Right next door to Virgin Gorda's Baths is Spring Bay National Park. It's tiny but accessible. There's great snorkeling here and probably the best rocks around to jump off of (I don't jump off of perfectly good rocks).
It's a little like the Baths, without the entrance fee, and with a little more open space and picnic tables. I like it because it has more of a local feel than the Baths, seemed like less traffic too. The rocks surrounding the place make it safe to snorkel, there's a giant pool right as you hit the beach called "the crawl" - great for jumping into (off of scary giant boulders) and swimming. The Baths are close, but we couldn't find a decent path there without walking back to the main road and heading over.
~Paul, Ann ETC
Have we convinced you to head to Virgin Gorda yet? If not, this should do it. Today we share a few pics from a group of bays/beaches, all pretty much right next to each other.
Probably one of the biggest attractions in all of the Virgin Islands are the Baths (pictured above). Giant rocks all positioned just so to allow a little bit of water in from the sea and a path of ladders, ropes, and walkways that you can explore leading to one of the best beaches on the island. Warning: don't wear socks, you will get wet on the trail.
When you arrive at the Baths, we walked from our cottage in the Valley but there is a parking lot, you may have to pay a minimal admission. I say may because I went to the Baths 4 times and didn't have to pay once. There wasn't anyone there (I thought about acting official and taking admission half of the day to fund my trip). There is a trail that leads directly to the Baths and the Poor Man's Bar. There is also a trail that leads in the opposite direction (think, away from town, over by the admission booth) that will take you on a scenic route past Stoney Bay (super cool) and Devil's Bay. After that it continues on to the Baths.
Yo, that's a real rock by the way...are we at Disney world or what! If you take the trail we mentioned you'll arrive at Stoney Bay (two pics below)...
After Stoney Bay the trail gets a little hard to find in some places (choose wisely!) but you'll eventually arrive at Devil's Bay (Devils Bay? - I can't get an official word on apostrophe or no apostrophe), arguably the prettiest beach on the island.
Then the trail to the Baths begins!
Amazing stuff. Below, a pic of the Baths from the water while kayaking.
Above are the two bars that are close to the Baths. The first, Mad Dog, is near the start of the trail and the parking lot. It was really nice with friendly service. The other picture above is of the Poor Man's Bar, which was fine but just like the front gate, not always open - don't count on it. It is down the trail a bit by the beach.
The Baths are an amazing place, I strongly recommend putting it on your list of Virgin Island attractions. Take a cooler, snorkeling gear, and a beach towel and spend the day exploring the caves and taking it all in.
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
Everyone's Travel Club heads to land for this post. I recently read a sailing blog where the author brought his family to the Virgin Islands, chartered a boat, and then sailed around looking for ruins to anchor by and explore. He ended up finding only beach bars. Well, there aren't many on Virgin Gorda, and for the two that we found you could sail to one, but not this one.
Coppermine Point is a recently created National Park on Virgin Gorda (2003). It represents the only known site within the West Indies with ties to the British industrial revolution. Natives mined here in the 1400s. The stone structures that are here now are the remnants of the Virgin Gorda Mining Company (1835-1862). They mined copper ore and shipped it to Wales in the United Kingdom for smelting. Two-hundred people used to operate the mine here!
We highly recommend checking out this park, just don't try and sail to it (it's on the windward and rocky side of the island). We had the site to ourselves and best of all, it's free.
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
Well, unless UK's billionaire Sir Richard Branson is a member of Everyone's Travel Club, then I guess we may have trespassed a tad. I will, however, always claim the "Queen's Law", something I read about all of the British Virgin Island beaches being public up to the high tide mark (which isn't that far because they barely have tides anyway, but still) (this whole Queen's Law may or may not even be true, any club readers out there know?). Richard, if you're reading this, we'd love to come and review any of your islands for an ETC review...
Anyway, we rented a Hobie Wave from the Leverick Bay Marina, on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. We drove over the crazy road again, this time took a shortcut towards Nail Bay (a lot of local maps say the road isn't complete yet but it is...and it is a way better way to get from town to the North Sound). The interesting man (a nice way of saying not too friendly) behind the booth wasn't going to rent the boat to us because we had 3 club members, the limit was 2, but he finally agreed (it didn't take that much).
We sailed around the Sound, always on lookout for the best beach to break for lunch. We found it on the leeward side of nearby Mosquito Island.
We found a little table/stone grill area under the canopy near the beach and had lunch. There was a cool old road that looked like it went all the way around to the other side of the island.
After lunch we snorkeled a little bit.
As we sailed back we caught a glimpse of a few other islands in the North Sound - Prickly Pear (National Park with only a beach bar) and Necker Island (Sir Richard Branson's private island...$54,000 a night).
Back. So it wasn't till after we got back to the cottage from this adventure did I learn that the island that we spent a lot of the day on, Mosquito Island, was purchased in 2007 by Branson (he owns two now), which means it is private (Queen's Law!). The funniest thing is that I read online that he is trying to bring non-native endangered lemurs from Africa to set free on the island, they are probably there now...it's slightly controversial among local naturalists/scientists (as you could imagine). He's also going to build an eco-friendly awesome resort and stuff. I knew the island felt a little funny...billionaire brings endangered non-native animals back from the brink of extinction and puts them on a far away island (don't worry, they won't escape) and then builds a resort on the island for visitors..."hold on to your butts".
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
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