Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
ajtraveler66

Virgin Gorda or Something Else

Recommended Posts

I gather the Virgin Gordon is worth seeing. But I understand that is can be quite crowded.

 

I do not snorkel, and I'm claustrophobic (I've seen videos of the tight-spots in the big rock areas).....so I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off choosing another excursion.

 

We would be content with just about any nice beach, but if this one is extraordinarily special, then we might give it a try.

 

Look forward to your input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on your information I would suggest you enjoy one of the nice beaches on Tortola, and maybe include an island tour with one of the drivers at the pier if interested.

How long are you in port?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I gather the Virgin Gordon is worth seeing. But I understand that is can be quite crowded.

 

I do not snorkel, and I'm claustrophobic (I've seen videos of the tight-spots in the big rock areas).....so I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off choosing another excursion.

 

We would be content with just about any nice beach, but if this one is extraordinarily special, then we might give it a try.

 

Look forward to your input.

Virgin Gorda is spectacular. It has been on my list every sailing we make to the area.

 

The usual way to access the beach is through the narrow, slippery stairway you mention. This is typical Virgin Gorda. Do something different but with the same beauty.

 

There is another beach directly adjacent called Spring Bay Beach. You drive up, walk on flat terrain and access the same beach. Bolders are spaced with room between some and tight spaces in other areas. Obviously avoid those with tight spacing.

Water is incredible! Hope you look into this and try it as it is an unforgettable experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Baths are a natural phenomenon and a unique feature that we would recommend to most people on their first visit to the BVI. It can be a difficult traverse through the boulders for some, as well as claustrophobic in some spots, so I would suggest reviewing YouTube videos to decide if it is too much for you.

 

If you’ve taken some time to research the Baths by reading other threads here you’ll know that if on a 7 or 8-hour cruise stop any visit to the Baths would be extremely crowded with all of your fellow passengers who also go there. But on a longer port stop you have a better chance of enjoying the Baths with fewer people. So again, your port times are very helpful in providing useful recommendations to you, for the Baths or for any experience.

 

As mentioned by Loucat and in several other threads, Spring Bay is a nice beach adjacent to the Baths and also accessible via a flat road from near the Top of the Baths and shares a slightly similar topography to the Baths. However there are no public facilities there at all and you would have to walk to the Top of the Baths for restrooms and food & drink.

 

For someone who has already experienced the beaches and natural beauty of Tortola, Virgin Gorda is a great option, and if you decide to skip the Baths you can work with a taxi driver and get dropped at different spots in The Valley like Spring Bay or beautiful Savannah Bay. Taxi fares are very reasonable, and you would pay the driver after finally being dropped in Spanishtown or at the ferry terminal. You could also explore rent a car and explore the North Sound.

 

But do consider Tortola as it is a beautiful island with wonderful people!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Baths are a natural phenomenon and a unique feature that we would recommend to most people on their first visit to the BVI. It can be a difficult traverse through the boulders for some, as well as claustrophobic in some spots, so I would suggest reviewing YouTube videos to decide if it is too much for you.

 

If you’ve taken some time to research the Baths by reading other threads here you’ll know that if on a 7 or 8-hour cruise stop any visit to the Baths would be extremely crowded with all of your fellow passengers who also go there. But on a longer port stop you have a better chance of enjoying the Baths with fewer people. So again, your port times are very helpful in providing useful recommendations to you, for the Baths or for any experience.

 

As mentioned by Loucat and in several other threads, Spring Bay is a nice beach adjacent to the Baths and also accessible via a flat road from near the Top of the Baths and shares a slightly similar topography to the Baths. However there are no public facilities there at all and you would have to walk to the Top of the Baths for restrooms and food & drink.

 

For someone who has already experienced the beaches and natural beauty of Tortola, Virgin Gorda is a great option, and if you decide to skip the Baths you can work with a taxi driver and get dropped at different spots in The Valley like Spring Bay or beautiful Savannah Bay. Taxi fares are very reasonable, and you would pay the driver after finally being dropped in Spanishtown or at the ferry terminal. You could also explore rent a car and explore the North Sound.

