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Virgin Gorda and Tortola are two British Virgin Island (BVI) territories.

Despite being British overseas territories, the official currency of the BVI is US dollars. Both US and UK travelers require a passport to enter the BVI.

In this article, we will compare and contrast these two British overseas islands to help you make an excellent decision for your next Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, Tortola is ideal for a visitor who is looking for amenities, more entertainment, hiking, enjoying beaches, diving and snorkeling. Alternatively, Virgin Gorda is suitable for a visitor who wants tranquility and to visit the iconic beach, The Baths for swimming and snorkeling.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two magnificent British Virgin Islands compare. Contribution to this article was made by individuals who visited both islands on vacation.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola: Which Island Is Bigger

Tortola is the bigger of the two islands being 21.5 square miles. The highest point in Tortola is Mount Sage at 1,709 feet.  

Additionally, Mount Sage is the highest point in the entire Virgin Islands.

Virgin Gorda is much smaller than Tortola with only 8 square miles. Gorda Peak is the tallest point on the island which stands at 1,370 feet.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola: Which Island Has Better Beaches

When it comes to beaches, the Baths in Virgin Gorda is in a category all by itself. This is a unique national park on the southwest coast of the island.

This beach has massive boulders which forms sea pools which are a geological wonder. There is a fee required for access to this beach.

The Baths is an ideal location for swimming and snorkeling.

Cane Gardens Bay is one the most popular beaches in Tortola. It’s an amazing beach for water activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and jet skiing.

Access to the beach is free and it is located 5 miles west of the capital, Road Town.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola: Which Island Is Easier To Access

Tortola is the island that is easier to access by both air and sea transportation.

It is not uncommon for visitors into Virgin Gorda to have to pass through Tortola before accessing the island.

Nevertheless, this is improving with the reopening of The Taddy Bay Airport in November 2021. This gives travelers better access from Virgin Gorda by air to St Thomas and Puerto Rico.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola ( Which Island Is Better To Visit)

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola: Which Island Has Better Nightlife

Virgin Gorda is quiet and relaxed and more nightlife occurs in Tortola. There are more restaurants and beach bars in Tortola.

Some of the more popular ones include Pusser’s and Aromas Cigar and Martini Bar.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola: Which Island Has Amenities

The British Virgin Island on a whole has restrictions as it relates to the operations of overseas businesses on the islands.

Large international chain stores as well as fast food restaurants are banned on the island in order to protect small local businesses. 

Luxury retail operations such as Diamonds International and Little Switzerland have a presence in the capital city, Road Town but no presence on Virgin Gorda.

Additionally, there are no golf courses in the BVI but there is a driving range at Captain Mulligan in Nanny Cay in Tortola.

Virgin Gorda Vs Tortola : What Are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Tortola

Callwood Distillery- this is one of the oldest distilleries in the Caribbean and the original boiler is still in use today.

Drink is still stored in the original storage cask. There is an art gallery and shop available on site.

Rhone National Marine Park- located in Road Town which is the capital city, this marine park features two amazing dive sites being the wreck of HMS Rhone and the dive of Dead Chest Island.

The wreck of HMS Rhone is also accessible to snorkel enthusiasts. Individuals can enjoy several types of sea life at this park.

Explore Mount Healthy National Park- a former 18th century plantation, this site features windmill ruins. Visitors can learn more about the sugar production and its history in Tortola.

Unique Things To Do In Virgin Gorda

Devil’s Bay National Park- this national park was established in 1964 and contains 58 acres. It is home to the iconic beach the baths and features several hiking trails.

The Copper Mine- The ruins of copper mines on the island still stand today. The Spaniards were the first Europeans to mine copper on the island during the 18th century.

Gorda Peak National Park– this park is a great location for hiking and is 260 acres around the highest point on the island.

There are several types of flora and fauna in the park. Additionally, the world’s smallest lizard calls the national park its home. Hiking in this area gives you stunning views of the BVI.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Tortola is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy beautiful natural scenery, more amenities, tranquility and amazing beaches. Alternatively, Virgin Gorda is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying The Baths and hiking.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Virgin Gorda, Tortola and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.

The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.

Tortola Vs St Thomas (Which Island Is Better To Visit)

Living In The British Virgin Islands (Pros & Cons)

Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Female Travelers

The United Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands (Which Is Better)


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