Tortola is one of the islands in the British Virgin Islands, a Caribbean charter-boat capital. Featuring many coves and white-sand beaches encircled by tropical vegetation, the island also introduces the way of life led by its people centuries ago.\r\n \r\nTortola is a mountainous island that is 19km\/12mi long and up to 5km\/3mi wide. It is part of the British Overseas Territory. However, Tortola owes its name to the Spanish, maybe even to Christopher Columbus, who probably feasted on turtle eggs there, according to stories.\r\n \r\nBesides exploring the island's bays, you may wish to visit Tortola to enjoy water sports and diving activities and admire their colonial heritage and local culture. Whatever you intend to do, don't trust Road Town square's clock since it shows accurate time only twice a day.\r\n \r\nWhere Is Tortola?\r\nTo find out where Tortola is, locate the Hispaniola Island in the Caribbean Sea. If the name means nothing to you, find an island east of Cuba shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Further east, you will find Puerto Rico.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThere is a group of smaller islands east of Puerto Rico. Three of them stand out in size, and Tortola is the easternmost of them.\r\n \r\nThe island is the largest of the British Virgin Islands which are a part of the Lesser Antilles archipelago. Geographically, the archipelago separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean.\r\n \r\nA Story Of Tortola\r\nBefore the arrival of the Europeans, Arawak and, subsequently, Carib Indians inhabited the island. Upon discovery of Tortola and the British Virgin Islands, European naval powers tried to set a base here.\r\n \r\n\r\n \r\nThe Spanish, for example, needed the islands to secure convoys carrying gold to Spain. However, Bluebeard and other pirates, the first non-native settlers, used Tortola's bays to relive the Spanish ships from the gold.\r\n \r\nThe Spanish and the up-and-coming seafarers weren't the only pretenders. The British, French, Dutch, and the Danish were some interested parties, as well.\r\n \r\nThe British took control over the island of Tortola in the 17th century. They brought slaves from Africa and started the sugarcane production. The abolition of slavery occurred on August 1 of 1834, and the production faltered before long.\r\n \r\nGetting To The Island\r\nAs you have probably concluded by seeing the previous photo, it is possible to arrive on Tortola Island by airplane. Technically, though, you will need to land at the airport in the neighbouring Beef Island and cross the nearby Queen Elizabeth Bridge from there to get to Tortola.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nUpon landing at the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport, you will need to take a taxi to get to Road Town, the capital of Tortola. The distance is short, around 13km\/8mi, but taxi fares are rather pricey. In general, prepare to pay around $2.5 per kilometre.\r\n \r\nGetting from the airport to Road Town is straightforward, although expensive. However, that is going to be a relief since getting to Terrance B. Lettsome Airport is both pricey and usually complicated.\r\n \r\nIn general, direct flights to Beef Island are available only from the nearby islands. Thus, you will need to fly to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Antigua & Barbuda, or some other island to catch a connecting flight.\r\n \r\nSmall wonder, then, that many charter-yachts crowd Tortola's bays and coves. Before you anchor your vessel in some of them, report to the Customs and Immigration offices in Road Town or the West End. The offices operate daily from 8:30 AM to 7 PM in Road Town and from 8 AM to 9 PM in the West End.\r\n \r\nTortola, The British Virgin Islands Weather\r\nSince we have sorted out where Tortola is and how to get there, it's time to answer this question: when is the best time to visit Tortola?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhichever time of the year you decide to visit, you will need a swimsuit and diving equipment. Average lows typically don't fall below 20\u00b0C\/68\u00b0F, whilst average highs barely rise over 30\u00b0C\/86\u00b0F. \r\n \r\nThe period between June and October can be hot with temperatures over 29\u00b0C\/84\u00b0F from around 11 AM to 6 PM. Evenings, nights, and mornings are warm, just like the rest of the year.