Beaches, art galleries, shopping, snorkeling, and so much more can be found outside your Tortola villa rental. Whatever your interests are, there is something to see and do on the island. Head over to Bomba's Surfside Shack if you're in the mood to party, or down to Elizabeth Beach to swim and sunbathe on one of the widest beaches in the Caribbean. Most attractions are within easy reach of a villa on Tortola. Below you'll find a complete listing of Tortola attractions, all designed to help you have an unforgettable vacation.
Visit Bomba's Surfside Shack in Cappoon's Bay on Tortla, where panties and bras dangle from the ceiling. Signs flank walls saying, "Get naked for Bomba" and "Girls with big boops: give Bomba a hug." For more than 30 years Bomba has served up his legendary Bomba Punch and mushroom tea which he says will make you feel like at teenager. Then there's Bomba's Full-Moon parties. Bomba says, "Full Moon Party is over a blonde girl was once my wife...And once a month she ran away. So I had to throw a party on the moon to keep her home." In 1989 the parties began and continue on each full-moon date today. The Shack has been featured on E! television's "Wild On the Caribbean", in countless travel magazines and in Sport Illustrated's Swimsuit issue. Open daily from 10am, the Shack is a full-service bar and restaurant.
There just one way to really experience the British Virgin islands - sailing them! Take advantage of the constant trade winds and charter a yacht or even a barebone boat . With islands close enough to navigate by site, the BVIs is a sailor's paradise. Starting from the BVIs capital island of Tortola, you'll find almost 500 square miles of crystal blue cruising area. Rent a Monohull, catamaran, even powerboat and sail from island to island.
Did you know that The British Virgin Islands has more than 100 dive sites? This is probably one of the best kept secrets among the dive community; and Tortola is a great jumping off point! Divers from all over the world come for the numerous ship wrecks, brilliant reefs with towering coral pinnacles, underwater caves, lava tunnels, grottoes and exotic marine life. Many dive shops in Tortola make exploring under the sea easy for all skill levels. Visibility can reach more than 100 feet, even with temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Trumpet fish, barracuda, octopus, stingrays and sergeant majors are just a few of the fish you'll see at Brewer's Bay. At the northwest end of the island, Smuggler's Cove offers two reefs with grunts, squirrel fish and parrot fish, to name a few.
Located on the north shore of Tortola and best access by foot, remote Smuggler's cove is a great snorkeling spot especially on the eastern tip of the cove. This beautiful crescent bay is quiet, never crowed and has a coral bank about 100 feet off the shore. You can rent snorkeling equipment and loungers from a friendly vendor who sets up shop daily. There's also a small beach bar and a snack stand if you get hungry. The dirt road to Smuggler's Cove makes getting here difficult, but once on the beach you'll agree the trek was worth the trouble.
Get on board the Willie T's and expect to get rowdy. This "bistro on a briny" draws big crowds to The Blight at Norman Island. The original Willie T, a wooden Baltic Trader, sank in 1995, but the owners bought a new boat and quickly re-opened their floating bar/restaurant the following year. The food is good but people come for Zeus'killer shots -- the ski shots and body shots. This legendary bartender keeps the party kickin' and the crowd entertained. Visitors can hitch a free ride on the Willie T's supply boat, Wet Willie, that leaves Tortola. It's docked at Nanny Cay Marina and leaves daily at 5 p.m., returning around 11.
Grab your boogey board and get ready to chop the waves of this very popular surfer's haven.
After a few chops, let Bomba's surfside bar get you fired up with Bomba's infamous 'shroom punch.
Like many beaches in the British Virgin Islands, the beach shore is subject to the whims of the ocean and waves. Thus, the actual size of the beach varies throughtout the year. While it's not the best wading beach, body surfing and surfing are terrific.
Aragorn's Studio is located in beautiful Trellis Bay on the eastern tip of the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Aragornâs abundant creative energy is embodied in his studio, pottery and local art center situated at the heart of Trellis Bay Village, BVI. His dedication to the cultural arts are blossoming in a center where his own works are displayed amongst the works of the top artisans of the Caribbean and where craft skills are taught.
