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Road Town, Tortola
Road Town, Tortola

Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which also includes Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.  It was taken over from the Dutch by the British.  The islands are located east of the US Virgin Islands (St Thomas & St John) at the transition where the Caribbean Islands turn to the south.  On a day trip from St Thomas to St John, you are just about as close to Tortola as you are to St Thomas.  Tortola is only about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico and this island is 12 miles east/west and 3 miles north/south.  The capital and cruise port is Road Town and the island of Tortola has a permanent population of less than 20,000.  The Virigin Islands were first settled by the Arawak and then the Caribs.  Christopher Columbus sailed to these islands in 1493.  In the 1500s the English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Danish all attempted to control the area and it became a notorious haven for pirates.  Britain has goverened the British Virgin Islands since 1672.

Road Town Harbor, Tortola

Road Town Harbor


You can easily arrange tours of the island of Tortola from registered cab drivers at the port.  Going rates are $25 for a 2 – 3 hour tour of the island.  This compares favorably with rates for excursions with cruise ships.

End of the tour guide day, Road Town, Tortola

Typical tourist transportation

Attractions in Tortola:

Things to see and do:

  • Cane Garden Bay – a small town on the north shore of the island with a popular white sand beach and nearby shopping

  • Fort Hill and Great Mountain – for views of the island, the sea and the Virgin Islands

  • Pusser’s Landing – on the western side of the island, this small village has West Indian architecture

  • Beaches – Smuggler’s Cove, Brewer’s Bay Beach, Cane Garden, Jost Van Dyke Island, Norman Island, Great Harbor at Peter’s Island

  • The “Baths” at Virgin Gorda – cross the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the third largest island in the British Virgin Islands and view volcanic formations.  Virgin Gorda is not on the cruise ship circuit, so there is far less tourism, as most visitors arrive on small yachts.

  • Dolphin Discovery Lagoon – at Prospect Reef Port

  • Rhone National Marine Park - RMS Rhome wreck for deepwater diving

British Virgin Islands Tours:

Road Town, Tortola

Road Town Harbor

Hotels in the BVI:

View the British Virgin Islands map

Road Town Harbor, Tortola

End of the tour guide day

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