Tortola is not like your typical Caribbean cruise stop. It does not have the blocks of shopping and extensive tour infrastructure of the other islands. There are not usually a whole portfolio of tour options as with the other islands. Beaches are beautiful and varied. Two most popular are Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay. CGB especially can get a bit overwhelmed by cruise passengers but offers bars, restaurants and shops along a beautiful beach. Brewers is a beautiful beach but is absent the ammenities.
Any cab driver can take you to eaither. Ask for a short tour of the island as well.
Most cruises offer an optional tour to Virgin Gorda and the beach at the Baths. 45 minute ferry and a 5 minute open air cab ride take you to the path to the beach. There are shops at the top of the path and snack shop and bathroom facilities at the bottom.
Snorkelling can be fun here , excercise care if there is any swell to the surf.
Try the "path" to devils beach over under and around the rocks if you want more seclusion.
In road town there are several small shops, a small craft/art shopping center. Try a "pain killer" at Pussers , the official drink of the BVI's.
By the way, polite patience and friendly hellos go a very long way with the locals in the BVI's.
You can easily take a ferry to Virgin Gorda if you want to explore the Baths. Here's an example of one of the ferries that run from Tortola: http://www.islandsonline.com/smithsferry/
They also have "packages" at the bottom that include on-island transportation to the Baths.
Tortola - Took a cab from the dock with yet more CC'rs to Cane Garden Bay Resort. The scenery is unreal. What a beautiful place. We swam, and rented lounge chairs for $5 a piece. We asked the taxi driver to pick us up in 3 hours and he was there right on time. I can't remember the price for the cab but I think it was about $8 per person round trip. You pay the driver when he returns you to the ship. Its a bargain.
How about Smuggler's Bay? Snorkeling? Anyone know? I've heard a few horror stories about crowds and sewage problems at CGB and Brewers....? Suzanne74 - when are you going? We'll be on the Star, same route as you but not for another loooong year (4/05).
Tortola is a favorite..beautiful beaches, incredible views & so clean. Take a tour, go to a beach, stop in at Pussers store for libations. And there are some nice local shopping areas just away from the place the ship stops. Lovely poeple on this island! If I won the lottery here's where I'd go.
I had heard that the Baths in Virgin Gorda tended to be crowded when more than one ship was in port, so I took a catamaran excursion to Norman Island. It was wonderful. The scenery itself is worth the trip. We stopped near a deserted stop and snorkelled. There weren't a lot of fish but I did see a couple of stingrays and barracudas. The coral was interesting and the water was quite calm and warm.
The town is quite small but I enjoyed browsing through the outdoor market. The vendors were very pleasant and not pushy so I ended up buying some souvenirs. The town looked quite safe but you should take the usual precautions. Have fun.
The island of Tortola is a beautiful place. Although beach , water and sailing activities dominate the list of what to do there are in fact other things to see and do. There is and observatory and a restaurant on top of Sage Mountain in the Sage Mountain National park. The top of the hill at about 1700 feet provides a beautiful view and there is a rain forest like feeling. There is a 4 acre Botanical Garden called ONneal I believe. A nice assortment of local plants and flowers are displayed. There is a Dolphin encounter on Tortola and they may let observers watch who cannot participate. The views and vista from the steep hills and at each beach are beautiful enough to look at , if participation is out of the question. There is a rum distillery at Cane Garden Bay that opens for tours and ourchases.
I would check with the local cab drivers on arranging a tour to see many of these things. Driving the roads of Tortola alone is like an E ride ticket at your local amuesment park.
Cane Garden Bay is about a 3/4 mile long stretch of beach at the bottom of a hill. There are several beach bars and restaurants and several shops selling souvenirs. The views are great. Swimming is fine , stay away from swimming near any active anchored boats in the harbor. Walk to the end opposite the shops and bars for a less crowded experience.
Remember the locals in the BVI's are a little less used to and less tolerant of the crowds and fast pace . Friendly hellos, a patient please and a well meant thank you go a long way towards improving your interaction with them.
Cane Garden Bay beach is awesome. Just like out of a magazine. There are restaurants & chairs available & a few beach vendors--nothing pushy. Just a beautiful beach, can watch the little puffy clouds float by. Boats are moored a ways out--Water was calm. We were on a tour so did not stay all day but wished we could have!
I was there in January and thought it was a total waste of time. I was told the best beaches are on the other side of the island. I am going back next week and would appreciate anyone's comments on beaches, etc.
Alternative Beaches on Tortola
1) Smugglers Cove. Western tips of the island. Remote, no services.
2) Long Bay- Hotel and guest houses at one end, quiet solitude at the other. Good swimming
3) Apple Bay- Home to Famous "Bombas Shack" this is more of a surfer beach
4) Brewers Bay- Two bars , Good snorkelling
5) Josiah's Bay- North shore ,near East End , dramatic beach, no facilities
Can have strong undertow
6) Lambert Beach (aka Elizabeth Beach) Reached by private Road from the East End
This is where Lambert Beach resort is located. Can have strong undertow
7) Little Lambert Beach -Requires 4wd for access , no facilities and can have rough swell and undertow.
Finally as Discussed above , Cane Garden Bay. Beautiful , sheltered , full facilities, bars, restaurants and shops.