THEY CALL IT THE CATHEDRAL. At The Baths National Park in the British Virgin Islands, it’s also the money shot. Here in this grotto, massive boulders lean into each other, light streaming through their gaps as if from the heavens themselves, saturating the already blue-green waters. Visitors pose under these natural spotlights, swimming out, looking in, whipping their hair (here, it actually looks cool). Flip though Instagram, and this framing dominates.
But in reality, there’s no bad shot in this most unusual and gorgeous park, with its towering granite boulders tumbling into the water, some as big as 40 feet in diameter, formed in slabs when magma pushed its way toward the surface of the Earth and cooled underground (“baths” is short for batholiths). A haven for rock climbers, the boulders pile high above the turquoise water like a half-submerged Joshua Tree National Park, 3,300 miles away in the deserts of California. There’s even cacti: pipe organ—or dildo—cacti line the sandy hiking paths, along with pungent wild sage, jasmine, and fluttering white butterflies.
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