Virgin Gorda is part of the British Virgin Islands. It is the third-largest island in the archipelago. Virgin Gorda has a wonderful, long coastline, full of great marinas and ports. North Sound is at the northern tip of Virgin Gorda. It is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the Caribbean. There are many small islands here like Prickly Pear Island, Moskito Island, or Saba Rock. Each is a separate little world worth exploring. If you are looking for an exciting and uplifting vacation, Virgin Gorda is the perfect base to discover this beautiful area.
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Weather in Virgin Gorda
- Ports and islands around Virgin Gorda
- Sail in Virgin Groda! Virgin Groda boat tours
- Sailing in Virgin Gorda: 7 days sailing itinerary
- Catamaran itinerary around Virgin Gorda (longer)
- Marine gas in Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda has a tropical climate. It is hot during the entire year, but the dominant trade winds somewhat cool the air down. The period between December and March is usually milder, with an average temperature of 24–25° Celsius. It is very hot between May and October: the daily average temperature is around 28° Celsius. The dry period lasts from January to April; the driest months are February and March. You can expect heavy rainfalls from May to December. The hurricane season is from July to October – it brings strong winds and heavy rains. The sea is warm during the whole year, with an average temperature of 27° Celsius.
The sailing season is between December and April. During this time, the weather is not so hot and the amount of precipitation is also smaller; there is also a lower risk of tropical storms and hurricanes. The wind is north-easterly during the winter months, then blows towards the east in February and changes its course to the southeast by June. It usually has a velocity of 28–38 km/h, with the exception of the Christmas winds with 50 km/h. The seas are fairly calm. Check the Check the sailing conditions and wind rose diagram of Virgin Gorda.
Prickly Pear is opposite Virgin Gorda, located in North Sound. After it became a national park in 1988, the infrastructure of the island could not be further developed. The island does not have permanent residents, but there is a beach bar and great water sports facilities. The island’s most wonderful beach is at the south-western tip of the island. There is a part above Vixen Point where we can encounter corals, so we should be careful. It is a great place if we need some peace and quiet. There are ten mooring buoys nearby and a harbour for smaller boats. Another perfect spot for securing our boat can be found at the Cactus Reef at the northwestern corner of the island. It is not among the most frequently used docking places, despite the fact that it is protected well and there is also an amazing view from here.
Eustatia is north of Virgin Gorda and south of Prickly Pear. In 2004, Eustatia was listed among the 20 most beautiful islands in the world by Islands Magazine. Approaching the island requires serious attention and thoroughness. There are shallow areas north of Prickly pear and in the channel around Saba Rock as well. Low draft boats can find great moorings on the southern, northern and eastern parts. We especially recommend the northern coast. The seabed is sandy and a reef protects this area. Make sure to leave enough space for the boat to swing as there are many coral reefs around.
We can choose from many water sports here like diving, surfing, or wakeboarding. In addition, you can rent a clear-bottom kayak and discover the waters of North Sound while paddling.
The Dog Islands are a small group of islets among the British Virgin Islands. They are located 10 km from Virgin Gorda in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The archipelago is divided into four parts. Great Dog Island, George Dog Island, West Dog Island, and Seal Dogs group of islets. Legend has it that sailors came up with the name because they heard barking when they moored there. They assumed that they must be dogs. Later they realised that Caribbean seals make those sounds.
The waters surrounding the islands are all amazing and there are several great marinas in the area. For example, on George Dog, there are moorings in the bay west of Kitchen Point, and on Great Dog, there are moorings along the south and northwest coast of the island. These mostly belong to the National park Trust, so we need a permit to use them. We recommend visiting the Dog Islands when the weather is quiet because it is a more open space. On the other hand, you should not miss it because you can discover some beautiful, hidden places.
Fallen Jerusalem Island
Fallen Jerusalem is less than 1 km from the southern tip of Virgin Gorda. There are robust cliffs, ruins and deserted sandy beaches on the island. These coastal formations form special basins. Since the island is mostly untouched, it is home to several unique birds and exotic plant species. If you are sailing here, you can explore undiscovered tunnels and caves. Although you cannot moor here for the night, during the day you can anchor at North Lee Bay. But be careful because these coastal rock formations can play tricks with the navigation.
Biras Creek is in the eastern part of Virgin Gorda. If the weather turns bad, it provides shelter. As you approach, pay attention because there is an obstacle on the south side, a mile from the resort, Oyster Rock. Fortunately, the rock is marked with a red buoy. You should pass it on the left side.
Biras Creek is very popular among sailors who come to Virgin Gorda. In the evenings, you can admire the sunset or the glimmering reflection of the moon on the open water. Each one creates a very romantic atmosphere.
Bitter End is in the northern part of Virgin Gorda, where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It owes its name to its lonely and therefore idyllic location with fabulous views over North Sound. Thanks to the protected marina and constant trade-winds, it is a sailor’s paradise. It has an amazing marine life. The water is full of beautiful corals and fish. The local yacht club is a full-service marina with electricity, drinking water, ice and more than 15 berths.
Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour
The Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is in St. Thomas Bay. It is easy to approach it, we only have to sail the marked channel. The harbour is beautiful, offering great services and marine gas. There are 100 berths, and it is possible to stay for only a few hours, a day, or long-term as well. It is close to the centre of Spanish Town. It is a very peaceful town where you can find many shops, restaurants, and bars. One of the most famous attractions of the town, The Baths, is about 3 km from here. This is a collection of granite rocks on the beach that have become large rock formations. The rocks from tidal basins, channels, and spectacular caves open to the surrounding waters.
This round trip takes you west from the northern tip of Virgin Gorda to Cooper Island, just 8 km from Tortola. Here we turn back and sail along the east coast of Virgin Gorda to the starting point. Basically, we only cover small distances every day, but this gives us the opportunity to get to know every part of the island and its surroundings.
Day 1. Bitter End – Necker Island
3,00 km (1,86 mi)
Necker Island is about 3 km from the northern tip of Virgin Gorda. The island is almost entirely surrounded by coral, except for a narrow passage in the southern parts. We can drop anchor in this 4 km area. If you love animals, you will love this island. The wildlife is rich, many exotic birds live here.
Day 2. Necker Island – Long Bay
8,00 km (4,97 mi)
Long Bay is a beautiful, crescent-shaped beach and marina on the northwest coast of Virgin Gorda, behind Mountain Point. This place rarely gets the attention it deserves. However, you should always check the weather forecast before visiting, as sometimes the waves tend to raise the level of the seabed. Thanks to its location, the beach is shaded in the morning, but for the rest of the day it is beautifully bright and the sunset is gorgeous from here.
Day 3. Long Bay – George Dog – St. Thomas Bay
8,95 km (5,56 mi)
We cannot miss Spanish Town when we sail around Virgin Gorda. There are moorings at St. Thomas Bay, right next to the ferry port. The yacht marina is a few minutes’ walks from the beach. There are also shops, a grocery store, and a beautiful beach.
Day 4. St. Thomas Bay – Fallen Jerusalem – Cooper Island, Manchioneel Bay
11,40 km (7,09 mi)
Cooper Island, with its beautiful, curved coastline is the best place to drop anchor in the area between The Baths and Peter Island. The bay is deep and the seabed is covered with seagrass, but there are some great mooring balls here that make it easier to secure your boat. The most protected points are on the south side. Find a place for your boat there, if possible.
Day 5. Cooper Island – Biras Creek Marina
20,50 km (12,74 mi)
Biras Creek is a very popular yacht marina, and one of the best marinas on the east coast of the island. There are 18 berths, but you can drop anchor outside the marina as well. A thin but high-ridged isthmus separates the anchorage from the sea. There is a fuel dock not far from the marina.
Day 6. Biras Creek – Eustatia
8,55 km (5,32 mi)
As mentioned earlier, the island features moorings. If you want to relax for a while, there are three beautiful, white sand beaches where we can go swimming or diving. The island’s marine life is amazing and the name itself is apt, too. Eustatia is a Greek word, it means a good place to stay.
Day 7. Eustatia – Saba Rock – Bitter End
1,05 km (0,7 mi)
Kilbride, the founder of the Introductory SCUBA Course arrived at Saba Rock during the ’60s and made the territory his own base. After a few years, he opened his bar, Pirates Pub here, then he established some berths as well. With time, this tiny piece of land became a shelter for skippers. Later he sold the place and a holiday resort was built here. They kept the berths though, and the place is still attractive thanks to the sailing-oriented attitude.
This route also starts from the northern shore of Virgin Gorda, but first, we head towards Anegada. From there, we turn southwest and sail all the way to Jost van Dyke. On the way back we sail on the western and northern side of the island. The legs are longer, but this is a very popular trip in the Caribbean.
Day 1. Bitter End – Prickly Pear 1,55 km (1 mi) Day 2. Prickly Pear – Anegada, Setting Point 23,65 km (14,69 mi) Day 3. Setting Point – Trellis Bay, Beef Island 35,30 km (21,93 mi) Day 4. Trellis Bay – Great Harbor, Jost van Dyke 23,90 km (14,85 mi) Day 5. Great Harbor – Scrub Island 25,60 km (15,91 mi) Day 6. Scrub Island – Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor 8,40 km (5,22 mi) Day 7. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor – Leverick Bay – Bitter End 27,70 km (17,21 mi)
- VIRGIN GORDA YACHT HARBOR: Depth: 3m, Working time: 8-17, GPS Coordinates: 18.449791, -64.436778
- LEVERICK BAY MARINA: Depth: 3 m, Working time: 8-22 GPS Coordinates: 18.497400, -64.385500
- BITTER END YACHT CLUB: Depth: 3 m Working time: 7-23, GPS Coordinates: 18.499486, -64.357347
- OIL NUT BAY MARINA: Depth: 2.5 m, Working time: 6-22, GPS Coordinates: 18.499443, -64.329932
Virgin Gorda is a fantastic gem of the Caribbean. It is an ideal destination if we have never been to this region. This place is so exciting and diverse that it is worth visiting several times. Find more BVI sailing routes or choose from other Caribbean sailing destinations.