Tortola is the largest and busiest of the British Virgin Islands, though it's still far from frantic. It is a beautiful island, with lots to offer visitors—gorgeous beaches, hiking trails, stunning vistas, a laid-back atmosphere and easy access to great diving and snorkeling spots.
The island is covered with mango, palm and banana trees, colorful foliage and jagged mountains. Pastel-colored storefronts dot the landscape, and although houses appear on the hillsides, development has not taken over. Tortola's residents are welcoming but not aggressively so: They go about their business aware of, but not consumed by, tourism.
Tortola is a relaxing place to spend some time and makes a good base from which to explore the British Virgin Islands. If you're looking for complete seclusion on a deserted island, look elsewhere. Tortola is better suited for those who like a little more to see and do.
Note: The British Virgin Islands sustained severe damage during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Recovery will take months or even years. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.
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