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Sunday, January 11, 2009

British Virgin Islands

Some may be aware that Norman Island, one of over 50 idyllic islands that constitute the archipelago of the British Virgin Islands, was supposedly the location that Robert Louis Stevenson based Treasure Island on. Today's visitors might not stumble across swashbuckling pirates or half-concealed treasure troves, but they will find a highly prized booty of soft sand and gentle, teal waters.Nautical pursuitsThe British Virgin Islands comprise sloping hills of green and the impressive Mount Sage National Park, but are mostly renowned for the nautical thrills on offer. Year-round winds provide exceptional conditions for sailing, and the British Virgin Islands happily celebrate this asset by staging frequent regattas and fairs. In addition, extensive coral reefs and famous shipwrecks are enough to entice anyone into the waters for a dive. For travellers who prefer to watch the sea rather than get into it, there is the breathtaking chance of spotting dolphins and whales criss-crossing the surface.Keen conservationistsParadise does come at a cost. Overall, the British Virgin Islands are quite an expensive destination. But, for some, this is the necessary price of saving a Caribbean gem from over-commercialisation. If this is the intention, the British Virgin Islands are, for now, a resounding success