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2022 Updated BVI Travel Guide

An update to our most popular blog post ever. Our 2022 BVI Travel Guide is here! 


The British Virgin Islands are…. Known as the some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and really the World.  Known for great sailing the islands close proximity is a boaters paradise.  

First time visiting?….  The sailing is excellent.  The BVI also offers great snorkeling, surfing and board sports, like wing foiling and kite surfing.  Or just relax on one of our beautiful beaches.  Grab a cold beer or a rum drink and find a coconut tree.

Casual & easy going…. The BVI vibe is casual and easy going. Shorts and T-shirts rule and linen is a great option to dress up a bit. Shop our HIHO linen styles online here. You may need a light sweater in the winter when nighttime temps drop below 80 degrees! 



Surf or SUP…. Tortola and some of the outer islands feature some of the Caribbean best waves for surfing.  Cane Garden Bay is a World class point break!  If you like to SUP then there are plenty of wonderful spots- our favourites include Little Jost Van Dyke and the South side of Beef Island.  Wing foiling is the new hot Watersport and we offer lots of windy and flat water venues to choose from. Our UPF50 Shirts are perfect for all day sun protection, shop here online. 


Honeymooners…. Nothing better than spending a week in a small private villa or aboard your own yacht.  There are lots of private anchorages and plenty of deserted islands you can call your own.  Check out the tiny beach on the North West corner of Fallen Jerusalem, which is a stone’s throw from the tip of Virgin Gorda.


Best Island Cocktail…. Check out a Painkiller at Hendo’s Hideout on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke.  Or mix your own rum punch- 1 part lime and OJ; 2-parts combined white and dark rum; 3/4 part of simple syrup; generous dash of Angostura bitters.  Shake and enjoy.  If you let this sit overnight it tastes even better!

Best Sunset vantage…. Watch the sun go down from the beach bar at the Anegada Reef Hotel.  It’s priceless!

A perfect day is…. Sail down the Sur Francis Drake Channel and across to Sandy Spit.  Rig you Wingfoil gear and island hop down to White Bay (with your yacht following you…).  Have a Painkiller at Hendo’s Hideout.  Stay for dinner, or Scott back up to Great Harbour and eat at Foxy’s.

Best Shopping…  The BVI are not really known for great shopping, but check out the Beach House Boutique at Rosewood Little Dix Resort on Virgin Gorda. It has the best collection of casual and elegant island apparel and gifts. Treat yourself to a sumptuous meal at the Sugar Mill restaurant, which is located a stone’s throw from the boutique.  

Secret Spot…. Stay at one of Long Bay Beach Resorts new beach front rooms. Take long walks down the powdery sand beach and enjoy their Thai curry’s for a quiet and romantic meal.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are located to the East of Puerto Rico.  Collectively there are over 60 islands, cays and rocks that comprise the territory which is still a part of Great Britain.  Year round weather is very agreeable with temperature ranging from the mid-70's in the Winter to low-90's in the Summer.  English is the official language and the currency is the US Dollar. The best way to get here is to fly to St Thomas (in the US Virgin Islands) and come across by ferry. We hope you visit soon!

 Shop our BVI gear for your next visit here.

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The story behind HIHO Caribbean

The story behind HIHO Caribbean

HIHO, the brand of pure Caribbean clothing, is an acronym for hook-in-hold-on.  Windsurfers “hook in and hold on” to their boom, and this was the name of the 1980’s version of today’s popular Highland Spring HIHO event. Today’s brand is a spin-off of the event and while the race continues to be held each Summer in the BVI’s you can buy HIHO clothing up and down the Caribbean.

The HIHO designers have always been creative with what they name the designs in their collection.  Fran Samuels, who along with her husband Andy Morrell, was instrumental in much of the early design of the brand explains: “We started out naming many of our clothes after our friends- maybe through inspiration, or because they liked that particular item.”

You’ll still find some items named after people, for example our men’s shirts (named after their friends Tim & Simon) but the current trend at HIHO is to pick places and island names.  One season, we named surf shorts were after the BVI’s best surf breaks and another year we simply named surf shorts Anegada, Anguilla and Saba.  Other island names like Necker, Ginger Island and Cruz Bay pop up on pants, shorts & shirts.  

Our original Suntek Shirts feature the “Hook in and Hold on” phrasing which pays homage to our brand heritage. Visit our website here to purchase.

