Visiting The Baths: Diving and Caving on Virgin Gorda in the BVI

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Photo by David Fulmer/CC by 2.0

The Baths on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands are an extraordinary place of natural beauty and spooky rock formations. There are beaches here, yes, but the real attractions are the semisubmerged caves and diving amid the boulders tumbled just offshore. Some of the best experiences are not for the out-of-shape or non-adventurous, but for the meager $3 fee to get into a place you can spend an entire day, this is one of the best bargains in the BVI or anywhere else.

Pros

  • Awesome up-close views of nature’s geologic splendor
  • Private beach your reward for scuttling through caves
  • Phenomenal snorkeling among coral ledges and giant boulders
  • Great bar and café after crawling and swimming around to build up thirst and hunger

Cons

  • Sweaty walk downhill to get to the water's edge
  • Lots of low overhangs to bump into while caving
  • Negotiating caves requires a little contortion to bend and slip through narrow spaces
  • Small main beach, caves, and even snorkeling area crowded on weekends

Description

  • Address: Lee Road, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
  • Rates: $3 entry fee
  • Dining: Variety of small eateries, including nearby Top of the Baths restaurant/lounge
  • Other Amenities: Restrooms, showers, lockers at entrance

Guide Review - Review of The Baths -- Diving and Caving on Virgin Gorda in the BVI

The Baths, formally made a BVI National Park in 1990, is a magnificent, boulder-strewn natural sculpture of rock and water -- the result of volcanic eruptions that left gigantic rocks strewn about to be eroded over millions of years by the sea and waves.

The boulders have formed incredible tidal pools and a maze-work of tunnels and arches, with grottos stretching from hillside to beach to sea. Some of the rocks resemble lunar landscapes, and one trailside sentinel looms over passersby like a giant, scary face.

After a 300-plus yard walk down a hot trail, the reward is some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, as you enter a narrow passageway and spot the first massive smooth boulder, an iconic rock that dances with the colorful reflection of the crystal water lapping at its base.

Mind your head and your back as you haul yourself up one rock face and down another, ducking under overhanging boulders and down small but very useful ladders built to help tourists traverse a series of lagoons, grottoes, pools and rocks. From the start of the cave jaunt to the reward of a gorgeous white sandy beach on the other side takes 20-plus minutes, but take your time and enjoy it.

For the less intrepid, the good news is that you can easily swim out to snorkel right from the park's main beach, bypassing the caving adventure. Whether you paddle out from the beach or one of the dive boats just offshore, you'll enjoy some of the most amazing snorkeling in the Caribbean, with waves gently bobbing you in and around coral ledges teeming with a rainbow assortment of tropical fish, which seem to invite human interaction by gently closing around you.