Tortola, or "land of turtle doves' is the largest of the British Virgin Islands overlooking Sir Francis Drake Channel and situated about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico. Its most popular point of entry for vacationers is the East End Beef Island Airport linked to the capital city of Road Town by the one-lane Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
Road Town's scenic setting and sheltered yacht-filled harbour provide a helpful orientation to the laid-back BVI lifestyle evolved over the last 400 years by English, Dutch, French, and Spanish adventurers, followed by plantation owners and 20th century settlers.
This friendly and diversified community tempts travelers with every sort of regional and international cuisine found in a choice of cheerful pastel painted restaurants, former forts, and sugar mills. Palate-pleasing menus feature West Indian specialities of fresh lobster, conch, turtle, spicy goat, and curries of every description. An authentic English pub serves Pusser's Rum, traditional drink of the British Navy for 300 years, as wellas a popular fruit flavored local concoction known as the "Painkiller."
Savvy shoppers can usually find bargains in perfume, jewelry, wine, and Wedgewood china in the homey-style stores dotting Road Town's Main Street and Soper's Hole, West End. However, the shops are best known for their unique local products. Look for one-of-a-kind antiques, silk-screened fabrics, intricate ship models, and watercolors by Tortolan artists.
Tortola also offers and
ideal jumping off point to the other main island of Virgin Gorda with its famous
Baths, magical Anegada, and rustic Jost Van Dyke. Visitors can avail themselves
of an efficient ferry service to any of these nearby destinations.