Linda Thompkins' (a.k.a. @justatraveler) Guide to Virgin Gorda

Caribbean blogger Linda Thompkins knows the Caribbean.   @justatraveler

Caribbean blogger Linda Thompkins knows the Caribbean. @justatraveler

Linda Thompkins is one of the most experienced Caribbean travelers in the industry and has visited each island at least once with the exception of St. Eustatius – but it’s currently on her bucket list. Linda ran a successful full-service travel agency specializing in the Caribbean region for 15 years, helping countless people plan their dream island vacation.

2 years into retirement, she currently runs a Caribbean travel blog – www.travel2thecaribbeanblog.com – where she shares unique stories and breathtaking pictures while interacting with individuals on social media (follow her on Twitter at @justatraveler).Linda has previously stayed with us at Sunset Watch Villa, and we were lucky enough to speak with the Caribbean veteran recently to learn her favorite things about the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda. Here’s Linda Thompkins’ guide to Virgin Gorda:

Scenery

The first thing Linda pointed out was the stunning scenery throughout Virgin Gorda. She says, “It’s impossible to walk or drive anywhere around the island without stopping to take in the breathtaking panoramic views.” One of the best places to do so is a delicious BBQ restaurant called Hog Heaven. At 1,300 ft. above sea level, Hog Heaven’s deck offers gorgeous views of North Sound, Mosquito Island, Saba Rock and Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island. Here’s a video Thompkins took while dining atop the peak.

Island Hopping

The British Virgin Islands are known as one of the world’s top sailing destinations, offering more than 40 islands all within one hour of each other by sailboat. One of her favorite trips is taking the ferry to Anegada, an island floating atop a remote reef. Another way to enjoy the sailing culture is to spend the day at a premier Virgin Gorda resort, the Bitter End Yacht Club.

Natural Wonders and Secluded Beaches

The Baths are a must for anyone traveling to Virgin Gorda. Travelers can walk around and climb over giant granite boulders the size of houses while hiking to the remote Devil’s Bay Beach for some of the island’s best snorkeling.

How Virgin Gorda Stands Out among Other Caribbean Islands

Thompkins has been traveling her entire life and has gone through customs throughout the Caribbean region. She claims that going through customs in Virgin Gorda was one of the most pleasant experiences in the region, adding that the officials are “Welcoming, friendly and efficient.”

Thompkins also feels that Virgin Gorda presents a tropical escape from some of the mega-tourism destinations that have littered the Caribbean, and the villas and resorts are spread out to give travelers feelings of seclusion and privacy.

One Piece of Advice

Virgin Gorda can be a difficult place to travel to depending on where you’re coming from. Linda advises to spend time figuring out your transportation route, as it may take more than a day. Sunset Watch Villa has put together a series of blogs on getting to Virgin Gorda to help you finalize your travel plan.

Keep up with all of Linda Thompkins’ Caribbean travel blogs to learn more about the beautiful region, and make sure to check back with the Sunset Watch Villa blog for more posts about the spectacular island of Virgin Gorda.

Protect Yourself from the Unexpected with Trip Insurance

by Ray Larson

Buying trip insurance is the only way to prevent yourself and your family from being on the hook for flights and hotel costs or, worse, unforeseen medical expenses incurred while on vacation. The most common reasons travelers cancel a trip is because of an illness or death in the family, and those who have trip insurance generally receive a full refund on flights and hotels even if the ticket or cost was non-refundable.

Why purchase trip insurance for a Sunset Watch Villa vacation?

At Sunset Watch Villa, we recommend that all of our guests purchase travel insurance. When traveling to the Caribbean, accommodations are often made months in advance and getting to Virgin Gorda takes multiple flights or ferry rides. These expenses add up, and cancelling at the last minute due to a death in the family or a young child’s illness leaves you on the hook for the bill. We recommend AIG Travel Guard to our guests because they offer a selection of reasonably priced travel insurance packages. All will give you peace of mind should anything unexpected arise prior to your island getaway.

Trip insurance is a great way to protect your vacation investment.

Trip insurance is a great way to protect your vacation investment.

Travel insurance options

You can purchase travel insurance from a number of established businesses, such as airlines, travel agents, private insurance firms and insurance brokers. The variety of trip insurance options has skyrocketed in recent years, and increased competition has led to great rates and deals for consumers. You can find multiple package options, but the two most common protect you from:

  • Trip cancellation, interruption or delay: This type of coverage pays for non-refundable parts of your vacation due to cancellation because of an illness or death in the family. This also covers costs due to a flight change or delay because of poor weather – hurricane season in the Caribbean is generally between mid-June and November.

  • Medical expenses or evacuation: If you become sick during a vacation or need serious medical attention that requires you to be flown back home, this package covers those extreme costs.

It’s wise to look over your insurance policy closely so you understand it before making a purchase. The average trip insurance policy costs between 4 and 8 percent of the total travel expenses, and it is based on the selected coverage, age of travelers and cost of trip.

We want you to enjoy every aspect of your Sunset Watch Villa vacation on the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda, and buying travel insurance is a great way to reduce your stress before and during any vacation. Our reservation policies can be found here on our site, and don’t hesitate to contact us at info@sunsetwatchvilla.com or call 1-888-734-8890 if you have any questions about staying with us at Sunset Watch Villa.