Starting off his day early in the morning, Aragorn loads up his shop on the water, his inflatable boat, with a sampling of goods you will find in the shoreside shop: spices, freshly baked bread, local island produce, his world famous t shirts and baskets full of the smaller Caribbean crafts. You will find his boat shop on the water between Trellis Bay and Marina Cay each morning. Just give him a shout if you see him going by and he will drop in for your convenient onboard shopping!
The shore side shop located on the water's edge in Trellis Bay is open from 8 am until 6 pm and later on evenings when events such as the Trellis Bay Fish Fry or the Full Moon Party is happening on the beach.
It is the ONLY gift and craft shop of its kind in the British Virgin Islands where support for local craft and encouragement of craft as a viable income in the region is strongly supported. What you won't find in the shop are trinkets from the Far East or other parts of the globe. What you WILL find are authentic Caribbean made items.
Department where you can buy your everyday necessities. Duty free perfume and high end cosmetics.
The government of the British Virgin Islands brought in several thousand tons of sand dredged from various harbours around the island and used it to rebuild the beach at Brandywine Bay. The beach had eroded substantially over the past several years.
There's nothing here other than good swimming and pretty decent snorkelling too! There's likely good shell collecting as well, as the sand has been dredged. If you bring a small shovel and sieve, chances are you may find a few treasures here!
Tourists rarely visit, so if you'd like a stretch of sand all to yourselves and enjoy shell collecting ... this is the place for you!
The snorkeling is fabulous at Brewer's but getting here isn't for the faint of heart! Road access consists of several hair pin turns and steep ascents, which some BVI visitors find more than a wee bit scary. Its really no problem if you take it slowly. Four wheel drive or front wheel drive is a real bonus when travelling to any of the beaches on Tortola.
If lucky and the weather cooperates, you will find Tarpon, squid, octopus, box fish, trigger fish, loads of parrot fish, thousands of interesting little reef dwellers and various coral formations. Just follow the shoreline near Nicole's Bar and you will find a marvelous underwater world which still remains mostly undisturbed.
Just over the mountain near Road Town are stunning views of Cane Garden Bay. The sweeping u-shaped stretch of sand backed by crisp green rolling hills is Tortolaâs most popular beach. Youâll find restaurants with live entertainment, beach bars, water sports, shops and a dock for cruise ships. The stunning views and great people watching make this a popular mooring spot for sailors who want to be at the center of the action.
Crafts Alive, a picturesque village for local artists and craftspeople, is worth the visit. The houses are reminiscent of the wooden gable end houses that were prominent features of the landscape during the first half of the 20th century. The same type of architecture still forms part of the vernacular architecture on the main street complete with ginger bread trimmings around the roofs. The thatched houses recall a different era when slaves built thatched houses entirely from grass. The fragile nature of these houses resulted in the great loss of lives during hurricanes in 1867, 1916, and 1924. Some of the craft items in Crafts Alive go back to African roots - dolls dressed in typical African attire, clothing materials and pottery. Typical of the BVI is the straw work, which was once a prosperous cottage industry in the eastern end of Tortola. Hats and bags plaited and sewn by the local women take a prominent place in Crafts Alive.
Elizabeth Beach is without doubt, the widest on Tortola, providing sun worshipers plenty of room to stretch out, get a great tan and enjoy the beautiful views of the British Virgin Islands. However, its girth also presents one rather daunting problem. Getting from the shade of the tree line to the water can be a somewhat "warm" experience! Sandals don't cut it in the heat of the day and doing the 100 yard dash can be challenging in the sand. Bring a pair of closed toe shoes with you unless you want to burn your feet!
In 2001 a local artist, Reuben Vanterpool, decided to turn a retaining wall in his Fahie Hill community into a gallery of its history; he sketched a series of scenes on the wall and, with the help of other artists, painted them in vivid colors. The result was the Fahie Hill Mural, an excellent depiction of life on Tortola after Emancipation but before widespread development.
Panels show how islanders raised and gathered their food: they depict young men fishing, older men watering cattle, and the whole family working together to terrace land for crops. One panel illustrates women baking bread in traditional Dutch brick ovens.
Other panels show the schoolhouse where children once studied, a sugar factory at harvest time, and men working at the nearby rum distillery. The mural also shows how islanders had fun: One panel depicts a fungi band at work, and another shows traditional dancing.
The mural is located along the Ridge Road between Great Mountain Road and Johnsonâs Ghut Road.
