Travel to Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, and you will discover pristine beaches, bustling marine life, majestic hilly landscapes and an adventurous pirate past, covered in legends. Whether you are visiting the island for the first time or you are a returning traveler, these top 10 things to do in Tortola will help you make the most of your time here.
Carnival’s shore excursions will take you to places of unsurpassed natural beauty, as well as the most significant historical and cultural points of interest on the island.
1. The Baths on Virgin Gorda
Created in a volcanic eruption, The Baths, located on Virgin Gorda, consist of enormous granite boulders, some reaching 40 feet in diameter. Using the rocks and sea, mother nature has created an intricate maze of narrow passages, sun-lit caves and calm coves. Once you make your way through to Devil’s Bay, you will reach a beach clearing with tranquil, shallow waters, which creates a stark contrast with The Baths natural phenomenon.
2. A Tour of Tortola
Take a sightseeing tour by land and sea, and immerse yourself in the history, culture and beauty of Tortola. As you travel along the coast, spot the surrounding hide-away islands of varying sizes, which abound with pirate legends. On land, drive through tiny fishing villages, and enjoy spectacular views from the ridge of the island, stopping to take photos along the way.
3. Pusser’s Landing
Feel like an early settler at Pusser’s Landing, the place where Europeans first set foot on Tortola. Today, this is a lively harbor with bright-colored houses. Enjoy a drink in peaceful settings while taking in the sea views, or browse the numerous boutiques and souvenir shops.
With their calm, clear waters, plentiful coral patches and abundant underwater fauna, the British Virgin Islands are the perfect place to swim, sail and explore marine life.
There are myriad spectacular snorkeling spots around Tortola. Explore the Treasure Point Caves, where the shadows of the rocks create whimsical views. Legend has it that a fisherman, seeking refuge from a storm, found pirate treasure here. Imagine what it must be like to discover a treasure chest in this spot!
You can find another fascinating snorkeling spot on the island of Virgin Gorda. Peaceful waters, colorful corals, lively fish and the boulders of The Baths as a backdrop all add up to a unique snorkeling experience.
Board a sailing catamaran and glide across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to experience your grand surroundings without the sound of the engines. It is only you, the wind and your boat cutting through tranquil waters. Stop at Norman Island, believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and the nearby islands of Salt and Peter, where you can swim and sunbathe on secluded beaches.
6. Swimming with the Dolphins
Get up close and personal with the dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Facility. Learn more about these fascinating creatures and get all your questions answered by the experienced trainers. With plenty of opportunities to pet, kiss and hug the dolphins, this is an unforgettable experience for adults and kids alike.
Your Caribbean cruise vacation will not be complete without spending time at the beach, enjoying white sands, clear waters and delicious cocktails.
7. Jost Van Dyke
Only a 30-minute boat ride away from Tortola is Jost Van Dyke, a small volcanic island with beautiful beaches, named after a notorious Dutch pirate. Chill out with a drink under the shade of the trees or participate in some water activities — swimming, paddle boats, water trampoline and snorkeling. You can easily spot fish, reef squid and patches of coral just off the coast.
8. Marina Cay
Marina Cay is a small island surrounded by white sand beach and shallow calm waters. Marina Cay a great place for families, as well as those who are learning to snorkel. The island has a gift shop and a beach restaurant, where you can try a cocktail or a traditional Caribbean dish.
Add more excitement to your cruise vacation by choosing to experience something different.
9. Wreck Diving
Certified divers can explore the most spectacular wreck of the Caribbean, RMS Rhone, a British mail steamer that was wrecked in a hurricane in 1867. Divers can swim through the bow section of the ship and see the ship’s stern with several historical points of interest, as well as observe corals and lively marine life, including barracudas, octopuses, moray eels, stingrays, lobsters and turtles.
10. 4×4 Tour
This 4×4 adventure will take you to places that are otherwise inaccessible due to the steep mountainous terrain. Drive on narrow, winding roads through lush vegetation, and get to know the local flora and fauna. Enjoy panoramic views of Tortola and the nearby islands. Take numerous photos from unique vantage points to share with your friends. The ride is bumpy, but it is well worth it.
Whether you have come to participate in a family cruise, to relax or searching for adventure, Tortola has something for everyone. It is not just about the endless emerald sea, picturesque volcanic islands and endless water fun. You will also meet friendly locals, run on time that moves much slower than what you are used to at home and breathe in the unmistakably Caribbean atmosphere.
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.