Photo: Nomada at Sea

Nomada at Sea's Custom British Virgin Islands Itineraries Are the Most Luxurious Way to See the Islands

British Virgin Islands Luxe Travel Cruises
by Cate Brown Dec 15, 2023

I had been on the crystal clear waters of the British Virgin Islands with Nomada at Sea for less than two hours before jumping in to snorkel near Norman Island.

“While you’re snorkeling, explore those sea caves, that’s where it’s rumored pirates hid their treasure,” Captain Ryan Adler said, referring to the rock face a dozen yards from our dinghy.

nomada at sea catamaran

Photo: Nomada at Sea

You can’t help but feel a sense of adventure in the air when cruising around the BVI. Here, every other stop has a story of hidden treasures (Treasure Island was based on Norman Island) and lost diamonds (rumor has it a large diamond was lost and never found at the fittingly named Diamond Reef).

The absolute best way to see if BVI is by boat. Like so many other Caribbean islands, the BVI rise straight out of the sea forming small mountains that run down to sandy white beaches, all surrounded by turquoise waters with tradewinds that reliably sweep from east to west every day. The 60 island archipelago is a sailor’s dream, dotted with islands at every turn, and only averaging an hour transit between them. Ferries mainly visit the four largest inhabited islands — Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada — which leaves a playground of over 50 smaller islands to explore if you have the means to get there. Most of these islands are uninhabited and designated as national park space that people can visit, yet another reason why the BVI are a favorite destination for cruisers looking to escape the crowds and find solitude among the bays and beaches.

nomada at sea lagoon catamaran

Photo: Nomada at Sea

Catamaran charters abound in the Caribbean, all offering a different take on seeing the islands. Nomada at Sea, a new charter from Nomada Hotel Group on a luxurious Lagoon 620 Catamaran, incorporates the finer things in life as well as a customizable itinerary that guests can tailor to their interests. It’s the perfect solution for travelers who want a touch of adventure but appreciate comfortable accommodations with luxury treatment.

What it’s like aboard the Nomada at Sea

salon on the catamaran with nomada at sea

Photo: Nomada at Sea

As a lifelong sailor myself, and having completed multiple other sails in the Caribbean, my previous cruising experience had been bareboat charters where we did the sailing and provisioning all ourselves. Nomada at Sea is a crewed charter, providing a captain, stewardess, private chef, full provisioning, and recommended activities and itineraries.

docking with nomada at sea

Photo: Nomada at Sea

Nomada Hotel Group specializes in revitalizing hotels and other historic spaces into boutique venues. The company proves it’s just as adept at doing so on the water as it is on land with Nomada at Sea, which launched its first trips in 2023. The pre-owned Lagoon 620 measures a roomy 62 feet overall with a 32-foot beam, has an enclosed gathering space with a full kitchen, an aft deck with ample dining and seating, plus a comfortable flybridge with 360-degree views and even more dining and seating — not to mention sun beds forward, aft, and on the salon roof.

bed on catamaran with nomada at sea

Photo: Nomada at Sea

The five ensuite accommodations for guests come complete with independent air conditioning, pillow-topped queen beds, crisp sheets and duvet, ample closet and drawer storage, and full baths. Thoughtful details and upgrades were incorporated during the boat’s refit, including fully refinished laminate, a modern aqua patterned upholstery by Pierre Frey, and Waterworks fixtures typically reserved for larger private yachts.

cocktail hour with nomada at sea

Photo: Nomada at Sea

But the best part of the Nomada experience is the crew. Captain Adler, chef Kenetha Ashton, and stewardess Constanza Fernandez were our hosts for the week. They provided hospitality and some of the best cooking, as well as a wealth of insights and knowledge about the islands. With remarkable comfort and accommodation, Nomada embodies the adventurous sailing spirit of these Caribbean waters while providing top tier hospitality from the best crew on the water.

Finding adventure through a custom Nomada at Sea itinerary

sunset on a catamaran british virgin islands

Photo: Cate Brown

Unlike a big ship cruise, Nomada at Sea’s team customizes each charter to make sure guests experience only the things they’re are interested in. On my trip, I got a taste of some of the highlights on offer.

Exploring Tortola with Eco Adventures BVI

@ecoadventuresbvi Hell Hell to Bamboo Meadows Loop #ecoadventuresbvi #britishvirginislands #bviculture #bvinature #education #fun #outdoors #flora #fauna ♬ TO THE MOON – JNR CHOI & Sam Tompkins

For anyone with an affinity for the outdoors, nature, history, or all of the above, Eco Adventures BVI with Mervin Hastings is a wonderful activity for all ages. Hastings has more than 30 years of knowledge in conservation ecology, zoology, and marine biology, and has collected oral traditions from BVI locals. He used his background to develop a guided two-hour hike that begins with a history of sugar cane production on the islands and covers the flora, fauna, and history of BVI on the journey through the hills of Tortola. You might even get a sampling of local guava berry wine or coconut water, and be sure to ask Mervin if he’d be willing to sing the guava berry folk song.

