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A pandemic-era visit to Richard Branson’s private Moskito Island: Here's what it was like

March 22, 2021
6 min read
Moskito Island
A pandemic-era visit to Richard Branson’s private Moskito Island: Here's what it was like
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This viewpoint from The Points Guy’s Brian Kelly was originally published in his weekly newsletter. Sign up to receive curated travel intel from Brian Kelly.


A friend recently invited me to spend a week at his home on Moskito Island, one of Sir Richard Branson’s private islands in the British Virgin Islands. A few estates are scattered around the island.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

Here’s a fun fact: You can rent Branson’s estate on this island. It’s predictably expensive, but it does come with food, service and a whole bunch of activities included, so it’s like renting your own mini-resort. If you go with a large group of friends or family, it could be a perfect socially distanced place to get away from it all.

This estate -- called the Jain Estate -- isn't publicly listed yet as a rental property, but TPG readers can get exclusive access to the estate by calling Virgin Limited Edition at 1-929-526-3034 or reaching out to Dena at dena.moth@moskitoisland.virgin.com.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

I visited over my birthday — March 7 — and had an incredible time. I ended up extending my trip another week and spent that at the newly renovated and reopened Rosewood Little Dix Bay on nearby Virgin Gorda. Since it was a two-week trip with lots to report on, I’ll cover each week in a separate newsletter.

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Today I’ll talk about week one on Moskito Island.

Getting to the British Virgin Islands

An aerial view of the British Virgin Islands. (Photo by Taylor McBride/Shutterstock.com)

Traveling to the BVIs isn’t the easiest. First, there are no direct flights to the island of Tortola, meaning you have to access the island via St. Thomas or San Juan, Puerto Rico. You take a “puddle jumper” from either of those places to Tortola (it’s about a 10-minute flight from St. Thomas and about 30–40 minutes from San Juan), and then finally take a boat from Tortola to Moskito Island.

Second, the BVIs have a rigorous testing and quarantine regimen in place. You have to receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within five days prior to arrival. Then you are tested again upon arrival, on day four of your trip and finally before departing to comply with the U.S. testing rule.

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More on traveling during this phase of the pandemic:

After the test upon arrival, you must quarantine in your hotel room or home for four complete days, according to BVI tourism’s official site.

I noticed plenty of people leaving the arrival testing facility in tears due to the test. At first, I thought they were dramatic, but I can honestly say this was the most painful COVID-19 test I’ve received to date. The swab went so far up my nasal cavity, I thought it poked my brain.

Turnaround time is quoted at 24–36 hours, but I’ve heard from people saying it took longer for them. If you travel to the BVIs, be prepared to quarantine in your hotel room for two or maybe even three days, which could be challenging when you want to be outside enjoying the weather.

Since a few friends and I were staying in a private home, we could use the pool, tennis courts and other facilities on the property, which made the quarantine period much more enjoyable.

Brian Kelly on Moskito Island (Photo courtesy of Brian Kelly/the Points Guy)

Once we received the negative results from the arrival test, we were free to move about our “bubble” on Moskito Island, which included the beach. Then, on day four, we had another test and when those results came back on day five, we were officially free to explore the BVIs.

Staying on Moskito Island

Moskito Island beach (Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)

As you can imagine, Moskito Island was a picture-perfect paradise. I’ve visited the U.S. Virgin Islands in the past, but as soon as I arrived at Moskito Island, I felt a different, special energy that’s difficult to put into words.

My week at Moskito Island was a dream come true. The island doesn’t allow cars, so everyone gets around on golf carts. The estate itself had beautiful grass tennis courts, a stunning beach with volleyball, cornhole and other games, beautiful pools and five-star service from the staff members. It was an ideal place to spend my birthday with a few close friends.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

Since I was only cleared from quarantine on day five of what was supposed to be a one-week trip, I figured I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the BVIs with so few people there.

So, I extended my trip! Watch for my post next week, where I’ll talk about part two of my trip and what it was like staying at Rosewood Little Dix Bay.

Featured image by Jonathan Cosh of Visual Eye
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023