Tortola British Virgin Islands Online Travel Guide

With a mass of buildings and bustling shops, Road Town surrounds the lovely harbor in Tortola in a horseshoe-shaped hub of activity. The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town serves as a center for bareboating (self-hire yacht chartering), commercial enterprises, and administration. Famously, the Emancipation Proclamation was read in this town in 1834 at the Sunday Morning Well.

To the port side of the harbor, boats and yachts from around the world anchor at Ferry Dock, the heart of tourism and maritime action. The waterfront keeps busy with cruise ships disembarking and cargo ships unloading. Sailors and boaters can charter vessels here. Nearby, Wickham's Cay and Main Street offer a stimulating environment, full of shops and restaurants. Stroll along the marina docks or the Inner Harbor seawall, where vendors sell their wares. Boutiques sell clothing and luggage and a farmer's market offers fresh produce.

Most of the stores stand on Main Street, a cultural mosaic filled with tourists and people from all parts of the island. Visit the galleries displaying some of the largest collections of eclectic artwork by local and international artists. Walk through the busy roads and browse for maps, books, island sportswear, marine paintings, rum, garden supplies, spices, Caribbean music, jewelry, and much more. Fuel up with an espresso at one of the many cafes, or have an authentic ethnic meal. Visit the Virgin Islands Folk Museum and see a variety of artifacts such as plantation tools, pieces of wrecked ships, and other items. The J.R. O'Neal Botanic Garden features a mini-rain forest, a collection of birds, and the indigenous and rare red-legged tortoise.

For a historical experience, hike to Fort Burt, at the edge of Road Town, the most intact ruin on Tortola. The Dutch built this stronghold in the 17th century to protect the harbor, and it now houses a small hotel and restaurant. The Old Government House Museum exhibits a huge collection of items from Tortola's past. Visit and see antique furniture from past centuries, hand-painted china, books signed by Queen Elizabeth II, and other numerous artifacts. Visit Road Town on your next trip to Tortola and experience the excitement and diverse culture. See all the sights and shop for exotic souvenirs, all the while surrounded by the tangy Caribbean air and tropical scenery.

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