Virgin Gorda, one of the low-key British Virgin Islands, is blessedly undeveloped. You’ll feel like you’re on a real Caribbean island rather than in some tourist trap. There are white sands and clear turquoise seas — this is the Caribbean, after all — and you can find secluded sandy patches. What you won't see: a lot of people, as the local population is only about 3,500.
What We Love
Exclusivity: Few cruise ships stop here, and the island can feel like the kind of place you’d seek if you had your own private yacht.
Spanish Town: Most tenders arrive at the yacht harbor, taking you to the island’s “downtown.” The open-air complex has cafés serving the local rum drink called The Painkiller. There are also shops, including a supermarket.
Best Known For
Natural Wonders: The Baths is one of the Caribbean’s best natural attractions. The giant boulders strewn on the beach were formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and formed caves, grottoes, and tidal pools.
Pirate Past: Virgin Gorda was a pirate hangout spot as they planned raids on Spanish galleons. Captain William Kidd was among the most notorious visitors.
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Who It's Best For
Underwater Adventurers: Offshore attractions include the protected marine area known as The Dogs. It’s considered one of the top snorkeling and diving sites in the Caribbean and is teeming with marine life and colorful coral formations.
Laid-Back Visitors: Virgin Gorda does not have a big party scene, so it’s perfect for those looking for a more easygoing adventure.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Rough Going: To reach The Baths, you need to do some climbing. Even if you arrive by boat, you have to be a decent swimmer as there are often riptides.
Few Sidewalks: You’ll have to walk in the street if you want to explore on foot. Also, be aware that driving is on the left. Opt for a taxi or one of the open-air jitneys instead.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.