Tortola

Tortola doesn't have many historic sights, but it does have lots of spectacular natural scenery and beautiful beaches. Although you could explore the island's 21 square miles (56 square km) in a few hours, opting for such a whirlwind tour would be a mistake. There's no need to live in the fast lane when you're surrounded by some of the Caribbean's most breathtaking panoramas. In any event, you come to Tortola to relax, read in the hammock, and spend hours at dinner, not to dash madly around the island ticking yet another sight off your list. Except for the Dolphin Discovery, where advance booking is recommended, the other island sights are best seen when you stumble upon them on your round-the-island drive.

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  • 1. Cane Garden Bay

    Once a sleepy village, Cane Garden Bay has become one of Tortola's most popular destinations. Stay at a small hotel or guesthouse here, or stop...Read More

  • 2. Cane Garden Bay Beach

    This silky stretch of sand boasts exceptionally calm crystalline waters—except when storms at sea turn the water murky. Snorkeling is good along the edges. Casual...Read More

  • 3. Old Government House Museum

    The official government residence until 1997, this gracious building now displays a nice collection of artifacts from Tortola's past. The rooms are filled with period...Read More

  • 4. Apple Bay Beach

    Along with nearby Little Apple Bay and Capoon's Bay, this is your spot if you want to surf—although the white, sandy beach itself is narrow....Read More

  • 5. Brewers Bay Beach

    This beach is easy to find, but the steep, twisting roads leading down to it can be a bit daunting. An old sugar mill and...Read More

  • 6. Callwood Distillery

    Nobody is really sure how long rum has been made at the Callwood Distillery, but it's been at least 200 years, and one thing is...Read More

  • 7. Elizabeth Beach

    Beach

    Home to a small resort, Elizabeth Beach is a palm-lined, wide, sandy beach with parking along its steep downhill access road. Other than at...Read More

  • 8. Fort Burt

    The most intact historic fort on Tortola (that's not saying much, however) was raised by the Dutch in the early 17th century to safeguard Road...Read More

  • 9. Fort Recovery

    An unrestored but largely intact 17th-century Dutch fort sits amid a profusion of tropical greenery on the grounds of the Fort Recovery Beachfront Villas and...Read More

  • 10. Her Majesty's Prison Museum

    Road Town’s formidable prison was constructed in the mid-19th century and went on to hold prisoners in relatively primitive conditions for more than a century...Read More

  • 11. J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens

    This 3-acre showcase of plant life has sections devoted to prickly cacti and succulents, hothouses for ferns and orchids, gardens of medicinal herbs, and plants...Read More

  • 12. Long Bay Beach West

    Beach

    This beach is a stunning, mile-long stretch of white sand; have your camera ready to snap the breathtaking approach. Although Long Bay Resort...Read More

  • 13. Long Bay Beach, Beef Island

    If this beach wasn't located right next to the airport, it probably would show up on lists of the Caribbean's most beautiful strands. Long Bay...Read More

  • 14. Mount Healthy National Park

    The remains of an 18th-century sugar plantation can be seen here. The windmill structure, the last one standing in the BVI, has been restored, and...Read More

  • 15. North Shore Shell Museum

    Egbert Donovan, the “shell man” of Carrot Bay, entertains passing buses full of tourists with tunes on his guitar and welcomes those who tarry longer...Read More

  • 16. Sage Mountain National Park

    At 1,716 feet, Sage Mountain is the highest peak in the BVI. From the parking area, a trail leads you in a loop not only...Read More

  • 17. Smuggler's Cove Beach

    A beautiful, palm-fringed beach, Smuggler's Cove is down a pothole-filled dirt road. After bouncing your way down (a four-wheel-drive rental is highly recommended), you'll feel...Read More

  • 18. Soper's Hole

    On this little island connected by a causeway to Tortola's western end, you can find a marina and a captivating complex of pastel West Indian–style...Read More

  • 19. Tortola Pier Park

    Tortola's Cyril B. Romney Pier Park is the point of disembarkation for cruise ship passengers visiting the island. This Road Town development has a cigar...Read More

  • 20. Dolphin Discovery

    Get up close and personal with dolphins as they swim in a spacious seaside pen. There are three different programs. In the Royal Swim, dolphins...Read More

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