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Virgin Gorda- Gem of the BVI!

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It’s a great day for a vacation when you find yourself in Virgin Gorda, the gem of the British Virgin Islands!  It’s no mystery why the readers of Travel & Leisure Magazine recently voted Virgin Gorda #1 of all Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas, and Bermuda. One respondent described this destination as “the most beautiful place on earth.”

IMG_0433“The Baths” at Virgin Gorda

 

Access to Virgin Gorda is easy via Air America Caribbean’s fleet of aircraft from San Juan or St. Thomas; they meet your incoming flights and fly you into Virgin Gorda’s beautiful airport located by the sea. You can also schedule a one-day, round-trip excursion, but you’ll leave this paradise wanting to return for a longer vacation.

Be sure you have a valid passport with you when traveling to the British Virgin Islands.

 

THOSE BEACHES

If you’ve heard anything exceptional about Virgin Gorda, it’s likely about the island’s gorgeous, unspoiled beaches and its turquoise waters. Each beach has its unique character and is beautiful in its own way. If you love to snorkel, you’ll find lovely sea fan gardens and a wide variety of colorful fish at every beach.  All beaches on Virgin Gorda are public, even if they are in a resort, and you will find a place where you can park your rental car.  One thing you won’t find at the beach is trash.  BVIslanders take pride in their island, and it shows.

 

THOSE BOULDERS

The southern end of the island is blessed with enormous house-sized granite boulders, which form grottoes.  The most famous is “The Baths,” and you will enjoy your expedition through the boulders offered at this National Park Beach.  It is a 10 -15 minute walk down to the beach from the parking lot. Don’t plan to lie on a towel and relax here. It is a place to explore with staircases and sea pools to splash through and a long round-trip hike to Devil’s Bay and back to the parking lot.  It is worth the trip for your bucket list. Just bring sun block and a bottle of water. There will be cruise-ship crowds there from 9am – 2pm. Go from 2:30pm onward.

Down the road from ”The Baths” is another “must see” beach:

Spring Bay National Park. There is plenty of parking, and the walk is much easier.  The beach is spectacular, and the snorkeling is impressive.  NOTE: The waves can be rough on occasion, so pay attention to the flags at the entrance and stay out of the water if indicated. I love to turn in a circle and take in the beauty of this location – and remember it when I return home.

spring-bay-vgSpring Bay at Virgin Gorda

 

Four other beaches known for excellent snorkeling and sunbathing, with dreamy island views are Savannah Bay Beach, Pond Bay Beach, Mahoe Bay Beach, and Mountain Trunk Beach.  All of these are located less than 10 minutes from Spanish Town along the western beach coast.  They are marked with road signs and/or map markers – or just ask a friendly local.  There are no beaches up at North Sound.

 

Savannah Bay Beach – is located off the main road out of Spanish Town, heading toward North Sound.  There is only one road to follow.  You will go up, then down and then up and then down the hills. The second time you go down, LOOK for a sign and a LEFT turn.  Follow the road until you reach the parking lot under the trees at the beach (2 minutes).  Watch out for the large manchineel tree in the parking lot. Eating the leaves can be fatal. If it starts to rain, drops coming off it can burn your skin. The tree is clearly marked. There are some sun huts.

 

Pond Bay Beach – You can only reach this beach by walking on the trail from Savannah Bay Beach or swimming over from one beach to the other. This beach is usually secluded. There are some sun huts.

 

Mahoe Bay Beach – Turn left from the main road when you see two pillars and a cluster of signs. One will read “Mango Bay Resort” and another “A Dream Come True Villa.”  This is the concrete road to Mahoe Bay Beach and Mountain Trunk Beach.

Follow the road until you see individual villa signs on the left side of the road for “BEACH DREAMS” and “VILLA ON THE BEACH.” (This is the third left turn you will come to.) Drive down the hill and park in a space. Walk down the concrete path and enjoy this fabulous beach. The best snorkeling is to the center and right off the beach. This is a safe, appealing beach for children of all ages.

 

Mountain Trunk Beach – Continue out the concrete road and you will come to Nail Bay Resort. Find parking at the Sugarcane Restaurant or near the driveway to the beach.  They say “no parking” at the bottom of the driveway, but folks do park there.  There are several sun huts along the cliff.  A spectacular beach!  The best snorkeling is on the far right as you head out to the point. The sand can get very hot here, so leave your sandals near the shore.

