A Travel Guide to Tortola: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re looking for a Caribbean Island to explore, Tortola should be at the top of your list! This beautiful island is located in the British Virgin Islands and is known for its stunning beaches, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear waters. In this travel guide, we will provide everything you need to know about Tortola so that you can plan your perfect vacation!

Tortola Island is located in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the British Virgin Islands. The island is just over 21 square miles and is home to about 23,000 people. Tortola is the largest and most populated island in the BVI. Tortola is believed to have been inhabited by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawak people before being settled by the Dutch in 1648. The British took control of Tortola in 1773 and it has been under British rule ever since.

Tortola became a very important port during the 18th and 19th centuries because it was a stopover point for ships traveling between Europe and the Americas. Tortola was also known for its production of rum and sugar. Today, Tortola is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and lush vegetation. It is no wonder that people love to travel to Tortola, and after reading this, we hope that you make plans to do the same.

When to Travel to Tortola

The best time to travel to Tortola is between the months of December and April. This is when the weather is most pleasant with average temperatures ranging from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The island experiences its heaviest rainfall during the summer months so if you’re looking to avoid the rain, plan your trip for the winter or spring. The most popular time to travel to Tortola is during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, so going during those times may be more crowded and in turn, more expensive!

Getting to Tortola

Tortola can be reached by plane or ferry. The Tortola airport is located on the northwest side of the island and is serviced by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta, American Airlines, and Air France. The cheapest and most popular way to travel to Tortola is by flying into St. Thomas, USVI, and then taking a ferry to Tortola. The ferry ride from St. Thomas to Tortola takes about 45 minutes and costs around $60 per person. If you’re coming from another island in the Caribbean, you can take a ferry to Tortola. The ferry terminal is located in Road Town, the capital of Tortola.

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Tortola is absolutely gorgeous and should definitely be on your vacation plans this year!

Traveling Around Tortola

The best way to get around Tortola is by renting a car. You can also take public buses but they are not very reliable. If you’re staying on one of the resort islands, you can take a water taxi to get around. There are several rental car agencies on the island.

Where to Stay in Tortola

There are many places to stay on Tortola depending on your budget and preferences. Here are some of our recommendations, with something for everyone!

Budget: Sebastian’s On The Beach

This hotel is located on Tortola’s most popular beach, Apple Bay. Sebastian’s has its own beach bar and restaurant making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the stunning views.

Mid-Range: Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas

This resort is located on Tortola’s Long Bay Beach. The resort offers a variety of activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas also has its own restaurant and bar.

Luxury: Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina

This five-star resort is located on its own private island. Scrub Island Resort offers a variety of amenities such as a spa, three pools, and five restaurants.

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The entire island of Tortola looks like a postcard: lush, green, and beautiful!

Where to Eat in Tortola

Tortola has many great restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines. Be sure to ask them what kind of water they serve though. Although tap water there is mostly desalinated and safe, there are some places that use well or rainwater, which may get you sick.  If you’re unsure, you can always stick to bottled water as well! The last thing you want is to travel to Tortola and be sick during your vacation.

Here are some places with great reviews:

D’CoalPot BVI Restaurant Bar & Grill

This restaurant is located in Tortola’s capital, Road Town. D’CoalPot offers Caribbean cuisine such as curry chicken and conch fritters.

Frogmore Caribbean Cuisine

This restaurant is located in the Tortola countryside. Frogmore specializes in seafood dishes such as lobster and crab cakes.

The Dove Restaurant

This restaurant is located on Tortola’s east end. The Dove offers a mix of Caribbean and international cuisine.

Banana Restaurant

This restaurant is located on Tortola’s Tortola Beach. Banana specializes in Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken and plantains.

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By boat is how you can have many excursions in and around Tortola.

What to Do and See Tortola

There are many activities and attractions to enjoy when you travel to Tortola. Some of the most popular things to do include:

Mount Sage National Park

This national park is Tortola’s largest protected area and is known for its hiking trails and stunning views. If you plan on hiking, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. We’d be remiss if we didn’t add our tips about being an eco-friendly traveler here. The park is also home to several species of birds so keep your eyes peeled for some feathered friends!

Josiah’s Bay

This bay is located on the east coast of Tortola and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The water is crystal clear and the beach is lined with palm trees.

The Tortola Pier Park

This park is located in Road Town and is a great place to relax and people watch. The park has a playground, several restaurants, and a boardwalk that offers views of the harbor.

Day Trip to the Baths of Virgin Gorda

This was one of our favorite things to do when we traveled to Tortola and we highly recommend it. Virgin Gorda is a small island just a 30-minute ferry ride from Tortola. The island is home to The Baths – a must-see attraction. The Baths are a series of huge granite boulders that have been formed by centuries of erosion. They’re located in Virgin Gorda’s National Park and you can swim through the caves and crevices of the rocks. It only took us about 15 minutes of hiking on a rocky trail and climbing through caves and over boulders to get to the end, but the view was so worth it! Visiting The Baths is an absolute MUST if you’re in Virgin Gorda. Check out our blog post to learn more about our experience and if you want to visit the island on its own.

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The Baths at Virgin Gorda are definitely worth the day trip from Tortola.
Smuggler’s Cove Beach

This secluded beach is located on the north coast of Tortola and is only accessible by boat. The beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, clear waters, and coral reefs. If you travel to Tortola and have the time, we recommend you add this to your list.

Tortola Museum

This museum is located in Road Town and chronicles the history of Tortola from the pre-Columbian era to the present day. The museum is small but has a lot of interesting artifacts on display.

This art gallery is also located in Road Town and features works by local and international artists. The gallery has a rotating selection of exhibitions so there’s always something new to see.

J.R. O’Neal Botanical Gardens

These gardens are located on the west coast of Tortola and are home to a variety of tropical plants and flowers. The gardens also have a small pond where you can feed the fish.

Craft’s Alive Village

This village is located in Road Town and is a great place to find souvenirs. The village is home to several shops selling local arts and crafts, as well as a food court with traditional BVI cuisine.

Callwood Distillery

This distillery is located in Tortola’s countryside and offers tours of the rum-making process. The distillery also has a shop where you can purchase rum, as well as a restaurant and bar serving Caribbean cuisine. It’s a very unique experience that is filled with culture and history.

Tortola is a beautiful island with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, Tortola has it all.

We hope this travel guide has provided everything you need to know about Tortola! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve ever been to Tortola and be sure to tag us in any of your Tortola adventures! We’d love to see them!

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