Exploring Virgin Gorda
Approaching Virgin Gorda (Spanish for Fat Virgin) by boat or ferry one can observe the tall north western ridge area, which comprises Gorda Peak National Park (1,370 feet). It is easy from this vantage point to envision, the "plump damsel" reclining on her back. This is an island with many natural attractions, the most famous of these is The Baths - an area on the southern tip with giant boulders forming spectacular sea pools and grottoes. A favorite of snorkellers and sailors alike, it is now incorporated as a National Park, along with two exquisite white sand beaches, Devil's Bay and Spring Bay spanning either side of the boulders with a trail connecting both.
Spanish Town is the main business and financial centre and is flanked by Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, a major port for ferries and visiting yachts. The harbour has an array of gift and clothing shops, banks, provisioning markets and outdoor cafes. The Coppermine is located on a windswept cliff on the island's south-east shore. Early settlers from Cornwall, England set up a copper mining industry that flourished in the 1800s. The mine closed in 1862 but the ruins including the engine house and chimney are still visible and the area is now a national park.
The northern reach of the island known as "the North Sound" is accessible by boat only. Here flanked by the smaller islands - Moskito, Prickly Pear, Eustatia, Necker and tiny Saba Rock, are some of the islands' finest resorts and restaurants. This area is a mecca for water sports whether it be windsurfing, kayaking, parasailing or the more extreme sport of kiteboarding - there is a little something for everybody. Ferries from Gun Creek run to all the major resorts.
Virgin Gorda Sites at a Glance
1) The Baths, Devil's Bay and Spring Bay: This trio of beautiful beaches is part of the BVI National Parks Trust. With its majestic boulders and lovely sea pools, The Baths has become one of the B.V.I.'s most popular attractions.
2) Little Fort National Park: A 36-acre wildlife sanctuary east of the Yacht Harbour, Little Harbour also contains the remains of a Spanish fort.
3) Nail Bay: The ruins of a 19th century sugar plantation are on the grounds of the Nail Bay Resort.
4) The Coppermine: The small national park is located on a windswept hill and contains the remains of a copper mine operated by Cornish miners between 1838 and 1867.
5) Gorda Peak National Park: At 1500 feet this national park is the island's highest point, and features a variety of indigenous and exotic plant life.
6) Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour: The island's largest marina, the Yacht Harbour also contains shops, restaurants, a dive operator and a bank.
7) North Sound: Known as a sailor's playground, this sheltered area at Virgin Gorda's eastern end, has several well-known resorts, restaurants, water sports facilities and a small marine museum at Saba Rock.