While sailing around the idyllic British Virgin Islands, it’s easy to get swept away by the perfect beaches, incredible food, and relaxed lifestyle.
However, there is more to these islands than rum and snorkelling. If you embark on a BVI bareboat charter, you’ll soon find that the islands boast a deep history and rich culture that can be explored in the various museums and other landmarks.
Callwood Rum Distillery
While the British Virgin Islands may not be ALL about rum, it does play an important part in the history and economy of the islands. The production of rum originated in the Caribbean in the mid-1600s and remains a profitable business today. The Callwood Rum Distillery is the only continuously operating rum distillery in the British Virgin Islands and offers samples of its different types of rum. The rum here is made with locally sourced sugar cane rather than molasses, which is what makes Caribbean rum unique to the islands.
Her Majesty’s Prison
This historical prison has the distinction of being the oldest building in Road Town on the island of Tortola. Construction was completed in 1774, and the building was used as a prison until 1997 when the prison was moved to a new location in Balsam’s Ghut. In 1811, plantation owner Arthur W. Hodge was executed by hanging after being convicted of the brutal murder of one of his slaves. In December of 2016, the facility reopened to the public as a museum.
North Shore Shell Museum
No beach visit is complete without finding some interesting shells, and the North Shore Shell Museum is the perfect place to do just that. Owner Egbert Donovan has filled his quirky “museum” with shells and signs that he has collected over the past 25 years. Local children create crafts with the shells, and proceeds from the sales go to the schools in the area. Patrons are not charged admission but can leave a donation if they wish.
The wreckage of the RMS Rhone provides a spectacular dive experience for those craving some underwater time. The Royal Mail Steamer Rhone sunk in 1867 during a hurricane and many parts of the ship are still intact on the sea floor. A wide variety of marine life, including, sea turtles, can be found in and around the wreck, and it is considered good luck to see an eel or octopus during a dive.
Virgin Islands Folk Museum
To truly experience the history of the British Virgin Islands, a visit to the Virgin Islands Folk Museum is a must. Visitors can see native Arawak and Carib pottery, artefacts from the RMS Rhone, and plantation memorabilia, and will learn about life for the early Amerindian people.
In between soaking up the sun and getting your fill of water sports, be sure to check out these amazing landmarks and make the most of your experience in the British Virgin Islands!
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