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

Mar 22, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Moskito 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.

Moskito Island
(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.

Sign up for Brian Kelly’s weekly newsletter for more travel intel.

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

Getting to the British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands aerial
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.

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 Moskito Island BVI
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.

Moskito Island
(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 of Moskito Island courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.