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Exploring the Baths of Virgin Gorda, and surrounds

Posted by on January 22, 2014

Jeff and I first visited the famed Baths of Virgin Gorda as a day trip from Jost Van Dyke last year. We knew immediately that a day trip was not enough…and this vacation was the result. Our whole reason for staying on Virgin Gorda was to be able to revisit the Baths and explore them at our leisure.

In doing so, we learned a bit about the Baths as well as the surrounding area (Devil’s Bay and Spring Bay) that we thought we’d share, in case you guys ever decide to come visit yourselves!

The Baths

As a reminder, the Baths are an area of Virgin Gorda where massive granite boulders line the coast resulting in intricate formations both on land and underwater. They are a result of volcanic activity, and they are certainly Virgin Gorda’s most famous attraction. Cost of entry? A mere $3 per person. Incredible.

The boulders have created caves that people can shimmy through, and there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.  It took Jeff and I about 3 hours or so to get our fill.  After that, we snorkeled amongst the boulders which provide a stunning backdrop. Our biggest score was seeing two rays gliding by. So majestic!

Daytrippers come from all over the USVIs and BVIs to see the Baths daily. For that reason, the best times to visit are right when the park opens (between 8:30 and 9am) or later in the afternoon once the daytrippers have headed back home (between 3 and 4:30pm).

The Baths are only open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, so there are no opportunities for gorgeous sunset or sunrise photos. But no worries, there is enough beauty to photograph during the day!

And as an aside, like everywhere else in Virgin Gorda, it is safe to leave your stuff unattended on the beach. How refreshing! That said, the Baths provide lockers if that makes you more comfortable.

Now, back to the Baths!

One of the most famous caves is called the Cathedral. In addition to the excellent acoustics, it is also said to shimmer like stained glass in a certain light. It is indeed gorgeous. We probably stayed here for 45 minutes trying to get some photos, as group after group kept coming through. It was quite interesting to people watch. We humans are a funny bunch!

As for the “shimmying” I mentioned earlier, you definitely want to wear sturdy sandals (that can get wet), as maneuvering through the caves requires using ropes and ladders at different points.

While the ropes and ladders aren’t particularly difficult, there is no lightweight version. Once you’re in, you either continue all the way through, or turn back the way you came. No quick exits! It also requires some serious bending and almost crawling in some spots  (especially for poor Jeff, with that big camera bag on his back).

Some of the colors in the granite are amazing…the greens and reds are particularly beautiful, in my opinion. And as for the picture below, these boulders are part of a bigger “room.” I can’t really tell you what it’s called or why, since while Jeff and I were photographing in there, different tour guides would come through telling their group a different story…”Oh, this is the moon room, where the full moon casts a light through the hole…” or “This is the lion room, see how the rocks make it look like a lion’s roaring?…” The moral of the story is that it’s beautiful, no matter what it’s called or what story you put to it.

Along with the colors, what is truly fascinating is the formations the boulders take. How did they get there? And why? I have no answers.

I won’t inundate you with pictures here (you know we have a million!) but I think you get the gist. And if you want to see more pix of the Baths, feel free to visit last year’s post here.

Once through the Baths, you come out on the other side at Devil’s Bay.

Devil’s Bay

There are 2 gorgeous bays that flank the Baths–Devil’s Bay and Spring Bay. Depending on which way you enter the Baths, you either start or end at Devil’s Bay.

Last year, as daytrippers, we snorkeled off our boat into Devil’s Bay and then started the trek through the Baths. This year, we did the opposite route.

No matter which way you slice it, Devil’s Bay is full of people coming or going. Some are snorkeling, some are still talking about the Baths. For us, the sheer number of people make it less appealing. That said, it is handy that there is a trail directly up to the parking lot, so you don’t have to go back through the caves to get to your car. Excellent planning on someone’s part…

Ok, ok. From this picture it doesn’t look overwhelmingly busy, but we put this one in for perspective. See the snorkelers in the foreground and the man standing on the rock to the left? These boulders are impressive.

Spring Bay

If you are standing at the entry to the Baths looking out at the water, Devil’s Bay is to your left and Spring Bay is to your right. Most daytrippers never get told about Spring Bay–they stay within the Baths or Devil’s Bay.

See where I’m going with this?!?!?!?

Spring Bay=gorgeous bay with huge granite boulders plus excellent snorkeling minus tons of hyped up snorkelers. Score!

You can enter Spring Bay by snorkeling around the boulders from the Baths, or for us, we got there by car, as there is an entry to Spring Bay National Park just before reaching the Baths. There is a short walk (~5 min) from the parking lot to the beach, so carry less stuff, if that’s an issue.

Once onto the beach, it would be easy to stop at the first small beach you see. It’s breathtaking!

That said, make sure to continue around to the left, as there are really two parts to this beach. You don’t want to miss one!

As you would expect, the best snorkeling is around the boulders. The notable event from today’s snorkeling was one needle fish eating another, right next to us. Fascinating to watch, reminding us that we’re on their turf. Much like the barracuda from last year…

What these pictures don’t show is the veritable parking lot of sailboats and dinghys just offshore. With all of them pointing directly at the Baths, mainly ignoring little ole Spring Bay.

Ah, bliss.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through Virgin Gorda’s most famous attraction–the incomparable Baths. We highly recommend that you visit! And don’t forget the secret–Spring Bay!


2 Responses to Exploring the Baths of Virgin Gorda, and surrounds

  1. DSG

    Thank you for sharing all of this splendor, which helped to take the edge off the fridgid winter temperatures for a few minutes. We will defnitely be using this information when we are one of those sailboats pointing at the Baths this summer!!

    • Jen

      I hope so! Some of this info was specifically included for you guys!!! 😉

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