 

pinkflipperSnorkeling at Virgin Gorda

 

 

DELIGHTFUL DIVERSIONS ON VIRGIN GORDA

Here is a list of suggested activities you can enjoy while visiting Virgin Gorda:

  • Climb Gorda Peak National Park. This is the BVI’s 20th National Park. Hike to the top for fabulous panoramic USVI and BVI views!
  • Plan a Romantic Sunset Cruise – by Sail or Motor – for an evening you’ll never forget!
  • Tour the Copper Mine Ruins National Park and other historical ruins on Virgin Gorda. Island maps have these marked.
  • Rent a paddleboard and have it delivered to Savannah Bay Beach.
  • Visit “The Baths” and other National Parks Beaches, which are gorgeous, exotic beaches strewn with gigantic boulders.
  • Shop or Dine at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and The Top of The Baths. Both areas offer Shops and Restaurants.
  • Charter a flight with Air America Caribbean to Anegada and Plan a Fishing Trip with a local Guide – Deep Sea Fishing surrounds the BVI OR Flats Fishing in Anegada.
  • A Diving Trip with DIVE BVI at the Wreck of the Rhone is a famous dive, and there are also are dives at “The Dogs” and many other locations.
  • Snorkel Trips can go to three BVI islands in a day.  Call DIVE BVI or other snorkel companies in “The Welcome Magazine.”
  • Water Sports – rent a sailboat or motorboat and island hop in the sheltered Sir Francis Drake Channel.
  • Windsurfing across turquoise seas is heavenly! Bitter End Resort rents windsurfers.
  • Love music? Go to a Full Moon Party!
  • Catch Live Music – offered almost every evening at one or more of Virgin Gorda’s restaurants and resorts. Call a few restaurants or resorts for their schedules. Check ads in THE WELCOME MAGAZINE.
  • Be pampered with Spa Treatments as You Gaze Out to Sea – At your private villa (The Spa at Leverick Bay Resort will do out-calls.) (fee)
  • Play Tennis Virgin Gorda Village (fee). Call Little Dix and ask for the Tennis Pro to set up a court time.
  • Tour Virgin Gorda on a Scooter!  Stay to the left! Wear a helmet!
  • Yoga at your private Villa will Relax You (fee for lesson).  Call The Spa at Leverick Bay Resort for a lesson.
  • An Anegada Day Trip to See Flamingoes and go snorkeling may be the highlight of your trip!  Fly over in 10 minutes from Virgin Gorda; Charter with Air America Caribbean.
  • Waterskiing is much more fun when the water is warm and turquoise! (Bitter End Yacht Club)
  • Try kite boarding at The Bitter End Yacht Club (494-2746) or paddle boarding at The Sand Box (495-9122).
  • Have fun at a Friday night Beach Party Buffet at The Restaurant at Leverick Bay and enjoy the free music, dancing, and Jumbies on Stilts!
  • Kayak from A Dream Come True Villa with your group of 12; explore along the western beach coast as you travel toward North Sound.
 cop-2Copper Mine Ruins at Virgin Gorda

 

 

THE TOP 6 SPOTS FOR A RELAXING LUNCH OR DINNER ON VIRGIN GORDA

After snorkeling and sunning, you’ll be ready to visit some of Virgin Gorda’s top restaurants. The restaurant scene is varied and delightful.

 

1. Coco Maya – Located in Spanish Town.

Aaron Seddon hit a home run in every detail of his beachfront eatery.  The ambiance is welcoming, exotic, and as you enter you hear the call of the tree frogs. A fire pit glows on the beach with chairs available before or after dinner.  Tapas, small plates, a very inventive menu. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are a must! 284-495-6344.

 

2. The Restaurant at Leverick Bay – Located at North Sound.

Every evening except Saturday night, the upstairs dining room is open and served an upscale dinner a very extensive wine list. This is where I go if I want a filet mignon. It has a view of North Sound (but not sunset). The creative menu and nice surroundings keep us coming back. Reservations are a must! 284-340-3005.

 

3. The Rock Café & Treehouse – Located in Spanish Town.

You’ll love dining at The Rock Café for a variety of reasons, but sitting outdoors amongst the boulders is one of the main reasons. You will easily climb up a few steps here, a few steps there, and be on different levels right next to massive boulders, which are up-lit. My favorite table is next to the waterfall. The indoor restaurant is air-conditioned and has seating for dinner. There is also a bar with wide-screen TV for sports and SAM’s PIANO BAR, a delightful extra! They offer an Italian and Continental menu plus pizza made in their outdoor pizza oven. Great desserts!

Recently they opened “The Tree House” where guests can have private parties or special menus. It seats 25-30, and it is literally up a staircase to the treetops! Call for information 284-395-5482.

 

4. Chez Bamboo – Located in Spanish Town.

Chez Bamboo  is a gem of a restaurant located in “The Valley.” Rose Giancinto is the penultimate restaurant owner/hostess. She greets all visitors warmly and makes them feel like they are new friends. And helps you get on “island time.” The menu is creative with “small plates,” regular entrées, a separate martini bar, outdoor and indoor dining (sit outdoors), and live music every Friday at 8 pm during the season. Note: Rose also owns THE BATH & TURTLE located nearby at the Yacht Harbor shops. There is a delightful waterfront bar serving the full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu! 284-495-5752.

 

5. Hog Heaven – Located on the new road past Nail Bay Resort.

There’s excellent barbeque offered here in a casual setting. Go also for the absolutely fantastic panoramic views, as far as the eye can see! 284-547-9564.

 

6. Top of the Baths – Located by the trailhead to “The Baths.”

This restaurant has the best views on Virgin Gorda of U.S. and B.V.Islands.  They serve delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Everything is homemade. There is a large pool where you can swim before or after hiking to “The Baths.” Come for SUNSET! Several shops offer browsing for upscale reminders of your visit to VG. 284-495-5497.

 

WHERE TO STAY ON VIRGIN GORDA

Virgin Gorda offers travelers several options in accommodations.  The most popular is vacation villas because these offer privacy, a wonderful view of the ocean and/or colorful tropical plants, a sparkling pool, maid service, and usually more creature- comforts than your typical home. A villa vacation can be cost effective because you can prepare many meals at home. You can also share your villa with another family or extended family.

 

A Dream Come True Villa Rentals of Virgin Gorda

www.bvidreamvilla.com. 978-283-0669. 1-877-25VILLA.

This villa rental company is unique. They specialize in personalized vacation planning. In addition to helping you choose amongst more than 40 upscale villas that best match your vacation needs, they prepare a Virgin Gorda vacation packet filled with vacation tips for you. They coordinate your U.S. flight plans with Air America Caribbean, and they will help you plan special events such as Anniversaries, Birthdays, and Weddings. They have a private chef who is available for catering at the villas.

 

a-dream-come-true-villa3A Dream Come True Villa at Virgin Gorda

 

 

Leverick Bay Resort Hotel 

www.leverickbay.com. 284-495-7421  800-848-7081

If you prefer a full-service hotel, with water-sports activities and a dining room serving B, L, and D and live entertainment, consider a resort.

 

The Bitter End Yacht Club

www.beyc.com. 284-494-2745  800-872-2392

This hotel teaches sailing and all kinds of water sports, and although located on Virgin Gorda, it is accessible only by boat.  To reach the rest of the island by boat is complimentary.  To visit ‘The Baths” and other beaches, you’d need to use a taxi from Gun Creek.

 

Bayview Vacation Apartments

Another option is a Guest House or Apartment that offers you housekeeping facilities on  a budget.

www.bayviewbvi.com. 284-495-5329.

 

Virgin Gorda Village

Perhaps a condo is what you’d enjoy for the week. These modern condominiums are located in Spanish Town near the Yacht Harbor and Ferry Dock.  There is an attractive pool area, restaurant, and tennis courts. Some units have water views.  It is not located on the ocean.

virgingordavillage.com. 284-495-5544.

 

CAR RENTALS/TAXIS

In Virgin Gorda, you drive on the left side of the road, but the cars are from the U.S, so the steering wheels are on the right.  This makes it easy for visitors to drive by lining the car up with the side of the road.  Also, speed limits are very low. Be adventurous and rent a car!  Small cars to minivans, with the friendliest staff anywhere.  They also provide taxi service. 284-495-5297

L & S Jeep Rentals

www.landsjeeprental.com. 284-495-5297.

 

Air America is the number one choice for Charter Flights to the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean. Over thirty stunning destinations are included on Air America’s route. Among those are Vieques, Culebra, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas, Anegada & St. Barths. Visit us at, www.airamericacaribbean.com to book your trip today.

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