Smugglers Cove Guide (Tortola)

Smuggler’s Cove Beach is a well-kept secret of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This secluded spot provides an abundance of white sand beaches, palm tree-lined shores, and warm turquoise waters. There is plenty of room to roam and take up residence on the beach for days and feel your cares melt away.

Getting to Smuggler’s Cove is easy, and the scenery is worth the short trek from nearby Long Bay or across the island, just a short drive from Road Town. Read on to find out more about this great little spot.

Smugglers Cove

How To Get To Smuggler’s Cove

Smuggler’s Cove is tucked away on the southwest corner of Tortola. The waters of Lower Belmont Bay (as it’s also called) are calmed by the surrounding landscape, forming a shallow cove.

Access to Smuggler’s Cove is easy via Route 1, with a small driveway that goes all the way to the beach. You’re within walking distance from the village at Long Bay and a short taxi ride from one of Tortola’s larger towns, Road Town.

Be sure to stock up on what you might need before heading out, but know you won’t be far from convenience.

Amenities and Parking

Along the beach at Smuggler’s Cove, you can find places to pick up some BBQ, fresh seafood, and snacks. Check out Patricia’s Beach Bar or Nigel’s Beach Bar for a quick bite, cocktail, or two. If you’re looking for something more substantial, you’re just a short hike from Long Bay and a larger variety of dining choices.

Smuggler’s Cove’s tucked-away location means there aren’t loads of visitors. If you’re driving in, you should be able to find parking along the small driveway off Route 1. There is also a small parking area directly adjacent to the beach with signs to let you know you’ve arrived at the right destination.

There are no public restrooms here. If you’re interested in visiting Smuggler’s Cove from other points on Tortola, you can pick up a cheap taxi ride and be there within minutes from nearly anywhere on the island.

BVI Itinerary

Snorkeling At Smuggler’s Cove

Smuggler’s Cove is a great place to go snorkeling, no matter your skill level. Since it’s located off the beaten path on a secluded part of the island, it doesn’t have lifeguards, so exercise caution.

There aren’t any vendors on site to rent snorkeling equipment, so you will need to bring your own, as well as any other convenience items you may need for a day at the beach.

There are reefs that flank both the left and right sides of Smuggler’s Cove as you approach the beach. You can make an entrance into the water in soft sand and find coral formations and brightly colored fish almost immediately. Be on the lookout for sea fans, brain coral, and sponges of all kinds.

Snorkeling at Smugglers Cove

Apart from marine life, you might find the occasional pelican or two diving into the water for a meal. 

If you’re interested in participating in any watersports activities, you can find all you’re looking for in Long Bay, as this area won’t have any. There are vendors here who do rentals for kayaks, windsurfing, standup paddleboards, and fishing gear. 

Rent the gear from there and then kayak or paddleboard your way out there as that might be easier than carrying it with you. Otherwise, you can still walk from Long Bay Beach To Smugglers Cove, but it might be a 20-30 minute walk along Route 1. 

Nearby Accommodations & Attractions

If you’d like to stay near Smuggler’s Cove, there are several independently owned and operated private villas and estates. The stunning views of the cove and surrounding hillside are one of the best in all of the British Virgin Islands. Smuggler’s Cove isn’t crowded, so you can visit nearly year-round without worrying about finding a spot.

Just up Route 1 to the east on Long Bay, you can find a large selection of more traditional accommodations, with 5-star resorts, villas, and cottages galore. The entire island of Tortola is packed full of places to stay for any taste. As with any island vacation, a little planning goes a long way.

2 thoughts on “Smugglers Cove Guide (Tortola)”

  1. In 1995, there were several underwater destinations within Smuggler’s Cove, that described varying sea life, vegetation, etc. It was kind of like a map in that you would shallow dive down read a plaque — it had a number on it and gave you directions to the next underwater site. Anyone know anything about its current (2023) the status of this ‘map?’

    • I know some of the coral reef sections will have a plaque giving more details about the reef but I’m not sure if there is still another plaque showing directions to another site


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