Road Town, Tortola cruises

Sugar sand beaches. Vibrant green hillsides. Turquoise waters lapping at the shore. As you approach Road Town on the island of Tortola, you’ll be met with a vision of paradise.

Road Town, Tortola port guide

To the east of Puerto Rico is an archipelago that comprises the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, and Road Town is the capital of the latter. Found in the middle of the south coast, Road Town is on the island of Tortola which, while the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is only 56km square.

It’s an island whose parameter is peppered with calm bays and hidden coves, which have attracted travellers, sailors, and yachtsmen for many centuries.

Top landmarks and sights in Road Town, Tortola

You’ll see reminders of the island’s colonial past as you wander around, with Dutch and English style architecture in the form of plantations, churches, and the old Post Office. To explore more of Tortola’s history, perhaps visit one of its landmarks.

Fort Burt

Fort Burt was once part of a network of forts in Tortola, of which very little remains. It’s believed to have been erected in the 1700s, first by the Dutch and then rebuilt by the British. Today, it’s home to a hotel of the same name, however only some of the foundations and a cannon still stand. Come for the history and stay for a beautiful view of the harbour below.

Callwood Rum Distillery

Whether you enjoy rum or not, this historic distillery has plenty to offer. It’s thought to be more than 400 years old, and the Callwood family have been involved in running it since the 18th century. They make small-batch rums with pure sugar cane juice using a traditional pot still. From March to August, distillery tours can be arranged, but throughout the rest of the year the museum and gift shop are still open.

St George’s Anglican Church

The date of the erection of the original St George’s Anglican Church is unknown, but it’s believed to have been in the 18th century. What stands today is a renovated church that was built in 1819, after the original was destroyed in a hurricane. The church has previously been used as a meeting place for the Legislative Council and a school.

Things to do in Road Town, Tortola

A short walk from the cruise port, a wander along the waterfront, down Main Street, will take around an hour. Pass pastel-coloured buildings topped with tin roofs on one side, and brilliant blue waters on the other. Read on for a handful of ideas for how to spend your time here.

Visit the Virgin Islands Folk Museum

Among all the delights on Main Street is this unique and enlightening museum. Learn about the ancient residents of the island - the Arawak and Carib peoples. Artefacts include pottery, stools, and a decorated spindle. More recent items include objects from plantation houses, and artefacts from the infamous wreck of The Rhone, from 1867.

Get closer to nature

Perhaps exploring the flora and fauna of the island is more your thing? In this case, you could take on a hike, such as at Mount Sage National Park – around 20-minutes’ drive from Road Town. The peak stands tall at 1,716 feet and brings an opportunity for you to see all kinds of plant species and wildlife, as well as brilliant views from the top.

Relax and explore the beaches

Because of its modest size, there are plenty of beaches around Tortola that can easily be accessed from Road Town. Cane Garden Bay on the north coast, Smuggler’s Cove on the west, and Josiah’s Bay in the northeast are all within 20-30 minutes’ drive away, and each have the soft white sands and warm island seas that are the stuff of dreams. Smuggler’s Cove is an especially great choice if you’d like to snorkel. You could see anything from colourful coral to stingrays and sea turtles.

Eating and drinking near Road Town, Tortola

Tortola offers a bright and colourful food scene to explore. From fresh juices using ingredients like soursop and sorrel, to moreish fried snacks and fish dishes, there’s a whole host of food and drink to try.

Some favourites on the islands include jerk chicken, which you’ll find freshly barbecued in restaurants and food shacks alike, and rotis, an Indian-inspired flatbread usually filled with curried meat. Vegetarians will no doubt enjoy sampling local produce in the form of things like callaloo stew (a type of leafy green cooked with flavoursome herbs and spices), and fish-eaters will find seemingly no end of freshly caught seafood served in different ways, including on-the-go fish skewers and fish bites.

Shopping in Road Town, Tortola

When you disembark from your ship, you’ll find yourself in Tortola Pier Park, a modern cruise terminal that doubles up as a shopping, dining, and entertainment space. Explore an array of shops and restaurants – there are over 70 to choose from.

Or there’s Main Street in Road Town, which is about a 15-minute walk from the cruise terminal, and home to many shops and boutiques. Browse art, jewellery, clothes, and more, before perhaps heading to a bar or coffee for some local refreshments.

For authentic, locally made souvenirs, head to the Crafts Alive Market. On the waterfront, this market space is made up of bright wooden buildings with pretty terracotta roofs, and within them you’ll find everything from homemade hot sauce to intricately woven baskets and bags.

Getting around: Road Town, Tortola transport

Owing to its small size, Tortola is easy to get around. Road Town itself can be explored on foot, and if you’d like to go further afield taxis are readily available. Renting bikes or scooters is popular among tourists, or you could also use public buses – these could be either a passenger van or an open-air pickup-style truck with benches, known as ‘safari’ buses.

Road Town, Tortola port facilities

The cruise port in Tortola can facilitate two large ships at one time, which are docked adjacent to Tortola Pier Park. As well as shopping and restaurants, this destination has useful amenities such as toilets, Wi-Fi, and ATMs.

Top tips for Road Town, Tortola


Even though Tortola is a British Overseas Territory, it uses the US Dollar as its currency. Dollars can be purchased on board your Cunard Queen, or there are ATMs in Road Town and beyond from which you can withdraw cash. Card payments are widely accepted, but it may be useful to carry cash for smaller purchases.


Some cafes, bars, and restaurants in Tortola may add a service charge of between 10-15% to their bill. If they don’t, and you would like to leave a tip, this is the appropriate amount. It’s entirely up to you, however.


Tortola sees warm temperatures year-round. From January to December, you can expect an average of around 25 degrees Celsius, with temperatures usually peaking in August. Rainfall and wind pick up in the autumn months, generally between September and November.