A cool and peaceful refuge located near the center of Road Town, the botanical gardens cover over 4 acres and are filled with indigenous and exotic tropical plants. You don’t have to be a botanist, florist, or even a gardener to enjoy walking through this tranquil piece of paradise. Entering the botanical gardens takes you through a walkway lined with giant Royal Palms. From the minute you enter, photo opportunities abound. There is a turtle pond and also a bird observation area set among the peaceful trails. The gardens are located on the original site of the Territory’s first Agricultural Station and many of the species were brought here by the first settlers. There is also a large presentation of native and indigenous flora exhibited in these manicured gardens.
Sage Mtn National Forest
At 1,716 feet, Sage Mountain is the BVI’s highest peak. In 1964 Laurence Rockefeller donated 92 acres on top of Sage Mountain and the first BVI National Park was started. The park is laid out with several manicured trails twisting and winding through the bush. Although it is not a “Rainforest” in the truest sense of the word — it receives less than 100 inches of rain a year — this lush Semi-Tropical Caribbean Forest possesses many of the characteristics of one. Most of the Park is above 1000 feet, and at this elevation precipitation and cloud cover increase sufficiently to support some forest species (Bullet wood, Manilkara bidentata, West Indian Mahogany, Broadleaf Mahogony) normally associated with rain forest in Puerto Rico. Several rare and endangered plant species grow within Sage Mountain. A small area of about 29 acres retains much of the character of the original forests that were found at this elevation and in guts in Tortola. This is because the rough boulder terrain here discouraged clearance of vegetation for agriculture apart from some selective logging. Since donation to the Trust in 1964, tree planting has been carried out on previously cultivated areas, using West Indies Mahogany and White Cedar, and some natural regeneration has occurred.
Mount Healthy National Park
The Mount Healthy Windmill is an outstanding symbol of the sugar plantation era in the BVI. It is the only one of its kind remaining in the entire British Virgin Islands. This 18th century mill overlooks the north shore of Tortola, and apart from the Callwood Distillery in Cane Garden Bay, it is the only relic from a period when sugar was ‘King’ not only in the BVI, but also in the entire Caribbean. This windmill type of mill was one of the two types used in the BVI. The others were mills operated by mules, horses or oxen. This windmill received its power from four long rudder- like arms turning in the wind. When the rudders turned, they powered the mechanism, a central shaft, which rotated the large rollers that crushed the cane and extracted the cane juice from the pulp. Just outside the area where the windmill stands, there are other ruins which consist of the Boiling House and the Overseer’s Quarters. This is a wonderfully preserved historic site with million dollar views of Brewers Bay and Shark Bay.
Callwood Rum Distillery
This landmark is still producing a small amount of rum in much the same fashion as it did over two centuries ago! It is the only true distillery still producing rum in the BVI. Their process is age old, all natural and uses no preservatives. Housed in their original stone plantation building in Cane Garden Bay, it can be visited on any tour we offer visiting the North shore of Tortola. Have a look around, take the guided tour, and sample the rums. Ask for the ‘Panty Dropper!’