Little Thatch - one of the few island's in
the BVI's that is privately owned.
Being the capital of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola can be a busy destination, but don't be fooled by the hustle and bustle of its main town. Located nearly in the middle of Tortola on its southern shore is the Islands capital, Road Town. Here can be found many shops, hotels, restaurants, markets, just about anything you would need on your Caribbean holiday.
The "hub" as many call Road Town, is twenty-five minutes from the airport which is located near the most eastern point on Tortola. Ferry service to islands within the BVI territory and the U.S.V.I. can be easily accessed seven days a week, all year round out of Road Town. Taxi service is quick and convenient on Tortola as there is one taxi for every 28 people that inhabit the BVI, which may be some kind of a record!
Literally just minutes out of "Town" as it is called by the locals, are some of the most tranquil and beautiful settings in the Caribbean. Whether you arrive at the airport on Beef Island or via a ferry from St. Thomas, I've found that wherever you start or end your holiday in the BVI you most undoubtedly will find what we are noted for - "Nature's Little Secrets!"
As you make your approach on your flight from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands, the first piece of the Territory you will see is the most western island of Great Thatch, which is uninhabited, and just to the south lays Little Thatch. Measuring 54 acres in all, Little Thatch is unique as it is one of the few islands in the BVI that is privately owned. A beautiful rental villa sits atop the island combined with an inviting private white sand beach below.
A birds eye view of the BVI is stunning, but the traditional way to see the Islands is by land transport. As you're making your final descent for the runway at the recently new facility at the Terrence B. Lettsome airport, you may notice a short bridge connecting the island on which you're landing and the island of Tortola. Where you are landing is actually Beef Island!
Beef Island, besides having the airport, also has many villas and a small hotel in Trellis Bay. Many local artist shops, coffee/tea shops, cyber cafe, water sports/windsurfing, a grocery market and restaurants can be found lining the crescent shaped beach. Each full moon, there is a spectacular "full moon" party every month. A great family outing for all with a local BBQ and drinks. A giant fireball is lit just feet away in the water off the beach offering praise to the full moon Gods! Ferry service to Virgin Gorda is provided by several companies, along with some resorts having Trellis Bay as their pickup points for their guests. Before we leave Beef Island, let's take the free ferry ride over to Marina Cay. The ferry dock to Marina Cay is located at the end of the runway of the airport, in the northeast corner of Trellis Bay.
The modern day history of Marina Cay dates back to 1936 when the cay became home to an American author named Robb White who fresh out of the U.S. Naval Academy, with his wife Rodie, built their home on the cay. He spent the war in the Pacific and later wrote the book "Two on the Isle." A movie was made from his book and shot on the cay in 1950, which starred Sidney Poitier along with John Cassavettes.
Today, Marina Cay offers its visitors a Pusser's restaurant; a small quaint hotel with great views; and a store offering fine clothes and products from the Pusser's company. The snorkeling just off the beach is ideal for beginners who want to explore the reefs of Marina Cay. Don't miss the "Real Happy Caribbean Happy Hour," hosted at Pusser's Marina Cay, and in season, you can be entertained by the Caribbean's one and only, Michael Bean! There's one more island that is accessible by ferry only from Trellis Bay, and that is Scrub Island. Let's take their ferry over for dinner.
Just a short distance east of Marina Cay is the small island of Scrub. Not much on the island, but a few private housing developments. The gem of Scrub Island is Donovan's Reef restaurant. Fantastic lunches and dinners served in an open air setting overlooking the channel. After a great meal, sipping on the beverage of your choice, swinging in one of the hammocks on the beach is a great way to enjoy the BVI! Let's hop back over to Beef Island and resume our island paradise tour of Tortola.
EAST END TORTOLA
Driving off from Trellis Bay, pass the airport, and the road winds around until you meet the newly constructed Beef Island Bridge. The bridge itself is not so significant (except what it cost to build it!), as to what used to be the old bridge. Designed as a single lane draw bridge, it was drawn up only once in its lifetime. Legend has it that it was best left in the down position. The one thing that was a tradition, was the toll booth at the old bridge. It consisted of an old shack that was built along with the bridge. A fellow would sit in the booth and as you would approach the bridge, a half a coconut shell on the end of a stick would extend out from the booth window and the gentleman would ask for the toll. That's how it was done up to a few years ago!