\r\n \r\nAverage sea temperatures fluctuate between 26\u00b0C\/79\u00b0F during winter months to 29\u00b0C\/84\u00b0F in early autumn. The only parameter that brings significant seasonal fluctuations is precipitation.\r\n \r\nTortola, the British Virgin Islands, is less rainy in the first half of the year. If you are visiting the capital island of the BVI during this period, bring a parasol. In the second half of the year, you could use an umbrella from time to time.\r\n \r\nIf a hurricane breaks out, though, you should have a boulder and a chain instead of an umbrella nearby. The hurricane season runs from June to November, corresponding to the wet season.\r\n \r\nThe likelihood for you to witness this tropical storm around Tortola is higher from August to October than during the rest of the season.\r\n \r\nYou will have a lot of sunshine in Tortola. On average, November and December are the least sunny months with seven hours of sunlight per day. Other months typically have eight or nine sunny hours per day.\r\n \r\nThings To Do Around The Island\r\nIf a multi-stage trip to the island by airplane or yacht is your big plan, you may as well know what to do in Tortola once you arrive.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nInconvenient airline connection to the capital of the BVI islands isn't the only reason why travellers get there by boat. Sailing along the rugged coastline full of bays and coves is as big a reason, if not bigger.\r\n \r\nThe coastline leads you from one white-sand beach surrounded by lush vegetation to another. They lie beneath green hills leading to Mount Sage, the highest mountain of Tortola that is 543m\/1782ft high.\r\n \r\nIf you're craving for an adventure in Tortola, grab a dive mask and explore the seabed. Crystalline waters around the island abound with exotic marine species. The nearby waters are brimming with corals, various fishes, lobsters, rays, eels, and other sea dwellers you can discover on a snorkelling tour.\r\n \r\nSince you're surrounded by water, engaging in water sports activities is the main source of fun and entertainment. Surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are some top water sports available around. \r\n \r\nAside from water and underwater activities, tour restored colonial structures from different eras. Hiking in the Sage Mountain National Park is a fun thing to do as it gives you a closer look of the island's diverse flora and fauna. If you haven\u2019t had many experiences of a lifetime yet, take a swim with dolphins.\r\n \r\nThe Best Island Beaches\r\nYou will find many great places around the island of Tortola to satiate your beach needs.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBeaches You Should Access By Land\r\nApple Bay Beach is part of Capoons Bay in the west of Tortola. Renowned for some of the best waves for surfing in the Caribbean, the beach is sandy, brimming with the best that Mother Nature has to offer.\r\n \r\nThe condition of the beach depends on whether there is a storm or not. When a storm sweeps through, it takes sand to some other part of the beach, leaving river rocks behind.\r\n \r\nWe advise you to come to Apple Bay Beach by land since anchoring is tricky here.\r\n \r\nJosiah's Bay Beach is another top Tortola beach accessible by land. Beginner surfers should go there before visiting Apple Bay Beach unless they like diving more. The wide beach offers little shade, so bring a parasol.\r\n \r\nBrewer's Bay, however, is where you should test your snorkelling equipment. Prepare for an adventurous ride to get to the beach by land. Once you arrive, you'll need to swim a bit to reach the snorkelling area, but you won't mind in the end.\r\n \r\nUnlike most other beaches, Brewer's Bay is a serene one, featuring shallow waters perfect for swimming around.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBeaches Accessible From The Sea\r\nLocated west of Apple Bay, Smuggler's Cove is a tranquil beach with gorgeous reefs. Accessible via land (unpaved road) and sea, it is rich with sea life worth exploring, so don't forget your dive mask.\r\n \r\nNavigating through Smuggler's Cove by boat is demanding due to the shallow reef. So keep your eyes widely open to avoid damaging both the reef and your boat.\r\n \r\nIf serenity is the last thing you need in Tortola, go to Cane Garden Bay Beach. Restaurants and bars line the beach sheltered from winds, and water sports enthusiasts can enjoy windsurfing and kayaking.\r\n \r\nIf you don't like a combination of wet skin and dry mouth, visit Cane Garden Bay's Callwood Rum Distillery.