Columbus’ lieutenants who named the Islands as “Islas de las Virgenes de Santa Ursula” on his second trip to the new world, named this island as “the pregnant virgin” or Virgen Gorda. When you approach the island from the North or the East, for example when you are coming back from Anegada, you can clearly see the outline of a pregnant woman lying on her back on the horizon. Hence the name.
Back in the whenever days, the Island of Virgin Gorda used to have a very low population and most of the tourist activities were centered at the Bitter End resort on Gorda Sound which was basically the only game in town. The Bitter End resort REALLY WAS the bitter end – it was the end of the civilized world as we know it. Visits to the famous “Baths” at the South end of the island were definitely on the must-see list and, at the time, were not very crowded but other than that: basically a nice place to get away from it all.
Oh, how things change…!!
The island has now become a center of world class resorts, fabulous anchorages, moorings balls galore, sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling excursions, kite boarding, windsurfing, Jet Ski adventures, glass bottom boat tours, a full service marina and several terrific hiking trails. Even Sir Richard Branson owns a private island (Necker Island) just north of Gorda Sound.
Still relatively uncrowded, Gorda Sound itself has blossomed into a busy place surrounded with resorts, we even hear that a new 90 slip marina is being built in Deep Bay. Hundreds of vacation villas now dot the landscape and it is the “in place” to vacation on land or sea and get away from it all.
As a charter guest you will certainly want to have Virgin Gorda on the menu. Simply because it’s so beautiful and protected, even in iffy weather.
Here’s what to do on Virgin Gorda:
If it’s your first time in the BVI, and you have kids with you, visit the Baths. Lots of fun and the rocks are pretty impressive. Choose the time of day carefully, this usually means the crack of dawn.
Visit Gorda Sound. Pick up a mooring ball at the Bitter End yacht club, which is a most protected anchorage, and explore everything else on the ship’s dinghy or tender.
You can rent all kinds of water sports gear at the Bitter End. And there is also a dive shop.
Dinghy over to the Fat Virgin Café to pick up a T-Shirt.
Dinghy over to Leverick Bay and, if you’re hungry, have a meal at the restaurant on the second floor of the Resort. I’ve always had a good experience there.
Dinghy around the corner to Deep Bay
The southern part of Virgin Gorda centers on Spanish Town where most of the locals live. There is a marina there and good shopping and even a night-club. (The Rock Café and Sam’s Piano Bar) which is pretty good by any standards. The Little Dix Bay resort is popular for destination weddings and honeymooners and is pretty upscale and has been around since whenever.
Virgin Gorda is a delightful island, the third largest of the Virgin Islands. An ideal jumping off point to continue your journey up to Anegada or to be visited upon the return trip. Tell ‘em we sent you..!!