West Indian fine art and artifacts are a speciality of this shop. Antique and reproduction maps, prints and gifts. Mon-Sat 10-7 pm, Sun 11-4 pm.
Old fashioned shop with contemporary focus situated in historic building. Decorative accessories, gifts and artwork - but antique and modern. Mon-Sat 9:30-5 pm.
Islands Treasures has a great collection of Caribbean books and maps, model ships and local Caribbean art from watercolors to sculpture.
across from the hospital
Among the joys in visiting radically different places and climates far from home are the totally new vistas encountered. Gardeners encounter unfamiliar and exotic growth in the four-acre Joseph Reynold OâNeal Botanical Gardens. Park is open from 8am to 4pm with an entrance fee of $3 for adults, $2 for children under 10. The setting is an oasis of quiet in bustling Road Town. The gardens were opened in 1986 on part of what was once the islandâs 60-acre agricultural station, the rest of which has been consumed by schools, roads, and commercial development.
Named for the founder and first chairman of the BVI National Parks Trust, the gardens are the place to come to get acquainted with the rich variety of tropical plants and animals that live in the BVI. The gardens include an orchid house, fern collection, and a garden of local medicinal herbs. You will also find a wide range of fruit trees, such as mango, passion fruit, and breadfruit. Look out as well for the gardensâ collection of palm trees, including the native tyre palm, traditionally used to make brooms.
The gardens are a popular venue for weddings. Call the BVI National Parks Trust for the fees.
Of all the beaches in the British Virgin Islands, Josiah's Bay Beach is a surfing paradise! As soon as a north swell begins to roll, surfers suit up and head out to the break line!
Swimming is hit and miss for those who are not strong swimmers. It depends on the weather.
Access is easy by road. This is not one of those beaches where you can safely test your swimming skills or take your eyes off your children! Be sure you know where the undertows are before entering the water!
Little Denmark offers just about everything under the sun, but it is the Cuban cigars that have made Little Denmark famous as a distributor and retailer. This shop is complete with its own room-sized humidor and a large selection including Cohiba, Montocristo, Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, H. Upmann, and Romeo Y Julieta. Stop by and have a chat with its owner, Diana Bruce, a native BVIslander whose father came to the BVI in 1936 and started a cigarette factory on Peter Island.
on Main Street near its Top
Situated just east of Smuggler's Cove in Tortola's West End, Long Bay Beach offers several advantages for visitors to the British Virgin Islands. It is easily accessible by road and there's a lovely resort with restaurant and pool nearby with plenty of chairs provided free of charge for all comers!
There is quite a bit of coral at the surf line of this beach if you like to look for shells and other sea offerings.
Full Service Spa carries the top quality products for use and sale including Aveda, KMS, Mizani, Paul Mitchell for hair, beauty, nails and skin care.
Please visit our Salon & Spa at Village Cay Hotel & Marina, Inland Messenger, Road Town, Tortola.
Elegant former residence of the representative of the British Monarch. Intriguing and informative guided tour encompasses past and present. Shop and stamp museum. Monday - Saturday 9 am - 3 pm.
A 2-hour guided walking tour of Government Museum and historical Main Street, including refreshments and museum entry fee is available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 284 494 2268.
Hikers at Sage Mountain National Park, admission is free, can climb to the highest point in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, 1,716 feet above sea level. The 92-acre park located in west-central Tortola is also home to forest untouched for over 500 years.
The National Parks Trust has erected dozens of signs that identify trees and plants along the trails, including the West Indian mahogany, elephant-ear vine, and bulletwood tree. Visitors will hear the sounds of resident birds and bo-peeps, one of the most common kinds of tree frogs.
The entrance to Sage Mountain National Park is located about 0.3 mile from the parking lot, at the end of a wide trail that cuts through private property. Once inside the park, you can choose to follow the North Trail, which descends slightly before passing through some of the oldest and most lush parts of the forest; the South Trail, which cuts through drier forest; or the Central Trail, which follows the spine of the ridge. All three trails meet at a giant old fig tree at the western end of the park. Other trails track eastward from the park entrance and climb past impressive lookouts to the highest point in the park.
Shelters have been built at several spots along the trails, and there is a picnic table on the North Trail just past the park entrance. Brochures, which include a map of the park, are usually available at the park entrance, and there is a map on display at the parking lot.
