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Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola?

Posted By: ManderLists

Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/03/2022 01:27 PM

I was directed to this forum from Tripadvisor.

I'm taking a cruise with my family in November and one of the stops is Tortola. We'll only have from 6am-3pm there.

So far the excursions offered by the cruise line don't seem that great. I'm more interested in local history and culture than snorkeling and beaches but my impression is that a number of the museums never opened again after the hurricane. I was thinking about just getting a taxi into the centre of the main town and wandering on my own (well, with my sister and my nephew). I've also seen that there are some hiking trails in Sage Mountain park but I am not clear on whether it is a short enough route to go there and back and still have time to wander around the tourist traps and perhaps get some lunch.

So far I have the Old Government House, the Botanical Gardens, Callwood Distillery, and Sage Mountain Park on my list. There are mentions of a maritime museum at the college but I haven't found any recent information about it. I get the impression there isn't much archaeology to be seen, which is not unexpected given that the island wasn't occupied until quite recently.

Has someone been there recently and can verify what is actually open? Or suggest some interesting things that aren't too much trouble to get to?
Posted By: Manpot

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/03/2022 04:01 PM

Those places you mention are spread around the island and that would be quite a hurried tour. The Sage Mountain hike would be a great option..maybe do that early and then lunch at a nice beach bar..I'd recommend The Indigo House in Cane Garden Bay as you'll be down the beach from your fellow cruiser..and the food and drinks are great..Might be best too to rent a car for the day.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/03/2022 05:54 PM

Mal--Obviously, you know Tortola a h*ll of a lot better than I do, but I don't know that I would recommend renting a car for a first timer on Tortola from a ship. The roads on Tortola are somewhat intimidating, curvy, steep, etc., for someone not familiar with them. I would get a taxi.

Hopefully someone else will also make some other recommendations.
Posted By: crmoores

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/03/2022 06:18 PM

I suggested the OP post here to take advantage of more helpful feedback. We spend most of our time admiring Tortola’s beauty from just driving and from the water so didn’t have a lot to offer.

Manderlists you added your port times here and you are there early which is good if other ships are in port. I wonder if a private tour would be your best option? A driver with intimate knowledge could take you to some of these spots, or could even design the perfect itinerary for you prior up to your arrival.

With the latter in mind I would contact AC - but book early if you decide on this.

http://www.info-res.com/actaxibvi/

https://www.bvitourism.com/acs-taxi-service
Posted By: Manpot

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/03/2022 11:00 PM

If you go the taxi route AC is your man..
Posted By: ManderLists

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/04/2022 09:52 PM

Thank you, this is very helpful. I don't necessarily intend to do all of the things that I've got on my list, those were just the things that sounded interesting when I was searching for things to do there.

My parents are planning to do some kind of mini bus tour but the itinerary sounded very heavy on the "captive shopping", if you know what I mean. My sister might be interested in the rum distillery but I don't have my heart set on anything in particular.

Is it realistic to do one of the trails in Sage Mountain from where the cruise ships dock in Road Town? I read somewhere that one of the trails could be done in 45 minutes but I wasn't clear if that was a return trip or just one way.
Posted By: crmoores

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/06/2022 01:11 PM

For your parents AC would be our choice for a private day. If they just want to see the highlights, including the distillery and an hour or two in CGB, photo ops from high up, etc, there are shared safari taxis that specialize in 3 - 4 island tours for ~$25/pp…
A fun spot for a cold drink and a bite after is Pusser’s Road Town Pub near the cruise dock…

You would need to taxi to the trails from the cruise dock…
Posted By: Manpot

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/06/2022 04:09 PM

Go with AC and avoid the shared buses IMHO..
Posted By: crmoores

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/07/2022 02:37 PM

Originally Posted by Manpot
Go with AC and avoid the shared buses IMHO..

Yes I just wanted to mention the shared option since it sounded like the parents may be looking at more of a “cookie cutter” tour…
But I agree, and we would definitely contact AC now and hope that he is available!
Posted By: ManderLists

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/07/2022 06:30 PM

Yeah my parents (well mom anyway) are happy to do the tours offered by the cruise line, partly because it's all done for them and if there are any issues they will hold the ship for them. Mom is a bit nervous about being left behind.

It's kind of a big complicated family trip with my aunt along too, so there are three people in their 70s with some minor mobility issues, then my sister and her husband and I, all in our 40s, and my nephews who are 12 and 14. Us younger folks are a little more up for adventure and the DIY route. I'll try contacting AC and see what they say.
Posted By: crmoores

Re: Cultural/historical things to do in a day on Tortola? - 08/07/2022 06:38 PM

Perfect! And the more expensive ship-sponsored and the independent-shared tours will be the same, except for the price. I don’t see any risk of getting back late as they will most likely spend their last hours near the ship shopping or eating at Pusser’s.

But you can get great feedback from AC when you share your details…
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