A stop at The Baths

beach british virgin islands

Photo: Cate Brown

Perhaps the best known tourist attraction of the islands is The Baths National Park, and it’s popular for good reason. The park has recently been modified to a one way route, with two opportunities to enjoy some beach time. A short nature walk down the hill from the interior of the island leads to iconic, granite-boulder-strewn white sand beaches that form picturesque coves. The upper trail is dirt, but the lower trail goes through water shallows and includes a climb through the boulder field with a few stairs and light scrambling over the rocks. The last beach on the trail includes a souvenir stand, snacks and drinks, while the Top of the Baths restaurant and pool provides visitors with an overlooking panoramic view of the area from atop the hill. I recommend water-rated adventure sandals, a bathing suit, towel, and small backpack to properly enjoy the beach after exploring the boulders.


There are so many great snorkeling opportunities throughout these many islands, but my favorite stop was at The Dogs. These three little uninhabited islands sit in the Sir Francis Drake Channel between Virgin Gorda and Tortola, and make a great stop for the chef to cook lunch and anchor for time in the water. The colorful reefs include fire coral, which can cause nasty burns and rashes, so always swim carefully. The Dogs is also host to an artificial reef built by Beyond the Reef, which features three scuttled planes that were welded with dorsal fins to create metal shark sculptures. For divers who are looking for more than marine life to observe, this upcycled wreckage-turned-art sits about 40 to 45 feet deep in the waters off the south coast of Great Dog.

Dining with Nomada at Sea

breakfast at nomada at sea

Photo: Cate Brown

The customization of each itinerary doesn’t stop at the islands and experiences. Guests can build out an itinerary that includes an entire week of meals cooked by the chef aboard the boat — think lunches of tostones and tuna ceviche over cocktails. There’s also the option to stop at some of the most popular luxury resorts on the islands.

Dinner at Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda

This luxury resort has three restaurants, including outdoor dining with a view right on the beach. Our stop at one of the restaurants, Reef House, included a dinner of mixed ceviche and tres leches cake for dessert. Also worth considering? The Rum Room lounge, which has an extensive cocktail menu for anyone interested in a nightcap.

Rosewood Little Dix Bay: FH67+FF, Lee Road, Valley, Spanish Town VG1150, British Virgin Islands

A stop at the iconic Soggy Dollar Bar

The Soggy Dollar Bar is a famous beach bar not just among the options in the BVI, but across the Caribbean. One of the primary reasons is because it’s where George and Marie Myrick created the now-famous painkiller cocktail in the 1970s. It’s made with dark rum, cream of coconut, and both pineapple and orange juices before being topped with grated Grenadian nutmeg. True to its name, there’s no dock and swimming to the bar is the best way to get there after anchoring right near the beach. Swimsuits are required but shirts and shoes are optional. For more, the stretch of beach at White Bay hosts back to back beach bars and casual oceanside restaurants.

Soggy Dollar Bar: C6VP+7F4, Belle Vue, British Virgin Islands

Fresh seafood at Scrub Island Resort & Marina

Getting its name from pirate days when boats were put ashore so the bottoms could be scrubbed free of barnacles and growth, this resort features a spacious indoor dining room with a view. Depending on when you decide to dock here you can take advantage of the two outdoor pools complete with swim-up bars, but a stop at Scrub Island is most suggested for the food. The options are vast: sushi, fried pork belly, sweet potato croquettes, cheesecake with chocolate artwork. My personal favorite was the red snapper with fresh salsa over pea parmesan risotto and flash fried basil leaf garnish.

Scrub Island Resort & Marina: Scrub Island VG1120, British Virgin Islands

Sunset views, dinner, and cocktails at Bitter End Yacht Club

The legendary Bitter End Yacht Club is tucked into a corner of Virgin Gorda, overlooking the North Sound with arguably the best sunset view in the islands. Bitter End has multiple dining experiences whether you’re in the mood for something more casual or dine-in, plus a stellar cocktail menu and barista. Arrive earlier to experience the activities here with watersports gear rentals like stand-up paddleboards, e-foil boards, personal watercraft. There’s also market with fresh produce and imported goods that our chef stopped by to restock. Old signage that washed ashore during Hurricane Irma in 2017 is repurposed throughout the venue, while the old launch boat that sank in the storm was floated and given a fresh coat of paint before being embedded in the sand to serve as the new beach bar. The menu at Clubhouse was one of my favorite menus of the whole trip, serving a number of classics with a few island twists, like whole fried snapper, lobster, and Thai curry.

Bitter End Yacht Club: N Sound Rd, Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands

Getting to the British Virgin Islands

Flights to St. Thomas airport on the US Virgin Islands tend to be less expensive than flying into Virgin Gorda for those coming from the States, though this option requires an additional one-hour ferry to get you to the BVI. Shorter transits cross the channel from Red Hook USVI to Cruz Bay BVI. If flying in and out of St. Thomas, returning to the airport by private water taxi is also a great option as the water route across the channel will be downwind. It can take a while to clear customs back at the small airport in St. Thomas, so plan accordingly.

Currency accepted in the BVI is USD, making it a breeze for American travelers. Weekly rates for Nomada at Sea start at $43,000 for six guests to $53,000 for 10 guests.

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