Heading west from the bridge there are mostly shops for locals to buy their wares. There are several fine restaurants "out east," Eclipse and Harbour View are within walking distance of each other, both highly rated to dine at on Tortola. A dive center is located just behind the Harbour View restaurant.
Heading west again, there are two ways to see Tortola, one road goes straight, but if you make a right turn at the police station, you will be heading up to the "Ridge Road" which winds along the top of Tortola with side roads that take you to tropical forests and pristine white sand beaches! We'll revisit the "Ridge Road" later, on the way back to the airport.
We're going to stay on the "low road" from East End as there is a lot to see on the south shore of Tortola. Driving out of East End you'll come up to Maya Cove which is home to one of the world's largest charter boat companies in the world, Sun Sails. Within their cove are several businesses, ranging from gift shops, cyber store, Sail Caribbean Dive Tours, and a restaurant. Enjoy a swim in their dockside pool after lunch!
Located a short distance down from Maya Cove is Fat Hog Bobs, an open air restaurant with outside patios, always a fresh Caribbean trade wind blowing, and good food. This is a favorite stop after a long travel day to reach the BVI.
H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is located out on the eastern part of Tortola. Boasting a very diverse curriculum and having a new marine studies program in place brings the college up yet another level. A brand-new state of the art theater has just been completed.
One of the last stops on the way out East End would be Brandywine Bay. A crescent-shaped beach is quite nice, even though it was man made, enlarged, for the locals to have an easily accessible beach at the East End. Brandywine restaurant is located at the eastern part of the bay, another highly-rated place to dine out.
Being the Capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town is a busy place with its offshore banking facilities, government offices, shipping port, ferry docks, and many other commercial entities. Just about everything that you would need can be had in Road Town. Many, many shops are located here offering t-shirts, to fine jewelry and clothing. Restaurants abound from "take away" meals to lavish sit down dinners. Several hotels are interspersed throughout "Town." Located in the center of town is the only public high school in the BVI where children from some of the outer BVI island's travel by ferry to attend the school.
Also in the heart of Road Town are the Botanical Gardens which has plants and trees that are found in the BVI. Quite a nice place to visit. Other places of interest would be the old Governors House which has a small museum. Main Street which is in back of Waterfront Drive, has many quaint shops, along with art galleries by local artisans, and local-made jewelry. Along Main Street is where the post office is located. A visit to the Philatelic Bureau should be a must stop for anyone who would like to take back home a collection of the exotic colorful stamps offered.
The BVI tourist board has an information desk located at the ferry terminal across from the town square where any question one might have about the BVI can be answered.
Every year around the end of July is the start of the Emancipation Festival with a rollicking two weeks of music, food, and cultural pride, like a Mardi Gras of the Caribbean. Every night there are music competitions of all types, Fungi, Calypso, and Reggae. The festival spreads to other villages and islands in the BVI throughout the weeks. Driving west out of "Town" is historic Fort Burt, where remains of the "guardian of Road Harbour" can still be seen. The Fort is now a hotel / restaurant and home to the New England Culinary Institute, which is operated in conjunction with the Community College.
The ten minute drive along the southern coastline will bring you to Nanny Cay, which is home to several yacht charter fleets. Inside the compound there is the Nanny Cay hotel which offers rooms, tennis courts, swimming pool, and several restaurants. The Plaza Cafe, in the heart of Nanny Cay offers breakfast and lunch with a special happy hour. Peg Legs Landing has a great view overlooking Sir Francis Drake Channel where charter and private yachts weave back and forth to nearby islands. Peg Legs serves lunch, dinner and all types of tropical beverages.
Nanny Cay also has an array of gift shops and is home to Blue Water Divers, where all types of excursions are offered. Nanny Cay is the place to take in great Wind Surfing where lessons and rentals are offered. If you're a golf fanatic, try the driving range situated on the eastern shore of the Cay. Don't be concerned about hitting the balls in the water because they float!
The road out of Nanny Cay takes you along a very scenic route, hugging the coastline most of the way to the West End of Tortola. Along the way, you will pass the only power plant on Tortola which also feeds electrical power to the neighboring islands. Before you reach the West End you might notice a small island just to the left. Connected to Tortola by a very short bridge is Frenchman's Cay.
