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TORTOLA'S WEST END
Soper's Hole
Exotic Destination!

Page Contents
Cruising Soper's Hole
Frenchman's Cay
Jolly Roger Inn
Pusser's Landing
Sailboats
Shops
Sir Francis Drake Channel
Smuggler's Back Road

Soper's Hole Wharf
Tortola Shore

Villas

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Tropical Urban "Gunkhole"

Soper's Hole, aka Tortola's West End, is a kind of tropical urban "gunkhole," a nautical term for a delightful spot to anchor. Soper's Hole retains its quaint charm while being a center of activity.

For Getting There by land, see Land Touring. By ferry, see Tortola Shore. By charter boat, see Cruising Soper's Hole.

Surrounded by small mountains like Frenchman's Cay seen above, Soper's Hole imparts a great sense of place and physical intimacy. At the same time, its opening to a sea of islands stirs an alluring anticipation of coming adventure.

Tortola Shore

 

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Back Road to
Smuggler's Cove

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Turn right after the ferry, and experience this delightful back road to Smuggler's Cove. This road goes around the Dawson ridge you see behind the Jolly Roger, opening up rare views from above Tortola's westernmost Steele Point. Generally bear left down to Smuggler's Cove. Good to go for hikers, adventuresome bicyclists, and, for the motor-advantaged, SUV rentals are available from Hertz (by the Jolly Roger Inn) and others (see  CarRentals.com).
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On the Tortola shore are found the ferry dock and customs, the Jolly Roger Inn with its outside bar/pavilion and dinghy dock, car rentals and popular snack bars. A nice stretch to stroll!  
     
Ferry Dock. Ferries (see schedules) go to St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S.V.I. as well as Road Town and "The Valley" in the BVI.  Also, the New Horizon Ferry Service (see schedule) and the When (494-2997) run to Jost Van Dyke. The orange-roofed ferry/customs building is shown above on the right

The ferry comes into Soper's Hole from the U.S.V.I.
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Just across from the ferry is a couple of snack bars. The Rocky Willow Snack Bar (495-4016), popular with locals and ferry passengers with carry out and seating, has cold drinks, beer, mixed drinks and ample portions of tasty local food, including chicken roti, whole wheat bread, conch and swordfish patties (baked and fried), burgers and barbecue chicken.

Nightlife Spot

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This is the place to go for a night on the town with great live music from a variety of local and imported Caribbean and U.S. bands on Fridays and Saturdays playing styles from reggae to rock.

Jolly Roger Inn.
JollyRogerInnFrontIcon(Bev)2.jpg (8667 bytes)A favorite place for drinks and meeting someone off the ferry--try bartender Omar's mango, banana and strawberry frozen fruit punch after a long ferry ride.

The Jolly Roger Inn (495-4559) is also a good choice for dinner (see menu for their sumptuous outsize deserts) or just a  pizza outing. JollyRogerInnInteriorIcon(Bev).jpg (8150 bytes)The Inn has a few affordable rooms as well.  Say hello to the owner Louis who is extremely knowledgeable about the BVI (photos from Bev's BVI site).

Villas

The porch of charming Century House furnishes this view. 

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Century House

Limin' House

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Tortola Villas at Soper's Hole has information on villas on the hillsides of Soper's Hole as well as other areas of Tortola. Pictured is Limin' House, a fascinating villa with beautiful terraces elegantly woven into these hillsides and affording fantastic views of Frenchman's Cay and outlying islands.

Soper's Hole Wharf &
Pusser's Landing

Getting There

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Dinghy Dock

About a mile from the ferry by land (take two rights), it's but a short dinghy ride.

Diving. Blue Water Divers has a dive operation with dive and snorkel trips, equipment rentals and sales, air fills, t-shirts and gifts.

Land Touring
From the coastal road, you have arrived when you meet a collection of signs. Go straight to stay on the Tortola shore for the ferry and the Jolly Roger Inn. Take a left to go across the bridge to Frenchman's Cay.

Take the next right for Soper's Hole Wharf and the next left for Kelly's and Frenchman's Cay resort.

Above Flamboyance, The Caribbean Corner Spice Shop (495-4498) carries a variety of scented items like jams, hot sauces and soaps as well as herbs and spices and even Cuban cigars.

Shopping Tour
Try parking in the little lot just behind the buildings coming in.

The shopping area is quite compact and nicely designed.

The dock along the water interconnects the whole Wharf area.
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Taxis
For a taxi at Soper's Hole, call Chappy's Taxi Service (496-5960, 495-4392).

Soper'sWharfIcon2.jpg (11784 bytes)Soper's Hole Wharf, with its charming West Indian architecture, is a shopping and dining destination (this picture comes from the nearby Long Bay Beach Resort).

Shops.
Soper's Hole has an interesting collection of shops, mostly at The Wharf, as well as an ATM machine.

Flamboyance

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The place for upscale cosmetics and a variety of perfumes, both women's and men's, Flamboyance (495-5946) carries Cartier (So Pretty and Declaration), Calvin Klein (Contradiction) and Christian Dior (Dolce Vita).

The Sea Urchin (495-4850) specializes in island and beach wear from sandals and sun dresses to island-print shirts and swimsuits as well as travel luggage and sun protection items like sunglasses, sunscreen and hats and boating needs such as deck shoes, snorkeling gear, disposable cameras, floating mattresses, seasickness pills--you name it!

Groceries and Provisions

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Harbour Market

At Soper's Hole Wharf, Harbour Market has a large selection, deli and gourment items as well as general provisions for chartering.

More provisions are available from Ample Hamper Too at Frenchman's Cay marina.

Serenity Spa offers massages, yoga, acupuncture, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and body treatments.