Why You Need to Rent a Vehicle in Virgin Gorda

by Ray Larson

Although cabs are available in Virgin Gorda, the best way to get around the second biggest island in the British Virgin Islands is to rent a vehicle. Our beautiful islands consists of two main areas – Spanish Town, which is also known as the valleys to the south, and The North Sound, which consists of several resorts and a small harbor community named Gun Creek. Sunset Watch Villa is located between these two areas. If you rent a vehicle in Virgin Gorda will help you experience everything our island has to offer.

A car rental is essential for experiencing the best of Virgin Gorda.

A car rental is essential for experiencing the best of Virgin Gorda.

Car Type and Driving Style

Because of the steep climbs and rolling hills throughout Virgin Gorda, jeeps with varying passenger capacities are the most likely vehicles to be available. Virgin Gorda also follows the British style of driving on the left side. United States driver’s licenses are valid for 90 days when you purchase a temporary BVI license for $10.

Ray Harrigan’s Island Style Jeep Rental – (284) 495-6300

Ray Harrigan has one of the most trusted fleets on the island with four to 10-passenger jeep-style options, including:

  • Four four-passengers – Suzuki Jimny, Suzuki Sidekick, Geo Tracker and a Daihatsu Terios

  • One five-passenger – Suzuki Grand Vitara

  • One six-passenger – Suzuki minivan

  • Two seven-passengers – Suzuki van and Mitsubishi Montero

  • One eight to 10-passenger – Mini Safari (pickup truck with converted safari-style seating in the truck bed

All vehicles at Ray Harrigan’s Island-Style Jeep Rental come equipped with air-conditioning, and the respected company also offers free pick-up and delivery for all vehicles. Rates vary from $45 to $70 per day during the calm season – June 16 to December 14 – and $50 to $75 per day during the busy season – December 15 to June 15. If you’re interested in booking a car for your upcoming vacation, contact Ray Harrigan’s Island-Style Jeep Rental by calling the number above or by filling out a reservation form for more information. Make sure to ask about weekly specials if you are planning an extended stay.

The beautiful island of Virgin Gorda offers Sunset Watch Villa guests a wide range of things to do, from spectacular beaches to outstanding adventures. We look forward to being part of your unforgettable island getaway.

Flight Delayed? What to do and Where to Stay in San Juan

by Ray Larson

Although rare, visitors to the Caribbean have experienced flights delayed or postponed due to bad weather when trying to travel from Sunset Watch Villa to Virgin Gorda. But if you find yourself stuck in San Juan, Puerto Rico, don’t worry – the gorgeous Caribbean island provides plenty of entertainment and comfortable places to stay until your next flight arrives. Here are a few suggestions:

Where to stay in San Juan:

San Juan Airport Hotel – (787) 791-6000

Located just steps away from the airlines’ counters in San Juan’s International Airport, this hotel offers guests a number of sought-after amenities. The hotel is home to 125 guest rooms, a full-service restaurant and an exceptional sushi bar. Guests can also indulge in the hotel’s free hot breakfast buffet or take a dip in the relaxing Jacuzzis before catching their flight to Virgin Gorda.

Embassy Suites Hotel and Casino – (787) 791-0505

The Embassy Suites Hotel and Casino is just a quick five-minute drive from the airport and a ten-minute walk from the breathtaking Isla Verde Beach. The stunning Caribbean destination offers the comforts of home with a free cooked-to-order breakfast every morning and late-night entertainment at the Oasis Casino and Lounge. The tropical pool and waterfall on-site are kid favorites.

Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort – (787) 791-0404

Located on Isla Verde Beach, the Courtyard by Marriott offers majestic views of San Juan’s best beachfront. Enjoy a romantic stroll down the mile-long stretch of white sand beach, or dine in style at one of four restaurants at this beautiful Marriott location.

What to do in San Juan:

Castillo San Felipe del Morro – (787) 729-6960

Whether your flight to Virgin Gorda was delayed or you’re visiting Puerto Rico for your vacation, this is a can’t-miss destination. Full of history, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th-century fortress that was built to guard the entrance of San Juan. Located on the northwestern point of the Old San Juan islet, this prominent castle withstood numerous attacks and remains one of the most spectacular attractions throughout Puerto Rico. In 1983, the United Nations declared the Castillo San Felipe del Morro a World Heritage site, and the destination receives more than two million visitors per year.

Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico – (787) 791-1557

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, visit Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico, which is home to legal cockfighting – a one-of-a-kind experience. Cockfighting is a big part of the culture in Puerto Rico, and people flood into the arena night after night to witness the excitement.

Sunset Watch Villa will be here when you arrive, providing you a spectacular island home and an unforgettable experience. But if you find yourself stuck in San Juan for a day or night, use our suggestions to help pass the time and rest peacefully.

