Tortola may not be an overly large island, but few holiday makers wish to spend hours driving or riding from place to place in order to uncover the perfect beach for their holiday wishes. After all, the ideal swimming beach is not always the ideal windsurfer’s destination. Rather than allow you to lose even a minute of time searching for the ideal destination for your day along Tortola‘s white sands, we’ve created this guide to the loveliest and most appealing beaches on the island.
Before we delve into the list, do note that this island is not known for crowded beaches – unless a large cruise ship is spending the day in the port. However, the finest beaches are located along the island’s northern coastal area, and even these vary widely in terms of the conditions and most common activities. We’ll start at the western end and work our way to the eastern tip, following the northern coast:
Far at the end of the island, this is a tranquil and beautiful spot. It is in full view of Great Thatch Island just off shore and is very popular with snorkelers and with local islanders. You can find an amazing array of corals and sea life just offshore, but the flawless sands, the ample amount of shady spots beneath the palms, and the obvious respect that all of the visitors have for the setting make it a wonderful place.
Long Bay West
Tucked against Buta Mountain, it is often empty or with just a few swimmers who enjoy the good conditions during the warmer months. With its location close to Apple Bay, though, there can be some undertow issues during the winter months. Without lifeguards, it can be dangerous to swim, but if you wish to just absorb the tranquility and natural beauty, this is a quieter place to do so.
This is a surfing destination that sees the most activity in January and February. Startling white sands, the famous Bomba Shack with its drinks and foods, and its party crowd make this an ideal spot for those who want to experience the surf scene. There are also several fine dining and local restaurants, including the Friday fish fry.
Cane Garden Bay
Long noted as the island’s “finest” beach, it can be tricky to get there due to the poor conditions of the roads, but with its gentle surf, lovely sands and generally sheltered conditions it is perfect for all. Whether you want to picnic, paddle or swim, or try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking and enjoying the different bars and restaurants backing the beach, this is the place to visit. As you can imagine, it can be very busy during the peak travel seasons.
A lower key surfing and snorkeling destination, it has a nice beach bar, a camping site, and a good stretch of well-kept and lovely beach. It is a perfect sunset viewing beach, but you will also find that mornings here are quiet and unforgettable. This is as low-key as it gets.
Not a big fan of crowds? If you want to see the surfing and scenery of places like Brewers Bay or Cane Garden Bay, but you don’t want the hustle and bustle of crowds, this is the beach to find. It is at the foot of Buta Mountain and is often empty. Just like Long Bay West, though it can have periods of undertow during the winter months, and without lifeguards, swimmers must use caution. This is a spot popular with locals and if they are swimming at the ends or edges of the beach, it is a good idea to follow their lead. There are some good restaurants here.
It might also be fun to tour the northern shore of the island, sampling one or two of the beaches here in order to find your perfect escape.