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Jost Van Dyke Overview
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.
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Other Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports:
Antigua • Castaway Cay • CocoCay • Freeport • Grand Turk • Great Stirrup Cay • Half Moon Cay • Jost Van Dyke • Key West • La Romana (Casa de Campo) • Labadee • Nassau • Nevis • Princess Cays • Samana and Cayo Levantado • San Juan • Santo Domingo • St. Croix • St. John (U.S.V.I.) • St. Kitts • St. Maarten • St. Martin • St. Thomas • Tortola • Virgin Gorda
Painkiller. Legend has it that this delicious -- and potent -- cocktail was invented by bartenders at Jost's Soggy Dollar Bar. The "true" Painkiller is made with Pusser's dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice -- and freshly grated nutmeg on top.
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.
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.
Renting a Car: No need.
Everything. 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.
Shopping provides a break from the bars and beaches. 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.
In Great Harbour, Foxy's has a huge gift shop with lots of apparel and Cuban cigars.
Best Beach: White Bay
Best beach for snorkeling: Sandy Cay
Casual, 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.
Foxy's (Great Harbour, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.) for bar food, attitude and atmosphere.
Staying in Touch
Dream on. No Internet cafes on the island and no ATMs.
For More Information
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board: 800-835-853
On the Web: www.bviwelcome.com
Cruise Critic Message Boards: Caribbean
The Independent Traveler: Caribbean Exchange