5 Places to Stay in St. Thomas if You Miss the Ferry

If your flight to Sunset Watch Villa takes you through St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and you arrive after the ferries to Virgin Gorda have departed, don’t worry. The island of St. Thomas offers plenty of great hotels close to the airport and ferry dock. Here are 5 places to stay in St Thomas  if you miss the ferry:

Best Western CARIB Beach Resort – (340) 774-2525

With newly renovated rooms, the Best Western CARIB Beach Resort caters to guests with plenty of refreshing ocean views. Offering wide-open rooms and pool decks overlooking the Lindbergh Bay and Caribbean Sea, the hotel also features a signature restaurant called the OceanSide Bistro, which is open for breakfast and dinner with nightly specials on fresh mahi-mahi or lobster.

Best Western PLUS Emerald Beach Resort – (340) 777-8800

Another Best Western resort just minutes from the airport gives guests all of the same amenities listed above, including a luxurious spa and an authentic Caribbean buffet. All rooms at the PLUS Emerald Beach Resort deliver beachfront views.

Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort – (340) 776-8500

With beachfront guest rooms, four pools, the luxurious Lazule Sea Spa and nine different cafes, bars and restaurants, you’ll enjoy a relaxing night at the Marriott Beach Resort before departing for the serene Sunset Watch Villa in the morning.

Island Beachcomber Hotel – (340) 774-5250

Located on Lindbergh Beach just minutes from the airport, the Island Beachcomber Hotel is surrounded by spectacular gardens with native plants and trees. Each room has a private patio, air-conditioning, ceiling fan and cable so you’ll be sure to enjoy a relaxing night.

Mafolie Hotel & Restaurant – (340) 774-2790

Just a ten-minute drive from the airport, the Mafolie Hotel & Restaurant provides guests with luxurious amenities and gourmet dining at affordable prices just off the white sand beaches of Magens Bay.

Speed bumps are common when traveling, but if you find yourself stuck in St. Thomas for a night, give one of the above hotels a call. No matter which property you choose, you’ll enjoy a peaceful and comfortable night before officially starting your memorable Sunset Watch Villa vacation on the bountiful island of Virgin Gorda.

Snorkeling in Virgin Gorda: 6 Can’t Miss Places

Virgin Gorda is known for its calm and clear waters in addition to the colorful creatures and exotic marine life it boasts beneath the surface. During your stay at Sunset Watch Villa, make sure to experience all of the snorkeling hot spots throughout the beautiful island. Whether you’re a beginner or expert snorkeler,  Virgin Gorda presents multiple spots to observe the spectacular underwater sights. Here are six of the best spots for snorkeling in Virgin Gorda:

The Baths

Virgin Gorda’s signature boulders present ample opportunities for underwater exploration. This area features less reef growth and more rock formations – all featuring multiple hidden nooks and crannies to explore – and beautiful archways will present new obstacles in your quest for adventure. Check out the video above for a unique look as a recent visitor snorkels The Baths.

Spring Bay

Located next to The Baths, Spring Bay presents similar rock formations with multiple crevices for unique snorkeling. This is one of the most romantic places throughout the BVIs. Pro Tip: After a morning of snorkeling, make sure to climb the famous jumping rock and dive in for an afternoon thrill.

Savannah Bay

Located on the west shore of Virgin Gorda, getting to Savannah Bay is just as exciting as snorkeling in the warm waters. You’ll follow a trail with multiple signs introducing you to the underwater wildlife you’ll encounter, such as hard and soft corals, marine plants and colorful fish.

Little Dix Bay

This is a great spot for beginner snorkelers as the waters are primarily calm and exceptionally clear, making it easy to navigate and find an assortment of colorful fish.

Mountain Truck Bay

This is another great introductory spot for snorkeling, as the sandy beach boasts a gentle slope with spectacular coral and tropical fish close to shore. Check out the video above for a firsthand look at the beach.

Mountain Point

A snorkeler’s delight, Mountain Point provides underwater explorers with a number of caves, grottoes, huge rock formations and magnificent coral heads atop a white sandy-beach bottom. Snorkelers will find a 20 to 70-foot slope cutting through canyons, and they’ll see a number of unique underwater species like bobbing garden eels, stingrays, occasional eagle rays, nurse sharks, turtles, parrot fish, butterfly fish, damsels and grunts. Check out the video above for an underwater look at Mountain Point snorkeling.

Virgin Gorda is a beautiful place for snorkeling, and it offers endless opportunities for underwater fun and adventure. Don’t forget: you can always snorkel at your private Sunset Watch Villa beach and enjoy the breathtaking coral just steps from the shore.

SCUBA Diving Hot Spots in Virgin Gorda

by Ray Larson

Half of Virgin Gorda’s beauty is found underwater, and Sunset Watch Villa visitors have ample opportunities to explore the ocean’s mystique with a variety of SCUBA diving areas. Our friends at Dive BVI offer a number of day trips for SCUBA throughout the BVIs, and they have multiple locations right here in Virgin Gorda where beginners and experts alike can enjoy the water. So read on for the SCUBA diving hot spots in Virgin Gorda.

