Virgin Gorda is the third-largest and second most populated of the British Virgin Islands.
Located at approximately 18 degrees, 48 minutes North, and 64 degrees, 30 minutes West, it covers an area of about 8 square miles (21 km²).
In 1493, on his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Colombus named the island Virgin Gorda, or Fat Virgin, because the mountain on the island, looked like a protruding stomach.
Virging Gorda is 16 km (10 miles) long and 3,2 km (miles) wide, with population of some 3100 permanent residents (2009). It is located 19 km (12 miles) east of Tortola and 41 km (25 miles) east of St. Thomas.
Anegada sits 15 miles(24 km) to its east, a flat atoll fringed by a spectacular reef and home to only 173 people. Jost Van Dyke, to the west of Tortola, has 200 folks on its 3 sq miles (8 sq km). Many other islands are occupied by exclusive hotels and private homes. The rest of the islands are unpopulated, waiting for sailors to drop anchor at their harbors. Except for the Virgin Gorda, access is difficult. But if you want some peace on a truly tropical idyll, it is worth it.
Virgin Gorda was a fairly desolated agricultural community until Laurance Rockefeller established the resort of Little Dix in the early 1960s, following his success with Caneel Bay on the St. John in the 1950s. He envisioned a “wilderness beach”, where privacy and solitude reigned. Other major hotels followed in the wake of Little Dix, but seclusion is still highly guarded and respected.
With pristine, white beaches surrounded by clear blue water, Virgin Gorda is a cleaner, quieter version of Torotola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, and boasts beautiful views of the islands lining the Sir Francis Drake Channel. There are an array of possible day trips to the nearby islands of Tortola, Jost, Cooper, Norman and Anegada, either by power boat or sail boat, or you can just island hop and see them all. Virgin Gorda also offers some of the nicest resorts and restaurants in the BVI, for those travellers looking for a unique culinary experience after a warm day on the beach. The North Sound area is truly spectacular with Saba Rock and the Bitter End Yacht Club, which offer a number of exciting of water sports, including snorkelling. Spanish Town offers a quaint little shopping village and excellent restaurants. In short, Virgin Gorda offers travellers an exclusive holiday with top class amenities that promise a unique and unforgettable holiday experience, which will stay with you and your family for ever.
The Chikuzen is a wreck which sunk in 1981 after catching fire, and is now a popular scuba diving site. It drifted through the British Virgin Islands before finally sinking 12 miles north of Scrub.
There is much to see at Virgin Gorda, but The Baths and a hike up Gorda Peak should not be missed.
The most famous attraction on Virgin Gorda is The Baths, located on the southern tip of the island. Natural boulders over years have created beautiful rocky escarpments, pools of water and grottos that make exploring them a treat. The boulders lie between two beautiful sandy bays, Spring Bay & Devil’s Bay, both that offer the best in coral reef snorkeling.
Gorda Peak – Virgin Gorda
Gorda Peak is a 265-acre national park starting at the 1,000 foot contour and continuing up to the island’s highest point of 1,370 feet. The area, which contains a wide variety of indigenous and exotic plants, has been extensively reforested with mahogany trees. An observation tower at the top offers spectacular views of some of the surrounding islands and as far south as St. Croix, some 50 miles(80km) away. The park has several species of flora and fauna, including the Virgin Island gecko.
Devil’s Bay Beach – Virgin Gorda
This National Park is accessible by boat or by walking through the trails of The Baths. The beach is pure white sand and sprinkled with large granite boulders. Its deep blue waters make for excellent diving and snorkeling. It is truly magical.
It takes about 15 minutes to claimb through the natural tunnels, up wooden stairways and over the maze-like pathways and through shallow pools to get from the Baths through to beautiful Devil’s Bay . Then you can swim and snorkel in the clear blue water around the boulders or just relax on the beautiful beaches.
Sometimes the waves can be quite rough so just observe how strong the surge is before you go into the water.
Savannah Bay – Virgin Gorda
Breathtaking is the best word to describe this lengthy stretch of luscious white sand. The hillside overlook, just as you start down toward the beach entrance, provides terrific photo opportunities for shutterbugs.
Pack a picnic lunch and bring plenty of drinking water and sunscreen, as there are no facilities. While it’s easy to reach and just a short drive from Spanish Town the beach is not busy.
North Sound – Virgin Gorda
A handful of small resorts fringe North Sound’s shoreline. Most can be reached only by complementary boat service from Gun Creek or in the case of Biras Creek Resort, from Beef Island. The majority welcome day visitors to their restaurants and shops. Protected North Sounds serves as one of the BVI’s hottest sailing destinations. Sailors on week long charters out of Tortola and the USVI drop anchor here and head for the bar exploration.
Coppermine National Park – Virgin Gorda
Cornish miners worked the mines here in the mid – 1800s, but there’s evidence of earlier use by the Spanish. The ruins of a copper mine chimney stand by the shore with a boiling house, cistern and mine shaft nearby.