The Beautiful Beaches of Tortola

When you think of Tortola, the largest island of the British Virgin Island chain, do you think of the place you meet to embark on your BVI sailing adventure? Do you think of bustling Road Town or the picturesque Soper’s Hole? Do you think of a stop on the ferry on the way to another island? Perhaps Full Moon Parties?

For whatever reason, Tortola is known for many things, but not always it’s beaches – which really is surprising. Tortola has some stunning beaches. The best beaches are found on Tortola’s North and West sides and range from wide swaths of soft, light colored sand to beaches with some of the best surfing in the area. Because many face north, some can really rock ‘n roll when there’s a north swell, but on calm days they can be downright tranquil.

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Although Brewer’s Bay and Josiah’s Bay are both beautiful Northside beaches that should probably be on a “best of Tortola” list, we’ve seen them only by boat (We won’t talk about that time we rented a Jeep while staying on island and the adventure we had trying to get there. Have we mentioned that parts of Tortola are hilly and VERY steep?). Anyway, for the purposes of this post, we’ll cover just the Tortola beaches we’ve actually gotten to stick our toes in – so far.

Long Bay – West

Long-Bay-Beach copyright Rum Therapy
Long-Bay-Beach copyright Rum Therapy
Long Bay is a “long” stretch of powdery, light colored sand on the west end of Tortola. Long Bay Beach Club occupies a portion of the lovely beach, but the several times we visited, we were one of the few walking along and enjoying the scenery. Good photo ops include the overlook of Long Bay from the road at Lower Bay Point and the western end of the beach with Belmont Point in the background. If Winston is bartending at his Nature Boy Beach Bar,  located on the beaches western end, be sure to stop in for a cold beer and some conversation.
Read more about Long Bay here.

Long Bay – East

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Long-Bay-East-copyright Rum Therapy
Not technically on Tortola, Long Bay East is on Beef Island, a small island separated from Tortola by the short Queen Elizabeth Bridge – close enough we thought, to be included on this list. Apparently it’s a favorite with locals on the weekends and why wouldn’t it be? With its white sand and calm water, it’d be a great place to enjoy that Tortola sunshine.

Apple Bay

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Not far from Long Bay heading north, you’ll find Apple Bay, sometimes called Capoons Bay.

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Apple Bay has a great view of Jost Van Dyke, is one of the premier surfing spots in the BVI and is home of the one and only Bomba Shack, where you can sit and sip a Rum Punch while checking out the scenery.

Smuggler’s Cove

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Smuggler’s Cove is on the westernmost tip of Tortola.

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With beautiful palms, a view of Jost Van Dyke and an arc of soft light sand, Smuggler’s Cove is one not to miss. It’s a little tricky to get to, but that seems to keep the crowd’s at bay. Read more about Smuggler’s Cove here.

Cane Garden Bay

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A boater’s favorite, one could easily while away a few days in Cane Garden Bay just leisurely walking the beach, splashing in the calm water and enjoying food, drink and live music at several excellent beach bars. If that weren’t enough, there is also a rum distillery to tour within walking distance and a recycled glass studio to enjoy. Read more about Cane Garden Bay here.

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And to top it off, Cane Garden Bay has some of the best sunsets in the BVI.

If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy some of Tortola’s beautiful beaches, make sure to check a few out next time you’re in the area!

Find all of these great beaches on our Tortola Map

To see more posts on Tortola and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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What to See and Do in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

I hear it gets better, that’s what they say
As soon as we sail on to Cane Garden Bay ~ Jimmy Buffett

Cane Garden Bay is a gorgeous sheltered bay on the north side of Tortola fringed by a long and beautiful light sand beach. It’s a popular anchorage for boaters and if you’re lucky enough to visit, either by boat or while staying on-island, there are plenty of things to see and do.

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cane Garden Bay on multiple occasions and just can’t get enough. Cane Garden Bay is Tortola at it’s best – friendly people, great live music, delicious food, a beautiful beach and a totally laid back vibe. Here’s just a few things you should be sure to enjoy while visiting Cane Garden Bay – besides just walking the beautiful beach, floating in the calm water and enjoying a stellar BVI sunset! If you’re looking for fancy resorts and high dollar accommodations and restaurants, don’t bother visiting Cane Garden Bay. What you will find here is a place to chill, relax and enjoy real island time.

