Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are one of the world's premiere sailing spots, and all winds lead to Tortola. The capital island is both home port to locals and stocking place for international sailors, as well as a great land stop for those who prefer to enjoy the sea from the shore. Most major cruise lines include the island on their itineraries, and there's a dock right in Road Town, Tortola's capital city.
What We Love
Painkillers: The BVI's most famous concoction is made with rum and pineapple, coconut, and orange juices. Try one at Pusser's Road Town Pub, where you can belly up to the wooden, Victorian-style bar.
Soper's Hole: This picturesque inlet was a hideout for pirates and privateers back in the 16th century and is still a popular mooring spot today. Grab an outside table at Pusser's Restaurant and watch the yachties stock up for their next sail.
Best Known For
Island-Hopping: The BVI's protected channels make boating a breeze for experts and novices alike. Take a day trip to Jost Van Dyke for ATVing and drinks at the Soggy Dollar Bar, or set sail for Anegada, home to empty beaches and the Caribbean's sweetest lobster.
Hiking: Appreciate the Virgin Islands from above at Sage Mountain National Park, where numerous trails lead past mahogany trees and coco palms. Various lookout points have vistas that span the British to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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Who It's Best For
Water Babies: Boating has been central to Tortola since the 1600s, when pirates hid out in the sheltered coves. The sea is essential to every facet of life here, and you can rent any kind of craft, from Boston Whalers to luxury catamarans.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Get Your Sea Legs: Tortola is best known as a jumping-off point for exploring the British Virgin Islands. So although there are things to do on land, they all point in the same direction: toward the water.
Susan Moynihan is a Florida-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Parenting and Woman’s Day.