High season in the BVI traditionally runs from mid-December to the end of April, and as could be expected of this laid-back (yet moneyed) island nation, it attracts lots of jetsetters, including the yacht crowd and more than a few celebrities.
Shoulder season starts in May, and Memorial Day weekend brings the BVI Music Festival at Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, featuring dancehall and reggae performers and DJs from the U.S. and Europe. No matter which season you visit the BVIs, don’t miss out on the Full Moon Party at Bomba’s Surfside Shack, a Tortola institution. Warning: It’s not a family affair. Drinking, live music, and occasional nudity are the name of the game.
During the fall part of shoulder season, partake in a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition at Eugene Stevens’s bar and grill, on the beach at Smuggler’s Cove in Tortola. Eugene will give you a free beach chair for the day just for buying a drink. And the drinks are anything but ordinary: Eugene runs his blender off the battery in his truck. When the blender starts to slow, he jumps in the front seat and cranks the ignition. And while there’s no turkey in sight, he does grill a mean chicken-and-rib combo.
The HiHo Windsurfing Competition is held in summer—off-season in the BVI—on Virgin Gorda. While it attracts world-class surfers, most folks come for the post-race Pirate Party, where they can say “Aaarrgggh!” as often as they want all night long. The Emancipation Festival in August—a rollicking party with a parade, music, and plenty of dancing—celebrates the end of slavery, which was declared here in 1834.