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The Ultimate Caribbean Island Finder

Courtesy of Bitter End Yacht Club

Virgin Gorda

Best for Peace and Quiet

The easternmost of the British Virgin Islands, scrubby Virgin Gorda is at once laid-back and empty; like St. John, much of the island is protected parkland. It isn’t especially easy to reach—you’ll have to take a puddle-jumper or ferry from either St. Thomas or Tortola.

Getting Around

The best way to explore Virgin Gorda is by chartering a boat (your resort can arrange one for a day), as there are few roads and not all are well maintained.

Worth the Splurge

A sister resort of St. John’s Caneel Bay, Little Dix Bay (888/767-3966 or 284/495-5555; littledixbay.com; doubles from $725) was also built by Laurance Rockefeller. Recently renovated rooms line the wide bay with one of the island’s best beaches, and the open-air pavilion is a center of activity from breakfast through afternoon tea, and well into the night at its candlelit bar.

For Romance

Biras Creek (800/223-1108; biras.com; doubles from $895, including meals) has only 33 suites and is ultra-private—it can be reached only by boat or helicopter.

Adventure Option

The Bitter End Yacht Club (North Sound; 800/872-2392 or 284/494-2746; beyc.com; doubles from $860, all-inclusive) is all about water activities—sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

Best Value

On an expensive island, the Nail Bay Resort (800/871-3551 or 284/494-8000; nailbay.com; doubles from $155) is a pleasant surprise. Guest rooms are basic but come with kitchenettes.

Top Beach

The most famous beach is The Baths. A series of small coves, its many granite boulders look like marbles tossed into the blue bay. Tip: go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

Favorite Restaurant

Even if you aren’t staying at Little Dix, have dinner at its elegant Sugar Mill (284/495-5555; dinner for two $135). The menu is haute Caribbean with Asian accents.

Bring Back

Thee Artistic Gallery (284/495-5104), near the yacht harbor in Spanish Town, sells treasures from the sea—starfish, shells, and coins found in shipwrecks from the days of buccaneers.

Local Flavor

The Fat Virgin Café (284/495-7052; lunch for two $25) sits on the water near the Biras Creek resort and has a casual atmosphere and a basic menu (roti, conch fritters).

Insider Tip

Buck’s Market (locations at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and Gun Creek; 284/495-5423) is popular with yachtsmen, who stop in for staples, but it’s also the place to put together a gourmet picnic lunch for the beach.

—J.N.

Map of Virgin Gorda
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