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Tortola is the largest and the most populated of the British Virgin Islands. Most of the 20,000 residents of the islands live in Road Town on Tortola, the capital city that surrounds the harbor like an amphitheater. This spacious, beautiful harbor, called the “jewel of the British Virgin Islands,” is the busy center of island life and marine activity in the BVI. The most important areas of Road Town are the Ferry Dock, the Main Street area with its attractive shops and restaurants, and Wickham’s Cay. Surfers flock to the northern coast of Tortola for its excellent waves and scuba divers come to explore the RMS Rhone, a mail ship that sank off Salt Island in an 1867 hurricane. Cane Garden Bay Beach is a favorite of swimmers and sunbathers, where you’ll also find many bars, hotels, live music and other events throughout the season. It’s also a favorite with the yachting crowd, and has spacious anchorage that is protected by reefs at its entrance. A nice side trip while visiting Tortola is to Frenchman’s Cay, a little island connected to Tortola by a causeway. Its’ West Indian-style buildings with shady balconies and shuttered windows house art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. It’s a wonderful place to sit with a drink and watch the boats in the harbor. The people of Tortola are friendly, and have a favorite saying, “you’re on island time now.” This typifies their easy, slow way of life – a way of life you may find very difficult to leave.


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