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This article was written on 20 Jun 2010, and is filled under To: British Virgin Islands.

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Discover the British Virgin Islands – Culture and tourism

BVI Roadtown Tortola

Welcome to the BVI Roadtown Tortola

Welcome to the British Virgin Islands. This Caribbean paradise is comprised of a over 60 islands that are internationally known for their amazing sailing scene.The BVIs have recently become an important center, especially the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Bustling with activity and a main port of call for Caribbean cruise ship,  the capital city of Road Town is a must see for shoppers, who will love browsing the downtown area. Because they offer all the beauty of the Caribbean islands, great water and beautiful beaches, less the usual hassles, the BVIs will keep you coming back for more.


History and culture

It was in 1493 that Christopher Columbus explored the BVIs in 1493, which he called the Las Once Mil Virgines, or the 11 000 Virgins. The original inhabitants of the BVIs were the Caribs, but by the end of the 16th century, the British became the main inhabitants of the islands, and took control of Tortola in 1672 to establish their sugar plantations. The sugar industry declined after the abolition of slavery in 1834, and as today, tourism is now the main economy in BVIs.

The BVIs are still politically tied to Britain, with a royal governor appointed by the queen and their own elected Legislative Council, but British mannerisms, accents, or flags are surprisingly absent here, and it is the U.S. dollar, not the pound sterling, that is the legal currency. Of the 21 000 inhabitants, the vast majority are of African descent, but there is also a significant population of European origins.

Activities

The BVIs are widely seen as a sailors’ paradise, with Tortola as one of the major yachting destinations of the Caribbean.

The islands have many beautiful beaches, which are often accessible only by boat. The most famous beach is The Baths on Virgin Gorda, where monumental granite boulders create numerous tide pools and great off-the-beach snorkelling. Other good beaches include Cane Garden Bay on Tortola and White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.

If you are looking for a great nightlife, you may be disappointed by BVIs, as they are pretty quiet at night. On the other hand, yacht lovers will love a stop at Jost Van Dyke’s beach bars to enjoy a drink and watch band performances. Foxy’s Tamarind Bar & Restaurant is a popular spot, especially during Old Year’s Night (New Year’s Eve).

Diving among the reefs around Anegada or exploring the wreck of the Rhone is an exciting experience.

Day sails are popular and take snorkelers to shallow reefs.

Deep-sea fishing is also a popular activity, and there is a sport fishing tournament during summer.

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