Tortola is a British Virgin Island east of Puerto Rico
The British Virgin Islands are to the east or Puerto Rico. Tortola is a very popular stop, so you might want to work it out before you go. About 15 of the 50 or so British Virgin Islands are inhabited. Tortola will accept local currency, US dollars but not pounds sterling. However, it is a banking centre for many companies of the rich and famous who keep money abroad. Banking as an industry does not offer tourist opportunities, so as it is a small island built on banking there are not that many things to see or do. Beach sun and sea and a circular bus tour. We show you all the options. First, the island tour.
Tortola Cruise Terminal
A lot has changed since the Arawak first inhabited about 100BC and it has been a centre of shipping throughout, and right through the era of the slave trade. The museum is worth finding. It is quite moving and is mentioned in the Solo Cruiser book American Portrait. The new cruise terminal has recently expanded and it looks like there are further plans. The one well appointed major concrete jetty sits two ships and it looks like a second is planned. The difference between our first film above and the second below is incredible and time wise they were just months apart. Cruising is expanding and Tortola is expanding fast.
Often terminals have free wifi, but here some of the cafes have seen this as an opportunity to drive trade and it comes with a purchase or you can purchase wifi. With tourist volume increasing the facilities will follow. These islands are set for an expansion in tourism that they have not seen since the bubble started. There is a newspaper they issue on arrival, it has some good basic information.
The Island Bus Trip
You will pass the dolphin pen but won’t stop with enough time to swim with them, that is a separate tour (below). There is just one circular route up into the mountains round and down the other side, this has become the standard tour you saw above. We went with Kitty as you have seen. The drivers are merry. If you wish to be merrier, then look for the Reggae Rum Bus. The tour does not stop at Bombas Shack, that seems an overnight party place, but it does stop at the islands only working Rum Distillery which is a very small affair.
The shops on the way back to the ship are colourful, and have the usual tourist items. It is not a shopping paradise.
Where ever your ship is going next, take a look for a film. We have films everywhere.
Tortola features strongly in the third Solo Cruise romantic series of books. Violet cruises into Tortola and finds and old boyfriend and changes ships as romance slips away again. Load all four Solo Cruiser books to your Kindle these are all free to read with your Kindle library membership or just pennies to buy. Our other film on Tortola, the slavery museum and Botanical Gardens is the that was used as research by Sally Katz for her book American Portrait.
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Sally Katz used the films on Doris Visits to peg her books on! With permission. Each book takes place over a cruise! Book 1 is a Canary Islands cruise, Book 2 is in the Baltic, Book 3 is in the Caribbean.