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British Virgin Islands
TOUR of SHOPS

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A Tour of Shops in the British Virgin Islands presents a great opportunity to explore shops and sights in a variety of places, from beaches to resorts, marina docks to plantation ruins.

But it is the variation in the shops themselves that rewards the shopper with a look at distinctive architecture as well as merchandise, some created onsite in the owner/artisan's studio, some discovered off-island in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

And interludes are presented for refreshments and snacks, in beach bars, out-of-the-way places, and dining establishments, some tucked in resorts, others on verandahs overlooking the sea, often open to breezes and conversation-- a place to talk about a purchase, a gift idea or some desire to fulfill a personal attribute by a material thing, capturing some essence with its artistry and attitude-- it all comes out in the islands!

For a Tour of Shops, follow the above icon.

Tours

We start from the harbour capital and central location, Road Town, where all roads lead.

From Road Town, Tortola's West End Tour follows a circuit that goes from Main Street up over the mountain to Cane Garden Bay, then along the the North Beach Coast to Soper's Hole, and along the flat coastal road on the Sir Francis Drake Channel back to Road Town--this time the Wickham's Cay area.

Or the shopper can simply take the flat coastal road to Soper's Hole.

Tortola's East End Tour goes from Wickham's Cay in Road Town over the mountain to outlying singular shops in special locations at Josiah's Bay, Lambert Bay and Trellis Bay.

The Virgin Gorda Tour forms a circuit that starts from Road Town, by ferry, to the Yacht Harbour. A side trip goes to the shops at The Baths. Then go on by land/sea to the North Sound for stops at individual shops at the Bitter End and Biras Creek. A side trip goes to Leverick Bay. Finally back to Road Town via the Yacht Harbour or Trellis Bay.

In the alternative, Trellis Bay may be the start of the Virgin Gorda Tour, taking the North Sound Express, chosing either the Yacht Harbour or the North Sound's Bitter End to begin.

Coordinating with the ferry schedule is important, especially not missing the last ferry back.

Locations
Tortola
Road Town

Road Town contains the greatest number and concentration of shops in the British Virgin Islands.

Any BVI shopping trip begins at Road Town with a special Tour of Main Street Shops. An historic area with many old structures, Main Street exudes a charming Caribbean ambiance. Besides the many shops, sights here include the Virgin Island Folk Museum and the J.R.O'Neal Botanic Garden.

The ultimate side trip goes by ferry to St. Thomas, a shopper's mecca.

West End Tour
Cane Garden Bay

A side trip on the way to Cane Garden Bay from Main Street up Joe's Hill Rd. turns right at Ridge Road on up to the Skyworld restaurant for one of their deserts and a spectacular 360 panoramic view of the islands (see diagram for getting there).

Another side trip goes goes via Brewer's Bay to the ruins Mt. Healthy National Park, a windmill- powered sugar mill. At Brewer's Bay, stop for a refreshment at Nicole's Beach Bar on its deck overlooking the beach. Also note the stone ruins of a old rum distillery in the flat area after passing the campground.

Still another side trip leads to Mount Sage National Park.

At Cane Garden Bay itself, a great beach bar location, explore the nooks and crannies for beach related items, especially the Distinctively Natural Boutique at the Big Bamboo/Paradise Club. A great excuse for going bar hopping in paradise!

North Beach Coast

See Tour Tortola by Land for more information on touring the North Beach Coast.

On the way to Great Carrot Bay from Cane Garden Bay, Bananakeet Cafe overhangs the coast with a cliff-side view down the North Coast.

This whole area is filled with excellent eating establishments including those in Great Carrot Bay, such as Mrs. Scatliffe's and Palm's Delight.

The North Shore Shell Museum restaurant in Great Carrot Bay has an informal collection of artifacts as well.

A little further on in Apple Bay finds the famous Sugar Mill restaurant.

One shopping attraction is Nan's Gallery at Little Apple Bay. The immediate area calls for a stroll that includes world famous Bomba's Beach Shack, the beach itself and Sebastian's dining terrace.

Another shopping foray uncovers the resort shops at Long Bay Beach Resort. This is a good stop to explore this outstanding beach and resort as desired.

Nathan's Snackette down the beach offers excellent local food on the way to Smuggler's Cove beach.

Soper's Hole

For getting there, one option for the four-wheel-drive set is the Back Road to Smuggler's Cove.

A very popular shopping location is The Wharf at Soper's Hole, a natural harbour filled with boats.  The colorful West Indian style buildings are indeed right on the "wharf" on the water's edge.

A side tour from here goes to Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke by ferry from its terminal across the harbour.

Sir Francis Drake Channel

On the way from Soper's Hole back to Road Town along the coastal road, take a quick peek at an unrestored historic Dutch fort at Ft. Recovery Estates.

At Nanny Cay is the Arawak shop with clothing and crafts and Bamboushay Pottery, famous for its sconces and light covers.

At the outskirts of Road Town, Ft. Burt is the site of the mostly intact historic ruins of another historic Dutch fort. Paradise Pub awaits just across the street and Prospect Reef invites a stroll of its little harbour.

