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Visiting quiet and unhurried Tortola in the British Virgin Islands will ensure a memorable Caribbean vacation. With lots to see and do on the island, there is never a shortage of options to entertain you, like snorkeling, shopping in Road Town, or just exploring the island. Before booking your villa rental on Tortola, use the information here to help you plan your trip, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local legend has it that the name was originally given to the island by Christopher Columbus, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove."
Visitors either arrive by boat or fly to Beef Island and drive across the short Queen Elizabeth Bridge to Tortola. White-sand beaches, such as Cane Garden Bay, are popular attractions. Cane Garden Bay is a large bay that is usually filled with boats and activities.
From the highest peaks on Virgin Gorda of 1,400 feet and Tortola at 1,700 feet you descend through dense tropical foliage and blooming hibiscus to the lowland desert covered with boulders and huge cacti. Coming in for a landing at Beef Island Airport, white sails and bays with anchored cruisers dot Sir Francis Drake Channel as far as the eye can see. Once on the ground, you too will want to feel the wind in your hair and taste the salt spray in the air.
Unlike their next door neighbors, the US Virgin Islands, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and the other small outcroppings of the BVI are unhurried, undeveloped and virtually free of crime. Located 60 miles east of Puerto Rico and just a short sail from St. Thomas, Laurance Rockefeller and other wealthy Americans discovered the perfect weather, powdery sand beaches, and constant trade winds were ideal for sailing, launching the BVIs into the tourism industry.
You can arrive by air at the tiny Virgin Gorda airport or larger Beef Island Airport next to Tortola, on one of the ferries from the US Virgin Islands, or by cruise ship at Road Town Harbour. Wherever you begin your adventure, be sure and spend time exploring all that these laid-back islands have to offer. Ferries between the islands are a good way to get around, and rental cars are available on Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing and windsurfing are popular water sports here with equipment and instruction available at many resorts. Hiking, tennis, biking, or a walk along a crescent white-sand beach provides an enjoyable afternoon activity. Shopping is limited to local shops in Road Town, Tortola and Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.
A variety of sizes, prices and amenities are offered in accommodations found throughout the BVIs. Diving and sailing excursions are readily available and give travelers a chance to explore the famous underwater wrecks, reefs and caves. Pack lightly, bring a good book, and let your cares drift away as you experience the understated elegance of the British Virgin Islands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting to Tortola, BVI and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.
Cape Air Puerto Rico / Virgin Islands Tel: 284 495 2100 or 800 352-0714 Caribbean Wings St Thomas, San Juan PO Box 2988, East End, Tortola, BVI Ph: 284 495 6000; Fax: 284 495 2032 Island Birds International Air Charters Tortola, BVI Ph: Capt Bob: 284 496 8240 or 284 495 1988 Island Helicopters International Ltd P.O.Box 2900, East End, Tortola, BVI Ph: 284 499 2663 or 284 496 8477, Fax: 284 495 2538 Air St. Thomas Tortola, BVI Ph: 340 776 2722
Tortola Distance from beef island airport To Little Bay (northeast) 15 minutes To Roadtown it's 15 - 20 minutes To West End it's 30 - 45 minutes
Vacationers don't just stay in Tortola, BVI villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! Getting Married In The British Virgin Islands
• You may apply for your marriage license at the Attorney General's office located in the Government Administration Complex at Wickham's Cay I, Road Town, Tortola.
* You must be in the British Virgin Islands for a minimum of 3 days prior to the wedding service and after having made application for your marriage license.
* You will be required to purchase $110.00 in postage stamps if you have been in the territory for less than 15 days prior to the ceremony or $50.00 in stamps if you have been in the BVI for 15 days or more.
* You will require passports as proof of identity and to establish your date of arrival in the BVI.
* If you were previously married, you will be required to bring a certified copy or original documentation of your divorce (absolute decree) or death certificate of a deceased spouse.
* Two witnesses will be required to oversee the signing of your marriage license application and two (different) witnesses are required to be present during the ceremony. (You may select persons from the BVI to serve as witnesses for either or both occasions.)
* Once your application for marriage license has been completed, you may then proceed to the
Registrar's office (located above the Post Office) on Main Street, Road Town, Tortola. The office is open from 9:00 am to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays.
The Registar Requirements
Marriage ceremony fees are payable to the Registrar and are $35.00 if the ceremony is performed in the office and $100.00 if the ceremony is to be performed elsewhere.
* Full (legal) names of both parties
* Your ages and date of birth
* Your occupations
* The names of the witnesses for your wedding ceremony
* If you are planning a church wedding, please contact the church of your choice and speak with the Minister or Priest regarding their requirements
Before making their way to Tortola, BVI villas, vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in Tortola, BVI even more relaxing.
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P.O. Box 134Roadtown, Tortola, B.V.I.284 494 3134