Beach Island

Tortola Transportation – Taxi, Ferry, & Airport Tips

Tortola Transportation

The capital island in the British Virgin Island chain, Tortola has pristine beaches, bougainvillea covered cottages and a thriving economy.  It takes a little longer to arrive but worth the extra time.

Getting to Tortola:

There is no direct air service to the airport in Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. Connections can be made from  San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten  with frequent daily flights.

Ferries from St. Thomas leave several times a day. The ride takes 50 minutes and is direct to the port in Road Town.  It’s quite spectacular scenery on the ride.

Tortola is a very popular stop on many cruise ship routes.  Tourism makes up 45% of the economy in the BVI, and holiday cruise travelers make up a large part of it.

The port at Road Town also has berths for private sail boats and yachts.

Discovering Tortola

While there are car rentals on the Island, there really is no reason to have one. Tortola is only 21.5 square miles and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. There are two types of taxis available.  A colorful open air safari taxi is the most common type.  They have posted pricing but confirm your destination and cost before you get on.  It’s also a great way to interact with locals. Private taxis are metered and have rate cards so there is no confusion prior to boarding.

A very common way to get around in Tortola is scooter or bike rentals. The roads around the island are good though the interior is more mountainous.  It’s always fun to find a deserted beach or look for a local cook out.

There are water taxis available to discover the other islands, there are about sixty but most are unoccupied.  There is daily scheduled service to Virgin Gorda and Peter Island from Road Town.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about transportation in Tortola. 

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *