With its unique shape, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands offers an enormous amount of coastline, and that means one thing – a large number of beaches. However, for decades, many have visited this wonderful island for its water sports and sailing along with other non-beach activities. If you are planning a holiday on Virgin Gorda, by all means, make plans to visit those amazing beaches – particularly those of the southern end such as The Baths, Devil’s Bay and especially Savannah Bay. However, don’t miss out on the many other things to do in Virgin Gorda apart from the lovely beaches.
Explore the Cultural History
The history of all Caribbean islands is remarkable and diverse, and Virgin Gorda is no exception. Here, you find influences of African, Spanish and Indian cultures as well as those of many other groups that have made their way to the region. Some of the best spots to really experience this are the remaining historical sites.
Little Fort National Park is one fine example of this. It is behind the old post office in the Fort Point area (not far from the southern end of the island). It became a national park many decades ago and is full of local wildlife. However, there are still the remains of the original magazine room and munitions building.
Close by is the historic Old Methodist Church and if you are eager to enjoy more of the natural beauty of this region, Spring Bay National Park is just a few minutes away. Before you head there, though, checkout another of the historical sites that help you understand the island’s unique culture a bit more.
The Copper Mine Ruins in the Copper Mine National Park offer a fascinating experience. Copper was mined on the island beginning in the 1700s and throughout the 1800s. Cornish miners were sent from England to build the mine, but it officially closed in the 1860s.
Today, the ruins are an amazing thing to see as even the surroundings are otherworldly. The granite and quartz rocks that frame the opening into the mine also reveal the different copper and feldspar that drew mining firms to the area. There is a ruin of the miners’ housing complex and educational and informational signs explain the different structures and functions of the setting. It is a perfect spot for a picnic!
While this can be done almost anywhere on the island, those who are avid bird watchers will want to book a visit to Fallen Jerusalem National Park. It is comprised of a small island just a few miles offshore from Virgin Gorda and it provides a rare opportunity to spot some of the most coveted of the island’s native birds. A day trip begins from Leverick Bay or Spanish Town and includes time on the empty and flawless beaches, snorkeling (if desired) and that amazing bird watching.
Dry Forest Hiking
Virgin Gorda is one of the only spots with authentic Caribbean dry forest remaining. The Virgin Gorda Peak National Park allows you to tour through this rare setting and reach the highest point of the island – at 1,370 feet above the sea. As you make your way through this unique environment, you travel from dry lowlands to moister, more traditional forests at the higher elevation. You may also be lucky enough to spot one of the tiniest lizards in the world, the Virgin Gorda gecko. Be sure to pack a picnic because there is a lovely area designated just for that!
Spanish Town is also a good choice for a day of exploration and fun. While it may seem silly to visit on a Saturday, when markets and shops will be full, it is also the one day of the week to enjoy Grandma’s Kitchen, which is an amazing outdoor market that happens only on Saturdays and offers you chances for handmade artisan goods.