Tortola experts !

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Sep 14th, 2004, 05:11 AM
  #1
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Tortola experts !

Well , I guess it looks like we cant swing St.Lucia for our early Nov. trip , with only 2 flights per week and being stand by we decided not to risk it . ( with our airline ) So .... it was back to the drawing board and Tortola looks like the place ! I have been doing lots of research but of course wanted inside Fodorite advice ! Best area to stay , do we need a car , hidden secrets , etc. Faith .
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Sep 14th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Hi faithie,

We spent three weeks in the USVI's/BVI's last year, and I did A LOT of research on all of the islands.

It was our second trip to Tortola.

Unfortunately, Tortola kind of has a limited choice of places to stay, and there's not any one place that I would say really fits the bill of the kind of place we like to stay. (Small to medium on a great beach with good food and certain amenities.)

The top choices seem to be:

Sugar Mill - charming, great food, so so beach
Long Bay - good beach (but not for swimming), good food, so so service

The first trip we stayed at Long Bay, and the service was spotty, but the food and the rest of it were good.

We stayed at Lighthouse Villas in Cane Garden Bay this last time, and they were very friendly, but it is across the street from the beach and a little pricy for the quality.

Check out the reviews on tripadvisor.com

If I were to go back right now, I'd probably pick Long Bay just because it is the closest to what we like and eat at Sugar Mill frequently.

Hidden gems are Smuggler's Cove, the North Shore Shell Museum for a hoot of a short visit and maybe lunch, a visit to Roadtown to wander around and day trips to some of the other islands.

I'd rent a car if you are comfortable driving in the Caribbean. Denzil Clyne is a very nice man with clean new cars in good repair.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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Thanx Diana , We were disappointed about St.Lucia , we will save it for later! I think the way we will go in Tortola is budget accomodations that enable us to rent a car and stay longer . Sugar Mill is definitely my style but we want to spend less , Icis Villas , Tamarind Club , Peach Cottage or Rice House seem to fit the bill . It looks very beautiful , I am sure we will not be disappointed . From what I have read it is a good place to renta car to have the optin of exploring different areas , beaches , rainforest , etc. Thanx , Faith .
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Sep 14th, 2004, 06:56 AM
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We vacationed in Tortola last December and had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Sugar Mill Hotel in the Apple Bay area. It is a quiet tropical property with a small beach at the bottom of the hill--swimming is ok from the jetty.
We usually spent most of the day at the beautiful long curving white sand beach at Cane Garden Bay about a 15 minute drive--and finished up the day at the Sugar Mill. Myett's at CGB was terrific for lunch (hamburgers, conch fritters) and you can rent a lounge for $10 / day anywhere on the beach. There is also a watersports center. On some days cruise ship passengers would arrive around noon.
The restaurant at the Sugar Mill is very good and has been voted one of the best in the Caribbean. Website is sugarmillhotel.
You will need to rent a jeep to drive around sometimes mountainous roads that may have steep inclines. Well paved for the most part and while driving you will see gorgeous scenery of other islands. The views are hard to beat. We asked the hotel to have the jeep delivered and left off at the hotel not at the airport.
We also toured the Fort Recovery Villas which had spacious casual nautical themed suites all with T.V.s. The end top units were the best. Only the suites at Sugar Mill had T.V.s. Fort Recovery has a small dock where a boat could take you to Norman Island for snorkeling. There is a larger beach at this property. They offer packages where the snorkeling is included. The Manager, Pam, was very nice and helpful. You could feel the cool breezes as you opened the door. This property is closer to the modern West End Harbor. FRV also has a website.
There were wonderful views of other islands from both the Sugar Mill and Fort Recovery Villas.
We took a water taxi to Jost Van Dyke which is a small island in a beautiful setting. Stop at Foxy's for a cold beer and take a taxi to the other side of the island. Some boats will be anchored offshore.
You can sail or take a water taxi to several other islands--Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, St. Thomas etc.
There was a very good Caribbean band at Sebastian's late Sunday afternoon. This is the surfing spot on the island. Bomba's Shack (rustic) had music some nights.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Faith, we decided to base our stay at StJohn, our favorite island, then ferry over to Tortola for a day to check it out for a future stay. I couldn't quite find the right place to stay from my research, although anxious to get there and check it out.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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St John looks incredibly beautiful , it is a hugely popular island on this site along with Aruba . We had considered going to St John , but I am searching for something different I think , and perhaps a bit less like home . Diana , do you find a bit of a difference between these 2 islands( Tortola versus S.J.) ..... Islands I am excited to visit are St.Lucia , Martinique , Grenada (someday ! )We absolutely loved Port Antonio Jamaica , Tortola seems appealing ... insight ? Faith , Thanx to all , always appreciated advice !!!!
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Sep 14th, 2004, 03:30 PM
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ttt ,smiles and Thank You !!
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Sep 14th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Hi again faithie,

We, um, did not really care for St John. (Spent a week there last year.)

Really nice place - very lovely - but we were really unhappy with the numbers of surly American twenty-somethings staffing almost all of the shops and restaurants, and we found it to be far too Americanized for our tastes. (Is IS after all, the USVI.)

Many people just really love St John, but we much prefer the "feel" of the BVI's.

You most likely would really like St Lucia, Grenada, Tortola and Nevis. (Those are our favorites.) They retain much of the Caribbean flavor which is one of the main reasons we travel to the region.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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Thanx Diana , I believe we are on the same wavelenth with regards to island criteria . Tortola seems to be in that same vein , just needed to verify . We will make it to st. lucia someday , seems to have a lot of Irie that place !! I was interested in Nevis as well , but at this time I am finding more lodging in our budget range on Tortola . St. John is VERY beautiful , that is without question , but I had allready figured out what you stated . Always appreciate your input !! Faith
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Sep 15th, 2004, 05:09 AM
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Ha ha faithie!

St Lucia is OFF the charts with Irieness and island flavor. Some people find it a little overwhelming, but we've really enjoyed our trips there.

I think you will really like Tortola. Good choice!
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Sep 15th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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We enjoyed Tortola - we stayed at Long Bay - I understand they are under new management and service is improving, although we had no problems. The views from the hillside rooms are beautiful. Rent a car and explore the entire island - as someone else said, the views and spectacular. Try Pusser's in Road Town or on the Cay for a great meal. Also, Skyworld has great views at sunset. Tortola is not overrun with tourists and everyone is friendly; also, it's a very safe island. Enjoy.
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