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keysmama Road Town - A travel report by MaxiStarr
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Road Town,  British Virgin Islands - flag British Virgin Islands
5799 readers

keysmama's travel reports

The Best of Tortola and the BVI

  12 votes
A 5 day stay in the British Virgin Islands starts in the West End of Tortola and ends in Road Town.Getting there is a challenge- we flew Miami to St Thomas in the USVI but missed the last ferry boat to Tortola, Capital of the British Virgin Islands.

A typcial beach in Tortola
A typcial beach in Tortola
You can fly directly to Beef Island airport on American Airlines, or fly to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and catch a ferry boat.

Ferry boats leave from the capital city of the US Virgin Islands, Charlette Amalie, St Thomas, but we stayed on the east end of St Thomas closer to Red Hook and were able to get there quicker from that ferry dock.

The ferry stops first in St John USVI, and continues on the 1 hour boat ride through the winding and scenic passage between the US and British Virgin Islands. It is truly seeing what the pirates saw- and looks like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean movie series.

We were very happy to have had that ride to enjoy the views of the islands and the boats and the homes dotted among the thick trees of each island.

The British Virgin Islands are many towns and islands in the Caribbean, just a stones throw from the more populated US Virgin Islands ( St Thomas, etc). The BVI has Tortola, Beef Island, Virgin Gorda ,Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, but we visited only 3 in the BVI and felt no need to visit the rest.

Favourite spots:
Road Town travelogue picture
Little Bay Beach, hard to find, horrible roads up and down the mountain, but completely worth it. A clear bay, great rock formations to dive, and one of the most pristine beaches I have encountered.

Josiah's Bay is on the other side of the ridge to the west, and is a great surf spot for locals. No one there that day , but there is a cafe and surf shack on the beach, and a old yellow dog apparently protecting the cafe which was not open.

Following along the Ridge Road ( the road running on the north side through the mountains) you will next come to Shark Bay National Park and Brewer's Bay Beach. The snorkeling was great at Brewer's Bay, and the beach was too. It is right next to a "camp" and by camp I mean cardboard and tarp formations in a wooded area right on the road in which the poor live in.

What's really great:
Don't miss the sign for Little Bay Beach
Don't miss the sign for Little Bay Beach
We truly had a great place to stay, and that made the end of each adventurous day worth it.

What we loved about BVI was that a) the cruise ships only came on Wednesday, so we could see them coming and retreated to the private beach area at Surf Song.

We also really enjoyed the friendly people, the beaches we had all to ourselves, the quiet pace. No tourist trap shop areas, not club-type atmosphere, no casinos....this is a treasure amongst an otherwise tiring Caribbean.

Long Bay beach
Long Bay beach
Most of the beaches on Tortola are on the North Side of the island. The winding mountain road is called Ridge Road and you are definitely on a ridge. Skinny, bumpy and many of them dirt, make for an adventurous road tour in our tiny rental car. You will need a car for this island. Bikes are out of the question unless around Road Town and the south coast, but up on the north side where all the sights are there is no way you could do this on foot or bike.

We used Dollar rentals and got a pretty good deal, and he picked us up at the West End ferry docks. Arrange it ahead of time as there are not many rentals on the island.

Don't miss Shark Bay National Park which is on the north and west end. Also Cane Garden Bay is very scenic with multi colored little buildings and shops and a small beach area. We left and opted for the larger Long Bay beach which had a big resort with shops, cafe and outstanding beach and surf.

Little Bay Beach rocks
Little Bay Beach rocks
Surf Song, on Well Bay, Beef Island, BVI You can drive from Tortola across a small bridge to Beef Island, the only islands connected by bridge in the BVI. Prepare to take a boat everywhere else!

Surfsong is quiet, unspoiled, eco-friendly with the best chef we have encountered anywhere! She can make an amazing variety of foods, from gourmet packed lunches for the beach, to served multi-ethnic vegetarian cuisine. We sampled it all and never went hungry.

The Long Bay Beach Resort and Villas were also charming and quiet and had a great shop and cafe on the beach.

View over Well Bay on Beef Island back towards Tortola
View over Well Bay on Beef Island back towards Tortola
On Beef Island, there is very little. Quiet calm waters on both sides, the airport, and Trellis Bay. Trellis Bay has the ferry boats that can take you to Virgin Gorda and other islands in the BVI. Hard to find though! Pull into the Cyber Cafe next to the Brellis Bay Market and on the side of the building you will find North Sound Express. Friendly and helpful. I am doing a seperate entry for Virgin Gorda it was just too beautiful to leave mixed in with Tortola.

On Beef, there is Trellis Bay beach and Long Bay Beach ( not the same Long Bay Beach as on Tortola, just the same name!)

The beach cafe at Long Bay Beach
The beach cafe at Long Bay Beach
Like I stated before, we used the private chef at Surf Song, with such yummies as baked polenta with portobello, sage, chevre and pecan toppings. Also a grand soy oriental veggie lettuce wrap dish with homemade plum sauce and sukyaki dips. The breakfast treat she left in our villa was a 2 day hit. Honey bun french toast with a pecan topping, soaked in the egg mixture and then rising and plumping when we cooked it that morning ourselves.

Also, the Long Bay Beach Resort's 1748 not only had a great view, but this open air cafe with outdoor open air kitchen had veggie pizza, veggi burgers, music and cold beer. Everything we wanted after beach hopping along the north side.

In Road Town stop at Nature's Way for some healthy veggie fare, Sebastian's on Apple Bay and the Trellis Bay Market on Beef Island was a perfect little grocery store for snacks and drinks and small items.

Other recommendations:
The lounge area and viewing platform at Surf Song
The lounge area and viewing platform at Surf Song
The West End has a few tourist spots and some really great scenery around Frenchmen's Cay, Nanny Cay( stop by the dive shop and say hi). You will need a boat or a car to explore.

The main town is Road Town and it has many modern amenities such as upscale shops but mainly this is the cruise ship area so for a taste of the real BVI stick to the north side or the West End.

We did see a dolphin center, where you can go and get in the water with the dolphins. The American Red Cross has a great building there and there is also a hospital, Peebles, and a community health center clinic all on the main road through town. You will also find the larger grocery stores in Road Town, and the small mom and pop ones everywhere else on the island , for provisions.

Published on Monday July 16th, 2007

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Sat, Aug 04 2007 - 02:28 AM rating by downundergal

This place just sounds heavenly and your pictures make it more so. I found myself wishing I was there the whole time I was reading your report.

Thu, Jul 19 2007 - 03:22 PM rating by terje

THanks for a good report!

Tue, Jul 17 2007 - 03:58 PM rating by mistybleu

A really intersting short report. I love the picture 'The Baths on Virgin Gorda',

Tue, Jul 17 2007 - 08:13 AM rating by marianne

Good, uselful information and very nice photos.

Tue, Jul 17 2007 - 05:15 AM rating by rangutan

Beautiful place, I wouldn't mind missing a ferry or flight home and be stranded here :-)

Mon, Jul 16 2007 - 03:24 PM rating by eirekay

Beautiful photos! I would like to hear more about your trip!

Mon, Jul 16 2007 - 12:07 PM rating by adampl

A handful of info plus great pics (the color of water is beutiful there). Thanks!

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