Tortola Annual Events
Sweethearts of the Carribean Annual Regatta (February) - The event is based at the "loyal" West End Yacht Club, and don't miss the after party at the Jolly Roger Restaurant, the event sponsor located in Tortola's West End. It is attended by hundreds of yacht racers from the surrounding Caribbean islands and local British Virgin Islands.
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival (end of March - early April) - A seven-day sailing event that includes cruises, smaller races, and the three-day main-event regatta. Sponsored by the Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola. There is also non-stop entertainment every night. Live music, food and dancing in the sand, swimwear fashion show and the giant Moko Jumbies and did a huge beach bar! And if you're not racing, you can join a spectator boat or relax by the pool or beach.
Spanish Town Fisherman's Jamboree (April) - The BVI's top angler's event is held in Spanish Town, capital of Virgin Gorda, and includes great food and entertainment as well as fishing and beach fun. Held at the same time as Virgin Gorda's Easter Festival, featuring parades, calypso music, and funji bands.
BVI Music Festival (May) - The annual apex of the BVI music scene, the Music Festival includes reggae, calypso, funji, R&B, rock, dance, and jazz groups from across the region and around the world. Held over a three-day weekend in May at Cane Garden Bay Beach on Tortola, you can join music lovers and world-renowned artists. Take part in the sizzling beach parties, music concerts and after parties on a beach-front venue. This is where the sound of music meets the sounds of nature.
BVI Emancipation Festival (end of July - August) - Also known as the August Festival or the BVI Festival, this event marks the BVI's emancipation from slavery in 1834. It includes the annual freedom march, emancipation service, calypso monarch competition, boat races, and August Monday Parade. It is also during this time when the culture and history of the people are grandly showcased with extravaganzas of local and international music, pageants, Food Fairs, j'ouvert (street jamming), parades, gospel celebrations and folklore presentations. This is the cultural event of the year in the BVI and not to be missed.
Virgin's Cup (October) - A race in Francis Drake channel with the requirement that the helm is female! Racers and cruisers welcome, usually finishing at Norman Island.
Peg Legs Round Tortola Race (November) - Racers and Cruisers are welcome to join this event. Yachts visiting the British Virgin Islands are invited to make an attempt to beat the latest round Tortola records. Competitors must attempt the record anti-clockwise and round Beef, Scrub Island, Great Camanoe and Guana Island to port. The reward is in the taking part and bragging rights. The record breakers will be able to celebrate their feat with a free dinner at Peg Legs for up to 15 crewmembers and a jeroboam of champagne compliments of Nanny Cay and also get their names on the perpetual trophy which is on display year-round in Peg Legs Restaurant.
O'Neal Mundy Commodors Cup -
Two short races in Francis Drake Channel, followed by the Club annual dinner and prize giving.
BVI Restaurant Week -
This event geared toward anyone who loves foods and craves the authentic taste of flavor filled Caribbean cuisine. It affords everyone the opportunity to sample the wide array of foods offered from restaurant to restaurant and makes dinning affordable for patrons no matter whether you choose to dine at one of our boutique type restaurants or at one of our five star resorts.
Leverick Bay Poker Run -
The one-day event Leverick Bay Poker Run has gained its prestige over the years for exciting poker games, great entertainment and vibrantly coloured power boats that grace the turquoise seas of the British Virgin Islands.
Jazz on the Hill -
The annual not-to-be-missed Jazz on the Hill musical concert series in support of St. Mary’s School in Virgin Gorda is one of the quintessential musical events of the Caribbean. This event promises to delight, inspire and uplift locals and tourists with combination of R & B, pop, soul, gospel and of course, jazz. Whether or not the moon provides its spectacular fullness that helps to transport aficionados to another dimension of appreciation, the outdoorsy atmosphere, sloping hills and perfect May weather, not-to-mention local cuisine and drinks add up to total relaxation and enjoyment that’s hard to beat.
Things to do in Tortola
Go For a Sail:
There is no shortage of sailing yachts available for full or half-day trips. These excursions usually include a sail across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to one of the islands to the south of Tortola, and normally feature snorkeling, beaching and lunch either onboard or at a shoreside restaurant. Three prominent charter operators who sail from Road Harbour or the nearby Village Cay Marina are listed below. Since rates, itineraries and schedules vary widely, contact each one in advance either by phone, email or log in to their website for specific offerings on the day of your port call.
Go For a Dive:
All dive operators offer two-tank morning dives. Contact individual dive operators for the availability or feasibility of "discover scuba" programs for non-certified divers. The British Virgin Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean. Of special interest is the wreck of the RMS Rhone, sunk in a hurricane in 1867, considered by many to be among the top 10 wreck dives in the world. Also worthy of exploration are the many reefs off the coast of Tortola and her neighboring islands.
Go For a Hike:
Sage Mountain, Tortola's national park, is criss-crossed with well-marked hiking trails, or hook up with a ranger for a guided walking tour with great scenery and views of the sea.
Go for a swim with a dolphin at Dolphin Discovery at Prospect Reef Resort.
Crafts Alive Marketplace is a collection of gaily colored tents on the waterfront. It sells batiks and tourist trinkets and a handful of genuinely interesting finds. Don't miss Sophia Dawles, a talented West Indian artist who displays her oils, watercolors and acrylics on a card table. Altruists may want to check out the BVI Community Craft Shop, whose handmade items, ranging from Christmas ornaments to rag rugs and fish-scale ornaments, are locally made.
Fodor's - Tortola Overview
Tortola was once a sleepy backwater. Now Tortola has become definitely busy with several cruise ships tied up at the Road Town dock. Passengers crowd the streets and shops, and open-air jitneys filled with cruise-ship passengers create bottlenecks on the island's byways. Most folks visit Tortola to relax on its deserted sands or linger over lunch at one of its many delightful restaurants. The steep green hills that form Tortola's spine are fanned by gentle trade winds. Beaches are never more than a few miles away. You can clearly see the neighboring islands glimmer like emeralds in a sea of sapphire. It's a relaxation haven far away from the hustle of modern life.