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British Virgin Islands, Tortola, Tropics, Antilles, Lesser Antilles, Leeward Islands, Caribbean sea, Sir Francis Drake Channel, Smuggeler's Cove

Road Town (Tortola), British Virgin Islands

Tortola is the business and touristic center of the BVI. The island has all the elements of an ideal Caribbean playground: dozens of soft sand beaches, clear water and hidden coves, a wealth of touristic infrastructure from rental cars and scooters to motor launches and sailing yachts. The islands’ history is inextricably tied to cash, from the days when freebooting buccaneers were the most frequent visitors to the present day when international financial institutions maintain important headquarters here. British sugarcane plantation, using enslaved African labor, was the impetus for the earliest permanent settlements. In the 18th Century, loyalists fleeing the American Revolution brought their fortunes and slaves as well. After England abolished slavery In the 19th Century, the economy slowed. The Kingstown area of Tortola was a place where freed slaves settled, and St. Phillip’s Church there is among the earliest Black churches in the Americas. Despite being under the British flag, Tortola uses U.S. dollars for its currency. Besides gorgeous beaches such as Smuggler’s Cove, Apple Bay and Cane Garden Bay, there are historical attractions on Tortola including the Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum, the Mount Healthy Windmill and Fort Burt. Many visitors also opt for attractions on nearby islands such as The Baths or the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda or famous laid-back bars like Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke.