If ever there was an aptly named spot, it’s Virgin Gorda, the third largest island in the BVI. If you visit it by plane, while descending towards the island, the contour of this relaxed Caribbean haven appears, like an obese, reclining woman. ‘Fat Virgin’ is the translation of the name, Virgin Gorda, applied by Christopher Columbus. This aspect is the first hint of the slow pace of life, enjoyed on this laid back 8.5 square miles of natural paradise, which is also easily accessible by water.
Living On Virgin Gorda
With many wealthy owners following in Richard Branson’s footsteps, the island is a haven for the rich and famous. The slow pace of life and the community spirit, play a large part of the attraction. Walk on the stunning white sandy beaches, swim in the clear turquoise water, alongside shoals of tropical fish or sea turtles. Anchor a yacht in one of the bays and swim ashore to explore the caves tangled together by rock and stone, at The Baths. For a hiking experience, climb to Gorda’s Peak, where you can get a stunning view of the BVI or indeed catch a ferry or water taxi to Tortola, the largest of the islands, to hike in the natural park of Mount Sage and hike to the highest point of the territory. Alternatively, relax in nature, in one of the BVI’s hidden secrets off Jost Van Dyke, The Bubbly Pool, a natural jacuzzi.
With festivals across the BVI at different times of the year, Easter on Virgin Gorda is a special time of colour and fun. The pace of life speeds up, as the island comes together to celebrate, in true Caribbean style. Held in Spanish Town, this colourful festival includes musical parades, competitions and a beauty pageant, with delicious local cuisine and alcohol served by street vendors. Party in style in the tropical sunshine, while dancing in the streets, sipping a cocktail of choice.
REAL ESTATE Much of the real estate on Virgin Gorda follows the colonial style of the Caribbean. With locally sourced masonry, rich wood finishes, together with the use of limestone, these properties are luxurious builds, often with private pools, built in secluded parts of the island. However you will find inspiration for the building styles comes from all over the globe, including Japan and the Mediterranean, many with balconies or wrap around decking, often with ocean views. Relax with a cocktail in a private pool, while gazing out at the turquoise waters in the distance or enjoy the serenity of 1, 2 or 3 bedroom old West Indian style condos, nestled amongst the tropical flora. Close to the sea, enjoy a choice of white cottages of various sizes.
To get around the island of Virgin Gorda, aside from walking, there are other speedier modes of transport. Cars and scooters are a popular choice, however options such as a ‘safari’ are also available. This is an open air truck which can seat up to 15 people at a time. Prepare for a bumpy ride, but it’s a lot of fun and a cheap way to travel. There are also taxis, minivan models, regulated by the government, with set fares. Great for a night out with friends as they can be hired for one or more persons, with the fare being split between passengers. Not as much fun as the safaris but infinitely more comfortable.
Travelling to other islands is made very easy. There’s a choice of regular ferry services or water taxis. For a more exclusive experience, charter a yacht from Spanish Town and have a leisurely trip throughout the BVI. If you fancy travelling by air, hire a private plane, or indeed be whisked up into the air with the whirr of helicopter blades, landing on the islands of your choice.
Looking for work in the BVI? The tourist sector is popular for job hunters on Virgin Gorda with opportunities also for beauty therapists, water sports instructors, teachers and administrators, to name a few. Other areas of work available across the BVI, include medicine, accountancy and law, together with jobs within the BVI Ports Authority. Keep in mind, when applying for a job on any of the islands, that you need a work permit, which can take anything from 6 to 12 weeks to be approved and you must not be living within the BVI while applying.
With a large choice of nursery, primary and secondary schools across the BVI, education is big business. Aside from the mainstream schooling, there are private educational options, international and bilingual schools. A technical and vocational school is also available on the BVI. Children are taught in English, starting school at age 5, and attend primary school for 7 years in total. Moving on to secondary school, a student is expected to complete no more than 6 years. It is not unusual for pupils to live on one island and attend school on another, with the regular ferry service a reliable mode of transport. If you are considering moving to Virgin Gorda, or any part of the BVI, it might be worth observing the application procedure for school places, ie between January and April for the school year that runs from September to June. There is also
another option for private schools only, during the months of November and December, for the term beginning in January.
For non urgent health care there are day clinics on Virgin Gorda. However, should you find yourself needing an emergency department, Peebles Hospital in Road Town, Tortola covers all the BVI. With a modern emergency department and plenty of facilities, they keep a special boat for emergency transfers from the other islands. You’ll also find private clinics across the BVI for services such as dentists, orthopaedics and the secret to eternal youth, plastic surgery.
Virgin Gorda, like the rest of the BVI enjoys a tropical climate all year round. There’s just 3 degrees between the coolest months, December and January and the hottest, July and August which have an average of 30° C. This makes the island a good place to visit most of the year. With an average of 17% chance of rain throughout the year, the foliage remains lush and regular trade winds ensure a sailor’s paradise. The windy months tend to run from June to November, so if you’re hoping to visit at this time, it might be best to purchase insurance in case of cancellation due to a hurricane warning. There is a special holiday in the BVI in the third week in June related to the hurricanes. The islanders pray to be spared from hurricanes on this day, which is named ‘Supplication Day’. Hurricane related holidays also happen again in late October with Hurricane Thanksgiving Day, as they are nearing the end of the threat.
The official language spoken throughout the BVI is English. There is also English Creole, which is sometimes spoken by native islanders, a language passed down from the slaves on the plantations in the BVI but it is not a written language.
Like all of the BVI, the currency used on Virgin Gorda is the U.S. dollar.
HOMES FOR SALE in Virgin Gorda
Room(s) 4 Beds, 5 Baths
Location Whale Bay,Virgin Gorda