No matter where you hail from, your idea of the perfect Caribbean paradise is probably similar to everyone else’s— warm, tropical breezes, azure blue seas, swaying palm trees held together by hammocks strung between them, deserted white sandy beaches, fluffy clouds, and the sound of steel drums in the air. Sound about right? if this is your idea of paradise, then meet Tortola—the perfect Caribbean paradise.
Tortola is the largest and most populated British Virgin Island, covering about 24 square miles. It is also where the British Virgin Island capital city, Road Town, is located. Because its the largest of the British Virgin Islands, it’s also the most populated, which means tourists you have a lot more choices when it comes to shopping, restaurants, resorts and well, tourist traps. The British influence is most obvious on Tortola, where there’s an emphasis on politeness and decorum. People are very friendly here and will take time to stop and chat with you.
Tortola is home to more than 30 of the world’s most beautiful sheltered bays, each offering a variety of activities including sun-loving, snorkeling, powerboat tours, parasailing, SCUBA diving, swimming, and of course, the perfect place to do nothing. Cane Garden Bay, on the north shore of Tortola, is often called one of the Caribbean’s Top 10 beaches, but it can be very crowded when cruise ships are in town.
Another “must visit” is Marina Cay, off the eastern tip of Tortola. Marina Cay offers a fantastic beach, a small resort and a fantastic beachside restaurant where you can sit and watch planes take off and land just across the channel.
The super secret handshake location that locals love but might not tell you about is Smuggler’s Cove. Smuggler’s Cove can be difficult to access depending on the seas, but is totally worth the effort. Smuggler’s Cove lies at the extreme western tip of Tortola. This is the beach of your dreams—a crescent shaped white sand beach perfectly ringed by palm trees and uncrowded. The water from the shore is flat and calm and usually very clear, and there’s an amazing coral bank just offshore for some of the best snorkeling on the island.