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The Baths - Virgin Gorda

VG_Top_Of_The_Baths Top Of The Baths
The "WOW" factor of this stunning beach always makes me feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. No matter what may be happening in life, once I get to The Baths, all is well with the world. I can't wait to get inside the boulder maze, and do a little exploring on my way to Devil's Bay. I love that beach too!

The first time I visited Virgin Gorda, I did all your typical tourist type things, so of course, I visited the Baths! I've lived in the British Virgin Islands for over 20 years, and I can honestly say that after probably 5 dozen visits, I never tire of being here.

Prior to entering the park, you'll pay a small entrance fee at the kiosk shown below. There's no entry fee if entering by boat but if you are aboard a boat and come to the Baths by land, bring your National Parks Trust permit with you as your permit is your ticket to get in. Without it, you will have to pay.

The parks folks have done their best to make the path down to the beach as easily navigable as possible, without ruining the natural surroundings. Take your time and choose each step carefully. As you can see in the photo below, there are several tripping hazards if you are not paying close attention.

VG_The_Baths_NPT_Kiosk Nationl Parks Trust Kiosk
VG_Trail_To_The_Baths Trail to The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Your reward at trail's end is definitely worth the effort! You'll find hundreds of massive boulders strewn about one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the world! No matter where you look, there's a picture perfect view. I think God was showing off the day he created this place!

VG_The_Baths_Boats The Baths
VG_The_Baths_Boulders The Baths Boulders

Sea grape trees, coconut palms, a pristine beach, crystal clear, aquamarine water and boulders ... lots and lots of boulders. The place is positively gorgeous.

If you like hiking in challenging areas, there are several trails to explore. You'll find an excellent image showing the trails here.

Notice to Boaters and Beachgoers - BVI National Parks Trust Warning System

Flags are displayed on flagpoles located at both the Top of the Baths and on the beach to alert boaters during rough or dangerous sea conditions. The flags displayed are as follows:

Red Flag: Sea conditions are too rough to use the moorings. Proceed to a safer anchorage.
Yellow Flag: Use mooring balls with extreme caution. Do not leave your boat unattended.
Green Flag: Moorings are available for use.
Blue Flag: Jellyfish are present in the area.

VG_The_Baths_Kids The Baths - Kids Playing

The Baths Beach Overview

Bottom Type: Soft white sand and many underwater boulders.
Swimming: Excellent.
Safe For Children: More often than not. Check to make sure the green flag is flying.
Rip Current: Not usually.
Snorkelling: Pretty good if you look in the right places.
Scuba Diving: No dive shops.
Water Toys: No.
Beach Chairs: No.
Water Conditions: Medium to large wave action in the winter months.*
Bars & Restaurants: Yes. Top of the Baths and Poor Man's Bar on the beach.
Entertainment: No.
Washroom: Yes.
Provisioning: No.
Hotels & Villas: No.
Area Description: Very rugged terrain with huge boulders throughout the area.
Access: By sea most of the time or land when the swells prevent access.
Lockers: Yes.

Note: There are lockers near the washrooms. Stow your valuables (and anything else you don't want to get wet) if you decide to go to Devil's Bay.

Snorkeling in Ground Swells:

If there's a minimal ground swell, it is possible to snorkel at The Baths. Just let the water move you back and forth and "don't fight the flow". Let it help take you where you want to go. Time your movements to coincide with the swells to make headway. Done correctly, you won't be swept into the rocks and will only have to make minor course adjustments using your fins. Watch how the fish do it, then copy them. Keep an eye on your buddy and pay attention to your surroundings.

* When swimming or snorkeling in swells, use the swells to help propel you forward. Time your movements by kicking and steering yourself ONLY during the "flow" (forward movement) and rest during the "ebb" (backward movement). Attempting to make headway while waves are ebbing will serve no purpose other than to exhaust yourself.

Only strong swimmers and experienced snorkelers should attempt to explore the reefs at The Baths when the swells are up. Even then, be very careful and please pay attention to the warning flags.

Do not attempt to take your dinghy into the beach area even just to drop people off. Dinghies are not permitted in the area. A dinghy tie up area is provided. If any member of your party is not able to swim in or if wind and wave conditions are not ideal, please proceed to St. Thomas Bay or the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour and take a taxi to The Baths.

This is not an appropriate place to test your physical limits. In recent years, there has been at least one death per season because people insist they are able to handle the sea. Sadly, the victims are almost always those in their golden years and certainly old enough to know better. Please be smart and take a pass if the conditions are not a match for your physical limitations.

On calm days and with minimal wave action, The Baths are a marvelous spot for snorkelers and swimmers of all ages. When there is a ground sea, taking a taxi to The Baths is your best option. There is no shame in knowing your limitations and making it home safely.

Last updated: Jan 5th 2015
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