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HIHO Style: Charts & Maps

HIHO Style: Charts & Maps

Our interest in collecting charts & maps must have started when we were young and sailing boats up and down the Caribbean.  Pouring over the chart we were using as we made our to or from Antigua or down to Puerto Rico we always fascinated over the islands we were passing.  Even though we were sailing in our backyard it was always interesting to see exactly where were or learn the name of the point, rock or islet we were passing.  (Confession- we still pour over charts, though they are now digital and you can zoom in and out electronically…)  Now we collect all the charts we can get our hands on.  Of course we favor ones from the Caribbean and we have a cool collection of UK, US and French charts with some dating back to the 1960’s.  We started framing them and hanging them in our stores.  We take sections of torn charts and frame them too.  The attached photo shows one wall in our store.

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Nothing Beats Sailing With Friends

On Sunday we clambered about an IC-24 for the inaugural ABI Regatta in St Thomas.  It was a fun race featuring a run down the South side of St Thomas followed by a couple windward-leeward courses off the beach at Frenchman’s Bay.   We were the envy of the fleet in our matching HIHO suntek jerseys.  Our winning speed also turned heads!  The fleet comprised 10 identical IC-24 sailboats manned by teams of friends and families.  We were sailing with friends against our friends- what could be better.  A group of kids from the clubs junior sailing program beat us to the first mark but we sailed a great downwind run to lead at the buoy off Green Cay.  We succumbed to course misinterpretation on the dogleg reach to the next buoy of the beach and slipped to 4th but managed to get back to 3rd by the downwind finish.   We aced the first windward-leeward course and settled for a 4th in the next which put us in end overall.  By Noon we were anchoring off the beach and swimming ashore to ABI beach bar for drinks, lunch and a casual awards ceremony.

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What's in a name?

 HIHO is an acronym for Hook-In-Hold-On, which was the original name for the well-known windsurfingrace that took place in the Virgin Islands from 1979 to 1986.  When we took over the event the name was shortened to HIHO.  The clothing brand that was to later emerge was also dubbed HIHO.  Toiling under this storied past we favor naming our clothes after friends along with islands we know and places we surf & sail.  Our line is peppered with the Tobago surfshort, Barbara Beach coverup, CGB, Kate short, Cooten Bay Cardigan and the St Barth dress… Inspiration comes in many ways, shapes and reasons.  For us, getting a name right is as important as picking the right colors and finding the perfect material.  It’s easy naming a dress after St Barth or shorts after our friend Kate.  The mayreau scarf is named after the most delightful island in The Grenadines.  Fran, who has designed much of the line, has had a bag and a dress named after her. Next year’s favorite sweater- the Cooten Bay Cardigan- has been given the name of a North shore break that serves up a bombing left wave!





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We draw immense inspiration from our life in the Caribbean.  We are surrounded by beauty.  Stunning islands, tropical scenery and simply the most beautiful water color in the World.  


A view from Tortola takes in nearby islands, the translucent Caribbean sea and lush mountains divided by plunging valleys.  Gardens overflow with tropical flowers and exotic palms.  Evenings are topped of with a sunset fit for a travel brochure.  


We find the sea perhaps the most compelling colored with almost every shade of blue available.  Shallower waters radiate turquoise and aquas while the deeper channels between the islands are darker blue.  It's no wonder that this is one of the favorite colors in our line!  


On smaller Caribbean islands the beach sand is clean and white.  The afternoon sun sparkles off the water, and the sky, particularly in the Winter months, is a radiating clear blue.  At night the stars wrinkle down on us.  


Our designers translate all this into prints and patterns, and we get noticed for our originality of style.


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Recommended Island Reading


Here are three books we love.  If you are lucky enough you can read them sitting on the beach with your toes in the sand, or reclining on your boat at anchor.

Although it's now 20-years old, "A Continent of Islands" is a great social, historical and political resource for the Caribbean.  Best-enjoyed if you are journeying through the islands, as in a yacht out of Antigua, or (gasp) aboard a cruise ship.  Our copy is dog eared and stained from traveling with us to Tobago and back.

Herman Wouk's "Don't Stop the Carnival" is charming, hilarious and rather to accurate.  Loosely based in the Virgin Islands it describes the trials & tribulations of buying a business and running it.  Anyone moving or considering a move to the Caribbean must read this!  

"The Islands and the Sea" aggregates a collection of writings about the Caribbean.  Conveying the beauty of the islands and the rich diversity of it's people, the collection of stories spans the history of the Caribbean from the first explorers to the living Trinidadian writer V.S. Naipal.


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Growing Nicely


Growth and expansion are the dream of any small company, and no more so than ours at HIHO.  While our genesis is in Tortola, we aspire to see our brand for sale in the Palm Beaches and the Hamptons, and in many places in between.  To that end we hit shows on a regular basis where, in the confines of a 10' x 10' booth space, we show off our clothes and spread Caribbean love.  Truth be told, we love selling and enjoy trade shows.  They are a lot of work, but very rewarding.  It's wonderful when owners or buyers fall in love with HIHO.  

