Virgin Gorda is a small island just off Tortola in the Caribbean. On the south side of the island is a national park known as The Baths, which is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places I have been lucky enough to visit. There is a short climb down a hill to a quiet beach, which is gorgeous itself – flanked by palm trees, white sand underfoot, and the waves lashing against the granite boulders along the coastline, evidence of the islands volcanic beginnings. You would be forgiven for settling your towel down right there, putting Morcheeba on your Ipod and forgetting everything, but there is a real adventure to the left of the beach at the entrance to The Baths. You enter a series of caves, only just dark enough to evoke a sense of mystery rather than fear, with beams of hot sunlight through the cracks in the rock. There are rope banisters and ladders as you make your way through the grottoes, so it’s not particularly difficult terrain, the caves are quite large and nothing is too steep, it is definitely an adventure and not a fitness test. The caves are gloriously cool, a welcome respite from the Caribbean heat and they open up into small little secluded beaches, one after another, all different and with stunning views out to sea. It is up to you how far you go, some may wish to settle on one of the beaches, or sit on top of the caves looking out over the Caribbean Sea with the wind in your hair. There are many golden photo opportunities, so make sure to take your camera.
There are rest facilities at the initial beach at the bottom of the hill in the form of a cafe, which serves drinks, basic food and has a toilet. If you are on a tour you will probably be taken around the island to the various viewing points for photo opportunities, Gorda Peak being particularly pretty. If you went with the taxi option your driver will definitely be able to take you around. Always agree prices upfront and don’t be afraid to haggle! As a guide I’d say $10 return to The Baths is about right, you will probably share a people carrier with others going to The Baths. Add on another $15 for the full tour and return to the ferry. Don’t pay the driver until he picks you up, then you won’t have to worry that he will be there! You get to the island on a ferry from Tortola (unless you can afford to charter a plane from the island’s airport), which takes around half an hour and costs $30 return. The ferry operates around every half hour, but make sure to check times, especially of the last one! There will be taxis waiting at either end, so if you don’t mind the 5 minutes extra planning, the ferry/taxi option is much better value.
You can plan your trip in advance using http://www.bviferries.com/
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