Luxury Charter Yacht Caribbean Vacation Destinations

A Caribbean Vacation in Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda reveals a dramatically stunning island with a blend of gently rolling hills and rocky spine. A trip to Virgin Gorda on your luxury charter yacht is a relaxing escape to an unspoiled British Virgin Island (BVI). The northern side of Virgin Gorda is mountainous with a peak reaching 1,370', while the southern half of Virgin Gorda is flat with beautiful giant boulders speckled about. Virgin Gorda offers serene beaches with powder soft white sand. One of the island's premier attractions, The Baths, features unique boulders and hidden sea pools. Indeed, Virgin Gorda is known for its sweeping white sand beaches, coves, bays and some of the clearest blue water in the entire Caribbean.

Virgin Gorda At A Glance

Escape to this remote island for peace and quiet... stunning white sand beaches edging a transparent turquoise sea...wonderful pubs and local rum bars for fresh grilled fish and nightlife...superb beachcombing, snorkeling and diving...more cactus and goats than cruise ships...exploring the fascinating and world famous Baths...very laid back and relaxing...

Virgin Gorda is for escapists and family beach vacations. Of all of the major Virgin Islands, it is Virgin Gorda that feels the most remote and offers a greater sense of having escaped to somewhere off the beaten track.

Come to Virgin Gorda for beaches and water sports, for peace and quiet...Visitors with more on their agenda than those simple but idyllic pleasures will be disappointed. The Baths is perhaps the only truly mandatory sight on the island. Giant boulders are strewn along a shoreline of stunning white sand and clear turquoise waters. Enormous boulders create sheltered grottos and passageways between them. The Baths are quite a spectacular sight and swimmers and snorkelers alike can spend days enjoying this fascinating area. Other stunning beaches on the island such as Devils Bay, Spring Bay, Trunk Bay, Savannah Bay and Mahoe Bay await your exploration.

Alternatives to beachcombing include sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, windsurfing, sea kayaking and horseback riding.

Virgin Gorda offers a nice selection of bars and restaurants, ranging from simple grilled foods to gourmet affairs. Nightlife on the island is limited but best found at the casual pubs on the island where impromptu parties occur with some regularity and visitors do not feel like strangers for very long at all.

The people of Virgin Gorda take a genuine pleasure in making their guests feel at ease and at home. Choose Virgin Gorda for the simple pleasures of a perfect beach, fresh grilled fish and a refreshing lack of pretension.

Beaches

Virgin Gorda beaches are known by those who frequent the Caribbean as some of the best in the entire world. All of the Virgin Gorda beaches in the B.V.I. are technically public, even if they are part of a private resort complex with limited access. There are no nude Virgin Gorda beaches, as the island is part of the British system. Enjoying Virgin Gorda beaches can be a simple task as most of them are within quick yacht travel of each other.

  • Mahoe Bay: One of the finest Virgin Gorda beaches. A beautiful ribbon of white sand with vivid, clear blue water and two live reefs for exceptional close in snorkeling.
  • Savannah Bay: North of the Yacht Harbor-another white sandy beach.
  • Spring Bay: White sand, crystal clear waters and great snorkeling.
  • The Baths: A dramatic combination of giant, granite boulders and a white sandy shore. The boulders form a series of spectacular pools and grottos which flood with seawater creating a dramatic setting. Excellent snorkeling. Go early in the AM before the charters from neighboring islands arrive on this pristine Virgin Gorda beach.
  • Trunk Bay: A wide sand beach reachable by boat or along a rough path from Spring Bay.

Yachting

The waters around the British Virgin Islands are so crystal clear that the best way to explore the islands islets and cays is by yacht. Indeed, the BVI's many sheltered moorings allow you to comfortably explore the countless coves and bays of this beautiful tropical paradise on your luxury charter yacht. The area boasts minimal currents and well-marked reefs and shoals, making these placid waters some of the best in the Caribbean.

Climate

Warm and sunny with temperatures between 75 F and 90 F year round. During the winter, the nights are slightly cooler and so it might be a good idea to bring a cotton sweater.

Currency

The currency of the B.V.I. is the U.S. dollar.

Major credit cards and traveler's checks are widely accepted as well. Please note that there is a 10Cent stamp duty on all checks and traveler's checks.

Dress

The islands are fairly relaxed and informal when it comes to dress code standards. For upscale restaurants, lightweight slacks with a tropical shirt (with sleeves) are perfect for evenings out while for ladies "casual elegance" is the key. It is not, however, acceptable to go barefoot, shirtless or dressed too provocatively in public areas other than the beach.

General Information-Government andamp; Standard Of Living

Virgin Gorda was mined for gold during the 17th century, but since the gold ran out not much has happened. Yachtsmen have long known the beaches as soft and white as talcum powder but it took the vision and money of Laurence Rockefeller and his team to breathe new life into Virgin Gorda.

