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A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

Devon, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
13 posts
11 reviews
A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

I am at the beginning of my planning for a late April trip to Tortola. We will be staying at Ft. Recovery and taking a 2 day sailing course at the Rob Swain sailing school.

Curious about a few things I have read about on TripAdvisor:

1. Is it hard to adjust to driving on the left side of the road? It will be our first time trying it since we are renting a jeep for the week. Are the jeeps on Tortola in pretty good condition?

2. If you had to pick just one 'fancy' night out, where would it be: The Dove, Sugar Mill or Brandywine Bay?? Or another place??

3. A lot of restaurants are closed on Mondays- know of any good places that are open??

4. If you had to pick one day sail, would it be to the Baths or Jost Van Dyke? We are planning on going to both, but will probably ferry to one to cut expenses. We already have a snorkel trip included in our package to The Caves and Indians.

5. If you had to pick one 'must see' beach on Tortola, which one would it be? (JVD's White Bay discluded, we will def. go there!)

Thanks for your help in advance!!

Morristown, New...
Level Contributor
1,027 posts
12 reviews
1. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

Driving on the left is no big deal, well,maybe at the roundabout,but it really easy. Just keep in mind that the taxi drivers believe they have the right of way at all time,so keep a wary eye out.

Brandywine for dinner hands down. Davide creates wonderful meals.

Never had a problem with restaurants closed on Mondays, few actually are.

Day sail to Jost, get more time sailing. Cjeck with Kuraluor Aristocat, see who is going that way.

Smugglers Cove or Brewers bay offer great, relatively uncrowded beached.

British Virgin...
Level Contributor
831 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

My husband has no trouble driving on the left, but I have never done it and doubt I could. As to restaurants, I had a bad experience at Brandywine and would not go back. I have fatal nut allergies, told the wait staff, but was still given something with hidden nuts. Fortunately the fish got my dinner and I survived. You should not have a problem finding an open restaurant, but reserve in advance to be sure.

Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
817 posts
3. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

1) Driving on the left is pretty easy, just takes practice like anything else, go slow, try it on the flat at first before you start hills and such. My wife and I both drive it, as do our daughters now and never had an issue with it.

2) Bananakeet hands down for a great meal and the most killer sunset/island views you'll find.

3) Not sure where you got that most restaurants are closed mondays? Sundays most are closed, but definitely not mondays, just about everything is open during the week.

4) Baths would be my choice, but if you can do both, they are very different and worth it. The Bath's should not be missed though, it's a great experience and they are a natural phenomenon.

5) Smuggler's cove is our favorite beach, as well as Brewer's Bay. Smuggler's cove is still beautiful and usually quiet, especially if you go during the week and when there's few or no cruise ships in. If a ships in though all the beaches will get overrun, in particular CGB will be a madhouse. Anyway, Smuggler's is great, like out of a corona add, usually very calm, white sand, few rocks in most areas. Brewer's Bay is a bit more difficult to get to and is secluded, very nice beach.

Edited: 17 January 2010, 14:29
Level Contributor
248 posts
9 reviews
4. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

Don't consider ourselves "experts" but we just returned from 12 days on Tortola. I would have said The Dove for best dinner but they are closed on Mondays. Brandywine is open Mondays and the setting and food is very nice (check schedules with restaurants first--business is off all over). I'd also check the cruise ship schedule to decide which beach to go to. There were many cruise ship passengers at Smugglers when we were there--made it really unpleasant. For more "off the beaten path" beaches, try Long Bay on Beef Island, almost deserted, and Little Bay, which is challenging to find but a real treat. For day trip, definitely the Baths. We always find it easy to drive on the left. Be careful when driving at night, the locals tend to drive fast and with their high-beams. Enjoy your trip!

5 posts
5. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

If you are a good careful driver you should not have a problem. I hate the roundabout and still cringe when my husband drives through it. It does not bother him at all. I have found Jerry's to have nice Jeeps. I had a bad experience with another agency and since then always use Jerry. I have never been to the Dove, or Sugar Mill ...but have had fabulous meals at Brandywine. Not fancy but love the Jolly Roger sitting right on the water. Never had a problem finding something open on a Monday. If I had one day to go somewhere else it would be Jost over the Baths. Favorite beach is Smugglers with Brewers being a close second.

Devon, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
13 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

Wow! Thanks everyone for your great advice! We will be sure to write a TR when we return from our trip. Can't wait!

brooklyn, ny
Level Contributor
438 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

We sailed on Kuralu and had a couple great days with Gary and crew. We loved Jost but also enjoyed the Willy T and Norman Island.

Huntington Beach...
Level Contributor
165 posts
34 reviews
8. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

1. Driving on the left didn’t present a problem to my husband or me. We got used to it in just a few minutes. (The incredibly steep hills with hairpin turns are a different story! But I felt safer when driving than as a passenger.) Our rental vehicles have been fine—kind of beat up cosmetically but they’ve run well and were reliable. Be SURE to pay for the extra insurance (about $19.95 per day). It’s worth it! (Somebody ran into our car when it was parked at the beach.)

2. We’ve never been to The Dove. The Sugar Mill was good (nice atmosphere and good service too) but they had only 4-5 entrees on the menu (difficult for picky eaters like my husband). I know we’re in the minority, but we didn’t care for Brandywine at all; we experienced extremely rude service and mediocre, overly expensive food. Our best meals haven’t been “fancy” (but they’re not cheap either): Our favorite places for dinner are Bananakeets (good food and service with a great view), Jolly Roger, and Spaghetti Junction. (Jolly Roger had excellent grilled lobster and barbecued ribs/chicken.)

3. We went to the Jolly Roger on Monday. (Be sure to sit by the water, not upstairs!)

4. I would definitely take the early ferry to Jost so you can spend ALL day there. (You won’t want to leave.) The time allowed for the Baths on a sailing trip is plenty.

5. Definitely Smuggler’s Cove! GORGEOUS water and great food (barbecue) and drinks. There’s now a guy who rents kayaks and peddle boats too. We loved kayaking out to the channel to look for turtles and check out the adjacent bays. Smuggler’s is a little more crowded than it used to be, but the beach is big enough to handle the extra people.

Jasper, Canada
4 posts
1 review
9. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

Driving on the left is not too hard, you get used to it pretty fast.

Try the Dove for dinner, my husband and I were there last week and Travis is putting out his most delicious food yet!

Try to get to Jost Van Dyke or the Baths, they are both gorgeous!

Always remember to greet locals whenever you see them with a Good Morning, Good AFternoon, Good Evening or Goodnight, this will get you better service and attitude.

Go to Palms Delight in Carrot Bay for a Monday meal. It's local cuisine done so well! I have to have Gingerwine chicken whenever I am on island..

Enjoy your trip, it is a unique and beautiful place.

10. Re: A few questions about Tortola for the experts!!

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