EXPLORING Virgin Gorda
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Exploring Tortola

  • Tortola (Spanish for Turtle Dove) is a lush mountainous island. Crowning Tortola is Sage Mountain National Park, at 1716 feet, is the tallest peak in the islands and exhibits the characteristics of a tropical rain forest. Tortola is also the vibrant hub of the financial and government sectors with Road Town "The Small Town with a Big Heart" as its capital. Tortola also provides the main port of entry for a growing mega yacht and cruise tourism industry. Charming guest houses dot the hills and sleek resort hotels border some of the most beautiful beach expanses on the island. Beef Island (just a short bridge span away from Tortola on its eastern tip) is the site of the BVI's Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport and adjacent to it is sailboat-filled Trellis Bay, a unique cultural village with craft shops and restaurants.

    To navigate this mountainous terrain, drivers have a choice of two main roads, one following the mountain ridges and the other the coast with many smaller "tributaries" spilling off of these. The spectacular Ridge Road, with breathtaking views, follows the center spine of the island, a mountainous area sloping off to Tortola's north shore known for its white sandy beaches and great surfing sites, such as #_iah's Bay, Apple Bay and Cane Garden Bay. The coastal road snakes along the outer perimeter of the southern shore connecting charming rural communities from the east and west ends of the island with Road Town in the center.

    Road Town is home to the beautiful J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens which features close to three acres of indigenous and exotic plants, trees and herbs. The capital is also brimming with restaurants, shops, and is the site for the hospital, government administration offices and official Governor's House with its historical museum. Just behind Waterfront Drive is Main Street, a peep into the BVI's architectural past, which still has many historic buildings and churches, charming cafes, and curio shops as well as the Virgin Islands Folk Museum.

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