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Sailing in to beautiful Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

We visited Cane Garden Bay most recently on our BVI Sail and had a day to explore. We’ll start from where we entered – the dinghy dock next to Ole Works Inn and Quito’s.

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Dinghy Dock on Cane Garden Bay

We dinghied into Cane Garden Bay from our boat anchored a short way into the bay. Once we got to the end of the dock we took a right and walked past Quito’s Gazebo.

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A look down Cane Garden Bay from the end of the dinghy dock

Quito Rymer is one of the British Virgin Islands most famous internationally known musicians, who plays solo several nights a week and with his group “The Edge” on Friday nights. Find out more about Quito Rymer and the Edge

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Quito’s Gazebo

Next stop after Quito’s – Paradise Bar & Grill, or Big Banana. When we talked to friends who are frequent visitors to Cane Garden Bay, they talked of enjoying breakfasts at Big Banana. Speaking from experience, the Big Banana house drink is delicious – rum, Bailey’s, coconut cream and banana – a Big Banana BBC?

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Paradise Club

Right past the Paradise Club, is Rhymer’s – Beach hotel and beach bar. When we visited Cane Garden Bay in 2006, we enjoyed lunch at Rhymers – even with the chickens and their young un’s walking right under our feet! Rhymer’s also offers several modest rooms to rent just steps from the beautiful beach.

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Rhymer’s Beach Hotel and Restaurant

After Rhymer’s, you’ll come across Elm Beach Bar & Suites, offering rooms, a restaurant, beach bar and a shop offering colorful island apparel.

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Elm Beach Bar & Suites

Moving down the beach you’ll stumble on Tony’s Welcome Bar. All info we could find said this was “Stanley’s” Welcome Bar, but the sign says Tony’s(??). Regardless – this was the busiest bar on the beach while we were there and looked like a great place to chill and enjoy a beverage or two.

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Tony’s Welcome Bar

Last stop for us on the beach was Myett’s. Myett’s offers accommodations and spa, a fun beach bar, and a scenic restaurant.

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Myett’s on Cane Garden Bay

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Myett’s Rum Punch

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Myett’s Dining Area

We walked behind Myett’s to get to Green VI, a glass studio manufacturing handmade treasures from recycled glass.

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Green VI Glass Studio

Definitely worth a stop to check out the beautiful recycled glass ornaments, glasses and treasures that you can purchase and bring home.

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Glass Treasures for sale at Green VI Glass Studio

We took a right at Green VI Glass Studio and headed down the street to the Callwood Rum Distillery.

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Rum Tasting at the Callwood Rum Distillery

If  you have a chance to visit  Callwood’s Rum Distillery, you should. Callwood’s has been producing quality rum since at least the 1800’s. Spend the money to take the distillery tour (only $2 per person). It’s not a very long or extensive tour but it gives you some insight into the operations, island history, and an opportunity to ask questions and take pictures without paying a picture fee. Take home a bottle of the panty remover…

All rummed up, we headed back to the beach to catch the spectacular sunset.

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Sunset in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

One of the best we’ve enjoyed in the BVI.

 What do you like to do when visiting Cane Garden Bay?

Find Cane Garden Bay on our Tortola Map

To see more posts on Tortola and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Rum Therapy On Tortola

 Ahhh…Tortola. We’ve have the pleasure of visiting this, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, several times – yet the more we visit, the more we realize we need to come back and spend more time. During our recent visit to the VI, we planned for another visit to Tortola, and once again ran out of time to see all that we wanted to see.

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Regardless, we’ve seen and done quite a bit in our 3 visits (so far) to Tortola and here’s just a few of the highlights to date….

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Tortola is a large and mountainous island, so it’s advisable to rent a car if you’d like to spend some time exploring. There are no car rental companies at the Road Town Ferry Terminal, so reserve one ahead ahead of time, (we didn’t and it took some time to find a car) and plan to take a taxi to the car rental office or check to see if the rental agency provides a shuttle. Remember to drive on the left and be prepared to tackle some pretty steep hills on the north and west ends of the island.

Our luxurious accommodations while on Tortola were graciously provided by Susan at the spectacular Limin’ House (more on this later), which is in the West End above Soper’s Hole, so we started exploring the east side of the island, hoping to scratch a few things to see off  “the list” before checking in to the Limin’ House.

Road Town is a bustling town with a lot of bars, restaurants, shopping and attractions such as a botanical garden, and we could have easily spent some time exploring (preferably by foot), but there were cruise ships in town and it was super busy, so we quickly headed out of town to find some beaches.

