The Baths, British Virgin Islands

Photo: National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands
Photo: National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands

The Caribbean is full of gorgeous spots. Most include an endless white-sand beach, swaying palm trees, and warm, teal water. Add giant, granite boulders to this serene scene, and you’ve got “The Baths,” which might just be the most awe-inspiring of them all.

Spend the morning at Spring Bay, north of “The Baths.” Patience, patience. You’re itching to head to the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda. But right now, it’s full of day-trippers and tour groups, while you have a golden-sand beach practically to yourself. It’s lined with smaller boulders and tamarind trees. Frothy waves lap against the sand. Anchored sailboats bobble offshore. And the water is blue, green, and even clear, depending on which way you look. Snorkel to see angelfish and sergeant majors. A sea turtle looks like he’s waving as he swims by.

After lunch—and maybe a nap—you can finally head south. The Baths National Park is tiny, only seven acres, but it’s considered the jewel of the British Virgin Islands. The boulders, some as high as 40 feet, were created when hot, flowing lava met the cool seawater, and then solidified into granite.

Photo: VACATION (B.V.I.) LTD.
Photo: VACATION (B.V.I.) LTD.

Leave your gear in the car. You only need water shoes and a waterproof camera to explore the caverns, the tunnels, the grottos, and the arches. Walk along a sandy, cacti-lined path and pay a small fee to enter the park. Climb over small boulders. Be careful, they’re slippery. Wade through tidal pools. You might find a starfish clinging to the side of a rock. And float in an echoey cave.

Waves splash over the top of the rocks. Following the rays of sunlight, squeeze through narrow passages between the boulders. You’re starting to feel like a kid again. Climb down rickety ladders. Eventually, the “trail” leads you to Devil’s Bay. Looking back at the boulders from the coral-sand beach, it’s hard to believe you just walked through, swam under, and climbed over them. A cold Carib beer seems like an appropriate reward.

When your camera’s memory card is full—or almost full, you should save a little space for sunset—drive to nearby Coppermine Point for dinner at the Mine Shaft Cafe. The casual restaurant has strong drinks, fresh seafood, and panoramic views. What more could you need at this moment? Order a “Cave In” cocktail—just don’t expect the bartender to reveal the secret recipe—plus conch chowder and whatever smells so amazing in the kitchen. While you wait, start to look through all those pictures on your camera. You’re in awe all over again.

 

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