 

But do consider Tortola as it is a beautiful island with wonderful people!

 

Blue Water- What ships stay in the area beyond 8 hours? You mention a 7-8 hour port stop would be crowded. That is SO dependent on the ships in the area. Not everyone has interest in the Baths. I would love to look at ships in port for more than 8 hours!

 

I suggested Spring Bay Beach as it is flat terrain. If you use facilities before leaving for the beach, you should be fine.

I do not like the general offerings at the Top of the Baths. It is very touristy. We are not at the beach that long that food is needed; water taken off the ship was fine for us.

Using the Top of the Baths defeats anyone who has challenges traversing those steep and moss covered stairs either going up or down.

The beauty of the rock formations at The Baths or Spring Bay Beach are unsurpassed.

I have been to Tortola and The Baths several times and I vote every time to return to Spring Bay Beach. I actually arranged a group taxi tour for 14 to go to Spring Bay. We were docked off the island and all said it was the best ever.

I do not agree that Spring Bay "has similar topography". It is the same topography as The Baths only less crowded and accessible for many such as myself who like the approach, the beauty of the water, rock formations and all things to be found at Spring Bay. There are also picnic tables in the shade if you want to sit out of the sun.

There are UTube videos of Spring Bay our fellow pax used to decide they were able to manage the access to the beach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Blue Water- What ships stay in the area beyond 8 hours?

You mention a 7-8 hour port stop would be crowded. That is SO dependent on the ships in the area. Not everyone has interest in the Baths. I would love to look at ships in port for more than 8 hours!

I suggested Spring Bay Beach as it is flat terrain. If you use facilities before leaving for the beach, you should be fine.

I do not like the general offerings at the Top of the Baths. It is very touristy. We are not at the beach that long that food is needed; water taken off the ship was fine for us. Using the Top of the Baths defeats anyone who has challenges traversing those steep and moss covered stairs either going up or down.

The beauty of the rock formations at The Baths or Spring Bay Beach are unsurpassed.

I have been to Tortola and The Baths several times and I vote every time to return to Spring Bay Beach. I actually arranged a group taxi tour for 14 to go to Spring Bay. We were docked off the island and all said it was the best ever.

I do not agree that Spring Bay "has similar topography". It is the same topography as The Baths

OK...

only less crowded and accessible for many such as myself who like the approach, the beauty of the water, rock formations and all things to be found at Spring Bay. There are also picnic tables in the shade if you want to sit out of the sun.

There are UTube videos of Spring Bay our fellow pax used to decide they were able to manage the access to the beach.

 

Loucat you can check the BVI cruise ship calendar as well as other sites like cruisett.com to see what ships are in port longer.

Even with one larger NCL ship in port the Baths will be crowded because everyone going there arrives together, especially when the port times are short. Just something a first-time visitor should be aware of so they aren’t disappointed after seeing a YouTube video posted by someone when no cruise ships are in, for example. We stay in the BVI on land-based trips so we obviously go to the popular sites when no ships are in port.

And yes, YouTube videos are something I also recommend often when the OP is concerned about their mobility or are claustrophobic.

 

So again, not knowing AJ’s port times and date (for what other ships are in port) it is difficult to make a helpful recommendation. Perhaps he/she will return with more info, or rely on this feedback!

Edited by blue_water
typos!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do want to say though that anyone who is undecided about going to the Baths for any reason should consider seeing Tortola - gorgeous island with beautiful beaches (with all of the comforts, or very secluded where you will not see your fellow cruisers). Many day visitors never experience the beauty and wonderful people of Tortola.

 

For beaches, Brewers Bay is a beautiful beach with that old Caribbean feel. Nicole’s lost the kitchen but I believe they are back. If you want more comforts (and more people) CGB. And Marina Cay is a nice option to get away from the crowds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Blue Water- What ships stay in the area beyond 8 hours? You mention a 7-8 hour port stop would be crowded. That is SO dependent on the ships in the area. Not everyone has interest in the Baths. I would love to look at ships in port for more than 8 hours!

