Smuggler's Cove - Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Whether sailing the British Virgin Islands or staying ashore on Tortola, Smuggler's Cove is most certainly worth a visit!
The BVI are rife with beautiful beaches and although Smuggler's Cove is just one of many, it is also amongst my personal favourites.
There's only one bar and one snack stand (complete with blended drinks) ... the swimming is marvelous and the snorkelling is even better. What more could anyone ask of a day in paradise?
Located at the center of the bay is the snack and drink stand where you may also rent floating beach mats and snorkelling gear ... amongst other things. If you don't have snorkelling gear, rent some. This is a great spot for swimmers of all abilities to sneak a peek at the underwater world of the BVI!
As you approach the beach, it's very easy to see where the reef begins and ends. Yachtsmen may approach and anchor safely but there isn't a lot of room between the coral heads. Use your chart and cruising guide as references. Get here early if you'd like to spend the day here as there aren't a lot of spots to anchor.
The following 2 pictures may seem unimpressive but they both claim a place of honour in BVI history! Since 1959 ... (I think?), the Smuggler's Cove "honour bar" was operated by Bob & Nell Denniston, until recent years when Nell, (who had been confined to a wheel chair for some time) passed away in 2000. Bob then left us in May 2002, at the age of 83.
The place had fallen into disrepair in the late 80' s and mid 90's after a couple of hurricanes did their best to rip the roof off. Not having the energy he'd once enjoyed, Bob was unable to restore the bar himself and the jungle began to swallow the place whole. In spite of its dilapidated condition, Bob & Nell continued to operate the honour bar as they always had!
So thick was the jungle, that just a year ago, Bob's honour bar was barely visible from the beach. (I wish I had taken photos!) Since then, his son Matt Denniston vowed to rescue his parent's legacy and set about making restoration plans.
Today, Matt is well on his way to realizing his dream. Although there are still remnants of plants growing out of the roof, the building itself "appears" structurally sound and is on the mend! Thanks to Matt's efforts, the Smuggler's Cove Bar as well as Nell & Bob Denniston's Tortola legacy survives!
Queen Elizabeth II paid her second visit to the BVI in 1967. The Lincoln Continental which had been proudly displayed for many years inside Bob's Beach Bar was the vehicle used to carry Her Majesty on her tour of Tortola. I recently heard an unconfirmed rumour that the Lincoln is destined to be compacted, cubed and made into a table stand ... and once again take a place of honour inside the Smuggler's Cove Beach Bar!
A note for classic picture buffs: Parts of the 1990 movie remake of Hemingway's novel, The Old Man and the Sea, starring Anthony Quinn, were filmed right here at Smuggler's Cove, Tortola. Bob had some really great stories about those days!
For information about sailing and motor yacht charters in the BVI
Contact our Tortola bareboat charter specialist!
Phone: (284) 495-4168 Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Text & Photos Copyright © 2004-2011 Bareboats BVI . All rights reserved.
Launched: July 17, 2004 - Updated: 28/02/11