Generally speaking snorkelling is good at the Baths. If there is any wind, waves at the shoreline can be a bit rough and with the rocks in the water swimming can be less than safe.
That said, the trip is a 40 minute or so ferry ride followed by a 5 minute ride up the hill in a van or jitney bus to the Baths. There are several shops and a restaurant at the top near the parking lot. The beach is a 300 yard walk down a path . Once there there are bathrooms, a snack shop and a beautiful beach. Do climb around under and over the rocks and take the trail through to Devils Beach
Ships generally land on Tortola. The Baths are located on Virgin Gorda. You need to somehow be ferried from one island to the other , whether on a ships' excursion or by local island ferry. Ferry is about 45 minutes. From the ferry terminal on Virgin Goda to the baths is a 5 minute cab ride . If youMUST see the Baths , I suggest you do it by ship's excursion. Local ferries are very unreliable time wise and you do no want to miss your ship.
If we went, we would go in the morning and get back in plenty of time before the ship were to leave. So Virgin Gorda is a different island altogehter, or is it still technically Tortola? Does anyone know about how much the ferry taxi would cost per person if we did this on our own?
Virgin Gorda is an entirely differnt island. Ferry ride is about 30 or 40 minutes across the Drake Channel . Still part of BVI's . I'm guessing that ferry is in the neighborhood of
$10 each way and cab should run about $3 to $ 5 per person each way.
look at bviwelcome.com to get good detailed info on the BVI's including ferry schedule .
PapaBill has made some good points. Unless you have a FULL day on Tortola - it is probably safer to take a ship's excursion to Virgin Gorda.
When we were there last we did go over to Virgin Gorda on our own but we had all day to play with. My advice - if you are doing it on your own - be sure to get the earliest ferry that you can. There are 2 ferry companies Smith's and Speedy - they are both comparable - so go with the one who has the schedule suited to your needs. When you arrive, you will see a small tourist kiosk - one of the people there can either direct you to the ferry docks (a 5 minute walk from the cruiseship dock and actually visible) or direct you to the one of the ferry reps (who tend to hang around the parking lot by the cruiseship dock). The reps can be a good idea since they can usually give you a deal that includes your return ferry ride AND your return taxi ride on Virgin Gorda. Be sure to keep your return tickets if you do this. Sometimes for the VG taxis they just give you one slip, you SHOW to the driver (they actually use jitney buses) on your way to the Baths and GIVE it to him when you return.
Allow LOTS of time for your return - don't plan on taking the very last possible ferry (what if it is delayed or cancelled !!). We were leaving at 5PM and made sure that we were on the ferry that left VG around 2PM (can't remember the exact time). Be sure before you head for the Baths that you KNOW the return ferry schedule.
Thanks for the tips. We are there from 7-5 or 8-5. I plan to go on the first ferry out, and then coming back around 2, like you did, in hopes to get some last minute shopping done by the piers. Is there anything else at Tortolla that is a must see though? what about the snorkeling by Treasure Island? Is there a way to go to just Treasure Island?