trip sa vvy

The coastal road that skirts Tortola’s north-shore village of Carrot Bay reveals iconic island vistas.


amed for seductive

white-sand coves and unparalleled sailing waters, the British virgin islands are the caribbean’s archetypal archipelago — 60 islands afloat in the storied sir francis drake channel. its famed private-island resorts are beyond the budgets of most, but savvy visitors can still enjoy a virgins vacay by staying on 10-square-mile tortola, the hub of the Bvi chain. this largest British virgin is captivating in its own right and also makes a convenient base for day trips to its alluring neighbors. airfare into tortola’s terrence B. Lettsome international airport spikes during peak periods, so consider flying into nearby st. thomas, usvi, and ferrying over. an airport-to-harbor taxi ride on st. thomas is a reasonable $7, and the 50-minute journey from charlotte amalie to tortola’s West end runs approximately $50 round-trip. Beyond the charisma-free capital of road town, tortola delivers stellar beaches, lively bars, stunning vistas and a scene that is both upbeat and laidback. although dining in this thriving yachting center and cruise-ship port can be expensive, there are plenty of moderately priced inns. there’s no public transportation to speak of, so rent a car for a couple of days to visit further-flung beaches and restaurants. the island’s scalloped north shore is where you’ll find most of tortola’s beaches, including iconic cane Garden Bay. curving beneath soaring mountains, it’s the bustling center of the tourist scene, jampacked during high »

Steve SimonSen

affordable tortola

tortola offers an economical introduction to the enchanting – and otherwise expensive – British virgin islands.
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small isle, big value

trip savvy
tortola o N $ 1 3 4 a D aY *
  HOTel // Average $117 in low season ($173 high)   bReaKFasT // Trellis

The half-mile sweep at Josiah’s Bay is a beachgoer favorite year-round, but from October to April it’s also a mecca for surfers. Opposite: The bars of Cane Garden Bay attract a decidedly laid-back crowd.

Bay Cybercafé, Trellis Bay; $12 for Trellis Bay Omelet; 284-495-2447   luNCH // Naomi’s Little Secret, Josiah’s Bay; $11 for garden salad with grilled chicken breast; 284-495-2818   DiNNeR // Jolly Roger, West End; $18 for barbecue chicken plus sides; 284-495-4559   aCTiviTY // Day trip to Jost Van Dyke, $35 for ferry and round-trip taxi transfer to White Bay   geTTiNg THeRe // American Eagle flies to Tortola from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Air Sunshine, Cape Air and LIAT fly from San Juan and St. Thomas, USVI.   TaXi // From airport to: Beef Island Guest House, $10; Tamarind Club, $18; Cane Garden Bay, Carrot Bay and Apple Bay hotels, $45   ReNTal CaR // Tola Rentals from $26 per day, with discounts beginning on the third day. Drive on the left; a local license is free for visits shorter than 30 days. 284494-8652;   TaXes // Room tax is 7 percent; a 10 percent service charge is typical; departure tax is $20 by air or $5 by sea.   iNFO // 800-835-8530; *per person in low season ($162 high), based on double occupancy and excluding airfare, car rental, airport transfers, tax and service charges.
  TORTOla HOTels // Beef Island

Steve SimonSen (2)

season with throngs of day-trippers, so tranquility seekers should look elsewhere. Myett’sGardenInnis right in the thick of things, with six second-floor rooms that are surrounded by almond trees and have a treehouse ambience. each oversize unit sleeps four, and the restaurant is abuzz when cruise ships are in port. Just down the road, a couple of duplexes at CaneGardenBay Cottagesare surrounded by gardens and coconut palms, and each has a kitchen and patio. in prime position on idyllic Little apple Bay, Sebastian’sontheBeach has a casual surfer-hangout vibe and airy beachfront rooms on the edge of the sand. all 26 air-conditioned rooms come with a minifridge, and the least expensive are across the street, overlooking a small garden. there’s also a moderately priced restaurant, and others, including
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the infamous Bomba shack, are close by. Sebastian’sSeasideVillasnearby offers nine suites with full kitchens and ocean-view balconies. theHeritageInn is a two-story complex of one- and two-bedroom suites, each with its own kitchen, dining area and balcony. HotTip: request unit nine for a swell north-coast view that stretches all the way to the u.s. virgin islands. each air-conditioned suite has a king-size bed and Wi-fi, and there’s a small pool and a restaurant open for dinner and sunday brunch. the hillside location means there’s little within walking distance, but the sunset views are awesome and beaches are only five minutes’ drive away. tucked into a valley near tortola’s east end, family-run TamarindClub has nine air-conditioned rooms that encircle a huge swimming pool. the

garden units are a bit dark but offer good value, with queen-size beds, minifridges and coffee makers for a morning jolt. the restaurant’s sunday brunch is a local favorite, as is the friday-night trivia contest. it’s a 15-minute walk down to lovely Josiah’s Bay, a quiet summertime strand that becomes a popular surfing spot in winter months. on Beef island, which is connected to tortola by a short bridge, the casual BeefIslandGuestHouse is refreshingly removed from the well-trod tourist track but close to the airport. most guests overnight here before heading out for a sail (ferries for virgin Gorda’s North sound depart nearby), but it’s also a decent base for a longer visit, offering a cottage conversion with four rooms and a common living area. the water in front is grassy, but there’s superb swimming at undeveloped Long
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Bay not far away. the on-site restaurant de Loose mongoose is modestly priced and popular with yachties.

two-day four-by-four vehicle rental for $680 per couple (subject to availability).
OUT+ABOUT tortola’s smaller siblings

is built around the evocative stone remnants of a 370-year-old apple Bay rum distillery, its lush hillside estate punctuated with cottages. the 12 least expensive units are in a two-story hilltop building, and every room has a sea view. there’s a swimming pool built within a treadmill that was once pulled by oxen to power the distillery, and a compact beach restaurant across the street opens for lunch. the pricey main restaurant is one of tortola’s most romantic, serving flavorful cuisine in a candlelit setting in the estate’s former boiling house. ReaderExclusive: the ct+L Package includes three nights in a deluxe studio plus daily breakfast and a
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provide plenty of options for day trips. twenty-five minutes by ferry from West end ($25 round-trip; 284-495-9278), the delightful backwater Jost van dyke has just 300 residents, beach bars galore and calm waters at exquisite White Bay. virgin Gorda is famed for the iconic boulders and wading pools at the Baths, but don’t miss a drive across the island, which rewards with mesmerizing views. Get there on the 30-minute ferry ride from road town ($30 round-trip; 284-494-4454). remote anegada is renowned for bathtub-calm bays and exceptional northeast beaches. ferry service from road town now operates three times a week ($55 round-trip; 284-494-4454). — david sWaNsoN

Guest House, Trellis Bay; $100 in low season ($130 high); including continental breakfast; 284-495-2303; beefisland // Cane Garden Bay Cottages, Cane Garden Bay; from $130 in low season ($195 high); 284-4959649; // Heritage Inn, Windy Hill, Carrot Bay; from $125 in low season ($185 high); 877831-7230; // Myett’s Garden Inn, Cane Garden Bay; $130 in low season ($200 high); 284-495-9649; // Sebastian’s on the Beach, Little Apple Bay; from $85 in low season ($135 high); 284-495-4212; // Sebastian’s Seaside Villas, Little Apple Bay; from $150 in low season ($250 high); 284495-4212; // Sugar Mill, Apple Bay; from $255 in low season ($340 high); 800-462-8834; sugarmill // Tamarind Club, Josiah’s Bay; from $115 in low season ($139 high), including continental breakfast; 284-495-2477;

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