Mango Bay Resort

Take everything you thought you knew about the Caribbean and resorts, and brush it to the side—this isn’t your parent’s vacation. The Mango Bay Resort and Virgin Gorda offer a different kind of tropical experience.

Mango Bay Resort outdoors

How To Get To Mango Bay Resort

We flew into St. Thomas, the United States Virgin Islands hub and, quite frankly, the BVI and USVI epicenter. Due to a layover in Fort Lauderdale, we were greeted with a warm breeze and a bottle of local rum to hold us over until our taxi could ferry us to a chartered boat taxi. 

The cheapest way to reach Virgin Gorda is by one of the ferries that depart from St. Thomas, but the layover royally messed up these plans. But sometimes, a snafu can become a blessing, and our brief taxi ride that winded up and down St. Thomas’ winding roads revealed a taste of the local culture and sweeping vistas that only hinted at the wonder that lay before us.

The taxi was costly, and luckily the cost was shared by a group of friendly Americans who rented a catamaran out of Tortola. The gracious boat staff offered us snacks and cold beers to tide us over until we departed. Many have said that the only proper way to appreciate the Caribbean, or this lovely archipelago of the Greater Antilles, is to see them by boat, and they were correct. 

The islands in the background seem to go on endlessly, peppering the landscape as the waves rush toward their shores. We darted past anchored sailboats, catamarans, and other assorted watercraft as our taxi cut the waves.

After a 45-minute boat ride from St. Thomas, we arrived at Tortola to drop off our taxi mates. Then we rode again for another 45 minutes to Virgin Gorda, as the blonde hair of my girlfriend flowed in the breeze, a bemused smile on her gorgeous face as her head swiveled to take in the island majesty highlighted by the fading sun.

The taxi driver cut the engine, allowing us to drift into the harbor as we disembarked under a blanket of stars. Yet still, in the darks of the marina parking lot, we realized: we needed to figure out how to get to Mango Bay after we arrive! We quickly dialed Ashley via Telegram. Telegram is essential, as the cell service is spotty, or roaming charges will eat up your data and wallet. Ashley immediately dispatched taxi driver Sweet Ice Willie. 

Now, the taxis in Virgin Gorda and much of the region are open-air mini-buses, and Ice Willie’s was no exception—banana-colored bench seats, metal canopy, illuminated only by the lights on the taxi. 

Through the darkness, Sweet Ice Willie navigated us through hills so winding and high one would think they were on a ride at Disney, while below illuminated boats of an indeterminate origin freckled the waters on either side of the island. 

When Sweet Ice Willie’s truck descended into the cheerfully tucked away Mango Bay resort, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of adventure like I had just traveled to the most remote part of the world, a part unmolested by the conventions of modern society.

As I said, toss everything you know about a typical Caribbean vacation away, as Mango Bay is not your average resort.

Mango Bay Resort Villas

First and foremost, we arrived at a tea-lit parking lot with weaving pathways to white villas that dotted the property. A gorgeous and secluded pool, hidden away enough to be found unsuspectingly, terminated the rear of the property. 

Mango Bay Resort Room

We weaved past groves down a path until we came upon our beachfront villa. It was a one-bedroom, sea-front cottage that felt as comfortable as home awaited us. We slid past the sliding glass door and relieved ourselves of our bags and troubles. 

Ashley soon arrived to greet us, even at the late hour of 9 p.m., with our provisions—which we pre-ordered, as we opted not to rent a car due to us being not the best drivers—stocked in our pantry and refrigerator.

We retired for the evening in our clean, cool room, seemingly disappearing into the king-sized bed, happy to have arrived, but the best was still yet to come. 

Beach At Mango Bay Resort

We arrived under the cover of darkness, so all we heard was the lapping of the water against the beach. When we pulled the curtains back, we saw what can best be described as something you’d see in a Duran Duran video from the 1980s.

A clean, sandy beach gently tickled by the most transparent water we’ve ever witnessed and the Dog Islands dotting the landscape, creating one of the most breathtaking vistas in the Caribbean. 

Mango Resort Beach at Night

The patio, replete with chairs and wooden tables, seemed almost framed to capture this view as if it were a painting, and we spent many an hour quietly staring off into the distance.

Light coral dotted the shoreline, and the Mango Bay Resort provided scuba gear, paddle boards, and rafts that allowed us to explore the vast coast of our little slice of heaven. 

We dove in with gusto, sometimes kayaking out to the outer reef to witness turtles sunbathing or spending hours just bobbling in the pristine water as tiny fish danced around our legs. 

Mango Bay Beach sunset

The typical hut-dotted beaches of lesser resorts, filled with adults drunk from the all-you-can-eat-and-drink offerings, were cheerfully absent, as Mango Bay offers no such amenities, making it all the more peaceful and enjoyable. 

We contemplated grilling on the grill situated to the side of our villa. We barely saw a person, save for the few stragglers who themselves visited at this particular time in May, which by many is considered off-season or the tail-end of vacation season. 

A few travelers like us occupied the resort itself, but for the most part, the beach was ours to bask and play in, undisturbed by the crowds of typical big all-inclusive resorts found elsewhere.

Activities Near Mango Bay Resort

BVI Hiking near resort

Cash is king here, and you will need it if you choose to forgo renting a car. The only real way to navigate the islands was by taxi, and we stayed loyal to Sweet Ice Willie and his son, Jr., who first took us to the Baths before other excursions. 

The Baths are located near Spanish Town, the most populous area on the island, offering one of the most unique experiences in the region. Formed of granite and resting on the beach, the boulders create tidal pools, grottoes, tunnels, and arches that open to the sea and create photo opportunities as the sun peaking through the cracks dances across the rocks and water.

Be advised there’s a bar at the end, but the sun is a cruel mistress, so wear a rash guard and bring your reef-friendly SPF. Sweet Ice Willie and Jr. took us to affordable and chic restaurants like Coco Maya and Sugarcane. 

These establishments, with their open-floor concepts that invited the landscape in instead of keeping it out, served some of the best food at reasonable prices while giving an air of sophistication not often seen. The types of places one would see in a magazine come to life, and the food and staff at both are friendly beyond measure.

Virgin Gorda is home to some of the friendliest and most approachable people in the world, eager to show you the pleasures and delights of their 8-mile slice of paradise. 

Sweet Ice Willie Jr. took us on a two-hour island tour to the highest peaks of Virgin Gorda to show us the sparkling bays, inlets, and beaches from carefully-selected vantage points, culminating in lunch at Hog Heaven. 

Hog Heaven rests atop the highest point on the island, offering some of the best BBQ we’ve tasted. Drinking cold Tola Pilsners while destroying ribs and napkins, the gentle breeze from the island accentuated only by the views. I thought I could disappear here, sell my belongings, move into Mango Bay’s peaceful and picturesque hideaway, and eat this BBQ daily for the rest of my life. 

We spent four days charting the island by boat and land, each day revealing a site more beautiful than the last in a veritable embarrassment of visual riches. Mango Bay’s staff is always ready to assist and is led by ex-pat Ashley, who abandoned the corporate 9-5 hustle of London for this idyllic life by the sea. 

Islands views from resort

We spent our last night staring out across the Dog Islands, where those lucky enough to happen upon these peaceful shores at this time can witness the sun setting between them. It creates a singular and stunning denouement to the greatest vacation of our lives.

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