As you pass over the bridge, you'll find that you have to go left or right, a left turn will bring you to several "superettes," Kellys and Walters. Kellys, besides the market, also have a small hotel with seven rooms and offers West Indian Style breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you're a billiards player, take in a game or two while your meal is prepared by Kelly's delightful crew. Eating on the patio deck is fabulous, with fish jumping and pelicans diving in the shallows next to your table.
Further down the road you will find Frenchmans Cay Hotel and restaurant. They feature tennis court, swimming pool, their own beach, and a great view looking to the southwest. Backtracking the road, will bring you into Sopers Hole, which is one of the gems of Tortola. Home to Voyage Yacht Charters and also Bear Cat Charters. A favorite stop off for visiting yachts from all over the world. The easiest thing to do is park and walk along the beautiful boardwalk filled with all types of shops.
Charter the day sail boat, "Kuralu," for an unforgettable day on the water, or ride on the island hopping power boat, from Tortola Yacht Charters. Pusser's has yet another pub and restaurant on Frenchmans Cay, with a large clothing and gift store on the board walk. On the Cay, near the boardwalk, you will find Picises Restaurant, and Blue Parrot cafe offering excellent coffees with homemade muffins.
Upstairs above the Blue Parrot, is where you will find some of the finest photography in the Caribbean. Handler studio is well worth the visit. One of the best villa rentals lies atop Frenchmans Cay at the western end. The "Lookout" has been totally refurbished over the years with a three hundred-degree view, overlooking Sopers Hole and Sir Francis Drakes Channel.
When taking a stroll on the boardwalk in Sopers Hole, you'll see the West End Ferry Terminal and a colourful building with a large pirates flag waving in the steady breeze. Let's go over the Frenchmen Cay bridge and head in that direction.
SOPERS HOLE, TORTOLA
You're still in Sopers Hole, but now you're on the Tortola side. The West End Ferry Terminal services the U.S.V.I and Jost Van Dyke. Two small restaurants have local food and ice cold drinks across the road from the ferry dock. Under the waving pirate's flag at the end of the road is the "heart beat of the west end." The Jolly Roger Restaurant and Inn which your hosts' Kay and Lou, serve up a unique menu every night, usually with bands playing till the wee hours of the night.
Being home base to the Loyal West End Yacht Club, keeps the Jolly Roger jumping with many sailboat races starting and finishing off at the "Jolly" dock. Lou and Kay are one of the avid sponsors of the best youth program in the Caribbean for teaching local kids how to swim, row boats, sail, scuba dive, and windsurf. The KATS (Kids in the Sea) program has just celebrated its 15th year anniversary and is going stronger than ever. The program is totally dependent on local business donations and all volunteer instructors. This program speaks for the type of community spirit that you'll find in the BVI.
JOST VAN DYKE
Just a 20 minute ferry ride from West End Tortola, brings you to another one of the Islands gems in the sea, Jost Van Dyke. The ferry dock in "Jost" is located at Great Harbour, home to the world famous Foxy's Restaurant and Bar. For the millennium celebration in 2000, Foxy's was rated as one of the top three places in the world to celebrate the New Year. Foxy strums his guitar with tales of the BVI and places all over the world that he has traveled. Foxy's has many events during the year from the popular Wooden Boat Regatta and the always well attended Jost Van Dyke Music Festival. Foxy has his own brewery where several types of ales are served at the bar. His brewery is the only one in all of the BVI. Another project at Foxy's is the construction of the JVD 32 wooden sailboat, which is a 21st century design.
The Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society is a non-profit corporation that is undertaking projects that support education and preservation of the history, culture, and environment of Jost Van Dyke. The sloop is being built as a training vessel to educate the youth in sailing and modern boat building. Three students from the BVI High School along with Kevin Gray, project manager, are the team that is building the sloop. Foxy Callwood, Chairman of the Society, states that "We're getting many ideas and feedback from our islanders who sailed the traditional sloops in their youth."
A stroll down the road from Foxy's, many restaurants can be found serving up local and international meals with all types of tropical beverages. White Bay is our next stop. There are several ways you can get there from Great Harbour. If you're ambitious, a walk up a steep hill and then down into White Bay is one way, but be sure to take plenty of water for the hike. Taxis' are glad to take you there, or if you want to explore on your own, car rentals are available. Once in White Bay, you'll find the Sandcastle Hotel along with the Soggy Dollar Bar where the world famous "pain killer" was originated.
All along the western end of White Beach are restaurants and gift shops. The beach is perfect for swimming and just laying back, grab a hammock and relax! Good snorkeling can be found at the far west end of the beach. Four wheel ATV vehicles can be rented for those that are really adventurous. At the eastern end of White Bay, there are campgrounds just yards off the beach with tents for rent. Don't miss Ivan's Stress Free Restaurant and Bar. Decorated with all types of shells, makes Ivan's a very unique place.
Let's grab a taxi and ride over to Little Harbour where we'll find Sidneys Peace and Love who serves up West Indian dishes, lobster, conch, and fish, lunch and dinners. Loads of tee shirts to pick from at Sidneys, the most popular one has Sidneys motto written on the back, "beatings will continue until the morale improves!"
Taking a taxi over to Foxy's Taboo at Diamond Cay is well worth the trip. Taboo serves up excellent food with friendly service in a great setting. While at Diamond Cay, one of "Natures Little Secrets" is just a short hike down the beach from Taboos, and a mild climb up the path to the "Bubbly Pool." Whenever there is a northern sea running, the Bubbly Pool is like a natural saltwater Jacuzzi, with waves smashing into a wedge-shaped rock raven and the water rushing into the half moon shaped beach, ebbing in and out, quite fun and beautiful.
A walk on the rocks on the eastside of the pool elevates you up for a great view of the pool and the Atlantic Ocean. Volcanic rock can be found atop a rock cliff which is fairly rare in the BVI. Watch your step as this hike up the cliff is a bit tricky! Let's catch the last ferry, from Jost Van Dyke back to West End, Tortola to take in another glorious sunset!
WEST END NORTH SHORE
Driving east from the ferry dock, you'll come to a tee in the road with Big Ben's gas station on the left. This is Zion Hill Road which winds up a hill then down to the North Shore of Tortola into Apple Bay, a tightly knitted community with beautiful beaches, scenic views, and friendly people. At the bottom of the hill there is a local fish fry every Friday night or you can try the fine cuisine offered at the Coco Plum Restaurant just across the road.
Continuing down the road you'll come to another tee in the road. Turning left will take you west with Sebastian's Hotel and Restaurant just past the tee in the road. Being located right on the beach, this is a very nice place to take in the sunset. Continuing on westward will take you over to the Long Bay Resort. A sprawling resort with villas tucked up in the hillside. Having one of the nicest pools in the BVI with a swim up bar and BBQ pit pool side, makes Long Bay a beautiful spot to sip on a tropical drink and take in the sunset or a romantic stroll on the nearly one mile white sand beach is a favorite.
Smugglers Cove can be accessed by driving through Belmont Estates, following the signs, winding around the salt pond and ending up at the "Cove." The road is unpaved past Long Bay, but if you drive carefully it's really worth the trip, just a little rough. Once there, you'll find the crescent-shaped beach absolutely breathtaking. Good snorkeling and excellent swimming in crystal clear water is irresistible. Lunch is served at the Smugglers Cove beach bar in high season, with a very unique menu and a lengthy list of tropical drinks using fresh juices and spices.
A long history goes along with the bar dating back to the 60's with the owner of the then Smugglers Cove Hotel, Bob Dennison, driving the Queen of England in a parade on her first visit to the BVI. Bob unfortunately, passed away several years ago, but his legend lives on. Bob would always have an "honor" bar set up with a stocked refrigerator. All you had to do is drop the money in the straw basket on top of the bar! Bob would sit for hours and talk about the "old" Tortola, dating back from the 40's.
The Lincoln Continental that Bob drove the Queen of England in, is still sitting beside the beach bar! All that remains of the hotel is the beach bar. Another bit of history was the remake of parts of the movie, Hemingways, "Old man and the Sea," in 1990, starring Anthony Quinn, at Smugglers Cove.
Back tracking the road past Long Bay, and Sebastian's Hotel, continue straight to Tortola's one and only "Bomba Shack." The Shack is the place to go for Bomba's full moon party that happens every month. The crowd is a mix of tourists, sailors, and locals. Enjoy dancing to two bands, one in the Shack, and the other band rocking across the road in the "back yard." Good time to be had by all with all types of vendors lining the road on either side of the Shack selling their handmade jewelry and trinkets. Don't leave the Shack without having Bomba's Mushroom Tea at midnight. The full moon party winds down as the new day's sun starts to rise!
Another thing that the Shack is famous for is the great surfing beach out front. The BVI have some of the best surfing spots in the Caribbean. Depending on the size of the waves, different surfing spots in the BVI start to, as the surfers say, "go off."
Just down the road is the ever popular, Sugar Mill Hotel. Boasting its own beach with a great setting for lunch at the Gazebo on the sand. Guests and locals alike take in the tasty dishes with a nice breeze coming off the sea. Guest rooms are set into the hillside behind the pool and main reception and dinning room. Sugar Mill is another highly-rated restaurant on Tortola.
The sleepy fishing village at Carrot Bay has much to offer. A very tropical setting, with farmers' growing and selling their fruits and vegetables by the road. Fishermen come back after some days work of pulling traps and hand lining all sorts of fish and lobster. They’ll set up shop by hanging their scale on the tree next to the boat ramp and sell their haul. Clem's by the Sea is a pleasant spot to take in the view, have a drink and mingle with the locals. Carrot Bay hosts their own festival village, with all types of food, drinks, live bands, and even the hilarious donkey races where the only road through Carrot Bay is blocked off for the event. Gotta see this one!
There were no roads into Carrot Bay and Cane Garden Bay until the early 70's. All wares had to be brought into Carrot Bay by donkeys or by boat up to that time. Children would walk along the donkey paths between Carrot Bay and Cane Garden Bay to go to school. The Palms Delight Restaurant is the favorite for locals and tourists for dining by the waters edge. Ms. Iona cooks up a storm! Highly recommended.
Traveling the road up from Carrot Bay is steep, with several switchbacks, but the views are incredible, especially when you reach the Heritage Villas and Bananakeet Café. One of the best views overlooking all of Carrot Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Northwest shore, and St. Thomas. Great place to go for a happy hour, take a swim in the pool, and watch the sun set once again into the blue Atlantic. The Bananakeet Café is open for lunch and dinner.
Continuing up the road, you'll come to a fork in the road. To the left takes you to Cane Garden Bay, and the right fork will take you up to another tee at the Ridge Road. Here we'll turn right and go visit Mount Sage National Park which is the highest peak on Tortola at eighteen hundred feet above sea level. When you reach the parking area you will find the Mountain View Restaurant which serves lunch and dinner. Great place to take a break after a tour of the National Park that has trails winding through the terrain, with placards placed along the hiking path explaining the different types of trees and flora.
You'll notice as much as a ten-degree drop in the temperature at the park! After a refreshing drink at the restaurant or a bite to eat, we’ll backtrack our trail back to the fork in the road, staying to the right, which turns into the road that leads to Cane Garden Bay.
CANE GARDEN BAY
On the road that descends into Cane Garden Bay, you can see why singer Jimmy Buffet was inspired to write the song "Cheese Burger in Paradise." The crescent-shaped beach stands out like a star, surrounded mostly by reef, Cane Garden Bay lures in yachts and landlubbers alike. Restaurants, small hotels, a well stocked market, and gift shops are spread along the beach. Villas are nestled up above the beach on the hillsides. Our local reggae and folk singer, Quito Rymer plays with his band at Quitos Restaurant, most Friday and Saturday nights where the dancing goes on through the night often spilling out onto the white beach making it one heck of a party!
Myetts restaurant is in a tropical setting with live music nearly every night. A stroll on the beach after dinner is just steps away. Myetts is highly rated for their food also. Cane Garden Bay plays host to the BVI Music Festival held in June each year. Thousands of people come from all over the Caribbean to Cane Garden Bay to attend the festival featuring all types of Caribbean style music along with our own local bands. One music festival that shouldn't be missed!
Cane Garden Bay is also home to another spectacular surfing area. Even if you don't know how to surf or haven't been exposed to the sport, it's worth the short walk along the beach to the most eastern point of Cane Garden Bay just to spectate. You'll get a front row seat for all the action. The bigger the waves are, the more exciting it gets. Yahoo! Driving up the steep road out of Cane Garden Bay there's a sharp left hand turn to be made at the top of the road which will put you on the road to Brewers Bay. Before you decend into "Brewers," there are some good photo ops for shots of Cane Garden Bay from way up high. Don't forget your snorkel gear!
