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Tortola, BVI info as of 3/31/16

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Diamant Sailor

Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1842
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:08 am    Post subject: Tortola, BVI info as of 3/31/16 Reply with quote

Tortola and BVI tips (been there 3X, including March 2016): info I posted on a Sagitta forum plus some additions re hotel and ferry and flying in.......

Enjoy the BVI: there's much to enjoy, and it's super that Sagitta and Vela have this on their skeds now!

**Two very nice hotels in Road Town: Maria's by the Sea and the Village Cay Marina Hotel. We stay in the latter, in a waterfront room. Friends stay at Maria's and enjoy it. Village Cay is right on the harbor, nice open-air, but covered bar and restaurant. Maria's is a couple of blocks away. If your tender picks you up at Village Cay, it's so convenient to stay there. Both hotels are in short walking distance from the ferry landing, with Maria's the closer of the two.

**Ferry: if you have a reservation or a specific ferry time you want to get, be sure to be there at least an hour ahead. Having a reservation doesn't really mean that if you get there late. They fill the ferry with whomever is there. Do remember that the ferrys can run on island time....don't dawdle.
Ferry ride from/to St. Thomas takes about an hour. Can be bumpy.

**If flying to Beef Island (EIS) and then going to Road Town: Tortola has gov-controlled cab service, with controlled rates. And then there are independents. You want the gov cabs: licensed and rates set. There will be a govt cab stand as you exit with your bag. Drive to Road Town is about 20 minutes, beautiful drive, $15 a person. Two airlines fly to EIS: Seaborne, a passenger plane that holds about 35 and has a flight attendant. It's connected with American and Jet Blue, so you can book all the way to EIS with either of those. The other is Cape Air, a nine-passenger plane that seats you based on your weight. I believe it's connected with United. Flown both, vastly prefer Seaborne. Flights are from San Juan, PR, and take about 20 minutes.

**A word about driving on Tortola....they drive on the left side of the road (they ARE Brits), but with cars built for the right side, like ours. Rent a car and you could make a bad mistake...especially, if you've been to Pussers. LOL. Roads are narrow, twisting, sometimes quite bumpy, and you never know what might come around the corner towards you. We always feel much better getting a local driver.

**There is the Callwood Rum Distillery on the opposite side of Tortola from Road Town, but getting there requires very very long ride around the outer edge of the island or a winding and sometimes bumpy drive up over the top and down. Of the two, we preferred going over the top re expansive views and shorter drive. That opposite side of the island is beautiful, lots of beaches, and Callwood is a working distillery.

**BVI is a fav of ours in many ways.
If you get to Leverick Bay in Virgin Gorda and are there onite on a Mon-Wed (Dec-May), go to the Leverick Bay Marina Resort (on the beach) and go to Michael Beans' Happy Arrrr show on the beach, 5-7pm. He's a comic, musician,'s a kitschy show from a kitschy pirate stage, but so much fun! (What's the first letter of the pirate Alphabet? Arrrrr! What's the last letter of the pirate alphabet? Rrrrrrr!). Conch blowing contest, some people come in pirate dress (all the Arabella passengers do!), there's a casual menu available (food and drink), but no requirement to order anything. I believe it's a free show, but I'm not sure since Arabella includes it as part of the BVI trip.

Michael Beans makes a drum out of a 12-pack beer box (amazing foot talent!) and strums a guitar. He does pass around a tip bottle, but everything he collects goes to a school in Haiti that he built from his years of tips. And his black pirate ship/home visible in the harbor is a hoot. Arabella makes this a regular stop, and it's always such fun.

Of course, in the BVI's there is Foxy's and then there is the floating bar, Willy T. Baths are beautiful and a must for first timers.....volcanic rock formations with waterfalls, pools, etc that you walk thru. Many many gorgeous beachs, a whole lot of great snorkeling.

Have fun!!!
jacquie jacquie jacquie

Next: Vela, March 4; Diamant Oct. 21 (FleetWk)
Since 2000: Tall ships Arabella (7) Diamant (4), Vela (2), Mandalay, Sagitta, Polynesia, Star Clippers (4), Windstars (4)
Pre 2000: Caribe I, Seabreeze, Oceanbreeze, Renaissance III, Columbia Queen
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 89
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the recap, Julie! Tortola is one of my favorite Caribbean islands to tour via rental jeep. You can cover a lot of ground in a day. Just take the switchbacks slow. Mt. Sage National Park, Long Bay, Smugglers Cove, and Bomba Shack at Carrot Bay are great tour spots!
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