On the east side of town we crossed the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and actually left the island for a while to explore neighboring Beef Island, a small island close to Tortola which houses the Beef Island Airport, several pretty beaches and some interesting shops in Trellis Bay.

The first beach we stopped at was the lovely Long Bay on Beef  Island – not to be confused with the Long Bay on the west end of Tortola.

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Long Bay – Beef Island

We continued on to Trellis Bay, home of Aragorn’s Studio and the location of one of the two Full Moon Parties in the area.

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The Trellis Bay Full Moon Parties feature the Burning Man, Fireballs and Mocko Jumbies and are a bit…well, should we say, more family appropriate than the other one we will mention later in the article.

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The Burning Man and Fireballs, created by Aragorn, that are spectacularly set on fire during the Full Moon Parties.

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Aragorn’s Studio – great place to shop or just check out the local art.

copyright Rum TherapyHammock in Trellis Bay

Trellis Bay is the place to catch a free ferry to The Last Resort – a bar and restaurant on neighboring Bellamy Cay that serves good food and drink and can feature some really boisterous entertainment in the evenings. We enjoyed a night there while sailing a few years ago and after returning to our boat, could hear the laughter and merriment continue until the wee hours of the morning!

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The Last Resort On Bellamy Cay

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The band loves to get the audience involved by offering free shots if you can name the song they are playing and are willing to come up and sing along.

From Beef Island we headed back to Tortola stopping by Captain Mulligan’s for a quick drink and a bit of lunch.

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We’ve stopped by Captain Mulligan’s a couple of times now, but would love to be there to watch a football game on the huge screen out back. You can also hit golf balls (buoyant ones that are retrieved) into the ocean behind the bar!

Making our way west, we passed West End and Soper’s Hole and continued on to Smuggler’s Cove. This was our first visit to Smuggler’s Cove, despite the fact that we’d been told by several people that it was their favorite beach on the island.

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Smuggler’s Cove – every bit as beautiful as we’d heard

After spending a bit of time walking the beautiful soft and sandy beach, we headed to Long Bay, Tortola.

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Long Bay is a mile long stretch of gorgeous sand and turquoise blue water.

We walked down the beach to see if Winston Nature Boy, the owner of Nature Boy Beach Bar, was around and to get a rum punch.

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As luck would have it, Winston was in and we sat and chatted with him over a quick beverage. He’d made some changes to the bar since our last visit, and although still pretty rough, the location is great – it’s tucked away at the far end of Long Bay with a few beach chairs and not a lot of people.

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Nature Boy’s Bar on Long Bay Beach

After relaxing for a while in the sun and the solitude, we made our way to Sebastian’s.

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We snapped a few pictures, fully intending to come back, relax and enjoy some of Sebastian’s own rum ….but, alas, we ran out of time. This will be first on our “to do” list when we return to Tortola!

Onward up the road to the infamous Bomba Shack.

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This is the location of the second and definitely wildest of the two Full Moon Parties in the area. We attended a Bomba Full Moon Party in 2010 while sailing and you can read more about the adventure here: Full Moon Party at the Bomba Shack.

Definitely worth a stop to try some of Bomba’s Rum Punch, even if you’re not here for the Full Moon Party. The Bomba Shack’s got a beautiful view of Jost Van Dyke and it’s fun to sit and sip some rum punch while watching the surfers out back.

A few other things that you shouldn’t miss while on island:

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The Callwood Rum Distillery in Cane Garden Bay

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Cane Garden Bay – great nightlife and entertainment

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Shopping, people watching and enjoying a Pusser’s Painkiller at Soper’s Hole

And just in case you need more to do during your visit to Tortola, you can also take a ferry to Jost Van Dyke, or Virgin Gorda, or book an excursion to Sandy Cay and Sandy Spit.

After exploring and spending time on some beautiful beaches, it was a treat to head up the mountain to our luxurious Tortola accommodations at the Limin’ House. Located on the hill above Soper’s, we enjoyed fantastic views of not only Soper’s Hole and the boats in the harbour, but many of the surrounding islands and absolutely stunning sunsets!

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copyright Rum Therapy
The Limin’ House Villa is available as a vacation rental while on Tortola. If you are interested in finding out more about this spectacular accommodation, contact Susan at (941)-358-8907 or (941)-735-6220, Eastern Standard Time or Email at limin[email protected]


To see more posts on Tortola and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC