Tortola Beach Walks

Tortola has more than just a few beach walks

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Tortola Beach Walks

Tortola has about a dozen beaches on Tortola , but some have a nasty undertow just a few feet out. Other beaches are made up of more rocks and shells than sand. These are Tortola's three best.

Brewer's Bay, on the north coast just east of Cane Garden Bay and reached by a winding road from the main Ridge Road . Somewhat out of the way, this is the location of the island's main campground. The beach, protected by an offshore reef, is particularly good for swimming. Snack bar and bathrooms available .

Cane Garden Bay, also on the opposite side of the island from Road Town and west of Brewer's Bay, is perhaps the most popular beach, especially for sailors because of its sheltered anchorage. It has complete facilities with beach side restaurants and canoe, kayak, powerboat and other water sports equipment rentals. Cane Garden Village is home of the small Calwood Rum Distillery, after 200 years, the oldest--in fact the only--one still bottling anywhere in the British Virgins.

Long Bay, on the north coast not too far from the West End ferry dock, has a postcard perfect white sand beach lined with palm trees. A better beach even than Cane Garden Bay, it's less crowded because it can't be reached by boat and it's farther from Road Town . The Long Bay Resort and restaurant are located here.

Another noteworthy north coast beach is Apple Bay, the most popular party spot on the night of the full moon when a wild party is thrown at the full moon.

Bomba's monthly mind-blower is staggering...as in, barely walking. It's an important local ritual to observe even if you don't participate in drinking the mushroom tea. Bomba's is a real shack, too; you must see it by daylight to appreciate its true shackiness. Picturesque is only skin deep, but shacky goes to the bone.

More BVI Beach Walks

The other British Virgin Islands has terrific beach walks. On some islands, you can literally beach walk for miles.

The only problem is that many islands--though open to the public--are inaccessible unless you have your own boat. Only Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda have regular ferry service; small planes fly to Anegada.

Beyond that, you have to charter a boat or throw yourselves on the mercy of other sailors who might be bound for a landfall that interests you. Hitching a ride is relatively easy, since sailors tend to be a friendly lot, especially when you ply them with grog. Strike up a conversation in one of the pubs around The Moorings or at Pusser's in Road Town and you could be on your way.

Anegada

Little-known Anegada is the second largest of the British Virgin Islands. No volcanic upstart like other impetuous land masses we could name, Anegada is a large coral midden that grew gradually from the ocean floor. The north coast offers almost 20 miles of white sand beaches, one of the longest unbroken beach walks in the Caribbean. But without any shade or water, you need to come to this part of Anegada properly prepared.

Anegada has always been a sailor's nightmare. It rises only 28 feet above sea level at its highest point and is surrounded for miles by a great fringing reef. Sailors often piled onto the reef since there was no island on the horizon to alert them to danger.

Over 300 wrecks are known to have crashed onto Anegada Reef since the 1500s. Divers still find ballast stones and iron debris deposited by the sunken ships. With a population of about 250, Anegada's tourist facilities are limited to a camp ground, several guest cottages, and one 18-room hotel. The main land attraction is a sanctuary for flamingos, ospreys, and terns supervised by the National Parks Trust.

Peter Island

This private resort island has its own ferry service several times daily from Tortola. The beaches and roads are easy to follow from the marina landing. You can see most of the island in three to four hours.

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