A lot of dive trips from Tortola head to the southern islands but there are some lovely sites around the island to visit too. The sandy bottom, colourful reefs and super clear water makes for great shallow diving, especially for macro photographers wanting to capture that special shot.
There are a few dive centres scattered around the island and the marinas of Nanny Cay, Village Cay and Hodge's Creek. You'll find some good shore diving here too, great for a beginner's first dive. Sites are mostly sandy bottom and reef covered in corals and sponges, with lots of tropical fish species, macro life, school of fish, rays, turtles, octopi and much more.
Brewer's Bay has a few good sites including Brewer's Bay East, West and Pinnacles. Current and surge may be present in the winter months but if it's clear and calm then you're in for some fabulous diving. Search for rays on the sandy bottom or nurse sharks hiding under rocks. Big tarpons like to hunt for smaller fish and if you look closely for the small stuff, you might see the shy red lip blenny, spotted drums or lobster amongst the corals.
Smuggler's Cove is also another favourite, walk right in off the shore to a shallow reef, great for snorkelling too and many tropical fish. Alphie's Rock and Round Rock similar sites.
So if you're looking for some relaxed diving or snorkelling then you'll be very satisfied with your diving experience in Tortola. Send us some of your best pictures of underwater in Tortola and we'll post them on the site for everyone to enjoy.
(By Kelly Luckman)
The beautiful mountainous island of Tortola is the capital island that forms the archipelago of the British Virgin Islands, located 96 km east of Puerto Rico and 35 km east of Saint Thomas. Measuring around 5 km wide and 19 km long, the island was formed by volcanic activity and is embraced by white sandy beaches.
There are various ways of reaching the island, you can catch a flight either to San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua or St. Maarten where ferries to Tortola run frequently. Accommodation-wise, Tortola has something for all budgets; from hostels to hotels or even splurge on a luxurious villa.
Tortola offers a variety of beaches, where there are numerous activities available to take part in. Apple Bay beach is surf heaven if you’re looking catch some waves during your holiday and is also the main party area for the island’s full moon parties at the ‘Bomba Shack’.
Cane Garden Bay being one of the most popular beaches, is touchdown for many cruise ships and is where the majority of sailors moor their boats. Enjoy a day of windsurfing, sailing and other water sports, or simply sit back and savour the island’s cocktails in one of the many bars and restaurants lining this stunning curved beach.
Brewer’s Bay on the other hand, due to its calm seas, is a top snorkelling location. Accessed by boat around the eastern point of the island or by car from Cane Garden Bay, this beach is excellent if you are looking to relax and do some fish spotting. Here it is intriguing to watch the pelicans diving into the water in their hunt for schools of ‘feeder fish’, which allow you to swim up close to them and will happily eat out of your hand if you take bread with you.
Smuggler’s Cove, although difficult to access, is definitely worth the trouble! Make your way over the bumpy uneven roads to discover an oasis of clear, warm water and if you’re lucky you might even spot some sea-turtles!
Getting around is pretty easy with many taxis available to take you for a tour. Another cheaper option is by bus, or take your budgeting to the next level and have your thumbs up. Hitchiking in Tortola is very popular as crime is very uncommon and the people are very friendly. Many pick-up trucks and passing cars will often happily give you a ride to wherever you want to go.
Tortola offers a range of excursions, such as a hike up to the breathtaking Sage Mountain Park, which boasts the highest peak in both the British Virgin Islands and the United States. The Callwood Rum Distillery is also a fun day out, alongside the Joseph Reynold O'Neal Botanic Gardens- a beautiful embodiment of the island’s vegetation.
Whether it be a an action-packed or relaxation holiday, Tortola definitely has it all!
(By Lauren Cole)