Rockefeller's affection for this area and his previous experience with the building the prestigious Caneel Bay on St. John led to his development of the Little Dix Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda. Prior to Rockefeller's investment (in the early '50's), the island had no phones, no power supply, no doctors, no paved roads and no adequate schooling or jobs for the several hundred people who resided on the island.

Today there are only around 2000 inhabitants on Virgin Gorda and visitors will find the people quite friendly. Visitors will, also, find roads, generators, an airport, a yacht Harbor and a few shops.

The overall feeling on the island, however, remains one of blissfully casual and uncomplicated

The British Virgin Islands, including Virgin Gorda, enjoys a stable government with both the United Party and the Virgin Islands Party dedicated to a democratic government. The British Virgin Islands are a Dependent Territory (formerly referred to as a colony) of Britain with self-governing status. The government gives firm respect to the beaches and protection of the environment.

History

Columbus discovered the British Virgin Islands on his second voyage to the New World, in 1493. He named the area "Las Once Mil Virgines" after the 11,000 followers of St. Ursula. Virgin Gorda was so named by Columbus because he felt the island resembled a reclining woman with a protruding belly when viewed from the sea.

The Spaniards officially laid claim to the territory in 1555...For almost a full century; however, the islands were considered too small and unimportant for Spanish settlement so they remained largely uninhabited during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Pirates terrorized the Caribbean shipping lanes with the blessing of one European country or another and the Spanish Armada was finally defeated. Many of the islands were names after various pirates, such as Thatch Island, which is named after Edward Thatch (or Teach-also commonly known as Blackbeard).

The islands were claimed by England in 1628 but the Dutch were the first true settlers arriving in Tortola in 1648. In 1666, British planters took over control of the islands from the original Dutch settlers and they attained the status of a British Colony and remained part of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1956 when the British Virgin Islands became a separately administered entity. In 1967, a new constitution provided for a ministerial system of government and the islands remain under British control today.

Location

The British Virgin Islands are grouped around the Sir Francis Drake Channel, which is renowned as one of the finest sailing waters in the world. The British Virgin Islands are located some 60 miles east of Puerto Rico and form part of a chain (archipelago) of Caribbean Islands created millions of years ago.

Virgin Gorda Weddings

Virgin Gorda weddings offer the perfect way to start a new life together. Romantic and secluded, this small island is an astounding backdrop for a small private ceremony or a Virgin Gorda wedding that has the whole family gathered. Tropical gardens and crystal clear blue waters are just two of the features that make Virgin Gorda weddings an event to remember!

Getting married on Virgin Gorda involves being in the British Virgin Islands for three days before applying for a marriage license, which must be done in Road Town on Tortola. For the requirements, pleas check with the Register's Office at 284.494.3701 ext. 5001 or 284. 494.3492.

Occasions BVI specializes in weddings and villa services and their team is available to plan, coordinate and custom tailor your special event to include entertainment, photography, decorations and flowers. Call Tina Tigane at 284.495.7313 or Fax her at 284.495.7341 or e-mail at info@occasionsbvi.com.

Nightlife on Virgin Gorda

Nightlife is fairly limited on Virgin Gorda and consists mostly of a local reggae or calypso bands at local bars and resorts.

Virgin Gorda's sleepy presence is backed up by its lackadaisical nightlife, simple bars and restaurants blend into the quiet atmosphere of this island paradise. This is an island of relaxation, not spring break, and the Island's few bars and clubs around Leverick Bay and Spanish Town adhere to this model. Enjoy a Carib or a daiquiri in a moment of simple serenity in beautiful Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.

Dress

Spanish Town is fairly relaxed and informal when it comes to dress code standards. For upscale restaurants in Spanish Town, lightweight slacks with a tropical shirt (with sleeves) are perfect for evenings out while for ladies "casual elegance" is the key. It is not, however, acceptable to go barefoot, shirtless or dressed too provocatively in public areas in Spanish Town other than the beach.

Population: 2,500

Restaurants

Virgin Gorda is not one of the islands known for gourmet cuisine, but this does not mean that you cannot find a great meal at Virgin Gorda restaurants. There is a combination of simple fare and elaborate meals that are produced in many fine Virgin Gorda restaurants that are available for casual dining or reservations. Please try a few of our favorite Virgin Gorda restaurants!