You can learn a lot from the market and we always return to Tortola armed with more good ideas for our next line and motivated to work hard and design more.  It's the dead of Winter but we'll be at MODA in New York City starting February 24th for three days.  It's our second trip to New York in the last two months.  Trading our balmy Caribbean weather for the ice and bluster of the North East Winter, we proudly show our Summer line, and spread a little more Caribbean life and sparkle.


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What's in a name...



In the 1980’s the Johnnie Walker Hook-In-Hold-On event was windsurfing biggest & best-known event.  It was conceived in 1979 by local Virgin Island windsurfers and quickly grew into an intoxicating combination of great inter-island racing, fun parties and a yacht flotilla.  As local windsurfers we were thrilled every Summer when the event took place.  I mean it was like having the Super Bowl in town and we eagerly competed in as many editions as we could.




Johnnie Walker pulled the plug on their sponsorship after the 1986 event.  HIHO owner Andy Morrell nailed a 1st overall that year, collected a Pan Am plane ticket at the awards ceremony and flew back to Europe to finish university.  After that it was on to the pro windsurfing World Cup tour for a few years before knuckling down to get a job.  Thinking outside the box he bought the Hook-In-Hold-On name and re-started the race under the acronym HIHO in 1993.




Within a few years the event was sponsored by Bacardi Rum and Morrell was banging out the race T-shirts as fast as he could.  “We sold them in a basket in my mother’s store in town,” he explained.  “And then we decided to build a brand.”  




This year’s Highland Spring HIHO is the 20th edition of the “modern HIHO” event.  It’s been a roller coaster of a ride.  



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Caribbean Travel + Life Mag

One of our favorite magazines is featuring HIHO in the June/July issue.  Pick up Caribbean Travel + Life on news stands now to read all about the Highland Spring HIHO windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding event.

The writer, Matthew Miller and photographer, Shelly Strazis joined us for last year's event and looked at the event through the lense of a pirate's spyglass telescope to write this story.  Excerpt:

We’re offshore Anegada, 14 miles from the safe shelter of Virgin Gorda.  But who’s chasing us? The ghost of Sam Bellamy? Henry Morgan? “It’s Jim,” says John. “He’s crafty.”  Jim Hawkins, the crafty narrator of Treasure Island ? No, Jim Wallace, the cheerful British Airways pilot we drank with last night. This is the HIHO, a weeklong windsurfing and stand-up-paddling race that crisscrosses the BVI.

Download and read the full story here.

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Product Review

The guys over at Gorp.com recently did a product review of our long sleeve Suntek shirt.  And we're happy to report, they love it as much as we do.


Not surprisingly, HIHO Suntek is a staple in my own wardrobe.  Whether I'm going SUPing with my two boys or out on the boat with friends, the long sleeve Suntek holds up in the hot Caribbean sun (and sea for that matter.)  Within minutes of getting out of the water, it's cool and dry.  I just wore a short sleeve version when I participated in the Malibu SUP Cup here on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

The guys at Gorp.com really liked the "Keep Calm and Paddle On" design, but we also offer it with our logo and cool faded map of the islands on the front, as well as one with our signature compass graphic.  

And for the surfer girls, Suntek comes in the "Hidden Surfer" design in white and a dark sunset color, like this:

If you haven't tried HIHO Suntek yet, see what you're missing.  We sell them in both men's and women's sizes and they retail between $40 - $44, depending on the sleeve length. 

So, thanks Gorp.com!  You guys are the experts and we're glad to have your stamp of approval!


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Lunch on Necker, anyone?

Necker Island is the exclusive private island belonging to billionaire and BVI resident, Sir Richard Branson.  I'm excited to announce that the 74-acre paradise is also a stop on the Highland Spring HIHO race this year.  

Each day of the race, windsurfers and stand-up paddle boarders race from island to island.  We stop for a catered lunch on some of the world's most amazing beaches.  And on Monday, July 2, competitors will finish the race on the white sand beaches of Necker.

After completing the challenging race from Eustacia Sound, racers can relax in the crisp teal waters of the Caribbean Sea or float in the massive pool belonging to Branson himself. 

Necker Island has long been one of our favorite islands in the British Virgin Islands, actually in the entire Caribbean.  We were lucky enough to have a photo shoot there a few years back...

Maybe we'll take some items from HIHO's Resort 2013 line with us to Necker in July and snap a few shots.  You could always come with us!  If you're looking for some adventure this summer, the Highland Spring HIHO is for you...  Learn more at www.go-hiho.com/hshiho


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