Here’s Why Tortola In The British Virgin Islands Deserves More Of Our Black Dollars
By DeAnna Taylor
As the British Virgin Islands largest island, Tortola simply does not get the shine it deserves. With a population of only around 25,000 people, you’ll find that this hidden gem gives the perfect dose of island vibes and Black culture.
Now on the road to being nearly recovered after being hit hard by Hurricane Irma, it’s time to start planning a trip to see the beauty that Tortola has to offer.
Check out why you need to visit this island soon.
Tortola is about 90% Black-owned, despite being under British rule. Locals have fought hard over the years to ensure that they keep their island and businesses as authentic as possible. Here are a few suggestions on stops to make.
Grab lunch at Banana’s Grill in Cane Garden Bay. Owner Al Henly opened this spot last year and it is the only air-conditioned restaurant on this part of the island. Just across the road, you’ll find one of the area’s most popular beaches.
If you need a place to stay while there, newly opened Quito’s Inn gives you dope views with a touch of luxury. Artist Buju Banton recently stayed here during his tour stop, so you know it’s a great spot.
The Photo Ops
Nothing says island getaway like some amazing photos for the ‘gram. Tortola is definitely the perfect place. Start with photos in front of the amazing murals on Ridge Road. Most of the paintings were done by local Black artist Reuben Vanterpool, who still lives just next door to his famous artwork. You may even catch him out in his yard working as you ride by.
Reminiscent of Old San Juan or even Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, the Road Town area of Tortola is filled with colorful buildings and narrow roads that always bring out the best photos.
Close to other islands
While Tortola is a smaller island, you will still find that there is plenty to do. It is only a 40-minute ferry ride to St. Thomas. This is actually how many folks get to the island for cheap. They fly into St. Thomas and take the ferry over onto the island.
Spend a few hours over on Virgin Gorda. This island is most known for ‘The Baths’ a collection of boulder-like rocks along the shore. If you want a taste of Seychelles, this is the place to visit.
There is always a festival going down on the island. If you are a foodie, you’ll want to plan to head there in November for the big Food Fete which is a month-long celebration.
If you love carnival, plan for early August. August 1 was the day that the country abolished slavery back in 1834. the streets turn into a large block party for nearly 3-weeks of fun.
In addition to the festivals, the locals are some of the friendliest people you will meet. Unlike some islands, you won’t be bombarded with people trying to sell you things at every turn since tourism isn’t the main way of life for most.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.