Tortola

Powdery white-sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht-filled harbor characterize the island of Tortola, where the past of the West Indies meets the present of the BVI. The largest island in the chain, Tortola offers a variety of exciting vacation possibilities.

The protected anchorages at Brandywine Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Hodge's Creek Marina Cay, Soper's Hole, and Trellis Bay are ideal for boaters. Secluded palm-shaded beaches at Apple Bay, Brewer's Bay, Elizabeth Beach, Josiah's Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach, and Smuggler's Cove make for excellent swimming and snorkeling. There are also many well-equipped facilities for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and horseback riding.

Wander through centuries-old ruins such as the Dungeon, Fort George, Fort Recovery, the Mount Healthy Windmill, and Callwood's Rum Distillery, which is still in operation, and explore Tortola's history at the BVI Folk Museum in Road Town.

Main Street in Road Town, the capital city, has an array of shops and restaurants, offering everything from local spices, jams, rums, and soaps to hand-crafted jewelry, silk-screened fabrics, and local art. The cuisine of Tortola reflects the island's rich cultural mix, whether it's a four-star dinner at a converted sugar mill or a delicious West Indian roti at a pastel-painted cottage. Local delicacies such as fresh lobster, conch, spicy goat, curries, and Johnny Cakes make each meal memorable.

Escape to the cool slopes of Sage Mountain National Park, where traces of the primeval rain forest can still be seen at higher elevations. On the mountain ridge that runs thorough the island, observe local Caribbean life with its gentle rhythms, farms, settlements, and churches. At Mount Healthy National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, rock outcroppings and vertical ghuts, or dry steam valleys, expose the deep, rich earth of this volcanic island. In Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens offer peaceful walks through pergolas and pathways covered with colorful vines, as well as a miniature rain forest and a fern house.

The people of Tortola are friendly and known for their warmth and hospitality. There are a wide variety of places to stay, ranging from campgrounds to luxury resorts and private villas. Tortola is also an ideal point from which to explore the other British Virgin Islands. Regular ferries, private and crewed yachts, and planes travel daily to the other islands of the BVI.

The accomodations are incredible. From Resorts and Guest Houses to luxurious Private Villas.

Images and descriptive text have been supplied by the BVI Tourist Board. For further information visit http://www.bvitourism.com

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