  • Bath and Turtle: Phone: 284.495.5239 Located at the Yacht Harbor in Spanish Town, it is a pleasant and casual patio tavern that serves lunch and dinner. Good burgers.
  • Biras Creek: Phone: 284.494.3555. Reservations required Accessible only by boat, this remote resort offers elegant surroundings and gourmet cuisine.
  • Bitter End Yacht Club: Phone: 284.494.2746. Reservations required. Overlooking Gorda Sound, the restaurants features fresh fish, lobster, steak and island specialties.
  • Giorgio's Table: Phone: 284.495.5684. Reservations required Located at the water's edge at Mahoe Bay and within walking distance of the Mahoe Bay villas, this charming restaurant serves a wonderful selection of Italian dishes as well as fish, lobster, veal and beef.
  • Lighthouse Restaurant and Beach Bar: Located at Leverick Bay, a casual place that serves lunch and dinner daily.
  • Little Dix Bay Hotel: Phone: 284.495.5555. Dress code required. Located near Spanish Town, a spacious dining terrace is located beneath a dramatic pavilion roof.
  • Mad Dog: Phone: 284.495.5830. Located amongst the rocks and close to the Baths, a casual and breezy bar with panoramic views serving drinks and sandwiches throughout the day.
  • Mine Shaft Café: Casual food and burgers located on Coppermine Road.
  • Rock Café: Burgers, pizza and live music most nights (jazz, blues, reggae and calypso).

Shopping

The British Virgin Islands and Virgin Gorda in particular are not known as a shopping mecca, though Virgin Gorda shopping can be very fun and rewarding. Guests shopping in Virgin Gorda will find a good collection of local crafts and wares as well as upscale boutiques at some of the luxury hotels as well as within Spanish Town.

The Yacht Harbor complex is home to a collection of Virgin Gorda shopping outlets. Some of the most interesting shopping on Virgin Gorda takes place at the Artistic Gallery, an interesting boutique with intricate jewelry and island collectibles. Leverick Bay offers a few gift shops and the Ship Store at Little Dix Bay carries an assortment of clothing and:

  • Palm Tree Gallery: Located in Leverick Bay offers the most extensive collection of Caribbean art and gifts on the island. Hand crafted gold and silver jewelry, stunning ceramics, sculptures, paintings and accessories by many local artists.
  • Olde Yarde Inn Boutique: Located in the Valley offers paintings, pottery, small sculptures and jewelry by local artists.

Sights

  • Gorda Peak National Park: The highest point on the island at 1,500 feet it contains a wide variety of indigenous and exotic plants and has been reforested with mahogany trees.
  • The Baths: Giant boulders form a series of pools and grottos.
  • Little Fort National Park: The site of a Spanish Fort whose stonewalls are partially intact. A 36 acre area, it is also a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Copper Mine: An abandoned copper mine where a boiler stack and other 19th century stone buildings may be observed.

Snorkeling and Diving

There are few experiences on earth like Virgin Gorda scuba diving. With a series of reefs and aquatic sites, Virgin Gorda diving is one of the premier attraction in the Caribbean. Explore coral reefs and sunken ships while diving in Virgin Gorda! There are a few Virgin Gorda scuba diving operators and charter companies that are located in the Leverick Bay area, Dive BVI being one of the best in the entire Caribbean. The Dive BVI shop offers everything that a Virgin Gorda scuba diving expedition would need.

Virgin Gorda also offers exceptional close in snorkeling directly off it's spectacular white sand beaches where snorkelers will see plenty of brilliantly colored parrotfish as well as lots of other marine life.

The diving is well known among scuba divers for the areas colorful coral formations, abundant marine life and wreck diving. Indeed, the nearly translucent waters make for wonderful visibility and the rock formations provide plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

The most popular dive site is the RMS Rhone, a 310-foot royal mail steamer that sank in 1867. Featured in the movie The Deep, the ship's four parts rest at depths from 15-75 feet. Another favorite dive site are the four caves located at Norman Island, the setting for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

Dive BVI Phone: 800.848.7078 or 284.495.7328 Email: dbvi@caribsurf.com Dive BVI is located at Leverick Bay and offers a full service dive shop with equipment rental and sales. Some of the best reef and famous wreck diving in the Caribbean is close at hand. Full scale PADI and NAUI certification lessons are available as well as resort courses at the entry level.

Sports

Hiking, Sports Fishing, Diving, Parasailing, Sailing, Tennis, Kayaking and Windsurfing are all available on the island.

Status: Crown colony.

Tennis

Tennis is available on Virgin Gorda at both the Leverick Bay location and the Mahoe Bay location (Astroturf courts). It is best to bring your own tennis racquets and balls.

Time Zone

Virgin Gorda falls in the Atlantic Time zone, which is one hour ahead of US Standard time. The island does not observe daylight savings time.

Topography

Virgin Gorda is only ten miles long and two miles wide. The northern half of the island is mountainous with its highest peak of 1500 feet (Gorda Peak National Park) being the highest point on the island. The southern half is flat and scattered with giant boulders.

Tourist Board Contact Information

USA/New York Office: 212.696.0400

Water sports

The sheltered waters off of the North Sound offer a spectacular environment for a multitude of activities. Water skiing is available behind the only Mastercraft competition ski boat in the islands, parasailing; Hobie 16, sunfish, windsurfers, kayaks and more are all available.

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