A couple of weeks back some very good friends of mine from Tortola had family visiting. During these precious weeks of quality family time they (obviously) wanted to include some Virgin Gorda adventures and I was lucky enough to be invited along for the ride.
Virgin Gorda is arguably one of the most beautiful of the British Virgin Islands (no bias here… honest.) with unique and award-winning (or at the very least highly-rated) geological features like The Baths and some of the prettiest beaches around. Surrounded by this beauty every day (and coupled with the fact that I spend most of my time
getting myself to and from working on Tortola) I am very much guilty of taking a lot of this for granted and have, so far, only explored an embarrassingly small slice of my new island paradise. Their brief visit was the ideal opportunity to open my eyes and appreciate all the natural beauty on my doorstep and to play at being a tourist in my own town. Stop number one on our itinerary was The Crawl, a secluded beach spot that I had not yet found the time to visit on my own. Virgin Gorda’s infamous granite boulders form a ring creating a beautifully sheltered little pool. The sand is beautifully white, the sea is brilliantly turquoise and (most importantly) we were the only ones down there… We only stopped in briefly before continuing on to the Baths, but there are some perfectly shaded picnic benches down there along with BBQ facilities, so it would be the ideal spot to fill a cooler and grill some meat with friends on a lazy Sunday.
Next stop was the Baths – Virgin Gorda’s most famous landmark and the busiest tourist destination*, rightfully so. The Baths is a unique geological formation, a result of volcanic activity thousands of years ago. Over time the granite that was deposited by the volcano has eroded away to form piles of boulders as big as buildings – some up to 40 ft long. These boulders form natural tidal pools with scenic grottoes, tunnels and archways to be explored. The National Trust has constructed steps and rails to assist you as you move through the rocks between Spring Bay and Devil’s Bay.**
Our final destination was a long, leisurely lunch up at Hog’s Heaven on the way to Leverick Bay. Hog’s Heaven benefits from one of THE BEST views in the BVI (in my humble opinion) looking out onto the islands of the North Sound, including Necker and Moskito (made famous and owned by Sir Richard Branson), Saba Rock, Eustatia and Prickly Pear. On clear days you can see Anegada in the distance and might even catch a glimpse of Sir Richard kite-boarding between the islands.*** As the name suggests, Hog’s Heaven is famous for their BBQ’ed pork and ribs, although there are plenty of other delicious alternatives (but really… you have to try the ribs). The fruit smoothies are excellent although, rather unusually, you will need to specify if you want yours without rum… *wonders how many small children have been caught out by this*
* I strongly suggest that you check the Cruise Ship schedule before planning a visit. On Cruise Ship days the Baths can become unpleasantly congested (much of the walk is single-file) and are to be avoided.
** While not exactly strenuous the walk through the Baths does require a minimal level of fitness.
*** Not guaranteed… 😉