East End Tour
Wickham's Cay

Tortola's East End Tour begins at Wickham's Cay--the other area in Road Town with some shops, mostly concentrated around the Village Cay Marina--a great dockside area to tour, especially the cruise ship area.

Head east on Waterfront Drive until reaching the "out-of-town" round-a-bout and bear left on Belle View Rd. up to Ridge Road (see directions).

On the way, the Lime and Mango's verandah at the Treasure Isle hotel overlooks the harbour.

Also, the main Riteway Supermarket has good air-conditioning in a modern supermarket setting as well as a good bakery department.

Josiah's Bay

The secluded beach at Josiah's Bay invites those who want high culture in the shopping and casual ambiance in the spot for drinks or a bite. Filling this vacation prescription are Josiah's Bay Plantation Art Gallery and Naomi's Grapetree Beach Bar.

Lambert Bay

For elegance in both the dining menu and shopping merchandise, make a special visit to the Lambert Beach Restaurant and The Boutique at Lambert Bay.

Trellis Bay

A laid back location, Trellis Bay has the studios of working artisans, a beach meant for beachcombing and a very casual favorite eating/drinking spot in de Loose Mongoose.

Aragorn Studio exhibits an reconstructed Carib Indian Dugout Canoe.

Flukes Workshop offers beautiful maps.

A side trip here is a fantastic boat ride on the free ferry to Marina Cay for a Pusser's Company Store. And the Sunset Bar beckons at the top of the cay.

Trellis Bay can be the jumping off place for the Virgin Gorda Tour via the ferry here.

A side trip goes to Anegada by air from the adjoining Beef Island airport. Attractions here are the artisan-run shops of Pat's Pottery and Pam's Kitchen as well as the tiny Pal's General Store.

This tour goes back to Road Town. An interesting restaurant along the coastal road on the way back is the Calamaya at Maya Cove.

Virgin Gorda Tour
Yacht Harbour

One ferry route goes back and forth from Road Town to the Yacht Harbour, also called The Valley and Spainish Town.

Another ferry, the North Sound Express, makes a loop from Trellis Bay to the Yacht Harbour and the Bitter End.

Shops here are concentrated at the Yacht Harbour within walking distance of the ferry.

A side trip goes to the Little Dix Bay Resort with the Pavillon Gift Shop and the resort's restaurants.

Another side trip goes up the Upper Beach Coast to a variety of beaches and Giorgio's Table.

See Touring Virgin Gorda's Road Over Gorda Peake for the land trip to the North Sound as well as Gorda Peake itself.

The Baths

The Baths, a spectacular destination itself, has shops and a restaurant at the Top of the Baths. Both are interesting and the view is fantastic.

A side trip goes to the ruins at Coppermine Point and the Mine Shaft restaurant.

Another side trip goes to the Virgin Gorda airport with the Flying Iguana restaurant.

North Sound

The North Sound as a destination features only individual shops, but visiting these resort locations is worth the trip, itself an exciting water journey. Take the North Sound Express and check out Mountain Point on the way.

At the Marina Village at Biras Creek is the Fat Virgin's Treasures. At the Bitter End is the Reeftique in its distinctive building.

The shops at the Bitter End and Biras Creek can be interconnected by a nice hike. See North Sound Water Cruise for getting around this waterworld.

Generally you can use a food stop, such as Saba Rock's restaurant,  to obtain transportation from one location back to a different second location to help make the transit.

A side trip goes to Leverick Bay where the Palm Tree Gallery is well worth a visit.

Another side trip goes to the Sand Box Boutique at Prickley Pear Island.

Tour Tips

The passenger asks: "Why don't we take this shopping tour."

The driver replies: "Ok,  let's rent a sporty jeep and stop at a few beach bars. I know a shortcut over Ridge Road."

The passenger agrees: "Good. I'll take along my moko jumbee from Nan's for protection."

Besides the help of friendly island spirits, a few tour tips can make a successful outing.

Select some interesting destinations from the many beaches, eating spots and other sights.

It's the tropics--have sun protection gear in your travel bag. Throw the snorkeling gear and swim suits in the back of the jeep.

Some resorts and restaurants allow patrons to use some of their facilities such as pools.

Most any beach invites some beachcombing or at least a stroll. A wade in the surf or a swim can be refreshing.

Marinas usually have showers, often for a fee. There's nothing like a quick shower to rejuvenate a sailor or land traveler in the sweltering tropics. Take an extra top or two. A walking tour of the docks is almost always interesting.

Use any good air conditioning to advantage by lingering a little longer there.

Keep drinking liquids to avoid dehydration. Short stops for refreshment are a good way to tour the various eating establishments, and cover a lot of ground since there is so little precious vacation time and lots to see.

Sharing a quick appetizer or two can provide a good sampling of the food. Try something local or new.

Sometimes it's best to order food and then check something out or do an activity before coming back for the food. Let them know. Take a few extra steps to check out some resort or other point of interest.

At other times, minimize activity. Limin' (hanging out) is good in the islands. And don't worry if you get lost--if it's a nice place or activity.

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