www.escape-bvi.com An Adventurers Guide To The British Virgin Islands

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

Tortola, "land of turtle doves," is the largest of the British Virgin Islands that overlooks Sir Francis Drake Channel. With the largest population (approx. 17,233) of the BVI, Tortola is the base for over 65% of the islands' residents. The capital city of the BVI, Road Town, is located on the south shore around a deep u-shaped harbour that is home to many of the island's hotels, restaurants, shops and marinas. Tortola boasts of numerous beautiful white beaches and gorgeous panaromic views of all of the islands. Sage Mountain National Park, located at the center of the island, is home to the British Virgin Island's highest point, 1,780 feet.

Tortola is the perfect spot to "jump off" and explore the other islands. It's the base for the BVI's charter boat fleet; the gateway for the territory's sailing destinations; the main hub for the islands' ferry service; and the most popular point of entry for vacationers - the East End Beef Island Airport which is linked to the capital city of Road Town by the one-lane Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

Tortola is the place to start your adventure in the BVI.

Joseph Reynold O'Neal Botanic Gardens
Located in the center of Road Town the Gardens is a perfect place to see the local flora and fauna of the islands. The gardens are open daily.
Sage Mountain National Park
Here is one of the natural treasures of Tortola. Mount Sage, at 1,780 feet, is the highest point in the British Virgin Islands. Take one of the park's hiking paths and see panoramic views of the neighboring islands.
Fort Recovery
The fort's stone tower, located in Tortola's West End, is believed to have been built by the island's first Dutch settlers, who landed at Soper's Hole in 1648.
Soper's Hole
Located on the West End of Tortola, this is one of the BVI's most popular anchorages. The hub of activity, Soper's Hole is home to the main ferry terminal, several restaurants and the Caribbean-style Soper's Hole Marina and shopping wharf.
The V.I. Folk Museum
Located on Main Street in Road Town, the museum has many artifacts on display from the islands' Tiano, plantation, and slavery eras. You will also see pieces from the wreck of the RMS Rhone.
Main Street, Road Town
Visit the one-way Main Street which offers fun shopping in tiny shops that crowd the narrow street. Careful when you step out of shops as the sidewalks are narrow and sometimes just mere curbs! The Post Office and its Philatelic Bureau are located here on Main Street.
The Callwood Rum Distillery
Watch rum being made in the distillery! Located at Cane Garden Bay, some of the original buildings are still standing and in use.
Dolphin Discovery
Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery, located at Prospect Reef in Tortola.
Cane Garden Bay
One of the best beaches and anchorages, Cane Garden Bay is popular for its surf and long, beautiful curved bay. When you're there it is interesting to notice the differences in the surf between the center and corners of the bay. Cane Garden Bay is also the center for great island night life and has a boardwalk appeal because of the colorful seaside bars and restaurants, as well as a few small inns and villas and gift shops. The east end of Cane Garden Bay is popular with surfers from November to January. All water sports activities are available here.
Brewer's Bay Beach
Its many reefs offer some of the best snorkeling on Tortola. Brewers Bay has the only campground on the island which is an excellent, beachside campsite with plenty of shade.
Apple Bay Beach
Apple Bay Beach is located on the north side of the island, just over the hill from Long Bay. As it is a very popular surfer's haven, every day you can see at least a dozen surfers from all over the world riding the waves. The bay is also known for its full moon parties at Bomba's Surfside Shack, as well as the Friday night fish fries hosted by local residents. In the evenings, there is usually music playing at one of the Bay's two hotels and several local restaurants.
Long Bay
On the eastern end of the island is Long Bay, a mile-long stretch of white sand beach, perfect for watching the sunsets. Lining the eastern portion of the beach are a resort and several guest houses. If you're looking for good swimming and privacy, try the western end with its beautiful foliage of seagrapes and palm trees. Enjoy the wonderful views of the bay which can be seen along the road that leads there.
Smugglers Cove
Although somewhat remote you will find that Smuggler's Cove with its classic cove shape is secluded and well-protected making it perfect for snorkeling and relaxation. This hidden treasure has a "honor" bar for visitors along with a gorgeous view of Jost Van Dyke.
Josiah's Bay Beach
This beach on Tortola's East End has a long and wide stretch of sand that makes it ideal for sunbathing. It is also a popular place for surfers with its high waves and has an awesome view of Guana Island. There is a small beach bar on the beach and several guest houses and restaurants nearby. An art gallery and the Josiah's Bay Plantation are also nearby.
Lambert Bay
Also known as Elizabeth Bay, is one of the north shore's finest beaches. Because of its sheltering palm grove and fine white sand, it is a favorite picnic spot for residents. A resort is located behind the beach.
Elizabeth Beach
Located on the East end of Tortola, gives sun worshipers plenty of room to stretch and relax with its wide sandy beach.
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