Virgin Gorda

Spanish Town

 

A woman was waiting for us when we arrived at the Spanish Town ferry terminal.  She helped us pack our bags and crash pad into the back of her tan SUV and then we climbed in what little space was left for the ride to our villa.  She told us about the island as we drove through Spanish Town, which was in the midst of a Christmas celebration.  Colorful Christmas lights strung on chain link fence lined the perimeter of a market next to the road.  As we passed the action, she rolled down her window to talk to a friend about church, holler at her son’s friend about homework and wave to everyone else.  In between all this, she would sip from the bottle of Guinness in her cupholder.  Welcome to the Caribbean, I thought, welcome to island life indeed.  Turquoise blue waters, a friendly island vibe, granite boulders and a signature cocktail make Virgin Gorda the perfect place to pass a week of vacation.

 

Location: In the Caribbean, east of Puerto Rico, one of over 50 islands that make up the British Virgin Islands.  Virgin Gorda is in the northeast of the archipelago.

Coordinates: 18.4939° N, 64.4023° W / 18°48′00″N 64°30′00″W

Population: 3,930

 

 

In between all this, she would sip from the bottle of Guinness in her cupholder. Welcome to the Caribbean, I thought, welcome to island life indeed.

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Where to Eat

Known for their full moon parties, CocoMaya is best enjoyed when you want a modern night out.  Delicious food, impeccable design and an unbeatable location right on a white sandy beach.

Seafood is the specialty at the Rock Cafe, along with tables set among the boulders – hence the name “Rock Cafe”.
Head to Chez Bamboo for strong drinks.  That’s what I remember most.  And that’s enough for me.  Also supposed to have live music, although did not when we visited.

Bitter End Yacht Club.  Fancy schmancy, but you are in the caribbean, so pretend like you own a yacht for the night.

Stop by Top of the Baths for one of the islands signature Painkiller drinks and enjoy views of the ocean and surrounding islands.

What to Do

Rock Climb. Bouldering opportunities abound on the southern part of Virgin Gorda, which is littered with giant boulders.  Spring Bay, Devil’s Bay, Guavaberry and The Baths provide a range of climbing problems for you to solve.  Just don’t forget your climbing shoes (preferably a pair you don’t mind getting wet) – the humidity and salinity make the rocks both sticky and slippery.  While we visited, we were the only people on the rocks.

Relax on the Beach.  The same beaches that are great for bouldering are great for relaxing.  The Baths and Devil’s Bay seem to be the most popular due to the half immersed boulder maze that lies between them.  This is where the cruise liners drop their travelers, also making them the busiest beaches.  If you want to avoid the crowds, go before 9am or after 3pm when everyone is back on their boats.  For this reason, Spring Bay holds a soft spot in my heart.  Not to mention the cliff jumping opportunities.

Snorkel.  The boulder field does not stop in the sand, but continues to roll into the water.  Huge rocks that provide a natural playground for humans on land provide vertical homes to vibrant coral and fish under the sea.  We snorkeled in 30 – 40 feet of water and yet had coral just 7 feet below us due to it’s home on top of a boulder.  The coral has grown on all surfaces of these mammoth rocks providing a unique snorkeling experience.  Huge fronds stuck out perpendicular from the granite, swaying in the waves.  Instead of looking down into the reef, we could dive and look into the reef.  We swam next to the fish as they traveled from one anemone to the other.

Take a break from land and spend a day sailing with Sail Bravura.

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Contributed By


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Kristin O’Connell

Kristin O’Connell is a travel writer and photographer based in San Francisco with her husband and two rabbits.  She is the creator and editor of Beyond Ordinary Guides, a site dedicated to providing gorgeous imagery, locally cherished spots, and accessible stories to inspire your next adventure.

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