\r\n \r\nTo tour Tortola beaches with convenience, consider booking the beach transfer package.\r\n \r\nTop Tortola Attractions\r\nTortola may be a tiny island, but it offers a wide range of activities for history buffs, hikers, and naturalists.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n1.\r\nRoad Town, Tortola\r\n\r\nRoad Town is the capital of Tortola and its commercial and cultural centre. Walk along Old Main Street to appreciate renovated structures from different eras and visit the town's museums and historical sites. Climb nearby vantage points for panoramic views of the horseshoe bay.\r\n \r\n\r\n2.\r\nOld Government House, Road Town\r\n\r\nThe Old Government House is a British-colonial masterpiece and a museum. Join a guided tour to explore the house's premises, garden, and four old cannons branded with Queen Victoria's monogram.\r\n \r\n\r\n3.\r\nFolk Museum, Road Town\r\n\r\nMaybe you wouldn't look at the Folk Museum of the BVI twice when passing by. However, its collection should satisfy every fan of history and culture.\r\n \r\nThe Folk Museum encompasses colonial artefacts and items. Assess how skilful potters the Arawak and Carib Indians were and pay attention to plantation items.\r\n \r\nThe museum also exhibits crafts that are from ancient times, so that alone should be reason enough to visit!\r\n \r\n\r\n4.\r\nJ.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens, Road Town\r\n\r\nBotanic Gardens in Road Town showcase various natural wonders of Tortola Island. Towering royal palms line the path leading to a fountain, whilst a pond with water lilies makes it one of the top inland photogenic sites.\r\n \r\nMany tortoises find the pond more attractive to swim in than the sea. Aside from palms, some other plant species you will see in the O'Neal Botanic Gardens are orchids, cacti, and the endangered Acacia anegardensis.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n5.\r\nSage Mountain, Tortola\r\n\r\nIf you wonder what to do in Tortola when taking a break from the seaside, Mount Sage is the answer. From there, admire the views of Tortola and the surrounding islands.\r\n \r\nSage Mountain isn't only the highest peak of Tortola and the British Virgin Islands, but a national park with dozens of walking paths. The summit of Mount Sage offers the best sunsets in the archipelago.\r\n \r\nTo make it there, you'll have to traverse paths flanked by cedar and mahogany trees, vines, ferns, and many other plants. Along the way, martins and hummingbirds will keep you company. Sounds dreamy, right?\r\n \r\n\r\n6.\r\nCallwood Rum Distillery\r\n\r\nCane Garden Bay may be the most-visited beach in Tortola. Whether it is for the beach or the Callwood Rum Distillery, tourists flock this area often.\r\n \r\nThe distillery uses cane juice that is sourced and grown locally The original 400-year-old boiler still produces potent rums, four of which you can taste for a buck ($1). \r\n \r\n\r\n7.\r\nMount Healthy Windmill\r\n\r\nWhoever made the Mount Healthy Windmill, they probably made military engineers envious by the looks of it. The thick-walled 18th-century windmill grounds sugar cane. Its production was the engine of the local economy before the abolition of slavery.\r\n \r\nIt wasn't the abolition exactly that stopped the production. Former slaves were free to have their plantations. But a series of hurricanes and a drought following the abolition brought the industry down.\r\n \r\n\r\n8.\r\nThe Virgin Islands Maritime Museum\r\n\r\nMaritime Museum of the Virgin Islands showcases boat frames and tools used in boat-building. If you are unable to put the pieces together by examining these exhibits, you can view a PowerPoint presentation all about it.\r\n \r\nThe museum's highlight is the "Tortola Boat" sloop which used to be essential for the island's economy as much as Callwood's rum is today.\r\n \r\nFor a convenient tour of some noteworthy attractions in Tortola, you can book an island shore excursion by van and a private driver.\r\n \r\nTortola, the British Virgin Islands Recap\r\nMaybe a trip to Tortola will involve airport layovers, connecting flights, and whatnot. However, when you see this green island abounding with exceptional dive sites from the airplane, you may wish you never booked a return ticket. The island of Tortola is an excellent base for the island hopping of the BVI.\r\n \r\nIf you prefer global over local, Bali in Indonesia could be your next vacation destination.