Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola is a spectacular place to visit, with epic beaches abundant with pure white sand, beaches that have been spotless for generations, and a huge variety of intriguing flora and fauna to explore. Tortola is a mountainous island that has a wealth of inlets, valleys, and verdant green mountain slopes that are common sights as travellers head towards the interior.
Not that Tortola only possesses natural beauty. The capital, Road Town, is a sprawling township which features brightly coloured houses strewn across lush hillsides, as well as awe-inspiring waterfronts and marinas that sit within the gorgeous crescent of its bay. The dazzling seas surrounding Tortola are calm for the majority of the year, making it a veritable paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. The township, although quaint, has been gifted with locals who are among some of the friendliest you’ll ever encounter, whose politeness and enthusiasm is revered around the world.
Sightseeing in Tortola
Sage Mountain National Park
Spread over 92 acres, this huge national park is a massive spread of leafy greenery that will delight and astonish cruisers. A multitude of trails criss cross through towering forests of mahogany trees, hanging vines, massive elephant ear flowers, white cedar trees, and thick ferns. The rich colours of the plant life are a beautiful reason to visit this huge park, but a particular highlight is Sage Mountain itself. Standing at an impressive 1,716 feet, this majestic peak is the largest in the British Virgin Islands, and offer an amazing vista as a reward for reaching the summit.
Amidst all the wonderful scenery to be found on the island, it is very easy to forget that this was once a British Colony, with all the institutions and architecture that goes with it. The Government House is a fantastic symbol of Tortola’s storied history that has been a staple sight on the island for centuries. Overlooking the azure blue of the water at the south end of the island, this ornate white washed manor once the home of England’s governor in the British Virgin Islands, and exists today as stunning museum featuring colonial furniture and maps.
JR O’Neal Botanic Gardens
This four acre national park is an island of tranquillity within the vibrant centre of Road Town. An ideal place to while away a sunny afternoon, the cornucopia of indigenous and tropical plants in this serene courtyard bloom in a wonderful spectrum of bright pastel colours every spring, creating a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. Other highlights include an orchid house, a lily pond, and even a small rainforest.
Shopping in Tortola
For a souvenir with a paradise island twist, make sure to head to Sunny Caribbee Spice Shop which is a favourite for island-made seasoning such as rum and mango concoctions. If an exotic marinade isn’t your thing, take a trip to Pusser’s Company Store, which sells luxury clothes and accessories.
Eating Out in Tortola
An intimate atmosphere combines with top class cuisine at the Dove restaurant, which is a local favourite. Based in an historic house, the exotic menu features superb gourmet meals such as pan-seared foie-gras, dry aged steaks, and even sushi. The Dove also offers the most extensive wine list in the British Virgin Islands, as well as a dedicated tapas bar upstairs.