In Great Harbour, Foxy's has a huge gift shop with lots of apparel and Cuban cigars., which abuts the infamous Foxy's Tamarind Bar , is your best bet for a memento of your  cruise stay on Jost. It sells T-shirts, accessories, swimsuits and handicrafts. Get started at at Cocoloco's in White Bay, a cute boutique-in-a-hut that sells everything from bathing suits to sundresses to souvenirs.
 
The U.S. Dollar is the currency of Jost Van Dyke. Most establishments take major credit cards (Visa, MC and for the most part American Express).
However, be aware that your credit card company will likely attach a "foreign transaction fee" to every credit card purchase made in the BVI's --even though you are using the U.S. dollar. Check with your credit card company in advance to avoid any surprises.
It is also advisable that you notify your credit card companies of your dates and location of travel to avoid your card being "turned off."
There are NO ATM's on Jost van Dyke. So be sure to bring cash with you if you intend to use it. In a pinch, some retailers may give you a "cash advance" if using your credit card for a purchase, but this is rare and entirely up to the shop owner.


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