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Tortola (Road Harbour) Port of Call

Smuggler's Cove, Tortola © superde1uxe

Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and one of the least glitzy and most traditional islands in the Caribbean. A mountain range down its centre lends drama to the landscape and ensures any road journey is both scenic and time consuming. Tortola was historically a pirate's nest, and the surrounding coves and waters were ruled by the flag of the skull and crossbones. Today, the island is a popular cruise stop, with the result that its relatively few attractions can get overrun with visitors during busy periods.

First sighted by Columbus in 1443, Tortola became a British colony, evidenced in part by the charming Red Royal Mail post boxes still in use today. Calm seas and clean waters make for excellent diving and snorkeling conditions, and have helped to make Tortola one of the main yachting centres in the world. Ships dock at Road Harbour, from where passengers can easily walk into town.


British Virgin Islands Tourist Board

Tel: +284-852-6020


The town of Road Harbour is a short walk away from the disembarkation pier and can be easily explored on foot. To explore further afield, travellers can hire a taxi ($20 to the furthest point on the island), and numerous car rental companies are available. Ferries are available for those who want to visit any of the other islands, or Soper's Hole (West End) and Beef Island (East End) on Tortola.


Cane Garden and Brewer's Bay are beautiful beaches, close to town, but can get very crowded. Long Bay and Apple Bay are also worth a visit. The Botanic Gardens are full of tropical plants such as ginger, heliconias, and anthuriums; and if visitors have the energy, they shouldn't miss a hike up Sage Mountain, the highest peak in the British Virgin Islands.


The Dove - no view, but great food and it's where the locals eat.

Brandywine - amazing views meets creative cuisine in this local favourite.

Best Dish

Linefish and a classic Painkiller cocktail (national drink of the BVI)


The Crafts Alive Marketplace on the Waterfront sells local arts and crafts; Soper's Hole at the West End has a range of shops catering to visitors.

Best Buy

A bottle of Pusser's Rum and/or Arawak Love Potion and Hangover Cure


Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery.

Explore the maze of boulders at The Baths.

Visit Marina Cay on the eastern tip of Tortola.

Take a stroll in Queen Elizabeth II National Park and let the kids play at the playground.

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