Jost Van Dyke
A short sail from Tortola and St. Thomas, Jost Van Dyke is a getaway among getaways. The five-square-mile island shares a common topography with the other Virgin Islands: rich green hillsides that cascade toward perfect white beaches. But Jost Van Dyke (YOST van dike) possesses a character of its own, thanks to the thousands of sailors who visit every year and the influence of one world-famous islander.
Named after an early Dutch settler (some say pirate), Jost Van Dyke was a sleepy island community well into the 1960s. Islanders fished, farmed, and traveled to nearby islands for work. But then, in 1968, a young Philiciano “Foxy” Callwood changed things when he started selling drinks and food from a beach shack at Great Harbour. It turned out that Foxy had a serious knack for hospitality. As his reputation as an easygoing entertainer and gracious host grew, so did the number of sailors putting Jost Van Dyke in their sights.
Today, Foxy’s is still the best-known thing on Jost Van Dyke but is by no means the only reason to come here. Watering holes in Great Harbour, Little Harbour, White Bay, and the east end cater to the yachting crowd. If you are happiest with a drink in your hand and the sand beneath your feet, you can’t do much better than Jost Van Dyke.
If you have the will to wander away from the beach bar, you will find an idyllic island still content with the simple life. White Bay, on the south shore, is one of the best beaches in the whole Virgin archipelago. A network of unpaved roads through the island’s hills can double as hiking trails and afford explorers with unmatched views. Adventurers can hike to the mysterious Bubbly Pool and snorkel at Diamond Cay National Park. Jost is a great jumping-off point for exploring the out islands of Sandy Cay, Sandy Spit, and Little Jost Van Dyke, where visitors will find still emptier beaches and the remains of an 18th-century sugar plantation.
Most people get to Jost Van Dyke on charter yachts, which explains why there are still relatively few hotel rooms on the island. Still, you can find high-quality, low-fuss places to stay on Jost, including an excellent beachfront campground. Daily ferry service makes Jost accessible to those without their own yachts.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition