The Baths Of Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda Travel Blog

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Here we are!

Our next leg of this trip was to visit the famous Baths of Virgin Gorda!   The taxi dropped us off at a trailhead near a restaurant, and we gathered under a gazebo-like structure where our guide (one of the crew members) gave a brief history of the Baths.  Basically, its an area of enormous granite boulders that were formed volcanically, about 70 million years ago.  A fault pushed them up from the sea floor, where they have been eroding into what they are today.  This maze of giant rocks all on top of one another, forms an area of caves, pools (or "baths") and grottos next to white sand beaches and a beautiful snorkeling area.  It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the British Virgin Islands.

We saw this large, colorful caterpiller on the trail

We hiked down the Baths trail, which worked its way down a rocky path that was predominated by cactus plants of various sizes.  A fairly easy, narrow trail, we walked single file... I hung back a little to take pictures, Tyler naturally worked his way to the front.  At one point, everyone stopped and clogged up the path... and made sure to point out to the person behind them, not to step on a multicolored caterpiller that was right in the middle of the path!  It was around 15 minutes or so before we arrived at a beach, which was the beginning of the Baths area.

When we got there, after hiking in the heat, they gave us a 15 minute swim break to cool off before continuing the hike into the rock formations.  After that they gathered us up, did a head count, and continued with the tour.

aptly named "Whale Rock"
   One of the first rock formations was known as "Whale Rock", because it lookes like the head of a whale sticking out of the water.  A large crack in the granite represented the "mouth", and a well-placed depression resembled an "eye".    We walked beside this rock and into an area of pools and grottos between the granite boulders.   There were places where stairs were necessary, tight squeezes where you had to duck or crawl, and ladders leading to pools below.  Some places the rock was so steep and slippery, they had ropes anchored into the rock walls to grip for support.  Halfway into the trail, a woman behind me tapped my shoulder, and said "excuse me, I think you dropped this?"  It was my wallet!  I had been carrying my shorts under my arm, since my bathing suit was still wet from our swim.
some steeper parts of the trail had steps
.. and the wallet apparently just slipped out of my pocket from the way I was carrying it.  Whew! Good thing she saw me drop it!  My ID, my credit cards, everything would have been gone!!  We then climbed down steps (more like a ladder, really) into a cavern with knee-deep water, and the trail continued on to other grottos along the path.  At one point, we were in a narrow allyway,  with a tall granite wall on the right.  Our guide picked up a small rock (left there for this purpose) and banged it against different parts of the wall.  You could hear the sound of hollow spots where he tapped the rock..it was a different sound from where the rock was solid.  This is because when this spire was molten lava 70 million years ago, air and gas pockets that became trapped in the lava, remain there today in the solidified rock!  He invited us (especially the kids) to tap the walls ourselves to hear the hollow "knocks".
The walls here have hollow spots...our guide pounded a small rock on the walls to detect the sound of hollow spots
..  but he asked the kids to please leave the rock behind for the next group!   At the end of this wall, there was another rock formation above and in front of us.  Called the Lion's head, it is so named because the underside of the rock supposedly looks like the face of a lion.  I couldn't see it... but all the kids ooh'd and ahh'd! 

 Beyond that, we had some more tricky climbing to do.  Walking up a slick, steep rock, there was a rope to grab onto and pull yourself to the next cavern.  We soon found ourselves in another water-filled grotto, where two giant slabs of granite lean on eack other to form an upside down "V".   It had dry sand at the end of the room, but it was mostly water, getting deeper the farther back you went.

Tyra Banks did a photo shoot here, the year she shot her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover!
(about waist deep was the average)  If you have ever seen a picture of The Baths of Virgin Gorda in a magazine, it was probably taken in this room!  This is the grotto where Tyra Banks did a photoshoot, the year she posed for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Playboy and Maxim magazines have also done photo shoots here, as well as many travel magazines.  So, this room has seen its fair share of supermodels- but today it's just us!

After everyone took turns getting their pictures taken in the famous grotto,  a few took a swim in it, then we continued on the trail.  It wasn't long before it opened up into another nice beach, where we had another 15 minute swim break.  There were also restrooms there, and a bar.

There was a bar and restrooms behind the beach
..but I don't think anyone from our group got drinks there!  After this rest break, we headed back up the trail to get our waiting taxi back to Spanish Town.  There was a separate trail leading up, we didn't have to "backtrack" through the Baths to get there (parts of it were so narrow, I think there's only room for one way traffic anyway!)   It wasn't long before we were back at the top.  Tyler sat up front with the driver again, and this time it started right up.  We returned to Spanish Town, and I asked our guide if I had time to run across the street to try the bank ATM machines.  He said time was tight, but to hurry and try it.  When I pointed out I was only trying to get some cash so I could have a nice tip for him and the rest of the crew, he said "No problem! We'll wait!"  hehe, I thought they would!   Fortunately, THIS time my card worked (on the fourth machine I tried)  and I was glad it gave US dollars, since I was on a British Island!  

