Virgin Gorda

Picture of virgin_gorda Virgin Gorda is one of the four major islands in the British Virgin islands. We spent 4 days hereon the island. Gorda is a long thin lumpy island. In this picture we are basically standing at one end of it. It curves just off frame to the left and then you can see the majority of the rest of it stretching into the distance. You can get here by airplane (mostly from other Virgin Islands) or by ferry, primarily from Road Town in Tortola and the airport at Beef Island.
Picture of spanish_town This is a reverse view from the road in the center of the island looking south. The flat part of Gorda at the southern tip is home to the island's capital and only real town - Spanish Town. The turquoise bay on the right is Pond Bay and Savannah Bay (more on that later). The tiny flat strip in the distance on the left is the island's airport. Further out in the distance are St. John (USVI) and Tortola (BVI).
Picture of mango_bay We stayed at Mango Bay - a small collection of duplexes on the west side of the island. The geographic name for this bay is Mahoe Bay. The water was calm, beautiful and very clear. The reef is very close to the shore here, the dark patches in the water are easily visible in this photo. Lodging on Virgin Gorda is not cheap. In fact, this is really not a budget island in any way. It is however uncrowded, peaceful and relaxed.
Picture of pond_bay From our hotel in Mahoe Bay it was an easy kayak trip to several other beaches including the one at Pond Bay. There actually is road access to Pond Bay but it didn't really matter because there just weren't enough people on the island for even the semblance of a crowd. We rarely saw anyone on any beach on the entire island (apart from the Baths, which get their own page). The down side of this is that there are also very few restaurants on the island and many of them are closed in the Summer. We mostly shopped at the one grocery on the island and cooked for ourselves in our kitchen.
Picture of gorda_peak_trail There's not a whole lot to do on Virgin Gorda away from the water. One of the few trails on the island is in Gorda Peak National Park. There are two connecting trails here that both lead up to the highest point on the island. It's dry and rugged in the interior. There are lots of these spidery white flowers and also actual spiders like the one in the center of this shot. You don't have to go off trail to find their webs, these do not appear to be oft-used trails.
Picture of gorda_peak At the top of Gorda Peak are some shady picnic tables and a small watch tower with views of all the other Virgin Islands. In this case, we're looking at the north end of Gorda and several of the islands in the harbor there. Some of these host resorts and are accessible by water taxi. Others are privately owned.
Picture of spring_bay_beach This is Spring Bay National Park and the magnificent Spring Bay beach. Spring Bay is almost adjacent to the much more famous Baths area. The Baths are undoubtedly spectacular but Spring Bay is very nearly as nice and much less frequented. We spent half a day here and saw a grand total of 4 other people, 3 of whom were leaving when we arrived.
Picture of spring_bay_pool Much like the Baths, Spring Bay features an assortment of large randomly placed boulders along the shoreline which creates a series of almost private bathing pools. On top of that you mostly get a super soft sandy bottom as well.
Picture of spring_bay_inlet There are a variety of tunnels and partial caves to explore. Inlets like this one from the ocean allow considerable sea life traffic. We saw a good variety of fish, coral and crabs here.
Picture of spring_bay_swim Unlike the Baths, there is no trail here other than the one from the parking lot to the beach. You're on your own to explore and that's really the best part of it.
Picture of spring_bay_underwater Like everywhere else on Gorda, the water clarity is excellent. We did see a lot of sea urchins here, so water shoes might be in order. We mostly stayed in white sand pools or else just swam.
Picture of spring_bay_tunnel There is at least one pool that is almost completely enclosed by rocks. This is the narrow and somewhat challenging entrance. There are additional underwater entrances if you're fish-sized.
Picture of coppermine Another of Virgin Gorda's tiny National Parks is Copper Mine. It is, as you may expect, the ruins of an old copper mine. It was abandoned in the 19th century and there isn't a whole lot to see but it sits on a scenic promontory with good views of the island. It is free to visit as are Spring Bay and Gorda Peak. (The Baths are the only thing on the island with an admission fee.)

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