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SCUBA Diving in Virgin Gorda

Dive BVI has a number of unique areas for divers to explore. Even if you’ve never been SCUBA diving before, you can earn your certification directly from Dive BVI – learn more about program options. Once you’re certified, you can start enjoying the depths of the pristine waters off Virgin Gorda’s shoreline; here are some of Dive BVIs best Virgin Gorda adventures:

  • The Aquarium – Novice (35 ft.): Launching straight from Dive BVI’s Yacht Harbor headquarters, this novice dive offers similar surroundings to The Baths with granite boulders lining the sandy bottom – some of the boulders rise to 10 ft. below the surface. This area is known to attract some of the largest schools of reef fish on the island. You’ll see grunts, snappers, chub and angelfish. Divers should also be on the lookout for lobsters, eels, stingrays and nurse sharks.

  • Mountain Point – Novice (70 ft.): The launch site is northeast of Mahoe and Mango Bays along the shoreline of Virgin Gorda Peak, offering a sloping reef and a number of shallow grottos, archways and undercut coral heads divers can swim through. The area is frequently visited by eagle rays and stingrays. It’s walkable and kayakable from Sunset Watch Villa as well.

  • The Invisibles – Advanced (60 ft.): An abundance of sponge and soft corals give this reef a breathtaking color. The presence of a pinnacle peak rising to within 4 ft. of the surface makes this dive truly unforgettable. The top of the peak is also known to attract large schools of permit fish.

  • Day Trips- Dive BVI offers a number of day trips that we always recommend to Sunset Watch Villa visitors. These trips include private boat charters, BVI Safaris and Island Hopper adventures to Cooper Island and Anegada, in addition to a delicious Caribbean-inspired lunch.

  • Sunset Watch Villa– Don’t forget that you can SCUBA directly outside your villa at Sunset Watch. A reef starts 4 ft. from the shoreline, and Dive BVI offers SCUBA gear rentals for less than $40 per day.

Virgin Gorda’s exquisite scenery is matched only by the spectacular sights beneath the immaculate waters. From the delights of traveling fish to the unforgettable colors of coral, you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime during your SCUBA adventures in Virgin Gorda.

5 Best Beaches in Virgin Gorda

”You need only to walk down the steps from the villa and you’re on a secluded beach. No people, no distractions.”  - Adelfa Gonzalez, Miami, FL

by Ray Larson

Virgin Gorda is full of beautiful beaches, crystal waters and ample opportunities for adventure. While staying at Sunset Watch Villa you’ll have a variety of nearby beaches to explore, and we’ve determined the five can’t-miss best beaches in Virgin Gorda, all of which offer a variety of activities from world-class snorkeling to spectacular parasailing.

Savannah Bay

South of Sunset Watch Villa, Savannah Bay is a long strand of powder white sand with gorgeous open-ocean views and healthy coral – here’s a video of the beautiful beach. This beach is ideal for novice snorkelers and those looking to relax in the warm waters. You can walk out more than 50 feet in waist-deep water.

Mountain Trunk Beach

Even closer to Sunset Watch Villa, Mountain Trunk Beach provides breathtaking snorkeling opportunities with coral on each side of the beach. You’ll be surrounded by lush tropical forests while digging your toes in the white sand. This beach also has several beach huts for shade and lounge chairs so you can rest and relax after a soothing swim.

Devil’s Bay

Known for its enormous granite rocks, Devil’s Bay takes beachgoers on an adventure through The Baths – the well-known and historic landmark on Virgin Gorda. Once you arrive at Devil’s Bay, you’re greeted by pristine waters and soft white sand on the secluded and scenic beach with gentle surf. It’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and it’s a great place for kids.

Long Bay Beach

Just north of Sunset Watch Villa, Long Bay Beach features a mile-long stretch of talcum-powder-like sand and luxurious ocean views. This is one of the most secluded beaches on the island so make sure to pack a cooler because you won’t want to leave.

Nail Bay Beach

Surrounded by coconut palms and tropical foliage, Nail Bay Beach is exceptionally close to Sunset Watch Villa. The Nail Bay Resort is another place to indulge in fun daily beach activities such as scuba diving, sail boating and parasailing. This beach is also known for its majestic coral caverns where experienced snorkelers can interact with some of the island’s most beautiful underwater sights.

Secluded Nail Bay Beach at Sunset Watch Villa.

Secluded Nail Bay Beach at Sunset Watch Villa.

These beaches will inspire countless daydreams leading up to your memorable Sunset Watch Villa vacation. In addition to these spectacular beaches, don’t forget about your own private beach steps away from your island home at Sunset Watch Villa.

Top 10 Virgin Gorda “Must Do’s”

“Virgin Gorda is heaven on earth.”  - Jim Rosenthal, Minneapolis, MN

by Ray Larson

Sunset Watch Villa provides pristine views, a private pool and luxurious amenities all nestled in a lush Caribbean garden that is filled with fruit trees and stone pathways leading to the secluded Nail Bay Beach. In addition to the private Sunset Watch Villa, the island of Virgin Gorda offers travelers an abundance of fun and relaxing attractions. Here are the top ten adventures you need to experience during your memorable British Virgin Island getaway. Without further ado, here’s your list of Virgin Gorda “must do’s”:

The ruins are fascinating. The views are breathtaking at Virgin Gorda’s Copper Mine Ruins.

