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Known as the sailing capital of the world, Tortola—the largest of the British Virgin Islands—offers plenty to do whether you’re enjoying the aquamarine waters or exploring further inland. Find a spot of paradise to call your own at Cane Garden Bay or Smugglers Cove, two of the isle’s most popular (yet rarely crowded) beaches. Don a pair of flippers and a snorkel mask to peer beneath the sea at sponges, parrotfish, and vibrant coral. On dry land, tuck into chicken roti with mango chutney, a popular local dish, at low-key beach bars that dot the island. Shop the outdoor stalls along Main Street in Road Town for souvenirs handcrafted by Caribbean artists, as well as spices and fine wines.
Just west of the popular beach called Cane Garden Bay, Apple Bay is a favorite spot for surfers. Once you’ve had your fill of riding the waves, visit the area’s surfside shacks for a refreshing cocktail or a bite of freshly caught seafood.
Charter a boat for a day trip to neighboring Virgin Gorda to explore one of the most popular attractions in all of BVI: The Baths. This beach area is dotted with massive boulders that form a maze of tide pools, grottoes, tunnels, and arches.
Embark on a scuba-diving excursion to see the wreck of the RMS Rhone, which sunk during an 1867 hurricane. Parts of the ship, propeller, and steam engine are still intact, and the shipwreck is a haven for marine life including turtles and octopuses.
Tortola enjoys a steady, mild climate, with average highs in the mid-80s and average lows in the mid-70s all year long. The average water temperature of the Caribbean Sea surrounding Tortola hovers between 77 and 81 degrees, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving year-round. The island receives about 3.5 inches of rain per month on average, with September, October, and November typically receiving slightly above-average precipitation.