Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Virgin Gorda = Peace and Quiet and Amazing Beaches

About Virgin Gorda

Jason and I spent the last week of January relaxing on Virgin Gorda, the third-largest British Virgin Island.  If you love nature, amazing beaches and virtually no crowds, this island is for you.

Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda means "Fat Virgin" and received its name from Christopher Columbus, due to the island's shape on the horizon looking like a fat woman lying on her side.  This was the most quiet island we have ever visited, perhaps since it takes some time and effort to get there.  From Boston, we flew to St. Thomas, where we caught the direct ferry to Virgin Gorda, which only runs on Thursdays and Saturdays.  On other days, two ferries are required, connecting through Tortola. The ride from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda took one hour and 45 minutes, but we enjoyed passing by St. John and Tortola along the way.  Although this is a long day of travel, once you're on the island, it's worth it!

Savannah Bay
I recommend this island to people who truly LOVE nature and are seeking peace and quiet, as there's not much else here.  Restaurants are mediocre (excluding a few places I will mention below), there is no shopping, very little nightlife, not a lot going on.  However, the nature that surrounds you is breathtaking: the views, the beaches, the amazing rock formations, the wildlife, the snorkeling, the whole island smells like a blossoming flower, there are butterflies everywhere. And the locals are among the friendliest I have ever met!

Grand Trunk Bay
Where We Stayed

Our view of Tortola
Conveniently located near the Baths and Virgin Gorda's most beautiful beaches (in my opinion), Guavaberry Spring Bay Vacation Homes could not have been more perfect for us. We rented a studio villa which featured a king-size bed, a full kitchen, a large bathroom and a deck with a perfect view of Tortola. The staff is helpful before the trip and while you're there, they cater to your every need.  There's a small store on the property that functions by honor system and offers just about anything you need and best of all, Guavaberry offers its guests private access to Spring Bay.  

Virgin Gorda's Beaches

The beaches are breathtaking. Our favorites included Spring Bay, Grand Trunk Bay and Savannah Bay. Often, we'd find ourselves completely alone on the beaches - just the way we like it!  Also, we always found shade under thatched umbrellas on the beach or under the beautiful seagrape trees.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!
Spring Bay
Spring Bay
Spring Bay
Biras Creek from Saba Rock

Savannah Bay
Pond Bay



Savannah Bay

Food and Drink
Saba Rock

Our best meal was at Coco Maya where we shared the shrimp curry appetizer and both ordered the red snapper entree.  Great service, excellent food, cool vibe.  We had drinks there several times too.  No pictures, sorry! 

We went to Saba Rock for happy hour for $3 drinks, catching a free ferry at Leverick Bay. We enjoyed relaxing on hammocks and then watching the sunset.



We visited Hog Heaven twice, once for dinner and once for drinks and the amazing view.  A local pig farmer supplies the pork and the ribs are amazing!  



We enjoyed drinking and meeting locals and tourists at the Mine Shaft Cafe, but we do not recommend the food.

Island Pot had great (and cheap!) BBQ.  Bring your own drinks, if you like.

Snorkeling

We are avid snorkelers, part of the reason why we chose Virgin Gorda.  Snorkeling was great at the Baths, Devil's Bay and at Spring Bay, along the boulders to the right and the left.  Unfortunately, we had some windy/choppy water days so we didn't see a ton at Savannah Bay, Pond Bay or Mahoe Bay - sad!  Fortunately, we loved the snorkeling at Spring Bay (access from our villa) so we were pretty happy overall! We really enjoyed snorkeling at Loblolly Bay on Anegada but I'll blog about that another time! 


The Baths

Conveniently located down the street from Guavaberry, we visited the Baths in the late afternoon, after the cruise day trippers left.  We enjoyed walking through the rocks toward Devil's Bay, where we had a great snorkel.  The rock formations are fabulous!  We also enjoyed a couple painkillers at The Top of the Baths, a restaurant with a great view.  Pina coladas at Mad Dogs, another small eatery near the Baths, were very tasty as well!  We also really liked The Crawl, a walk along boulders and pools of water to the right of Spring Bay.

Thanks for reading!  To learn more about Virgin Gorda, please click here!  If you have been to Virgin Gorda and have a favorite beach, villa, restaurant, secret spot, I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below!

