Island Hop: San Juan to Tortola to Scrub Island, BVI


YOU’RE IN the bustling Caribbean metropolis of San Juan, but suddenly it strikes you: while you’re here, why not do a bit of island hopping?

Being the major air hub for this part of the Caribbean, San Juan is an island hopper’s dream — quick connections to almost all of the surrounding islands (usually via Cape Air), and a world of possibilities.

Here’s a quick guide for an island hop from Puerto Rico’s capital through Tortola to the private island escape of Scrub Island.


The best way is on Cape Air, which has assumed many of the routes abandoned by the now-departed American Eagle. There are multiple flights every day from San Juan International to Tortola’s Beef Island, a journey which takes about 47 minutes.


Above: the BananaKeet Cafe

Even though your final destination is Scrub Island, spend half a day in Tortola and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes. That could include a stop at the Sugar Mill, a restaurant hotel (one of our recently-named Best Caribbean Hotels for Food), the eatery called The Dove, or the Bananakeet Cafe — worth the trip for the view alone.


You’re heading to a small island, so you may need to stock up on provisions. Try the Pusser’s Road Town Pub and Company Store, where you can get a Pusser’s Navy Mug and several bottles of the Original Navy Rum. (You should probably try a Painkiller drink while you’re there, just for the sake of research).


Now, we’ve included a brief jaunt to Tortola, but Scrub Island’s team will actually pick you up right at the airport if you so choose. If you do go in to Tortola, take a taxi to the Trellis Bay Dock, where you will board the resort’s private launch to Scrub Island. (The private launch departs at 45 minutes after every hour, departing Scrub Island on the half hour.


You’ve reached Scrub Island, the hopping’s done, and all that’s left to do is practice the art of down time. In the mood for some sand? The island has three beautiful private beaches (try Honeymoon Beach, which can only be reached by kayak). Looking for a spa treatment? Try the popular heat-focused Eterno Massage. Or perhaps you just want to kick back and try a cocktail at Caravela’s Rum Bar. Scrub Island is a real oasis, so it’s simply a matter of choosing the right relaxation.


If you want to turn a brief island hop into a full-fledged island adventure, the property offers combinations of five night stays and five nights of sailing across the British Virgin Islands — an entirely different level of exploration.

— CJ