|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
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
For a Tour of Shops,
follow the above icon.
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.
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.
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.
Road Town contains the greatest number and
concentration of shops in the British Virgin Islands.
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
J.R.O'Neal Botanic Garden.
The ultimate side trip goes by ferry to St. Thomas, a
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 360º panoramic view of the
islands (see diagram for
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
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!
Tour Tortola by Land for more information on touring the North Beach
On the way to Great Carrot Bay from Cane
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
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
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
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
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.
Tortola's East End Tour
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
Head east on Waterfront Drive until reaching
the "out-of-town" round-a-bout and bear left on Belle View Rd. up to Ridge
On the way, the
Lime and Mango's verandah at the Treasure Isle hotel overlooks the
Also, the main
Riteway Supermarket has good air-conditioning in a modern supermarket
setting as well as a good bakery department.
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.
For elegance in both the dining menu
shopping merchandise, make a special visit to the
Lambert Beach Restaurant and The
Boutique at Lambert 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
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.
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
See Touring Virgin Gorda's
Road Over Gorda Peake for the land trip to the North Sound as well as
Gorda Peake itself.
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.
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.
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.
The passenger asks: "Why don't we take this
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
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
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
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.
To Shopping in the BVI
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