 

I suggested Spring Bay Beach as it is flat terrain. If you use facilities before leaving for the beach, you should be fine.

I do not like the general offerings at the Top of the Baths. It is very touristy. We are not at the beach that long that food is needed; water taken off the ship was fine for us.

Using the Top of the Baths defeats anyone who has challenges traversing those steep and moss covered stairs either going up or down.

The beauty of the rock formations at The Baths or Spring Bay Beach are unsurpassed.

I have been to Tortola and The Baths several times and I vote every time to return to Spring Bay Beach. I actually arranged a group taxi tour for 14 to go to Spring Bay. We were docked off the island and all said it was the best ever.

I do not agree that Spring Bay "has similar topography". It is the same topography as The Baths only less crowded and accessible for many such as myself who like the approach, the beauty of the water, rock formations and all things to be found at Spring Bay. There are also picnic tables in the shade if you want to sit out of the sun.

There are UTube videos of Spring Bay our fellow pax used to decide they were able to manage the access to the beach.

 

Loucat,

The Baths at Virgin Gorda are truly beautiful and truly the main reason I booked to return this December however your comments about Spring Bay have me intrigued. I never heard of it before but the online pics are very appealing especially since I am travelling with a young one this time. I assume the easiest way to get there is to ferry to VG then taxi?

How far is Spring Bay past the Baths?

 

Thanks for your help in advance...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Goulaigan I saw your question and yes you would ferry to VG and take a short taxi to the road that leads to Spring Bay just before the Top of the Baths. Be sure to carry a backpack with bottles of water and anything you need for your child as the only facilities are at the Top of the Baths (unless Mad Dog bar is open). But yes, the driver will know where you want to go...

http://www.guavaberryspringbay.com/map-of-virgin-gorda

 

You didn’t say whether your last visit to the Baths was via ferry & taxi and you saw the Top of the Baths, or you went to the Baths directly by boat. If you have been to the Top then you know that Loucat’s comment that “Using the Top of the Baths defeats anyone who has challenges traversing those steep and moss covered stairs either going up or down” is not intended for those arriving by taxi. Taxis drop you at the Top where the restaurant is and you walk down one of the paths either to the boulders or to Devil’s Bay.

Just want to clarify that for whomever...

Savannah Bay is also beautiful, even if just viewing it on a tour with a driver.

Edited by blue_water
added map

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do want to say though that anyone who is undecided about going to the Baths for any reason should consider seeing Tortola - gorgeous island with beautiful beaches (with all of the comforts, or very secluded where you will not see your fellow cruisers). Many day visitors never experience the beauty and wonderful people of Tortola.

 

For beaches, Brewers Bay is a beautiful beach with that old Caribbean feel. Nicole’s lost the kitchen but I believe they are back. If you want more comforts (and more people) CGB. And Marina Cay is a nice option to get away from the crowds.

 

Per above ... Brewers Bay has the "ole" Caribbean feel ... the way it use to be. (y)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I will be in Virgin Gorda on a cruise in November. Thinking of taking an Island tour and then exploring Spanish Town for s while.

What does ST offer in the way of shopping, bars, history?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spanishtown is a short walk from the ferry dock and there are some small shops and restaurants like the Baths & Turtle. Probably won’t spend a lot of time there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2018 at 8:48 PM, Loucat said:

Virgin Gorda is spectacular. It has been on my list every sailing we make to the area.

 

The usual way to access the beach is through the narrow, slippery stairway you mention. This is typical Virgin Gorda. Do something different but with the same beauty.

 

There is another beach directly adjacent called Spring Bay Beach. You drive up, walk on flat terrain and access the same beach. Bolders are spaced with room between some and tight spaces in other areas. Obviously avoid those with tight spacing.

Water is incredible! Hope you look into this and try it as it is an unforgettable experience.

