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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.