Tortola, "land of turtle doves' or Chocolate City is the largest
of the British Virgin Islands overlooking Sir Francis Drake Channel
and situated about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico. Its most popular
point of entry for vacationers is the East End Beef Island Airport
linked to the capital city of Road Town by the one-lane Queen Elizabeth
Road Town's scenic setting and sheltered yacht-filled harbour provide
a helpful orientation to the laid-back BVI lifestyle evolved over
the last 400 years by English, Dutch, French, and Spanish adventurers,
followed by plantation owners and 20th century settlers.
This friendly and diversified community tempts travellers with
every sort of regional and international cuisine found in a choice
of cheerful pastel painted restaurants, former forts, and sugar
mills. Palate-pleasing menus feature West Indian specialties of
fresh lobster, conch, turtle, spicy goat, and curries of every description.
An authentic English pub serves Pusser's Rum, traditional drink
of the British Navy for 300 years, as well as a popular fruit flavoured
local concoction known as the "Painkiller."
Savvy shoppers can usually find bargains in perfume, jewellery,
wine, and Wedge wood china in the homey-style stores dotting Road
Town's Main Street and Soper's Hole, West End. However, the shops
are best known for their unique local products. Look for one-of-a-kind
antiques, silk-screened fabrics, intricate ship models, and watercolours
by Tortolan artists.
Tortola also offers and ideal jumping off point to the other main
island of Virgin Gorda with its famous Baths, magical Anegada, and
rustic Jost Van Dyke.