How far is the walk to Spring Bay Beach from the taxi drop off point?  Is there ample beach area?  I have a few folks in my group that have some physical limitations, but would love to visit the beach in Tortola.  We have given up the idea of The Caves and this sounds like it might be an option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The taxi would drop you in a parking lot that has direct access to this beach area. It is flat terrain and walk able for most.

There is plenty of beach space. If you do not like to stay in the sun, you can locate your group closer to the trees where there is more shade. The beach is beautiful with the same boulders as the adjacent beach with the slippery staircase. You can see that beach from this area. There are no facilities so just be aware of that. I would go back again as I cannot navigate that steep climb down and up,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Loucat said:

The taxi would drop you in a parking lot that has direct access to this beach area. It is flat terrain and walk able for most.

There is plenty of beach space. If you do not like to stay in the sun, you can locate your group closer to the trees where there is more shade. The beach is beautiful with the same boulders as the adjacent beach with the slippery staircase. You can see that beach from this area. There are no facilities so just be aware of that. I would go back again as I cannot navigate that steep climb down and up,

So, it is a steep climb to get to the facilities? Is there anywhere near the taxi drop off to get something to eat? Thanks so much for your help.  Just don't want people to get into a situation that they cannot handle physically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not see any nearby facilities or a place to eat. You might purchase some snacks and drinks and bring them with you.

Although Spring Bay is adjacent to the Baths, it would not be easy to get to there. For sure you would not want to swim only to have to walk up that stairway! To walk back through the parking lot and walk on the road would be a challenge for anyone with limitations.

I looked at several sites the describe Spring Bay. One of the most useful was http://caribya.com/virgin.gorda/spring.bay.2/.

It mentions a snack bar and food vendors-never did see any of this.

The water is so wonderful. It is crystal clear and it is so much fun to just sit in the water surrounded by those amazing boulder formations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>> How far is the walk to Spring Bay Beach from the taxi drop off point?  Is there ample beach area?  I have a few folks in my group that have some physical limitations, but would love to visit the beach in Tortola.  We have given up the idea of The Caves and this sounds like it might be an option. <<

 

Terpsfan1, by "The Caves" you are referring to the grottoes in the Baths I assume. The Baths are on Virgin Gorda, you would ferry 30 minutes to Yacht Harbor which is near Spanishtown, and take a short, $5 - $6/pp shared safari taxi along with your fellow cruise mates who are going to the Baths. You are dropped at the parking lot where The Top of the Baths Restaurant is located - food/drink, restrooms and a wading pool. There are two natural paths down to the Baths and Devil's Bay. Folks with very limited mobility could have a problem navigating the paths, especially on a rainy day, and may choose to walk to Spring Bay instead. Again, either option can be a challenge for someone with impaired mobility, but SB would be the flattest option...

 

Spring Bay has a similar topography to the Baths, just not the same experience of course. But flatter access to the beach as there is no trail down. No amenities, you need to walk back to the Top of the Baths for restrooms and food and drink.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Virgin+Gorda/@18.4389632,-64.4472326,2706m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x8c0581c43e48c3d9:0xebf9a8b73529b85e!8m2!3d18.4939059!4d-64.4022877

 

There are two ferry options, and depending on your time in port you could use both ferries to extend your time on VG if you desired. You can also purchase a package from Speedy's that includes the taxi fare (same cost) and a lunch and drink at the Baths & Turtle in Spanishtown, where you can also shop. The ferry terminal is a 10 minute walk from town...

https://bestofbvi.com/bvi-ferry-schedules/?from=Tortola&to=Virgin-Gorda

 

Enjoy your visit to the beautiful BVI!

 

[EDIT] And of course there are both shared independent and private operators that offer daysails to the Baths with easy access to the beach where you can experience some of the Baths without the walk down from the Top...

Edited by blue_water
daysail options

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another option that many rave about is an island tour of Tortola, followed by some time at beautiful Brewers Bay. Much less strenuous, and Tortola is a much more beautiful island IMHO...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...