THE VERY idea of “road trip” conjures images of adventure, freedom and exploration. You may have relaxed on the beach, gone for a snorkel or hiked up a hill. But sometimes you want to go for a journey somewhere, just you, the open road and some palm trees and no tour buses. And yes, you can do it in the Caribbean.
Many Caribbean islands are particularly suited for this type of adventure and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is just one of those special places. Sometimes you have to get out there and go driving at your own speed! Few places are safer, more fun or better suited for a road trip than Tortola. Pack a towel and the right attitude. This does take some skilled driving so if you’re liming, be sure to take a designated driver.
Above: Maria’s by the Sea
Start at Marias by the Sea..
You can start almost anywhere — pick up a car at the airport, in Road Town or Soper’s Hole. We got a car at Maria’s by the Sea at the Alamo rental. Maria’s by the Sea is a well-run local favourite in a great location in the center of Tortola. For business or pleasure, sometimes it’s great to be right in the middle of all the action. Maria’s also just debuted a brand-new wing of rooms and a great restaurant overlooking Road Town Harbour.
Main Street Road Town
A car is not a necessity while you’re in Road Town proper. Parking is easy, and once on foot, you can head to the waterfront of Main Street where there are numerous historic buildings churches, local cafes and shops. There is the Governor’s House and its historical museum, J.R. O’Neal Botanic Garden, the Virgin Islands Folk Museum, the Sugar Works Museum, and Dolphin Discovery at Prospect Reef. Don’t miss great local treasures at Sunny Caribbee.
As you head out of town towards West End, you catch amazing views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, St John, Frenchmans Cay and Little Thatch Island as you make your way around West End to Soper’s Hole.
Above: Soper’s Hole
After leaving Soper’s Hole, we recommend heading up the hill to Heritage Inn for a quick respite at the property’s Bananakeet Café, overlooking Carrot Bay.
Above: Heritage Inn and Bananakeet Café
Cane Garden Bay
No trip to Tortola is complete without a stop in Cane Garden Bay, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the Island, shops and the truly world-famous entertainment mecca known as Quito’s Gazebo. After leaving Cane Garden Bay, head up Ridge Road and catch beautiful views of Brewers Bay. Driving the ridge road offers many great views … but keep your eyes on the road!
Above: Cane Garden Bay
As you make your way towards the airport and Trellis Bay, you’ll pass Josiah’s Bay and head onto Beef Island. Trellis Bay is a unique stopover, within walking distance to the airport and ferry docks. You can relax on the beach, tour the Aragon Art Studio, or pick up a quick bite at the Cyber Cafe or on the beach behind the Hiho Surf Shop. If you happen to be in Trellis Bay on the evening of a full moon, you can experience one of Tortola’s most unique experiences: a Full Moon Fireball Party, when the beach is transformed with burning “fireballs” of art:
Now we head back to our hotel for a well earned dinner, and relaxation at one of the BVI Jewels — Tortola Style.
WHERE TO STAY
Cane Garden Bay
· Agape Cottages (www.agapecottages.com)
· Ole Works Inn and Quito’s Gazebo (www.quitorymer.com)