Written by Wes Rolan
The magic of the Caribbean hits you as soon as you exit out of the plane on St. Thomas at Cyril E. King Airport. As you step onto the tarmac, you are greeted with the warmth and sunshine and humidity and a certain sweet smell in the air that gets mixeda in with the smells of the airport. The rolling green hills contrast beautifullt against the blue sky. On the mountain there overlooking the runway is a small granite cave that sparks my imagination and takes me back to earlier times of men that maybe lived in that cave and looked out over the island, or maybe and adventurous pirate buried treasure in the cave? My imagination go wild with that possibility. Most likely it’s never been touched. Saint Thomas is an interesting place, but it is not our vibe, and it is not our destination. We are heading to the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. A true paradise. We board a Dolphin Water Taxi speedboat as opposed to the normal ferry because it is a much faster ride, and we did not want to get in a scenario where we were on the boat at night, also we wanted to make sure we were able to get to our rental car before the office closed. It is considerably more money than taking a normal ferry, but if time is of the essence it is worth the value. We boarded the center console speed boat and bounced our way across the Caribbean Sea to the island of Tortola, which is the entry point into the BVI. We arrived athe The West End as this is where we will have our passports checked out and go through customs. As we pull into the tiny harbour there is a smaller island that greets you upon entering on your left side. There is a little abandoned house there built out of rock and cement. It looks to be hundreds of years old. I ask the boat captain what the story was behind it and he had no clue. It’s an awesome little house and I desperalty want to know the story behind it. Maybe on a future trip I can take a canoe or paddle board over and explore it more. I only have video clips
and pictures of it from the few times I have been there. I love anything old and historical so this is a must for me one day. A very relaxed process to say the least. We stay on the boat and everything is handled for us. We are technically not allowed to get off the boat until we are processed. This stop can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how busy the office is and how many people are on the boat, but it moves relatively smooth. After we are finished we then continue our journey to Virgin Gorda. It’s about an hour ride depending on the sea state. I have done it in about 45 minutes. On this particular trip, the seas where around 8-12ft and winds where 15-20knt so we defintiely had an exicining ride over. I enjoyed the rougher rides honestly. Its the slow rocking boat rides that get my stomach. I have a fear of getting sea sick though I never do….(I think they have a word for that.) I make sure to wear the motion sickness wrist bands and my local Wal-Mart sells tiny bottles of a natural anti-motion sickness mixture of essential oils. My little kit is pictured here. A couple of drops on your finger and you rub it in behind your ears. It has worked for me every time.
We arrived the small marina at Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda with our rental car waiting for us there along with an employee to see us off. We used The Valley Car Rental (+1 284-547-3827). We have used them on our last visits and will continue to do so. They are locally owned and operated be the sweetest family.
We stay at Mango Bay Resort when visiting the island. The resort is consisted of about 12 villas that are spread across a tropical landscape of flowers. It’s a feeling of true paradise. The resort sits on Mango Bay which is probably the prettiest of all the bays on the island. You can see clips of the resort and the island itself in a little music video I made. Check that out here:
The resort features its own private beach which free kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling gear to explore the bay with. We where there in February and the water was warm enough to swim in but windy days could make it feel a bit chilly. I prefer going later in the year when the weather is hotter and the sun forces you into the water.
The Locals aka The Belongers
The Belongers, what natives to the BVI call themselves-and what they rightfully are, and simply they belong there. We just get to visit if we’re lucky. The Virgin Gorda locals are unlike and community or culture I have ever seen. It’s one of the last places on Earth where you can not only safely hitchhike, it’s part of the culture. If you own a car or have a rental, it is customary to give people rides. Cabs are expensive and usually for tourists. Many locals will wait at an intersection, or common spot and people, both strangers and friends give them rides. I love this aspect of the island and I always love talking to the locals while driving them. They are extremely polite and don’t want me to go out of my way, but it’s a small island and I will drive them ll over. I Uber drive back home to it’s natural to me anyways. The island almost feels untouched by modern racisms. The white and blacks really are one common community with much love and respect. The youth and young men do not grow up in an environment like America where your race is such a big deal. On Virgin Gorda, the type of person your are is a big deal. If you are a bad person, a racist person, a criminal, your time on the island will be short lived. Not in any violent sense, but your reputation could proceed you to the point where living would get difficult. The locals are friendly and very no-non sense mentality. They know they live in paradise. They know their island is the playground of millionaires and billionaires. And they don’t mind sharing it as long as you respect it. They only real crime on the island usually come from Tortola. Virgin Gorda is really in a bubble in many aspects. Most Caribbean islands have bad crime. Gorda has it’s problems but nothing on scale of anywhere else. Feel free to walk around at night in Spanish Town or visit a discotech. Coco Maya is awesome gathering spot for locals and the boat crowd. They have a great DJ and amazing food….with an even more amazing view. Probably the coolest restaurant on the island. There are nicer and more fancy ones, but nothing beats their vibe. Food on the island at restaurants can be very expensive and very delicious!! They have great food on the island and I highly recommend trying the more local spots and street vendors. But if you’re feeling fancy then you need to eat at Little Dix Resort, assuming you can get in. There’s also the Sugar Cane Mil, Pablo’s, Coco Maya, and the Turtle & Dove. For lunch, there is really no other place than Hog’s Heaven. Perched up high on the top of the mountain, with great fried chicken and views of Richard Branson’s island, Hog Heaven is really must do.
One of the highlights of my trips is interacting with the locals. The kids there are so cool. On my last trip I had my Go-Pro with me and went to Springhill Park. It’s a beautiful park that borders the famous Baths of Virgin Gorda. The park is free and the locals there are awesome. It’s probably where you will bump into your waiter from the night before, or catch a mother taking an afternoon break to let the kids swim. As I was snorkeling around the rocks I saw the some of the local kids jumping from top of the rocks having a blast. I held my camera up and started filming. One of the boys was asking about my camera. I asked if he would like to film himself jump off the rocks. He was trilled and quickly learned the camera. By now the other kids where interested. The lead boy showed all the other kids how to use the Go-Pro and even warned them not to waste the battery. The kids didn’t fight or argue or anything over the camera. They delegated who was next and each showed the other how to use the camera. In America, I believe it would not have been such a sweet moment between kids I feel. Here is the video of the encounter.
If you’re feeling brave, please do not attempt. These kids know exactly where to jump and how to land to not hurt themselves. There are safe places to jump from the rocks, just use caution.
Where to eat?
There are some truly awesome places to eat on this island. This island caters to the super wealthy and the locals. The food is pretty good no matter what option.