Road Town, located on Tortola, is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. It is situated on the horseshoe-shaped Road Harbour in the centre of the island's south coast. The town's population was about 9,400 in 2004.
The name is derived from the nautical term "the roads", a place less sheltered than a harbor but which ships can easily get to. A 28 hectare (70 acre) development called Wickham's Cay, consisting of two areas that were reclaimed from the sea and a marina have enabled Road Town to emerge as a haven for yacht chartering and a centre of tourism. In these areas you will find the newest part of the city. This is the hub for the new commercial and administrative buildings of the BVI. The oldest building in Road Town, the HM Prison on Main Street, dates from the 1840s.
Road Town is one of the principal centres for bareboating (self-hire yacht chartering) in the Caribbean. It is the headquarters of Tortola Marine Management, located in the Road Reef Marina, Sunsail Sailing Vacations and The Moorings, which are two of the main charter boat companies operating out of Road Town/Road Harbour. Cruise ships can be often seen docked here as well.
The Harbour is a popular jumping off point for many of the ferries servicing the island. The ferry terminal is located at the south-west end of Road Town. Ferries run during the day every day of the week, but rarely at night: it is important to consult an up-to-date ferry timetable in advance.