The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are incomparably beautiful, and Virgin Gorda is one of the pearls of the island chain.  Long favored by yachtsmen, the waters here are crystal clear.  And these days, Virgin Gorda hotels make the BVI just as appealing to landlubbers.

Although the island is compact, there are several sights you shouldn’t miss.  The 19th-century ruins at Copper Mine Point are interesting for history buffs.  The views from Virgin Gorda Peak are breathtaking –   the 30-minute hike to the top is well worth the effort.  And the Baths, a collection of huge boulders that form a series of pools and grottos, is a must-see attraction.

The island has some of the best beaches in the Virgin Islands, and with a little initiative, you can find one to call your own.

Most of the luxury Virgin Gorda resorts are reached by water taxi or private launch.  But then, that’s all part of the fun.

If money’s no object, and you have four other couples you’d like to vacation with, Katitche Point is the ultimate Virgin Gorda vacation rental.  The 5-bedroom villa comes with an infiniti pool, a full staff and offers views from virtually every vantage point.  It’s steps down to Mahoe Bay Beach and each of the bedrooms has it’s own terrace.  The entire villa ranges in price from $13,700 to $22,000, depending on season.   But individual accommodations are sometimes available too.  For reservations, visit http://www.katitchepoint.com

If money is an object, Leverick Bay Resort & Marina is probably the best value on Virgin Gorda.  Both rooms and suites with complete kitchens and wraparound terraces are available.  The beach isn’t the best, but there are lots of water sports available at the adjoining marina.  And there’s an on-site restaurant and grocery, which is very convenient if you have one of the suites.   With doubles starting at $149 a night, it’s a great deal.  Get more information at http://www.leverickbay.com

The other affordable hotel on Virgin Gorda is Nail Bay Resort.  The 146-acre property provides easy access to three beautiful, white-sand beaches.  A wide range of accommodations — from studios to 4-bedroom villas with private pools — is available.  And prices are reasonable.  There’s a restaurant, pool-side bar, and plenty of water sports.  Find out more at http://www.nailbay.com

Mango Bay Resort is one of the most appealing Virgin Gorda vacation rentals.  The eight villas overlooking Drake’s Channel offer studio, one- or two-bedroom suites or villa accommodations.   Some of the villas have private pools.  With rates starting at just $205 a night, it’s far less expensive than many of it‘s neighbors.  The grounds are nicely landscaped, there’s a great Italian restaurant a few steps away, and package deals that include dinner, a Jeep, and spa treatments make this an even better value.  Go to http://www.mangobayresort.com to learn more.

If you like to check in, unpack, and never leave, Biras Creek Resort could be ideal for you.  As a member of the Relais & Chateaux group, the food here is a big part of the draw.  And three meals a day are included in the rate.  Spread out over 140 acres on a peninsula bounded by three bodies of water, the 31 suites are some of the nicest in the British Virgin Islands.  The turquoise lagoon is a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, or sailing.  And the white-sand beach is just made for strolling.  Garden showers, private patios, and ocean-view verandahs make this one of the most romantic hotels on Virgin Gorda.  The marina’s Boston Whalers are available for snorkel trips and complimentary bikes are provided for exploring the property.  A fitness center, restaurant, and open-air bar mean you never have to leave.  All the details are available at  http://www.biras.com.

Sailors, windsurfers, and those who love water sports will enjoy the Bitter End Yacht Club.  Rentals from the adjoining marina are included in the room rate, so you can take out a kayak, sailboat, or windsurfer every day of your stay.  Scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing trips can also be arranged.  Accommodations range from beach-front villas and suites to a private house.  The resort’s bars are popular with yachtsmen sailing the surrounding waters.  And there are three restaurants, a pub, and a bakery when you get hungry.  The Bitter End Yacht Club is reached by private ferry from Beef Island Airport.   It’s a little isolated, but there’s usually so much going on at the marina that you won’t feel deprived.   For more information, go to http://www.beyc.com.

Rosewood Little Dix Bay has pretty much everything anyone could want in a hotel — at a price.  Founded in 1964 by Laurance Rockefeller, it’s the granddaddy of Virgin Gorda resorts with a beautiful half-mile crescent of white sand beach, a cliff-side spa, and  water taxi service to nearby beaches.  And it’s walking distance to the shops and restaurants of Spanish Town.  The rooms, suites, and villas here have views of the ocean or gardens, and the Sugar Mill Restaurant is one of the most romantic on Virgin Gorda.  For something different, reserve one of the tree-house cottages.  Tennis clinics, free sailboats and kayaks, and nightly movies round out the activities.  Expect an older, well-heeled crowd  that doesn’t object to a dress code at dinner.   Packages make Little Dix slightly more affordable.  Get the details at www.littledixbay.com.

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