The second-largest island in the British cluster, Virgin Gorda has a population of some 3,000 people. It was named Virgin Gorda, or “Fat Virgin,” by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. It’s located 19km (12 miles) east of Tortola and 41km (25 miles) east of St. Thomas.
Virgin Gorda was a fairly desolate agricultural community until Laurance Rockefeller established the resort of Little Dix here in the early 1960s, following his success with Caneel Bay on St. John in the 1950s. He envisioned a “wilderness beach,” where privacy and solitude reigned. Other major hotels followed in the wake of Little Dix, but seclusion is still highly guarded and respected. Many visitors think Virgin Gorda is home to some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the British Virgins, including the boulders-strewn beach known as the Baths; the island’s highest point, Gorda Peak; and the gin-clear bays of the Valley.