The ruins are fascinating. The views are breathtaking at Virgin Gorda’s Copper Mine Ruins.

  1. The Baths and Devil’s Bay Trail: Exploring The Baths is a can’t-miss Virgin Gorda experience. Comprised of truly majestic rock formations showcasing Virgin Gorda’s volcanic origins, The Baths have been a BVI National Park since 1990. The Devil’s Bay Trail takes visitors from the main beach at the top of The Baths to Devil’s Bay Beach by navigating through a series of boulders – check out a video here. After reaching Devil’s Bay Beach you’re rewarded with prime swimming and snorkeling.

2. Copper Mine: Recently named a BVI National Park, the Copper Mine is an outstanding place to explore and an impressive landmark on the southeastern tip of Virgin Gorda. Constructed in 1837, the Copper Mine features the visible ruins of a smoke stack, engine house and mine shafts scattered throughout the grounds.

3. Gorda Peak: Standing 1,370 ft. above sea level, the top of the Gorda Peak boasts a stunning panoramic view of the BVIs. Lawrence Rockefeller donated the 265-acre dry forest surrounding the peak, which has become home to reptiles, amphibians and birds. It is truly one of the most biologically diverse areas in Virgin Gorda.

4. Fishing excursions: For a thrilling deep-sea fishing adventure in Virgin Gorda, look no further than Big Ting Fishing and Island Excursions. Big Ting offers a 42-foot vessel with a professional crew, or the Princess 1 Fishing Charters with two boats ready for a full or half day of exciting deep-sea fishing. You can reach Princess 1 Fishing Charters at (284) 495-7480.

5. Little Fort National Park: Just south of Yacht Harbor, the Little Fort National Park is the former site of a Spanish Fortress and still features ruins of structures called the Powder House. The 36-acre park contains a wildlife sanctuary and beautiful flora and fauna unique to the BVIs.

6. Mahoe Bay Beach: South of Sunset Watch Villa, this quiet and remote beach offers vivid blue water, nearby restaurants and two picturesque reefs that are perfect for snorkeling. This is a great spot to relax and explore the tropical landscape for the day.

7. Spanish Town: One of the most beautiful villages throughout the BVIs, Spanish Town sprawls along a gentle slope and offers a number of attractive homes, shops, churches and schools. This is a great place for an afternoon walk and to get a taste of the local culture in Virgin Gorda.

8. Spring Bay National Park: Just half a mile from The Baths, Spring Bay National Park features a similar landscape with large boulders and a little less traffic. The exquisite white sand beach and captivating landscape make for a spectacular destination for day full of relaxation and water activities like swimming and snorkeling.

9. Get a massage: Melt into relaxation with helping hands from The Spa at Leverick Bay or Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Little Dix Bay. Both spas offer transcendent treatments with a wide variety of choices – The Spa at Leverick Bay will even make house calls directly to Sunset Watch Villa.

10. North Sound: Hike, walk and explore the tiny and colorful village at North Sound of Virgin Gorda. Hillside homes, manicured gardens and rum shacks are scattered throughout the small village, making for a peaceful and scenic walk on a quiet afternoon.

Enhance your Sunset Watch Villa vacation by experiencing everything the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda has to offer. These are just ten of our favorite things to do on the picturesque island, and you’re sure to find something that you and your family will love right here on Virgin Gorda.

Getting a Massage in Virgin Gorda

“What a delightful hideaway. It was just the place we needed to be for a break from the hectic home activities.” - B. Lewis, Sioux Falls, SD

by Ray Larson

This is what you do after a Virgin Gorda massage: sleep in the hammock.

This is what you do after a Virgin Gorda massage: sleep in the hammock.

The island lifestyle is full of exploration, adventure and of course relaxation. One of the best ways to relax in any location is by receiving a massage. An even better way to relax is receiving a massage amid the cool ocean breeze and overlooking miles and miles of pristine water during your spectacular BVI vacation at Sunset Watch Villa.

Virgin Gorda has two world-class spas that you can visit for an unforgettable massage experience – The Spa at Leverick Bay and Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Little Dix Bay.

The Spa at Leverick Bay

Leverick Bay is on the northeastern coast of Virgin Gorda, but you don’t have to go anywhere to receive the array of treatments offered from The Spa’s professional therapists. That’s right, they’ll come to you at your Sunset Watch Villa. Receive a number of massage treatments from deep tissue and Swedish to hot stone and Thai. Other treatments offered by The Spa at Leverick Bay include:

  • Facial treatments

  • Body treatments – Dead Sea mud wrap or an aloe wrap

  • Hand and foot treatments

  • Decleor treatments

  • Hair removal and even hair braiding

Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Little Dix Bay

Located south of Sunset Watch Villa and north of Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda, Sense, A Rosewood Spa provides a dramatic scene overlooking Sir Francis Drake Channel, capturing the very essence of relaxation. Although they don’t make house calls, this Rosewood Spa offers spectacular views with private terraces and opulent amenities. The moment you walk into the spa you’ll be given a bathrobe, sandals and a native bush tea with lemon grass and chamomile to begin your day of ultimate relaxation. The spa has guests fill out a lifestyle questionnaire while sipping tea in order to recommend personalized treatments matching your day-to-day routine. Choose from a variety of treatments to soothe and relax you into a state of pure luxury. Treatments include:

  • 4-hands massage

  • Aromatherapy massage

  • Skin care treatments

  • Signature Body Scrub

  • Volcanic mud mask

  • Caribbean specialties including a salt island scrub or goat milk and honey wrap

Find a new level of relaxation during your ultimate island vacation at Sunset Watch Villa by booking a massage at either of these magnificent spas right on the island, just minutes away from your own private villa.

