Virgin Gorda Attractions
Virgin Gorda ("Fat Virgin") was named by Christopher Columbus for its shape as seen on the sea's horizon. The second largest island in the British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda measures 10mi/16km in length and 2mi/3.2km in width (8.5sq.mi/22sq.km). Lying 8mi/12km east of Tortola, serpent-shaped Virgin Gorda is easily navigated with many anchorages, particularly in the North Sound.The island is of volcanic origin, with the northern half being mountainous and dominated by Virgin Gorda Peak (1359ft/414m). Southern Virgin Gorda is a flat plain called the Valley, with the island's main settlement, Spanish Town, lying on the western shore. The southern tip of the island is flat and scattered with giant granite boulders, Virgin Gorda's most famous attraction. Virgin Gorda is known for its yacht clubs, secluded beach coast, natural attractions and excellent vistas of the entire archipelago.The South Drop off Virgin Gorda known for deep sea fishing, and opportunities for various water sports are abundant on the island.Igneri, Taíno and Carib Indians first populated Virgin Gorda. For many years, Virgin Gorda remained a stopping point for buccaneers and foreign fleets exploring the New World. A permanent settlement did not arrive on the island until 1680 when British planters arrived from Anguilla. The population steadily grew, and the first governor of the British Virgin Islands originally made Virgin Gorda the capital of the Territory before moving it to Tortola. By 1812 Virgin Gorda's population reached an all-time peak of 8,000 and many plantations on the island produced sugar cane, indigo, ginger and cattle as well as the mining of copper.After the collapse of the plantation economy and the depletion of the copper mines, most abandoned Virgin Gorda leaving a population of about 600 in the early 20th C. However, by the late 1950s and early 1960s, development spurred by Laurence Rockefeller helped to begin boosting the economy. Today, tourism is the major industry of Virgin Gorda.
Prickly Pear Island & Vixen Point
Lying in the North Sound, Prickly Pear Island features Vixen Point, a broad, long, white-sand beach. The swimming area is sheltered and calm and another secluded beach can be found on the north side of the island.
Palm Tree Gallery
Palm Tree Gallery on Virgin Gorda displays the works of local artists. Visitors will find paintings sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and other crafts.