We finally get to one of my favorite islands in all the Caribbean, Jost Van Dyke.
No island in the British Virgin Island has a better handle on the beach bar culture than Jost Van Dyke. True, this island’s beach bars may seem like the stuff of fantasy, but they are as real as the water is blue. Ass in the sand, a cold drink in your hand, the low hum of calypso, and an abundance of islan cheer—that is the Jost Van Dyke beach bar.
It is never too early to go pub crawling, and if you arrive at a bar that seems closed, don’t fret. Just help yourself. Many bars on Jost employ the honor bar system, and nothing embodies the generous spirit of the island better than this. (Don’t forget to leave your payment on the way out.) Invariably, the afternoon hours, from 3 p.m. until sunset, are the best time to visit a beach bar. That is when you are sure to find a few new friends at the bar and some fitting calypso music in the background.
Did someone say Painkiller? This concoction of rum, pineapple juice, coconut, and nutmeg is the quintessential island cocktail and goes perfectly with Jost Van Dyke’s laid-back feel.
Bar Hopping on Jost
You will need a boat to navigate a course from bar to bar. A good starting point is Foxy’s Taboo. Taboo is actually a bit removed from the beach; it is built on a wooden platform overlooking Diamond Cay and Little Jost Van Dyke.
Next, set sail to Little Harbour and stop at Sidney’s Peace and Love and Harris’ Place, beach bars separated only by a narrow strip of white sand—ideal for children. These places are generally quiet and uncrowded. Bring your own entertainment.
Great Harbour has the greatest number of beach bars, and you can explore them sans shoes. Sail into the harbor, pick up a mooring, and dinghy in to the shore. Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on the eastern end of the harbor is the biggest and best-known of these. T-shirts left (or lost) by previous visitors grace the walls, and you can study the business cards of casual pirates who succumbed to Foxy’s Painkillers and piña coladas. There is live entertainment on weekends, and Foxy sings calypso some afternoons. When you’re ready for a change of scenery, wander down the main drag at Great Harbour, and you will also find Ali Baba’s, Corsairs, and Rudy’s.
Save the best for last: Jost Van Dyke’s quintessential beach bars are at White Bay. Start at Ivan’s Stress Free Bar, next to the White Bay Campground. Mix your own cocktail at the honor bar, enjoy it out on the beach, and then head down to the Soggy Dollar Bar, the supposed originator of the Painkiller. Sip your drinks with you feet in the water or relax in the hammocks, either way you will never want to leave. Soggy Dollar has a great webcam that lets day dreamers take sneak peeks into what they are missing.
Have you been to Jost Van Dyke? What is your favorite beach bar?
Cheers to fantasy island,