I took my cash and scurried back to the boat, but I still wasn't the last to get on.

Heading out from Spanish Town. Bye bye, Virgin Gorda!
  We got settled in, and departed to our next destination.  Snorkeling at Diamond Reef!

princessbride029 says:
Love, love, LOVE the Baths!!!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2008
Andy99 says:
Glad you enjoyed The Baths, too, Walt!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2008
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Here we are!
Here we are!
We saw this large, colorful caterp…
We saw this large, colorful cater…
aptly named Whale Rock
aptly named "Whale Rock"
some steeper parts of the trail ha…
some steeper parts of the trail h…
The walls here have hollow spots..…
The walls here have hollow spots.…
Tyra Banks did a photo shoot here,…
Tyra Banks did a photo shoot here…
There was a bar and restrooms behi…
There was a bar and restrooms beh…
Heading out from Spanish Town. Bye…
Heading out from Spanish Town. By…
The bus/taxi that took us here
The bus/taxi that took us here
The Baths are in the distance
The Baths are in the distance
We gathered together while they ex…
We gathered together while they e…
It was about a 15 minute hike to g…
It was about a 15 minute hike to …
lots of cacti around here!
lots of cacti around here!
we walked single file down the nar…
we walked single file down the na…
plenty of cactus
plenty of cactus
barrel cactus
barrel cactus
barrel cactus
barrel cactus
Virgin Gorda is known for its rock…
Virgin Gorda is known for its roc…
Funky cacti!
Funky cacti!
lots of foliage on the trail, punc…
lots of foliage on the trail, pun…
on the trail
on the trail
The Baths!
The Baths!
Tyler and I
Tyler and I
Time to swim!
Time to swim!
Ty relaxes
Ty relaxes
chillin on a rock
chillin' on a rock
The Baths
The Baths
walking on water!
walking on water!
beats being at school!
beats being at school!
cave-like area
cave-like area
we had a 15 minute swim break
we had a 15 minute swim break
beach at the beginning of the Bath…
beach at the beginning of the Bat…
whoo!  is she skinny dipping?
whoo! is she skinny dipping?
entrance to the Baths trail
entrance to the Baths trail
in the cavern
in the "cavern"
..everyone took a picture here!
..everyone took a picture here!
Ty in the cavern
Ty in the cavern
heading towards the rock formations
heading towards the rock formations
These are volcanic in origin
These are volcanic in origin
one of the grottos
one of the grottos
most of the grottos were ankle-deep
most of the grottos were ankle-deep
plenty of boulders
plenty of boulders
called whale rock, because it look…
called whale rock, because it loo…
trail by the rocks
trail by the rocks
rocke were piled into different fo…
rocke were piled into different f…
we had to move single file in some…
we had to move single file in som…
walking under Whale Rock
walking under Whale Rock
ducka-you-head!
ducka-you-head!
some tight squeezes!
some tight squeezes!
nice views!
nice views!
plenty of boats nearby
plenty of boats nearby
carefully climbing down
carefully climbing down
the water had eroded some interest…
the water had eroded some interes…
somewhere around here, I dropped m…
somewhere around here, I dropped …
This lady saw me drop my wallet an…
This lady saw me drop my wallet a…
these steps decended into a cavern
these steps decended into a cavern
underneath was a room big enough f…
underneath was a room big enough …
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
large rock blocks a crevasse
large rock blocks a crevasse
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
supposedly, there is a lions hea…
supposedly, there is a "lion's he…
Do you see the Lion?
Do you see the Lion?
Lions head rock
Lion's head rock
some tight squeezes!
some tight squeezes!
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
some spots had ropes to hang on to
some spots had ropes to hang on to
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
one of the many pools and grottos
This space was also used in photos…
This space was also used in photo…
no supermodels here today!!
no supermodels here today!!
everyone took turns getting this p…
everyone took turns getting this …
...then everybody waded in for a s…
...then everybody waded in for a …
The north end of the grotto was dr…
The north end of the grotto was d…
climbing between more rocks! Some …
climbing between more rocks! Some…
The trail opened up into a nice be…
The trail opened up into a nice b…
V-shaped notch led to the water
V-shaped notch led to the water
view from the notch
view from the notch
Gotta love palm trees on a vacatio…
Gotta love palm trees on a vacati…
Ty in the notch, looking towards t…
Ty in the notch, looking towards …
Time to head back up the trail!
Time to head back up the trail!
Reastaurant at the top...but we di…
Reastaurant at the top...but we d…
Looking down at the water from the…
Looking down at the water from th…
Virgin Gorda
photo by: vijess7