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Virgin Gorda – Checking in a year after Irma

Virgin Gorda, BVI – Checking in a year after Irma

Virgin Gorda has long been a favorite of WIMCO’s staff and our clients. Its laid back nature and natural wonders provide the backdrop for a relaxing vacation.

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We traveled to Virgin Gorda in November 2018 to assess how well it had recovered from hurricane Irma which hit in September of 2017. We were pleased to see how well the island has recovered, and note below what issues remain ahead for them. Here are some highlights:

  • Villas – Over 90% of the villas WIMCO represents in the Mahoe Bay area will be open in time for New Years. Villas in the southwest part of the island near the Baths are also available (however the villas in the Leverick Bay area will not be ready in time for New Years). The villas WIMCO represents on nearby private islands are also open and available, including those at Oil Nut Bay, Necker Island, Eustatia Island, and Scrub Island
  • Access – the airport reopened on November 2 after the terminal was upgraded as part of its repairs. Regular flights are now available from San Juan via Cape Air, Air Sunshine and others. You can also get to the island via ferries from Tortola (Beef Island airport or Roadtown), and can get there by ferry or charter boat from St Thomas as well.
  • Infrastructure – the roads are in good shape throughout the island. Electricity and internet are available in all villages and villas
  • Activities – The Baths national park is open, as is the scenic Top of the Baths restaurant. Top watersports company Dive BVI is operating out of a temporary office in Yacht Harbor in Spanishtown, boat charter companies abound for setting up day trips to nearby islands and dive spots
  • Leverick Bay harbor and marina – Always a favorite for its small and colorful harbor village, you’ll find all three restaurants there open (Jumbie Beach Bar for drinks and casual fare, The Cove for waterfront lunch and dinner, and The Restaurant at Leverick Bay for fine dining at night), in addition to marine services, boutiques, and the grocery store.
  • Food & Beverage – The dining scene in Virgin Gorda has always been modest in scope as it has such a small population. At the time of writing visitors will find several good options available. Four restaurants are open in Spansihtown, one at The Baths, three in Leverick Bay, along with several bars. Three grocery stores are open.

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What work remains:

  • The shopping and dining complex at Yacht Harbor in Spanishtown was hit hard, the roof and store fronts of the complex were badly damaged, and while loose debris has been cleaned up so there are no hazardous materials around, it remains unrepaired and closed.
  • The villas in Leverick Bay village. WIMCO represents 20 villas on the shoreline and hillsides that wrap around Leverick Bay marina. At the time of writing only one of them will be open and available by New Years. Repair work is ongoing, and we will update availability regularly.
  • Hotels – Little Dix Bay is still cleaning up, and will not reopening until late 2019 at the earliest
  • Bitter End Yacht Club, a favorite destination for day trips, was leveled during Irma. They are seeking to reopen the marina and beach bar by Spring 2019.

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Insiders Tips:

  • The single greatest attraction in Virgin Gorda is the natural wonder called The Baths. If there is a silver lining with Irma, it is that the national park around the Baths is perhaps more beautiful than before now that the sea of boulders leading down to the waterfront are more exposed.
  • Coco Maya restaurant is not to be missed. Try the beef sliders and fish tacos. Have cocktails on the beach at sunset when they set-up tiki torches, then move inside for dinner
  • Turtle and Bath restaurant in Spanishtown features live music most nights, try their sushi rolls
  • Savannah Bay now has a larger beach thanks to the storm, and it’s an ideal place for a picnic
  • Charter a boat trip to the north sound for snorkeling or scuba, then pull into Oil Nut Bay’s main dock and enjoy lunch and a swim at their beach village. Their marina village and restaurant will be opening soon as well
  • The island’s two banks are closed, and the restocking of local ATMs may be spotty, so don’t forget to bring some extra cash.

Virgin Gorda, Virgin Islands, vacation rental, irma

Philanthropic note – in the wake of Irma, several individuals who own property on or around Virgin Gorda were instrumental in helping the island get back on its feet – some examples include bringing in free food and water, funding the repair and provisioning of schools, establishing micro loan programs for small businesses, donating equipment, materials and expertise, providing cash to locals to fund clean-up effort and provide an income when most businesses were closed. Big thanks to Richard Branson (Necker Island), David Johnson (Oil Nut Bay), James Hagedorn (Spanishtown), Larry Page (Eustatia Island), and Petr Kellner (Nail Bay).

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