British Virgin Islands Long Bay Beach copyright M. Timothy O'Keefe -

Known as the "land of turtle doves," Tortola is the largest of the BVIs, and the charter sailing capital

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Tortola and Road Town

Measuring 11 miles long and 3 miles wide, Tortola is the most-visited of the BVIs by far. Its capital city, Road Town, contains major government offices and the majority of shops and restaurants in the BVIs. Tortola also has almost a dozen beaches.

Tortola also is home to the Emancipation Festival held from the end of July into early August.

Road Town's sheltered harbor is always yacht-filled. In fact, with over a thousand sailboats available for charter, Tortola is considered the bareboat sailing capital of the Caribbean, if not the world.

Beef Island, site of the international airport, connects to Tortola by a short bridge spanning a 300-foot channel. Visitors who do not arrive through Beef Island often fly into neighboring St. Thomas and come over by ferry.

Despite Tortola's relatively small size, traveling around is surprisingly slow thanks to the steep mountain range that extends down the island's center. You can't simply drive in a straight line except along the coast. Travel by car is sometimes exciting as you start down one of the precipitous hills.

Road Town's shopping is conveniently located along the waterfront, where long-established companies like the Sunny Caribbee Spice Company and Pusser's Co. Store and Pub compete with the small group of souvenir stalls near the cruise ship dock. Pusser's stocks clothing for yachties as well as watches and toiletries.


Soper's Hole located at West End houses the main ferry dock and a marina. Soper's Hole contains about a dozen charter craft, clothing and souvenir shops and restaurants. It's a colorful place worth a look (or lunch) even if you're not shopping.


One of the most popular pastimes is taking a day sail from Tortola to one of the nearby islands. A day sail provides the experience of sailing while allowing you to stay at a typical land resort.

Snorkeling is as popular as diving.

For a detailed Tortola road map click here.

Major Attractions

Tortola Weather
Month by Months Temps

Bareboat Charters
The Caribbean's bareboat capital

Good ones almost everywhere

Emancipation Festival
Authentic festival in early August

Rental Car Companies
The best way to enjoy all this spread-out island has to offer.

Road Town Walking Tour
Sailboats, shopping & gardens

Sage Mountain National Park
The highest point in the U.S. & British Virgin Islands

Sailboat Anchorages
Where to rest your floating bed

Tortola Snorkeling
Spend several days reef & wreck floating


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