Tortola Stories and Tips

Roadtown, Tortola, BVI

Small Container ship leaving Roadtown Photo, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Of the five ports we visited, this was our favorite. The shopping lady on board the ship, warned passengers that there wasn't very good shopping here. That was my first clue that this place would be more to our liking.

Today the welcoming at the dock was a two man steel drum band. They weren't overamplified so it was a pleasant background sound. It set the mood for a Caribbean adventure. The walk into town was pleasant, we saw fences covered with sea grapes, then tents selling t-shirts, hats and novelties. The proprietors were polite and didn't badger us.

We spent some time in the Crafts Alive Village at Wickam Cay. I loved the setting. Small colorfully painted plantation style buildings were divided into up to four shops each. This compound was located on the water front, a lovely setting. We found crafts, clothing, and pottery here. It was fun stepping into each shop to see what variety they offered. Prices were reasonable, too.

Two guidebooks had highly recommended going to Pussers an Brit shop, bar and restaurant.We walked down the waterfront street searching for it. Found some other shops along the way. At one I bought a Christmas ornament. Pussers did have some quality sportswear but we didn't find the British treats and souvenirs we had hoped to find. It was too early for a lunch break so we decided to moved on to Main Street.

We had trouble finding a street that connected the two. A shop owner came out of her shop and walked us to Fountain Square, a small but lovely plazza that was connected the two streets. We sat for awhile and enjoyed the tranquility. Main Street like many other Caribbean streets is quite narrow and has unexpected twists and turns. The buildings hug the sidewalk and are highlight with some awesome color combinations. Exotic trees and flowering shrubs look like they were invasive not planted. Besides the visual charm, we were pleased to find shops we enjoyed. We shopped in small art galleries and local artist jewelry and pottery shops. Bill found Goodfellows, that sold good quality guayabera shirts. I found Sunny Caribbee spice and tea shop, where I bought tea and art glass. What fun!

We stopped for a tea and coffee break at Island Roots a local cafe/gallery. The staff was most accomodating to us: Helping us after a coffee spill and finding us a table to sit at because the high stools were difficult for us old shorties to manage. They had lovely pieces of art for sale and just to look at. It is a popular place, so I advise you secure a table, then place your order at the bar.

Today's shore time was limited, so after our refreshments we walked back to the ship. By this time a man with a burro was set up under the shade of a tree and was offering to be photographed...for a fee. Back on board we enjoyed watching the harbor traffic. Across from our veranda was a merchant dock. We watched them load containers on to ships and then the small ships passed by our ship on the way out of the harbor. We were curious if they were servicing other parts of the island or islands in the group. Looked too small to be going long distances.

Yes, Roadtown, Tortola was the Caribbean we were searching for. I hope we can come back to spend more time here.

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