17 comments:

  1. Nice report. We are going back to VG in May - last time was about 5 yrs ago. Staying at GB again. Looking forward to trying Coco and Hog Heaven. Re Mine Shaft, that has been a fav in the past when we ordered wraps out on the deck at sunset. Do you think maybe you caught it on a bad night, or maybe it didnt compare well to the other places?

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  2. Hi JohnMcQ, thanks for reading! Regarding Mine Shaft, it just wasn't worth the money. The first time we ate there, I had an overpriced ($30) Shrimp Curry dish which was ok, my husband had a piece of fish that was not good. We went back on Friday night for the sunset and live one-man band and split the wings (just not well cooked, not quality meat) and a burger (the meat was not right and the fries were so, so greasy). Maybe simple wraps are ok but we'd go back for the fun atmosphere, friendly staff and view, just not the food. Definitely a fun place! :)

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  3. Also, I forgot to include this in the blog but on our last night, we enjoyed the pig roast at Fischer's Cove Beach Hotel. I hope you have a great return trip to VG!

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  4. OK maybe we will stick to the wraps and salads at Mineshaft.
    > Do they have other menu options at Hog Heaven besides pork?
    > Were you able to sit down by the sand at Coco, and if so how were the bugs/no-see-ums?
    Thanks for feedback.

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  5. Hog Heaven has BBQ chicken, ribs, fish, dinner plates or sandwiches, great sides, salads, etc. We ate our meal at Coco around 8pm, and we chose to sit in the dining room, which is pretty close to the water. The restaurant set up comfortable seating on the beach, including several comfy mattress/cusion-type seats, which we loved! We went back again on our last night on the island, under the moon and stars, listening to the water. We LOVED it! I don't remember the bugs of no see-ums being a problem at all.

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  6. I'm glad to hear that the bugs weren't bad at Cocomaya when you were there--they were AWFUL in October and made us uncomfortable all night. But it was still worth it for that lovely atmosphere & location. PLus the COCKTAILS, which were among the best I've ever had.

    I loved seeing your VG photos and it made me long to be back there soon. Thanks for posting!

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  7. Thanks Emily! I did ask my husband, after reading your comment, about the bugs at Cocomaya (I should have asked after JohnMcQ inquired) and he said there were some but he ignored them. We also brought bug spray which we applied on our legs at night before going out for dinner and drinks. I think it really helped! There were a ton of mosquitoes on the island; we'd have to open and shut the door to our villa VERY quickly to prevent any from entering!

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  8. That's what you call extensive traveling. I have always wondered why Spring Bay is excluded on most blogs and what not, but thankfully you covered it. I love Spring Bay, too many memories. Also props on Savannah and Nail Bay, those are among my favorites.

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  9. We're a couple going to BVI for a vacation. The first half we're staying on JVD, and we're looking for a place to spend the second half. I'm looking into either Anegada or Virgin Gorda. Which one do you recommend if you had to pick one? I'm leaning towards VG because of the Baths and it's easier to get to. We're looking for relaxing with some food, drinks, and most importantly, the best beaches. Thanks!

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  10. Hi Greg, my husband and I really enjoyed VG. There's not a lot happening on either island (which we liked) but we thought VG was just amazing. There's great snorkeling at The Baths, a few restaurants for happy hour/meals, fantastic beaches that were never crowded! I prefered the terrain of VG rather than the flatness of Anegada, we loved driving around in our jeep and taking it all in.

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  11. thanks for your informative report and amazing pictures,I'm planning to go there late April 2015:)

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  12. Thanks for reading, Bernard. I hope you have an amazing trip to VG!

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  13. Hi there,

    Which studio did you stay at with Guavaberry, Casa Luna or Casita? Wondering if one is preferred over the other? We are looking at islands in the Caribbean for our honeymoon this summer, and I keep finding myself really drawn to Virgin Gorda.

    Thanks!

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  14. Hi Jenna, I just looked at those two properties and we didn't stay in either of them - they both look amazing though! We stayed in a one-room studio and it was great, you cannot go wrong with Guavaberry. We love VG and hope you have a wonderful honeymoon. If you have any questions, I am happy to help you. :)

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