About Road Town
It doesn’t have as much glitz as many of the other islands. When cruise ships pull into port, the view is of lush, undulating landscape, colourful homes dotting its hillsides and crystal waters.
Beaches arch around bays and coves. Some are secluded, while others are lined with bars and watersport outfitters. Surfers prefer Apple Bay Beach. Restaurants and bars line the North Shore’s funky Cane Garden Bay, which is said to be the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s ‘cheeseburger in paradise’.
Tortola is a welcome relief from the bustling Caribbean Islands.
Tortola and the British Virgin Islands are about nature. After exploring Tortola, leave enough time to explore some of the nearby isles like Jost Van Dyke. Because of its many fun bars, the island just to the northwest is known as the ‘party island’.
Virgin Gorda to the northeast is home to ‘the Baths,’ a labyrinth of granite boulders oddly protruding from the shore and water. And legend has it that the caves around Norman Island (south of Tortola) were once filled with pirate treasure. In fact, Robert Louis Stevenson patterned his famous “Treasure Island” after it. The booty is gone and, except for a beach bar, so are the humans. The once cache-filled coves now teem with schools of fish.
• Fort Burt
• JR O’Neal Botanic Gardens
• Old Government House Museum
• Peter Island
• Sage Mountain National Park
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
2nd Floor, AKARA Building, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Tel: +284 494 3134.
The main items on sale in Tortola are jams, artwork, spices, souvenir resortware or rum. Most shops are located on Main Street in Road Town. Some specialise in foodstuffs, some in clothing and gifts. And for the cruise ship passengers, there are the mandatory jewellery shops.
Local seafood is the speciality and since fresh ingredients are not plentiful, chefs must depend on their creativity and what the boats deliver. Entrées usually have an American or Caribbean flair.
When to go:
The climate is subtropical with trade winds. Nights are cool and breezy. Hurricane season is late May to early November.
6km (3.7 miles).