The Baths: A Can’t-Miss Virgin Gorda Experience

“Our family has traveled quite a bit and we think we have found our Shangri-la. Somehow Belize and Mexico don’t compare.” - Allie and Emily, New Haven, CT

by Ray Larson

During your Sunset Watch Villa vacation, make sure to explore one of the most the most visited destinations in the British Virgin Islands, The Baths.

Virgin Gorda’s most famous landmark, The Baths.

Virgin Gorda’s most famous landmark, The Baths.

The Baths are unlike any beach in the Caribbean, featuring truly majestic rock formations that have created sheltered sea pools between pristine white sand beaches. Located on the southwestern corner of Virgin Gorda, between Devil’s Bay to the south and Spring Bay to the north, The Baths are a breathtaking geological wonder.

The unique rock formations are evidence of Virgin Gorda’s volcanic origins. Over time, deposited granite eroded and molten rock seeped up into existing rock layers to form piles of boulders, some up to 40-ft. long. These boulders have created natural tidal pools, tunnels, arches and scenic grottoes opening to the sea. All of these natural formations make The Baths a can’t-miss destination during your Sunset Watch Villa vacation. Check out a few homemade videos of tourists exploring The Baths here and here. The second video features underwater shots that offer a firsthand look inside the cavernous surroundings.

The Baths have been a British Virgin Island National Park since 1990, and the park is one of only three places in the world where this type of rock formation has occurred. The seven-acre national park features a trail to Devil’s Bay, leading visitors through the scaling boulders with a series of ladders, steps and rope handrails. After safely navigating your way through The Baths, lay out on the lovely white sand beaches, enjoy a relaxing swim or strap on a snorkel to explore the depths of the startling blue waters. The Baths are a perfect place to spend a day during your Sunset Watch Villa vacation.

Located just a mile south of Spanish Town, The Baths is just a short cab ride away from Sunset Watch Villa. Make sure to carve out some time during your stay to explore The Baths, where you’ll have a truly breathtaking experience.

Packing for the BVI: Info You Need to Know

”The Villa had everything. I mean EVERYTHING.! We needed only our swimsuits. That’s it. ”  - Laura Stimson, Wilmington, DE

by Ray Larson

You won’t need to pack much to enjoy the secluded beach at Sunset Watch Villa.

You won’t need to pack much to enjoy the secluded beach at Sunset Watch Villa.

Packing for your BVI vacation at Sunset Watch Villa is almost as laid back as the atmosphere here in Virgin Gorda and throughout the BVIs. Make sure to bring your passport, plenty of sunscreen and a willingness to explore – other than that, here is everything you need to know about traveling to the British Virgin Islands:

  • Currency: U.S. dollar – The majority of establishments also accept all major credit cards – Visa, Discover, MasterCard.

  • Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time – The BVI’s are one-hour ahead of CST and the same as EST.

  • Power: Standard U.S. (120V) – This means you don’t need to worry about bringing adaptors to power all of your electronics. Also, Sunset Watch is plugged into the Nail Bay Community back-up power generator system – the biggest auxiliary system in the BVIs. If the power goes out or a storm strikes, Sunset Watch is one of the only places throughout the islands with power.

  • Temperature: Virgin Gorda has year-round temps ranging from the lower 70’s to upper 80’s. The rainiest months are from September to November, but it’s always glorious here.

  • Dress: Locals and tourists adhere to tropical and casual clothing. Swimsuits are great for the beach bar while cover-ups are appreciated in a restaurant. Make sure to pack beach gear and your most comfortable, loose fitting clothes to enjoy the peaceful breeze and laid-back island life.

Now that you know what to pack for your Sunset Watch Villa vacation, you can finalize your travel plans and begin day dreaming about snorkeling in the pristine waters minutes from your Villa, exploring the luscious island or partaking in the exciting Full Moon parties.

BVI Full Moon Parties

”Full moon parties are a bucket list for any BVI visitor.”  - Cassius Wright, Chicago IL

by Ray Larson

Although you could spend your entire vacation at Sunset Watch Villa exploring everything Virgin Gorda has to offer, from snorkeling in pristine waters to spending a relaxing night at the secluded beach just steps away from your villa, Full Moon Parties in Tortola and on Beef Island are a can’t miss BVI experience. Full moons in the BVIs are commonly associated with beachside celebrations and two places do it best – Bomba’s Surfside Shack and the Trellis Bay Kitchen and Cyber Cafe.