Brewers Bay has one of the best "off the beach" snorkeling sites on Tortola. Along the western cliff, which extends out to the opening of the bay about three quarters of a mile, is the best snorkeling area. Access is easy into the water off the sand beach, but if there is a winter time north sea running, snorkeling is not recommended. If this is the case, Nicole's bar and restaurant on the beach is the perfect place to have lunch and watch the sea swells ricochet off the cliff.
Brewers Bay is "u" shaped and is off limits to most vessels as it has a very complex reef system throughout the bay. Needless to say, Brewers has a beautiful beach with a very tropical hillside towering above the beach. A campground, set back from the beach is available for those that want to get close to nature. Bathrooms and showers are provided for the camper's convenience. Just a few yards away from the campground are some ruins of a distillery dating back hundreds of years. Sugar cane was once in abundance in Brewers Bay to harvest for the distillery, and to this day the cane is still locally grown and sold at fruit stands.
For those that want to have creature comforts and still enjoy the beauty of Brewers Bay, you can stay overnight at Icis Villas in a beautiful, peaceful setting. The eastern end of the beach is ideal for swimming and an ice cold beverage can be had at the Bamboo Bar which is open most days.
The road out of Brewers Bay winds up into the hillside with beautiful views down into the Bay, making for a photographers favorite. Staying to the left as you climb the hill you will meet Mount Healthy National Park. The old windmill ruin is one of the best preserved landmarks showing a part of history the native population endured for hundreds of years. Once at the top of the hill, you will now be connected to the Ridge Road again. Turning left you will be heading east along some of the most beautiful and scenic parts of Tortola, lots of photo opportunity just ahead.
Part of Tortola's past history is captured by local artists' on a concrete retaining wall along the Ridge Road. Fifty yards of mural sized depictions of daily life goings on in the old days of working on the plantations, women making bread in outdoor fire pits, farmers returning from the hills with fruits and vegetables in sacks draped over the donkey.
Ridge Road pretty much stays on the top of Tortola, giving views to the north and south shores. As you follow the road, you'll see signs to direct you along the ridge, but be cautioned that if you do make a turn down to the right or left off the Ridge Road, there aren't many places to turn around easily, and you may find that you have to go all the way to the bottom before you can reverse your direction. Don't hesitate to ask anyone walking along the road if you get off track for directions, as everyone is very helpful! You'll find several pull outs along the Ridge Road for taking photos or just plain relaxing while taking in the fresh air and expansive scenery. At one of the pull outs, a fantastic view of Road Town and Road Harbour can be seen from more than fourteen hundred feet up.
The Ridge Road pretty much ends at a four-way junction above East End. When you reach the junction, there will be a sign directing to go different ways. Making a left turn at the junction will lead you to Josiha's Bay. Before reaching the beach, several stops along the way shouldn't be missed.
The Tamarind Club should be visited, set into the hillside with tropical trees and plants surrounding the small resort, makes for one of the nicest settings at the East End of Tortola. A drink at the swim up bar is a must, after lunch under the covered patio adjacent to the bar. Sunday brunch at the Tamirand Club is rated one of the best on Tortola. Continuing down the road, you'll come to Josiah's Bay Inn, where another plantation was once located, and some of its remains can still be seen.
Josiah's Bay beach is just down from the plantation's ruins at the end of the road. The broad stretching beach curves toward the west, ending under towering cliffs. Known also as a surfing beach, many surfing competitions are held at Josiah's, with surfers from all over the world and locals enjoying the tempting waves. The bars and restaurants on the beach give shade and a great venue to watch the surfing and other activities that take place at Josiah's. A recent poll in a local magazine here on Tortola has Josiah's Bay beach and Smuggler's Cove beach in a virtual tie as the "best beach on Tortola," polling from tourists and locals alike.
All the beaches on Tortola have their own "little secrets," some lined with rows of coconut trees, mangroves, and many other types of foliage, including several types of cactus! Time to head back into the East End, ending at the airport to complete the tour of Tortola. As you leave Josiah's Bay you'll reach the four-way intersection that was met earlier. Go straight through the intersection and down the hill till you meet the very bottom, where the East End police station is located. A left-hand turn will take you directly to the airport.
If you find that you're early for your departure, just past the Beef Island bridge, a sign will point to yet another beach, Long Bay beach at Beef Island. A nice beach to relax and take in the sights before a flight to your next destination. Trellis Bay can be revisited again before you, as the local saying goes, "gone away to come back."
