A treasure of the Virgin Islands was created millions of years ago with heat and pressure when magma pushed its way up through the Earth’s crust and just didn’t make it all the way to the surface. Instead, the molten rock cooled, creating massive granite blocks. A millenia of erosion shifted away the softer rocks and allowed the wind and sea to weather the boulders to create the massive rounded shapes we see piled along the northern coast of Virgin Gorda today. The unique geological formations make this area, known as The Baths, one of the most visited spots in all of the British Virgin Islands.
The park, covering 7 acres, is a must-see and definitely a highlight of any trip. You can spend your day relaxing on the soft sand or climbing over boulders (with the help of pre-anchored ropes) and through the caves. We found one of the best uses of this geological gift was to find shelter from the tropical sun without giving up our time at the beach.
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking of finding a quiet little grotto for some skinny dipping with your honey. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but tourists flock to these caves. I think the longest we went without running into another couple or family was 10 minutes, and we visited during the off-season.
If you’re coming by sea to visit The Baths and your captain wants to drop you off at Spring Bay, beware. Your captain may be trying to avoid paying the entrance fee for the national park (fair enough), but you’ll need to be prepared to swim your way to The Baths in about 10 feet of water. No matter what your captain tells you, there is no walking path from Spring Bay to The Baths.
(Yes, we had to break this news to several groups of travelers during our stay.)
You will find a Poor Man’s Bar & Grill with facilities just off the beach in the shade of some trees. There’s also a restaurant at the top of The Baths (called Top of the Baths); it’s a great place for a bite to eat, a beer and a view of the Caribbean and Tortola in the distance. Bring your swimsuit, they have a fresh-water pool next to the bar for their patrons.
You can visit two other beaches if you’re up for swim from The Baths. If you swim about 200 yards to the south you can visit Spring Bay, a far more relaxing and lest tourist-filled beach, or continue swimming north to go to Devils Bay, for even more seclusion.
The cost of visiting The Baths National Park is $3 per person.