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Cooper Island | A Slice of Caribbean Paradise

Cooper Island, formerly Bergen Island under the Sweden-Norway administration until 1905, is a small island of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. The origin of the island’s name is somewhat uncertain.

However, there are two theories: a Dutch family named Koop named it for its first settlers. Or it was named Cooper for the coopers that came to collect the white cedar used for making rum barrels.

cooper island
Cooper Island

A Brief History of Cooper Island

Cooper Island has a rich history that spans centuries. Originally inhabited by Arawak and Carib indigenous peoples, the island witnessed European exploration and colonization in the 15th and 16th centuries.

During the colonial era, the British established sugar plantations here. This industry contributed to the economic prosperity of the region. Like many Caribbean islands, Cooper Island played a role in the transatlantic slave trade, with enslaved individuals working on the plantations.

In the 19th century, the island’s economy shifted towards livestock farming. As the sugar industry declined, Cooper Island experienced a quieter period. The island’s historical significance can be seen in remnants such as plantation ruins and artifacts.

In more recent times, Cooper Island has become a popular destination for travelers seeking a serene retreat in the British Virgin Islands.


Cooper Island is warm to hot throughout the year, and the trade winds influence the weather. The most pleasant period is from December to March, when the average temperature is around 75/77 °F. The hottest and most humid period is from May to October, when the average is around 82 °F.

What to See and Do on Cooper Island

Snorkel at Cistern Point

Immerse yourself in the vibrant marine life at Cistern Point. Snorkeling here offers a chance to witness colorful coral formations and an abundance of tropical fish. Don’t forget your underwater camera for some stunning shots!

Explore Shipwrecks

For diving enthusiasts, Cooper Island boasts accessible shipwrecks like the RMS Rhone. Dive into history and marvel at the well-preserved remains of this 19th-century vessel lying beneath the crystal-clear waters.

Hike to Mount Alum

The hike to Mount Alum takes you through lush vegetation, providing a glimpse of the island’s diverse flora and fauna. As you ascend, the trail unfolds into stunning vistas, showcasing the turquoise waters and neighboring islands.

The summit of Mount Alum is an ideal vantage point for capturing memorable photographs and taking in the natural beauty of the British Virgin Islands.

Indulge at the Cooper Island Beach Club

Treat your taste buds at the Cooper Island Beach Club. Delight in fresh seafood, artisanal cocktails, and a laid-back atmosphere. The beachfront setting adds a touch of magic to your dining experience.

Relax on Manchioneel Bay

Named after the Manchineel tree, native to the Caribbean and found in the area, Manchioneel Bay is a serene setting for beachgoers. The calm waters make it an ideal spot for swimming, and the bay is often frequented by those looking to enjoy sunbathing, beachcombing, and leisurely walks along the shore.

Paddleboard in the Great Harbor

Glide through the serene waters of the Great Harbor on a paddleboard. The calm bay and stunning scenery make it a perfect spot for both beginners and experienced paddlers. If you have never used a paddleboard, your crew will be happy to show you how.


Pick up a mooring in Manchineel Bay on a first-come basis. The Cooper Island Beach club manages twenty-six mooring balls, and you may also use one of ten privately owned mooring balls. The area has good anchoring.