Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It is the capital island of the British Virgin Islands and Road Town is the capital city.
Tortola is 60 miles (96 km) east of Puerto Rico and 22 miles (35 km) east of Saint Thomas. The island is about 10 miles (16 km) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide. English is universally spoken throughout the British Virgin Islands.
The favourable trade winds and near perfect weather have made Tortola one of the more popular sailing destinations in the world. Thousands of travelers every year raise anchor from Tortola traversing all over the Virgin Islands.
In fact many people fly in to Tortola just to hop on a yacht and spend their entire vacation on the vessel. These people will often sail to some of the smaller neighboring islands in search of an uninhabited island where they can have the beach all to themselves. Others set sail to enjoy the great snorkeling or fishing.
Many affluent visitors will take a charter boat trip from one of several marinas to some of the best places, as many smaller and less-inhabited islands offer mooring and amenities. While charter-boat tourism makes up the bulk of travel to the British Virgin Islands, there are many beautiful places throughout the four main islands that are easily accessible.
Tortola is also visited by cruise ships. Virtually all dock at a large pier near the entrance to the inner harbor at Road Town, with fairly easy walking into town.
East End has the best beaches on the island, including Josiahs Bay and Lambert Beach.
The Tortola Ferry moves between Tortola and St. Thomas. In actuality, there is a group of several different ferry companies that provide service between the two islands. These ferries are what connects the people of the British Virgin Islands with the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ferries link the city of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas with either Road Town or the West End of Tortola.
The ferry is one of the more popular ways to reach Tortola from the U.S. This is due to the fact that Americans can reach Tortola via only one direct flight and then a short ferry ride. This no doubt saves the traveler several hundred dollars, since a second flight would not be necessary.
There are plenty of activities available in Tortola such as swimming, surfing, scuba diving, boating, fishing and even hiking.