CRUISING TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS:
Tortola is a pretty island with towering mountains and white sandy beaches. It has not been as commercialized as some of the better known Caribbean islands and so provides more of a secluded escape. At the same time, this means that there are less tourist-oriented facilities and so it may seem at first blush that there is not as much to do. However, the island is strong on what made the Caribbean famous - - white sand beaches, water sports and sailing.
Only about 22 square miles, Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands. It also acts as the island chains governmental center. However, the island does not seem densely populated.
Since the 1960s, Tortola has been an offshore financial center. As a result, the island is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean. It also has an extremely low crime rate.
Tourism is nonetheless important to the economy. The people are tourist friendly. However, perhaps reflecting the British background of the island they tend to be polite and somewhat reserved
Although the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a British Overseas Territory, the official currency is the U.S. Dollar.
English is the island's primary language.
Cruise visitors to Tortola often use it as a jumping off place for visits to other parts of BVI, particularly Virgin Gorda. There is also ferry service to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, some 22 miles away.
Above: Sailing is popular in the British Virgin Islands.
Below: The British Virgin Islands government offices in Road Town, Tortola.
Road Town is Tortola's only urban center. It has developed noticeably in the last few years. Still, while it has shops, it is not a shopping center like Charlotte Amalie on nearby St. Thomas. Among the things to see in Road Town are the Old Government House Museum, the Virgin Islands Folk Museum, the Old Cotton Works Museum, the J.R. O'Neal Botanical Gardens and the Tortola Dolphin Discovery.
Cruise destination - Tortola, British Virgin Islands - Tortola Overview