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.
The British Virgin Islands sustained severe damage during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, and Tortola was one of the hardest hit islands. Recovery is ongoing, but the island's infrastructure has been restored and many sailing charter companies, hotels and other businesses have reopened.