Virgin Gorda

(Courtesy BVI Tourist Board)

BVI Christmas in July is an annual event held in the British Virgin Islands, specifically at Pond Bay Beach, Virgin Gorda. The party is well-known for gathering hundreds of Puerto Rican boats that set sail from Puerto Rico to the British territory to enjoy what is traditionally a holiday weekend on the island. This year, the event will take place on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event’s main organizer Wally Castro Marine, along with Marcos Rivera and the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board in Puerto Rico, work as a team every year to bring different elements to the party. This is something that has helped to increase the amount of boats that travel every year to Virgin Gorda and the visitors that not only own boats and sail from Puerto Rico, but also those that fly over to the BVI, opting to use ferry services to arrive at Pond Bay or charter their own boat from companies such as The Moorings, Dream Yacht Charters and Marine Max, just to name a few.

“In Puerto Rico, it’s already a tradition to use the last days of July to take a small summer vacation and spend time with family and children before they go back to school. Having that in mind, we created a family event in Virgin Gorda to gather the nautical community, which usually arrives as a “fleet” to the BVI in those days, and regular tourists who use other means to arrive to the BVI to celebrate Christmas in July with us,” explained Wally Castro, owner of Wally Castro Marine and the event’s organizer.

Sharon Flax-Brutus director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board said: “BVI residents eagerly await the arrival of what they have lovingly dubbed the ‘Puerto Rican Navy.’ The joyous atmosphere, the way they tie up their boats together in a line as if they were a sort of fleet, and the music you hear from the boats while you are standing on the shore are all contagious and we love having them with us during those days. It’s really wonderful to see them arrive and enjoy our territory with us. We consider them a part of the BVI, especially after all the help they gave us after the atmospheric events of 2017.”

This edition of Christmas in July will feature Virgin Gorda band The Final Faze, and from Puerto Rico, Orquesta La Oferta, a tribute band to legendary salsa band El Gran Combo. Another band, Bastón de Diego, takes the stage in the afternoon. Denisse Torres, a DJ from Puerto Rican radio station Magic 93.7 FM, will be the event’s emcee.

Cape Air is the event’s official airline. It offers daily direct flights to Tortola and Virgen Gorda. Those interested in going to the event can stay at any of the territory’s islands because there is a variety of ferries offering transportation to Virgen Gorda. Most of them offer service from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

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