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Trip Report Trip report: Virgin Gorda

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My fiance and I and my two sons (11 & 9) were on Virgin Gorda just before Christmas last year. I have been to VG before and said then that I would post a review about how great it was. Needless to say, I didn't, and this year I had to make it a New Year's resolution just to get it done by March.

I love Virgin Gorda. I've been a number of places in the Caribbean and feel like VG is the right blend of classic 'Yeah, Mon' laid back style with just enough good food and wine to banish any thought of roughing it. I was amazed at how many locals remembered and greeted me. I realize it is considered poor manners to encounter someone without saying 'good morning' but a few people said 'Welcome back' so I know they weren't just being polite. The island is still unspoiled. No traffic lights, no traffic jams. The beach down at the Baths can get a bit crowded on days when cruiseships disgorge passengers for a day tour, but that is pretty infrequent and my experience is that any number of other great beaches are completely deserted on those days.

We stayed at Villa LaVida out in Nail Bay. The villa is brand new and unbelievable, right on the Nail Bay beach. For a couple of days there was a significant ocean swell and we were seranaded to sleep, windows and doors open (screens closed!), by the sound of crashing surf just outside our doors. We considered Aquamare and Sol y Sombra which are also beautiful villas but the huge infinity pool and the incredible privacy of LaVida made our decision easy. We dealt with the owners directly from the website www.villalavida.com and found them to be very helpful and reasonable.

Snorkelling out at the Dog Islands near Nail Bay was some of the best snorkelling I've ever seen. Between the two Dog Islands is a narrow, shallow shelf with tons of fish and the seaward sides of both islands offer dramatic walls to explore. My son and I spent about 10 minutes following a huge eagle ray. Easily the best snorkelling memory I have.

We ate mostly at the villa but were told by others that The Rock was a great place to eat. The restaurant at Little Dix Bay was also highly recommended. We greatly enjoyed lunch out at Saba Rock, a short ferry ride from Gun Creek at the north end of the island. Adjacent to Saba Rock is the Bitter End Yacht Club where we rented Hobie Cats for a couple hours and only managed to capsize twice. Per boat.

Downsides? On one calm night we found the mosquitoes pretty fierce. Also, not a place for nightlife apart from a few small bars that get hopping, but not in a nightclub kind of way. The trip to get there is a bit lengthy too, with most decent flights landing near Tortola, a 20 minute ferry ride away. There is a small airline, Air Sunshine, that files direct to VG but after two miserable, rude, awful experiences I can't recommend them. There are also several charter companies that fly into Virgin Gorda for larger groups or small groups with extra cash.

Summary: my favorite island.

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