Other shops include Ice Cream Delight (495-4013) with hand-dipped ice cream, bars and sodas, Culture Classic (495-4367) with clothing such as sarongs in all styles, hats, shoes and various souvenirs such as mobiles and bamboo charms, BVI Apparel Factory Outlet (494-5511) with clothing, t-shirts, and embroidering service, Latitude 18 with clothing and gifts, and Pusser's Landing offers clothing, Pusser's famous rum and nautical gifts at its company store. Hucksters has West Indian fine art and artifacts as well as maps, prints and gifts.

Dining

A waterfront delight, popular with sailors, Pusser's Landing has dockside tables, live entertainment and an outdoor bar for casual dining and drinks, including the famous Painkiller drink

Pusser's Landing

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Upstairs is open air, elegant dining overlooking the harbour with a varied menu of local seafood, pub food, Old English dishes like their specialty Beef Wellington and current favorites like black bean soup.

The Blue Parrot Cafe, open for breakfast and lunch, doubles as a coffee shop. Upstairs, don't miss Maurice Handler's photography studio.

Pisces

Across the entry road is Pisces Restaurant with Omar's huge breakfast sandwiches as well as curried shrimp and honey-stung chicken (photo: Vacation Tortola).

Nearby is De Best Cup coffee shop with internet access..

Zenaida offers textiles like batiks, weaves, and handpainted fabrics as well as other distinctive goods such as scarves, sarongs and ethnic jewelry. The proprietor Vivian Jenik Helm searches Africa, South America and India to buy these goods.

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Samarkand Jewelers (495-4137) specializes in Caribbean gemstones from Santa Domingo (such as black coral), Tortola (such as jasper not normally in green) Dominica and other islands. A family business established in 1971, Samarkand Jewelers makes all its own jewelry. Real local shells are made into molds, the shell burnt out and the piece filled with gold and silver. Pendants of private boats are made by special order. Also, they have coins from the Atocha shipwreck of 1622 in Key West. Claire, the manager, is a delightful shopkeeper in the best British tradition.

Tortola's Steele Point

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With the entrance to Soper's Hole on its right, Steele Point consists of dramatic rocky cliffs in front of the peak at Dawson.

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Cruising Soper's Hole.
A good practice
coming into any anchorage is to take a slow boat tour of the sights and check out your next water neighborhood. In this case the route is in the shape of a large "U" with deep water at the entrance, although there may be a tidal current of up to 3 knots.

Motor or sail along the Tortola shore, giving plenty of room to the busy ferry dock (it's best to dinghy into customs). Next you'll pass the best anchoring areas in the northeast in 20-35' on a sandy bottom (much of the harbour is 60-70' deep), while leaving a traffic lane along the shore.

Soper's Hole Marina (VHF 16, 495-4489 email) has moorings, docking, water ice, garbage disposal and other services for the boater.

Boat Dock Tour
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Even if you don't charter, take a walking tour on the dock to see these fine yachts. Soper's Hole is a most exotic destination for charterers.

Panorama to Bay at Frenchman's Cay
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Dinghy Adventure SopersHoleBridgeViewIcon.jpg (11710 bytes)
Take your dinghy under the low bridge connecting Tortola to Frenchman's Cay and explore the bay beyond. Be careful of the strong current, but don't miss the small stand of mangroves by the bridge and along the channel. Stop at Kelly's for food or just a drink.

The drive to The Wharf along the dinghy channel has intimate views to a thin layer of mangroves on the water side.

On around the "U" to the far right is the narrow dinghy channel under a low bridge to the bay beyond (as shown in the above collage). On the Frenchman's Cay shore are two long piers with a dinghy dock in between at Pusser's Landing for Soper's Hole Wharf. Moorings are available offshore in this area as well as off the West End Slipway, a 200 ton railway for hauling large boats up into the yard (so keep clear).

Nearby Bay Groceries.
Kelly's Superette
and Walker's Superette, within walking distance, have groceries. Both have dinghy docks as well.

Kelly's Restaurant.
A
good place for breakfast, Kelly's Restaurant (495-4304) has local food with West Indian specials with seating inside and out on its attractive shaded dock.

Kelly's Bayside Inn.
Above Kelly's Superette and restaurant, Kelly's Bayside Inn (495-4304) has modern affordable rooms.

Wildlife Watching.
Keep an eye out for wildlife at Soper's Hole. Herons may be seen perched on a pier. Schools of fish churn the waters. The magnificent frigatebird can sometimes be seen, hovering effortlessly above fisherman cleaning their catch at the entrance to the dinghy channel. Groups of frigatebirds, the males with their scarlet inflated throat sacs, swoop to catch thrown scraps before they hit the water.

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Flying toward the bridge from The Wharf side--note the long pelican wingspan.

Frenchman's Cay

The name of a small, lovely island that forms the "inland sea" shore of Soper's Hole, Frenchman's Cay is the location of most of the activities at Soper's Hole as well as Kelly's on the bay side and its namesake Frenchman's Cay Resort at its Channel point.

The Clubhouse restaurant, at the Frenchman's Cay Resort (formerly The Watermark), has an Asian/ French fusion cuisine similar to The Dove in Road Town, its sister restaurant. Try whelk (escargot) baked in mushroom caps with garlic-lemon butter, Lobster Coquillage simmered in a saffron broth and Chocolate Mousse Crępes. Also popular is the Sunday buffet and the “Build Your Own” mojito happy hour.


A romantic open-air setting with stunning sea views

Land Touring
 At the bridge, turn left and follow the shoreline to the tip of Frenchman's Cay to the resort and restaurant

Entrance to The Clubhouse at Frenchman's Cay

 

 

A great place for some moonlight madness in the tropics!

 

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  For information on Frenchman's Cay Resort, see Where to Stay on Tortola under Soper's Hole.  

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