The Baths National Park, on the southern tip of Virgin Gorda, is one of the most dramatic sights in the British Virgin Islands and serves as an adventure playground, with its giant boulders, magical grottos and tranquil pools. You can spend a day walking, climbing and crawling through the caverns, and the surrounding crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. On land, there’s an appetising mix of characterful restaurants and bars to refuel at, and other attractions in the area include a peak offering superb views and a historic copper mine. Here we reveal the best way of exploring Virgin Gorda by boat, with the Baths being your starting point.
Found in the south of Virgin Gorda, the Baths are a geological wonder formed of giant granite boulders, making beautiful sheltered rock pools on the beach edge. The cavernous area was made by molten rock seeping up into volcanic rock layers.
A series of steps and rope handrails guide you along a trail through the boulders from the beach at the Baths to the sandy expanse of Devil’s Bay.
Pause for photos at the Cathedral Room, an impressive natural pool within a small cave. At the entrance to the Baths, you will see Skull Rock, an eerie rock with holes that give it a skull-lie appearance.
The Baths are a popular anchorage, ideal for swimming and snorkelling as well as relaxing on the quiet beaches.
Onshore facilities at the Baths include lockers and toilets, and a small snack bar. If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial head up the hill to the Top of The Baths. This restaurant, bar and villa complex boasts a prime position overlooking the whole area and is an ideal spot come sunset.
Another highlight is the swimming pool, which is the perfect place to cool off in the heat of the day and before a lunchtime pitstop. There is also a breakfast menu available with specialities including Amaretto french toast and Tunisian eggs. If you fancy a keepsake of your bathing experience or need to stock up on supplies such as sunscreen, there is a small gift shop to peruse.
The protected area at the Baths also includes Devil’s Bay, which can be reached from the Baths by a series of ladders scaling the boulders. Just north of the Baths, Spring Bay is reached by a separate road and includes a lovely white sand beach.
Virgin Gorda itself is only 8sqmi (21sqkm), so it’s easy to explore. Sleepy Spanish Town has several good bars and restaurants, such as the laid-back Spanish Town Cafe, where you’ll find a simple menu of wraps, burgers and pasta, while Chez Bamboo is well worth checking out for its sunny citrus-coloured interiors and refined Asian dishes.
After you’ve replenished your energy levels, don your hiking shoes for a trek to the top of Gorda Peak. On your way to the summit via winding trails, keep your eyes peeled for colourful hummingbirds zipping about above and tiny, rare Virgin Gorda geckos zigzagging below.
Another point of interest on the islands is the Copper Mine National Park, which is set on a bluff at the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda. The site features the stone ruins of a mine worked by Cornish miners during the 1800s, and visitors are free to wander through the ruins with some stunning views of the sea washing in below.
On the sailing front, sailors will feel right at home at the Bitter End Yacht Club, which has served as a world-renowned watersports playground since 1969. However, a complete rebuild was required after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.
The Baths National Park is found off Tower Road, Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.
Virgin Gorda is accessible by flights at its small regional airport from a hub such as St Thomas Virgin Islands or San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Alternatively, you can fly into St Thomas and take the ferry to Virgin Gorda.
Sailing vessels can anchor on the coast off Spanish Town and go to the Baths via dinghy. Swim line markers guide vessels through safe channels when approaching the beaches. Note that strong ocean swells can occur in the winter months.