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The famous Bomba’s Surfside Shack is one of the more unique places you can ever visit. Constructed entirely of wood remnants, license plates and anything friends have left behind (even an assortment of undergarments) Bomba’s Surfside Shack is a great place to interact with locals and fellow travelers over a few adult beverages – check out this video of a tourist retelling the story of their time at Bomba’s during a second visit. Bomba’s is located on Tortola and easily accessible from Virgin Gorda with daily ferry rides from Speedy’s and Smith’s Ferry Service. Once you arrive in Tortola, Bomba’s is just a short taxi ride away.

The Full Moon Parties at Bomba’s Surfside Shack are legendary. Bomba started throwing beachside full moon celebrations in 1989 and the partycontinues today whenever the moon is full. Bomba is known for serving his famous mushroom tea and rum punch during the party as guests enjoy an enthralling night of dancing and laughter – these parties have been known to spill into the early morning and are not intended for kids or the easily offended. If you want, you can always find a hotel near Bomba’s to spend the night before heading back to Sunset Watch Villa in the morning.

Trellis Bay Kitchen and Cyber Café has equally eventful Full Moon Parties but a more kid-friendly theme. Full Moon Parties at Trellis Bay Kitchen consist of interacting with locals and fellow travelers over drinks, but also include local performances, fire sculptures (check out the video here), reggae bands and an authentic Caribbean buffet. Owner Jeremy Lewis loves to interact with travelers and is sure to provide an entertaining evening for guests of all ages. Trellis Bay Kitchen and Cyber Café is located on Beef Island and easily accessible from Virgin Gorda with daily ferry rides from Speedy’s and the North Sound Express.

A BVI vacation at Sunset Watch Villa presents endless opportunities for exploration, relaxation and a fun taste of adventure. Book your Sunset Watch Villa vacation now and make sure to align your travel dates with a full moon so you can experience the renowned Full Moon Parties firsthand.

BVI Ferries from St. Thomas to Tortola and Virgin Gorda

“Virgin Gorda is the most laid back place I have ever been. Sunset Watch Villa even more so. The villa delivers so much more than the website promises.”  Fred Salinas, Gulf Port MS

by Ray Larson

Daydreaming about a getaway vacation and booking your island retreat at Sunset Watch Villa is the easy part, now it’s time to set up travel plans and we’re here to help. One of the more unique ways to travel to Virgin Gorda are the inter-island ferries between the US Virgin Islands and the BVIs. Before anything else, you’ll need to book a flight from any major destination to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands – check sites like Kayak or Expedia for top rates.

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Once you find your trip to St. Thomas, you’re ready to browse through the variety of ferry options taking you from the Charlotte Amalie dock in St. Thomas directly to Virgin Gorda, or making a brief stop in Road Town, Tortola before reaching the final destination. The BestofBVI.com offers an informative FAQ section breaking down all of the inter-island travel schedules here. Below we’ll provide a more in-depth look at your ferry options from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda.

Option 1: Direct ferry from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda

This is the fastest way to travel from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda without making any stops along the way. Two ferry services provide a direct ferry from the Charlotte Amalie dock steps away from the St. Thomas airport to Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda – Speedy’s and Interisland Boat Services.

Speedy’s offers direct ferries to Virgin Gorda on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons along with a Saturday morning ferry. Speedy’s also offers nonstop ferries from Virgin Gorda to St. Thomas on the same days – morning ferries leave at 8:45 a.m. and afternoon ferries leave at 5:00 p.m. for Virgin Gorda. The Saturday ferry leaves at 4:00 p.m. Ferries leaving from Virgin Gorda to St. Thomas depart on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. and on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.

Interisland Boat Services offers Thursday and Sunday morning ferries to Virgin Gorda with afternoon departure trips from Virgin Gorda to St. Thomas on the same days – morning ferries leave at 8:00 a.m. and the afternoon ferries leave at 3:00 p.m.

Option 2: St. Thomas to Tortola to Virgin Gorda

If you’re scheduled to arrive in St. Thomas on a day when a direct ferry service to Virgin Gorda isn’t offered, you still have multiple options. Even if you do arrive on a day with direct ferry service but miss the available times, you’re still in luck. You can depart straight from St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie dock to Road Town, Tortola and then catch a short ferry straight to Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda.

Three ferry services provide daily ferries from St. Thomas to Road Town, Tortola – Road Town Fast FerrySmith’s Ferry Services and Native Son. All three service providers have multiple ferries leaving for Virgin Gorda Monday through Sunday.

After arriving in Road Town all you’ll have to do is clear customs before locating the next ferry leaving for Virgin Gorda. Two ferry providers offer trips from Road Town to Virgin Gorda – Speedy’s and Smith’s Ferry Service. They both offer multiple trips daily – Monday through Sunday  – and no reservation is required.

If you missed your ferry from the Charlotte Amalie dock in St. Thomas to Road Town, Tortola, you can still catch a ferry from another St. Thomas dock just a short 20-minute cab ride away in Red Hook. Native Son ferry service offers multiple daily trips from Red Hook to Tortola’s West End where you can catch a short cab ride to Road Town before departing for Virgin Gorda. Road Town Fast Ferry also provides ferries from Red Hook to Tortola on Saturday and Sunday.

