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Written by WORK + July 4, 2020
It's 2pm and the sun rays are dancing through the clouds as the sea breeze brushes across our faces. The ferry isn’t crowded today and even if it was we are only going to be on it for about 30 minutes. The Captain says the waters are calm today, so it should be a smooth ride all the way in to the west end. I haven’t visited this island since I was a child so my experiences here are quite a blur. I do remember this island being different than St. Thomas Virgin Islands in that it was more rural and unattached to commercial agenda.
We are in Tortola! The boat ride was as pleasant as any other on a ferry. If you live on Staten Island New York, it is similar to riding the Staten Island Ferry. Tortola welcomes you with a scenic slap in the face. The hills, which could easily be mistaken for mountains, lean over villages like Gods over men. There is something very captivating about their incline and the way they go from plane to slope seamlessly. Seeing vehicles winding through these catastrophic hill sides is like watching riders on the latest Six Flags attraction.
Tortola is thriving with economic value and sense of ownership. The laws here have been structured to protect people in Tortola from “Big Business”. Tourist on long stay vacations often get inspired to start or move their businesses to the Caribbean. Tortola protects itself from their interest in efforts to limit the amount of revenue leaving the island. Locals here love this structure and because of it have been able to take family businesses and turn them into corporations.
Tourist often flee to Tortola in search of a more quiet and remote getaway. The neighboring island St. Thomas provides access through its Cyril E. King Airport, where 50% of travelers then take a ferry to the exclusive island. Tortola sits as the crown jewel of the British Virgin Islands.
The island is owned by the Queen of England who gave the land to its settlers in exchange for taxes and ownership of the ports. Since then the people of Tortola have been outstanding participants in the world of trade, transportation and commerce.
Tortola is known on the sea as a Sailors Paradise. Sailors have shared that in 3 days sailing around the BVI, one could visit up to 11 islands, most accessible by sea. This well-known secret has cause Sailors from around the world to call Tortola Home, providing the island with a surplus of sailors and ships always ready and willing to hit the open sea.
Tortola is expensive! If you are looking for a cheap place to visit this may not be the one. Finding anything here is going to take a vehicle and getting around is best with a guide. The food in Tortola is exquisite, but sadly the chef knows you are a long way from home and will be asking a hefty penny for it. The truth is Tortola isn’t used to bargainers.
Richard Branson, one of the wealthiest men can be seen on the island on ‘any given day conversing with locals about happenings and social matters. The local people are no strangers to million dollar real estate and a life of luxury, after all they are residing smack dab in the middle of it!