Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands, though that doesn't exactly mean that it is big. In fact, this mountainous Caribbean island is only about fourteen miles long and three miles wide. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for with beaches, great weather, and lots of fun things to do. Like all of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola is an ideal place to get away from it all. While visitors can expect to enjoy plenty in the way of peace and quiet on a Tortola vacation, they can also get into some exciting active pursuits if they please. Boating is one of the top things to do here, and you can also arrange a scuba diving trip if you want to explore the underwater side of things.

When you're not sailing and scuba diving on your Tortola vacation, you can always go shopping. Once the sun comes up, the shops start opening for business. On display at the Tortola shops are West Indian wares, which range from soaps and rums to jewelry and spices. A day of shopping is bound to work up your appetite, in which case you'll be glad to know that this hub of the British Virgin Islands has quite a selection of restaurants. While some of the restaurants on the island of Tortola offer an upscale air, others are more casual and cost effective. The Tortola hotels boast some of the best restaurants on the island, so you might not have to go far to find something good to eat.

While you can always stay in a hotel during your Tortola vacation, booking a rental property is also worth considering. Should you have the funds, a sprawling villa estate can be an excellent way to go. Less expensive Tortola rentals are also available if you want to save on rates. Perhaps a two-bedroom apartment or a studio unit will be all that you will need. Regardless of where you choose to stay on your Tortola vacation, a good time awaits you. Tortola, like many islands in the Caribbean, boasts white-sand beaches, and they figure among the island's top attractions. Cane Garden Bay is one of the best beaches on Tortola, and it's an ideal spot to try some surfing if you're up for it.

There is no shortage of stunning beaches on the island of Tortola, which is why Tortola travel is only increasing in popularity. While some of the beaches here are secluded, others are more crowded and feature beach bars or restaurants. Sipping on a cocktail and dining on some good food while hanging out by the beach is one of the most popular ways to spend some time in Tortola. When you're not hanging out at world-class Tortola beaches such as Cane Garden Bay, Smuggler's Cove, or Long Bay Beach during your trip, you can always enjoy a tour. The Tortola tours include boat tours, snorkeling tours, and sailing tours, among others. As for anglers, a deep-sea fishing excursion can fill hour after happy hour.

There are many interesting possibilities when it comes to things that you can add to your Tortola travel itinerary. According to many, no trip to the island would complete without a visit to Sage Mountain National Park. Sage Mountain tops out at 1,752 feet, making it the tallest mountain on Tortola. The park that surrounds this mountain features primeval rainforests. When you're not trekking through the forest at Sage Mountain National Park, you can savor the views of the nearby cays. As for other Tortola travel attractions that deserve a look, they include the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens and Shadow's Ranch. The former is an Eden for plant and flower lovers, while the latter is the place to go if horseback riding at Sage Mountain National Park or on the beach at Cane Garden Bay sounds good.

For those who are planning a Tortola vacation, there are two ways to get here. You can come by plane, in which case you will touch down at the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. Beef Island is due east of Tortola, and the two landmasses are connected by a bridge. You can also come by boat. For those who are without a private craft, the ferry from St Thomas is the way to go. Tortola visitors can also hop onto a ferry to visit some of the other islands in the British Virgin Islands once they arrive. Perhaps you'll even arrange a few days on Peter Island, which is a private island that boasts just one resort. There are several inviting possibilities when it comes to Tortola vacations, and the laid-back, casual appeal that this island offers is utterly intoxicating.

Top image: Garrett Gill (flickr)
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