The information for this blog post has been heavily taken from a Business BVI article written by Todd VanSickle and published July 24, 2015.
We are still in Puerto Rico but I thought I would share this interesting bit of information about Puerto Rico and the BVIs since both have been important places in our lives with Let It Be.
In July the charter companies in the BVIs have a bit of a slow down as hurricane season becomes a factor in decisions about visiting the area. Of course the reduced number of charters and tourists have a negative affect on BVI businesses. However, the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico is a mere 90 miles from the BVIs and it is from this island that the BVIs receives an economic boost each year.
For the last 30 plus years, each July huge numbers of boaters take off from Puerto Rico and set off to visit, shop, swim and party in the BVIs. According to an article published in Business BVI in July of 2015, it is estimated that 2,000 boats from PR visit the BVIs in July! According to Javier Lopez, organizer of Christmas in July (as of 2015), at least 800 Puerto Rican boats visited the BVIs during the week long Christmas in July event in 2015.
Having traveled by boat in Puerto Rico, I can tell you from our own observations that the boaters here in PR know how to have fun! Gatherings are numerous for any occasion and for no occasion at all. Along with our friends, we agree you can identify a PR party boat because it will have; 1. loud music on an excellent stereo system, 2. some sort of flag(s) will be prominently displayed, 3. plenty of people will be on board, 4. magically the boats will be drawn together like magnets.
I say all this with the greatest of respect. I love the way people here in PR include family members of all ages and how much laughter is shared. This is a fun-loving, happy and welcoming community and we have enjoyed observing it and on occasion being involved in it.
Let this picture prove the numbers are not exaggerated! (Internet photo)
In the article referenced, Mr. Lopez says that the boaters who participate in Christmas in July refer to themselves as the “Puerto Rican Navy” and we have heard this term for years. It is a bit confusing until you understand that it is simply an affectionate term used because the boaters travel in groups and support one another.
Amazingly, Mr. Lopez states that this is a very affluent group of boaters with an average income of $600k to $1.5M annually! With that sort of financial means, you can understand why this flotilla has become such an important and encouraged group among the BVI businesses.
So, if you have the opportunity to travel to the BVIs in July, be aware that the Puerto Rican Navy sort of take over during Christmas in July! The usual beat of the islands will be replaced by some loud and catchy latin music and the number of boaters might be overwhelming. But the BVIs are so large that you have the opportunity to embrace the Puerto Rican Navy and join in their parties or you can observe where they are heading and go the other way. Beautiful beaches and perfect anchorages are so plentiful in the BVI that you can find serenity or parties any time of year.
So how about you? Does Christmas in July, partying with a huge number of power boaters and the feel of the base resonating in your chest sound like fun? Or do you prefer the quieter anchorages where the sound of nature and waves upon the shore are the melodies that surround you?
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