Located southeast of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, is about a forty minute ferry ride out of Road Town. Several ferry services offer round trip daily excursions, Speedy's Ferry Service, with its recently new twin hull catamaran offers an air conditioned main cabin with video movies, and a spacious upper deck to take in the sites. Smiths Ferry has the usual single hull boat with an upper deck. The services both go to the ferry dock at Spanish Town, which is the main town in Virgin Gorda.
Out of Trellis Bay on Beef Island, Tortola, several other ferry services to different areas on Virgin Gorda are offered. North Sound Express makes round trips to Spanish Town with stops in Gorda Sound, Bitter End and Leverick Bay. The Bitter End Ferry links Gun Creek to the Bitter End Yacht Club. The final ferry service in the Gorda Sound makes runs between Gun Creek and Saba Rock. There are lots of ways to get around the "fat virgin," the Spanish translation for Virgin Gorda named by Christopher Columbus when he discovered the islands.
Several taxi companies offer guided tours in safari buses, driving up the mountainous areas on the Northern part of Virgin Gorda's Ridge Road, with spectacular views of the North Sound of Virgin Gorda at an elevation of twelve hundred and fifty feet. The surrounding islands of the Sound, Necker Island, which is privately owned by Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Eustasia Island also privately owned, Prickly Pear Island which is part of the British Virgin Islands National Park, and Saba Rock, just barely large enough to house a small resort lying between Prickly Pear and Bitter End. The tour also makes a short stop at the Gorda National Park where photos of indigenous plants and trees can be taken.
The other tours take you out to Coppermine Point where copper mining was done by English miners along with local natives that lived on Virgin Gorda in the eighteen hundreds. Much of the mining equipment still remains at this National Park Site. Walking around the site you will see pieces of white rock with spots of copper inlaid into the rock. As we always say in the BVI, "please admire but don't touch," which goes for everything in the sea also.
My favorite day trip to Virgin Gorda is to take the early ferry from Road Town, arrive at Spanish Town for breakfast at Bath and Turtle, a pleasant patio tavern in the Yacht Harbour, which is a short walk from the ferry dock. Taxi ride to The Baths and Spring Bay to enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the Caribbean, with huge boulders pushing up to through the sea, offering snorkeling and swimming at its best.
After a few glorious hours of frolicking in the sea, it's time for lunch at the Top of the Baths, and a refreshing swim in the pool outside the patio area. Your taxi that dropped you off in the morning is always willing to retrieve you in the afternoon to bring you back to the Yacht Harbor or the ferry dock. The last ferry returns late in the afternoon, making a full, but unrushed five star day in the BVI!
If Virgin Gorda is your vacation destination, there are many Villas and Resorts to choose from. You'll find Virgin Gorda a laidback, quiet, yet plenty of things to do with all types of watersports, from deep sea fishing to swimming at your favourite beach. A drive in a rental car or ride in a taxi along the north shore will take you out to Savannah Bay which is a long expanse of white sand beaches with coral reef protecting the crystal clear water. Mahoe Bay is just to the east of Savannah Bay, and is home to Giorgio's Table that serves Italian dishes at the waters edge. Katitche Point Greathouse is a rental property that overlooks Mahoe Bay that's hard to miss.
A day trip if you're staying on Virgin Golda for your vacation would be to drive or taxi out to Gun Creek out toward the North Sound and catch a ferry over to Saba Rock or Bitter End Yacht Club for a day on the beach or lazing around the pool, finishing the day off with happy hour at the "Pub," and dinner in the main dining room. Just another day in paradise!
OUTER ISLANDS by SAILING
The remaining islands in the Territory of the British Virgin Islands that we have not visited yet can only be reached by either a private vessel or chartered vessel. Many charter companies are available for day outings to most of the islands. It is highly recommended that any charter include a licensed captain to operate the vessel, as most reefs are not marked in the BVI. A licensed captain will be able to guide you to the best places to visit in the islands, whether it is on the water or on land.
Some of the charter companies offer three day Charters which is not nearly enough time to visit all of the islands in the BVI, but careful planning will be time well spent to schedule your sailing itinerary. All the islands have something different to offer, some with a few inhabitants, but the majority are found in their natural state. At the very least, a day sail charter out of Sopers Hole at the west end of Tortola should not be overlooked. Many visitors claim the day sail to either Jost Van Dyke or to Norman Island as the highlight of their visit!