Use this guide to book your travel plans to our beautiful Sunset Watch Villa and your unforgettable island retreat vacation. At our Sunset Watch Villa you can wake up each morning and decide what type of island activity you want to try – explore the luscious island, dive into the rich blue waters or snorkel and discover the beauty below sea level all on this magnificent private island.

How to get to Virgin Gorda: Inter-Island Ferries

“As we planned our Virgin Gorda getaway I thought it’d be fun to take a ferry into the island paradise. Boy, were we in for a treat. The ferry ride was full of breathtaking scenes and a great way to kick off our island retreat.” Jinny Cho, Virginia Beach VA

by Ray Larson

Taking an inter-island ferry to Virgin Gorda is one of the most scenic ways to arrive on the picturesque island. It’s also a great way to become acclimated to island life before your unforgettable retreat vacation.

The easiest way to jump on a ferry to Virgin Gorda is by flying directly to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and taking an hour-and-a-half long ferry ride through the spectacular island chain into Virgin Gorda.

Speedy’s Ferry Service is one of the most experienced inter-island transportation companies serving travelers around the U.S. and British Virgin Islands daily. Speedy’s has two ferries leaving directly from St. Thomas to the Virgin Islands on a peaceful ride that gives travelers a chance to connect with their beautiful surroundings. Once you arrive in Virgin Gorda, you’ll have to clear customs before taking a short taxi ride to the Sunset Watch Villa.

If you fly into San Juan, Puerto Rico, you can still experience an island ferry ride on the way to Virgin Gorda, but not directly from San Juan. After arriving in San Juan, you’ll catch a connecting flight on Cape Air or Seaborne Airlines into either St. Thomas or Tortola to catch your ferry – the ferry ride from Tortola is only 30 minutes long. Cape Air and Seaborne Airlines have code sharing relationships with United Airlines and American Airlines ensuring your baggage will make it to St. Thomas or Tortola in time for your ferry ride.

Sunset Watch Villa provides endless opportunities for adventure, from diving and snorkeling in the majestic waters to exploring everything the plush private island has to offer. Schedule your island getaway today and before you know it you’ll be creating unforgettable memories to be cherished by you and your loved ones forever.

How to get to Virgin Gorda: Flying to San Juan, Tortola, or Virgin Gorda

“I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to our Virgin Gorda vacation than cruising into the remote island destination on, not above, the clear blue waters. After flying into San Juan it was just one short plane ride and a majestic inter-island cruise away from the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda.”  Jan and Kevin Traurig, Centuria WI

by Ray Larson

Deciding to stay at the Sunset Watch Villa in Virgin Gorda is easy. Now let us help you navigate your way to this spectacular island retreat destination. We’ve previously discussed the options for flying and taking inter-island ferries to Virgin Gorda, the third and final option includes both – a short inter-island flight and breathtaking cruise.

Flying over Virgin Gorda

Flying over Virgin Gorda

The first part of your trip starts with a flight from any major destination to San Juan, Puerto Rico. From there you’ll take a connecting flight to the island of Tortola (airport code: EIS) in the British Virgin Islands. The connecting flights are operated by either Cape Air or Seaborne Airlines. Both of these island airlines have code sharing relationships with United Airlines and American Airlines, allowing you to rest easy knowing your luggage will travel with you from San Juan to Tortola before catching your ferry into Virgin Gorda.

After arriving in Tortola, you’ll catch a ferry from the most reliable transportation service in the British Virgin Islands – Speedy’s Ferry Services. With a handful of daily ferries from Tortola to Virgin Gorda you’ll be able to find a departure time suitable to your schedule. The 30-minute ferry ride will ease you into the island lifestyle with cold beverages and serene views before docking in Virgin Gorda. Once you arrive in Virgin Gorda, you’re just a short taxi ride away from the Sunset Watch Villa.

The Sunset Watch Villa provides endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. You’ll be able to wake up each morning and choose between an assortment of island activities from snorkeling and diving in the pristine blue waters to touring all the plush private island has to offer. Schedule your island getaway today and start daydreaming about all of the unforgettable memories you’ll be making at Sunset Watch Villa tomorrow.

Meet Sonny Franklin, Sunset Watch Onsite Villa Manager

Sonny Franklin was best described by one of our recent guests as a “gentle soul.” We couldn’t agree more.

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Sonny’s a veteran of the cruise ship industry (that’s where he picked up his prodigious towel folding skills) and a native of St Lucia. He worked at Nail Bay Resort where Ajit recognized his work ethic, honesty, and people skills. Sonny’s the “go to guy” for the villa guests. He makes it his business to know what’s happening island wide and treats our guests like the extended family members they are. We’re so glad to have Sonny on the Sunset Watch Villa team.

BVI to Host Richard Branson’s Premier Tennis Event

If you are interested in attending the “Necker Cup Pro/Am Tennis Cup” on Sir Richard’s island and are in need of more “economical” digs rather than his $55K per night accommodations, consider please Sunset Watch Villa. It’s just a 10 minute drive from the ferry (10 minutes) to the mercurial entrepreneur’s island. We guarantee are sunsets will be breathtaking. In 2018, the Necker Cup featured special guest performing artist Kenny Chesney!

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