Tortola Shore Excursions
Between the cruise pier and the ferry port lies the Crafts Alive Marketplace, a selection of brightly colored shops. The BVI does not offer tax-free shopping, but this means there's lots of local craft to peruse, rather than the usual discount liquor and jewelry. Crafts Alive has some interesting stalls, displaying the work of talented local artists.
Cane Garden Bay
The busiest beach strip in Tortola is at Cane Garden Bay, just a mile or so west of Road Town. Coconut palms, soft white sand and warm turqoise seas combine to make a lovely Caribbean beach. It's the perfect place to relax, swim, hire a windsurfer or visit a fun beach bar. Behind the sand lies a busy little village, with several restaurants and bars to choose from.
If you would like a quieter beach than Cane Garden, try the next beach to the north, Brewers Bay. It's a lovely long stretch of white sand, with good snorkeling over the rocks at either end of the beach. There's just one beach cafe, which sells a good selection of food and drink. Behind the beach you can spot the remains of the distillery, built sometime in the 18th century, which gave the bay its name.
A short but steep ride up Ridge Road takes you from Road Town to Tortola's highest point, the 1716 ft summit of Sage Mountain. The area is a National Park, and enthusiastic hikers can pick from two well maintained trails which wander through the landscape. Watch out for huge elephant-ear vines, which climb the tall bulletwood trees. Though disappointingly the rare stinking-fish tree doesn't smell at all. Through the greenery you'll catch tantalizing views of Tortola's coastline, blue sea, and glinting islands beyond.
It's a bit of a trek from Road Harbor to The Baths in Spring Bay National Park on the neighboring island of Virgin Gorda, but for many it makes the most memorable excursion of their cruise. The Baths are made from a multitude of giant boulders by a beach which form a magnificent maze of pools and channels, perfect for exploring. The adventurous can take the exciting Devil's Bay Trail, a twenty minute expedition over, under and around the giant boulders southwards to Devil's Bay. As the sign at the start of the trail says, 'You should be prepared to crawl, climb ladders, and wade through water.' To reach the Baths, take the ferry service from the ferry dock at Road Harbor (about 10 minutes walk leftwards as you come off the cruise pier). The 40 minute boat ride takes you to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda, from where a short cab ride takes you to your destination.
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