Sage Mountain is almost always cool and damp; the air here can be a real relief on hot days. Wear sturdy shoes and plan to spend about two hours here if you want to see most of the park.
Samarkand Jewelers specializes in Caribbean gemstones from Santa Domingo (such as black coral), Tortola (such as jasper not normally in green), Dominica and other islands. This family business makes all its own jewelry. Real local shells are made into molds, the shell burnt out and the piece filled with gold and silver. Pendants of private boats are made by special order.
Main Street past The Plaza.
Immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Scrub Island Spa. With spectacular treatment rooms overlooking the crystal blue waters and a private soaking lounge where you can relax in between your island inspired customized treatments, this is a place unlike any other. Our highly trained therapists deliver masterful experiences enticing the senses while rejuvenating the mind. Featuring antioxidant rich products crafted with natural botanicals and anti aging formulations, the treatments of Scrub Island Spa leave your mind peaceful and your skin beautiful. Unique treatments including anti-aging facials enhanced with island aromatherapy, rich aloe and azulene body scrubs, and timeless massages relieve the smallest traces of tension.
Indulge your senses in a rejuvenating journey, found only in the treatments and experiences at Scrub Island Spa.
The island-inspired aromatic treatments at Scrub Island incorporate indigenous ingredients and focus on rejuvenation and anti aging.
â¢6,000 square foot Spa Villa
â¢ Rejuvenating views of nearby islands and mystical waters of the Caribbean
â¢ Relaxation Spa lounge
â¢ Treatment rooms
â¢ Infinity edge pool
â¢ Outside veranda
â¢Individual spa packages available
If you love the art and spices of the Caribbean, this is a must see! The shop is brimming with island seasonings, sauces, tropical sweets, gift sets,
legendary teas and coffees of the Caribbean, exotic herbs and spices,
West Indian crafts, Karl Merklein art. 119 Main Street, Road Town.
Black Lights, glowing artifacts, great dance music intermingled with some awesome blues, and laser lights, haze machine, and people dancing, or chatting, singing karaoke, or having dinner at the bar ... these are all things you'll find in THE BAT CAVE!
You'll notice bats pictured everywhere as well as Batman and Robin memorabilia that customers bring in to add to the collection.
You'll also find a fabulous, bigger than ever, air conditioned, circular, raised dance floor (that will rival any New York night club) complete with haze machine and some of the latest lighting technology in the BVI.
Beef Islandâs Trellis Bay is an artsy and hip place to be every day of the year, but on full moons its funky atmosphere boils over at the Full Moon Party, a joint production of Aragornâs Studio and the Trellis Bay CybercafÃ©. The parties may share a name with Bombaâs Full Moon Parties on the west end of the island, but the similarities end there. Trellis Bayâs fetes feature local musicians, a top-notch barbecue buffet, stilt walkers, and local artist Aragorn Dick-Readâs flaming fireballs.
The parties are a good place to sample Tortolaâs traditional music form, scratch-band music called fungi. Entertainment also often includes mocko jumbies, colorful stilt-walking characters that perform impressive moves at heights of up to 10 feet.
Aragornâs fireballs are a story unto themselves. Spherical metal sculptures about five feet in diameter, the fireballs are stuffed with flammable material, fastened on stands over the water, and lit afire. The effect is mesmerizing; flames dance over the crystal water, allowing glimpses at the ballsâ intricate carved designs.
The fireballs have a checkered past. Aragorn engaged in a very public dispute with the islandâs Conservation and Fisheries Department in 2004 and 2005 over whether he had the required permission to station them on the seabed. (Local law states that landownership ends at the high water mark; the seabed is controlled by the government). At the height of the dispute, the fireballs were confiscated and locked up at the East End Police Station. The matter seems to have been resolved for the time being.
Virgin Islands Folk Museum has some Arawak pottery and stone tools. The Arawak were native American inhabitants of the Caribbean islands as well Florida and coastal South America. The Arawaks were skilled potters, weavers, and woodworkers. Some of the more interesting pieces include a decorated spindle, and items depicting the wreck of The Rhone and H.M.S. Nymph artifacts, plantation items and reef conservation info. This small museum sells some t-shirts, paintings, maps and gifts.
Main Street just past The Plaza.