First, let me say that the resort is very nice, and one of the few places on the island where you can have a villa on the sand without the need to climb 100 stairs up and down to reach the beach. The units are spacious and well equipped, the landscaping is lush and beautiful. You may rarely see your neighbors, but you tend to hear them since most of the rooms have French doors with nets, and there is no sound insulation. Gino, the manager, is very helpful and welcoming, too. However, we rented the place because it was on Mahoe Bay - a place where we read there was a spectacular reef accessible right from the beach. The reef is vast and starts right off the beach - that is true. Except that it is dead!!! On the first day we went snorkeling and explored it far and wide, we saw maybe 20 fish TOTAL. No sea urchins either. The reef looks like it is covered with ashes, with very few living corals rising like ghosts amidst the graveyard. This was a great disappointment, and the reason why we won't be back for sure.
However, fortunately, there are other places on the island where views are spectacular (the Baths, in particular), and snorkeling is decent. You may also want to go on a full day snorkeling trip to Norman island and the Caves for a really great snorkeling experience.
You DO need to have a rental car for the whole stay on the island because even though they say that this is a tiny island, and everything is nearby, we never drove less than 10 minutes to a restaurant, an attraction, a ferry, a grocery store, or a beach with reasonably good snorkeling. You cannot walk anywhere. Driving on the wrong side of the road proved to be not bad at all. We rented from L&S rentals, and they accompanied us from the ferry terminal all the way to the resort to show us the way - very friendly service.
A word of caution on getting to Virgin Gorda: if you fly into St. Thomas, by all means try to catch a direct ferry to Virgin Gorda, and DON'T go through Tortolla unless you want to feel like you are in a herd of cattle, and are treated likewise. Ferries from St. Thomas are often running late, so if you are not sure whether you missed your ferry, but it is a little past their departure time, don't trust your taxi driver (ours lied, and cost us about $120 extra in travel fees, about 4 extra hours of travel and enormous stress), and check for yourself if the ferry has left. People on Virgin Gorda can generally be trusted, but St. Thomas is a whole different story.
One other thing which was odd to us: there is NO local produce on the island. No locally grown tropical fruit whatsoever. We were told that this is because British Virgin Islands are an offshore heaven, and the local population has great income from 850,000 off-shore companies registered there, and is not inclined to work hard on anything (farming included). We were also told that even the "catch of the day" in any local restaurant was likely delivered there frozen from the US. Locals don't even bother to fish. We did not see any fishing boats anywhere for sure, and the odd thing was that there were NO SEAGULLS anywhere - just a few pelicans.
Overall, we don't regret going there - the views were spectacular! But we see no reason to go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mango Bay Resort adheres to a strong commitment to serve our guests and make sure they enjoy their luxury beach vacation at its fullest. We strive to deliver what we promise to all our guests: a caring and attentive management and friendly staff who will accommodate any guest requests or needs. Mango Bay Resort is a small and cozy yet easygoing luxury resort that provides all the necessities needed for the finest Caribbean vacation. We strive to provide a quiet, peaceful and tranquil location for all of our visitors to enjoy ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mango Bay Hotel Virgin Gorda
- Mango Bay Virgin Gorda
- Mango Bay Resort Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands