Virgin Gorda literally translates as “Fat Virgin”, a name bestowed upon the island by Christopher Columbus when he first conceived of it as a reclining fat lady, where her belly is Virgin Gorda Peak and her toes are the boulders of The Baths. Since Christopher Columbus’ time this luxury destination has remained relatively undiscovered by the world, tourism only really started in Virgin Gorda in the 1960s. To this day it retains its old desert island charm as a place to go to get away from it all. Escape from the world in a place with only 3100 inhabitants and just a few luxury villas, for the perfect serene island getaway. Experience Virgin Gorda’s elegant yacht clubs, secluded coves and safe waters for swimming and sailing while staying in a luxury villa that is just inches from the impressive boulders on the white sand beaches.
An aerial view of Virgin Gorda.
In the southwest part of the island you will find the area known as the Valley, where sweeping hills lead to Spanish Town, the capital and home to most of the population. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour is the epicentre of Spanish Town, and it is growing fast. Expect to see more luxury stores, restaurants and villas here every year. Wander along the dock and treat yourself to some fabulous shopping. You can also find professional scuba diving excursions at Dive BVI in the Yacht Harbour. Beneath Spanish Town the coast is littered with gigantic smooth boulders. The Baths are white sand beaches that take on a surreal quality as you walk between the imposing heft of the boulders, which create tranquil grottos on the beach. Every so often you will stumble upon a villa or restaurant tucked into the ethereal landscape.
The majestic boulders on The Baths beach in Virgin Gorda.
Inland the low mountain rises in a rolling curve up from the ocean, and presides over a quiet and beautiful rural area, with just tiny pockets of human life in the North Sound. The northeast of the island is so remote that it is accessible only by boat. Take the ferry and cruise to the most picturesque of Virgin Gorda’s outer islands, all tucked into sheltered harbours. This is also a fantastic area to sail around so have a lesson at Bitter End Yacht Club. Sailing is also the best way to get around the northern and southern arms of this island in style so consider chartering a boat instead of using taxis on the goat-filled roads. Though, it only takes twenty minutes to drive the island from end to end.
Yachts seen through the boulders on the beach.
To learn more about the island’s intriguing history visit Copper Mine Point, where Cornish miners built mining tunnels under the sea using just steam engines for the mines lifts and pumps. Enjoy the fantastic view of the craggy coastline. For even better views trek up Virgin Gorda Peak for a panoramic vista of the landscape, or stop off at the viewing decks built along North Sound Road, they are the perfect place to get a shot of a Caribbean sunset over the dramatic scenery.
Tables and chairs amongst the boulders on the coastline of Virgin Gorda.
However, the best thing to do in Virgin Gorda is relax on a beach. The beaches in Virgin Gorda are really special, with pristine white sands fringed by palms and stunning azure waters. The most popular beach is the enchanting Baths, where you can clamber over the impressive boulders and swim in serene shaded pools. You can even climb up the largest boulders, as big as houses, by going rock climbing with a local instructor. This is one of the best bouldering locations in the world. Make sure that you visit The Baths early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds. If you would prefer to visit somewhere just as beautiful but less crowded then go to Spring Bay Beach, reached off Tower Road. Here you will find more big boulders. The Crawl has placid pool with no waves where you can while away some time snorkelling or exploring the rocks and crevices.
The stunning beach of Spring Bay in Virgin Gorda.
For a truly deserted beach drive down a short dirt road to Savannah Bay, where you will find a beautiful expanse of white sands that have barely been touched by footsteps. There are luxury villas to stay in even here, and you can get the Sviva Spa to come to your villa to pamper you. Walk along the shore to the adjacent Pond Bay for total solitude. If you are a strong swimmer there is unbelievable snorkelling on the edge of the reef. Nail Bay and Long Bay beaches also have caverns of corals just offshore, waiting for you to explore. So grab your snorkelling gear. While you are there check out Sugarcane restaurant for fantastic conch fritters and delectable fresh fish. In the north you will also find Little Trunk Bay and Big Trunk Bay, which are usually the most deserted beaches on the island. Charter a boat to take you even more off the beaten track to Fallen Jerusalem Island and Dog Islands, which are beautiful nature reserves only accessible by water. The ravishing beaches and superb snorkelling display the best of what the BVI has to offer, in all its glory. You will lose yourself in this paradise.
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