Azamara: Stunning Virgin Gorda, BVI
Virgin Gorda looks like a perfect script-writers version of what a tropical island should look like. It features beautiful seascapes with sparkling turquoise water, lots of park land, drivable roads and less obvious poverty.
This is a small island, and we could easily navigate the entire area, even while driving on the left. Traffic was relatively light and the road conditions were better than we have experienced on this trip. We rented a car from Mahogany rentals and it all worked out fine, even though I had been worried about their very casual approach. We called a day ahead as instructed and they brought the car to us at the Spanish Town Yacht Harbour where we tendered in; when we returned, we parked, closed the windows and left the key under the driver’s side mat. It was all very relaxed.
We drove through 250-acre Gorda Peak National Park (elevation 1375’), and since most roads here are coastal, really enjoyed the stunning views along the route. We skipped the hiking trails in the interest of time; there were lots of spots to pull over and enjoy the vistas. One of the routes suggested by our Mahogany rental rep, was to follow signs to “Hog Heaven” to get us to the other side of the Park for our return drive. Hog Heaven is a small restaurant with a striking vista and since it was early we did not linger. I later learned from another passenger who stopped in for lunch that Morgan Freeman, who has a home here, was there.
We saw the North Sound and Nail Bay areas, along with the rougher white caps on one side of the island and beautiful beaches and harbours on the other. We eventually worked our way to the complete other end of Virgin Gorda to The Bathsand Devil’s Bay National Parks a striking, unusual beach with random boulders and rock formations that look like a juvenile giant had tossed them during a tantrum. Made even more famous because of the international photo shoots here (as in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition), this small beach was crowded and there were numerous yachts and sailboats anchored just off shore. The walk through, under and in between the boulders on the Devil’s Bay Trail proved daunting because we were carrying too much stuff, so we only went part way. You need to use both hands, have rubber water shoes and not be burdened with backpacks, towels and bags that make it difficult to maneuver between the tight boulders, climbing the slippery stairs, and hanging onto the badly fraying rope ‘rail’.
From the entrance ($3 per adult fee), it’s a 150 yard trail to the beach. When you are done and back by the entrance, you will see Top of The Baths open-air restaurant and bar, which is a great spot for a nice drink and/or lunch.
Before heading back to town, we visited the Copper Mine Ruins at the aptly named Copper Mine Point on Copper Mine Bay, and watched the waves crashing and swirling. In use from the 1830-60s, the Mine sent more than 10,000 tons of ore back to Wales.
This peaceful island with its laid-back vibe and dazzling scenery was my favorite of the trip.