Your Own Private Beach Bar in the British Virgin Islands


Above: one of seven beaches at Guana Island (All photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

GUANA ISLAND — Does the rum punch ever get lonely?

Here I was, at a fully-stocked, fully staffed bar on a spectacular beach in the British Virgin Islands, and it was empty.


There were only a few clouds in the sky, and the water was calm in the way that Virgin Islands water always seems to be.

Today, the drink special was a Gin Swizzle, though one had not yet been made.


But the bar was empty for a reason, save for Spanish-born Jose, who earnestly tends the bar until the sun sets (or arrives).

Because It’s intended to be empty.

On the 850-acre Guana Island, a private island off the northeast of Tortola, that’s the point.


Guana, home to just 15 rooms in old stone cottages, is its own world, where the animals far outnumber the people (and, on some days, the beaches outnumber the people, too).


Here it’s a rustic, rarefied existence, a place to collect your thoughts and then catalogue them.


There’s an orchard with fresh papayas and soursop; a tiny tortoise colony; a central salon home to a restaurant and reading room; and seven white-sand beaches.


Above: one of the cottages at Guana Island

There’s a feeling here that time stopped; or that it never bothered to start. In the salon, sound is frowned upon. There’s just the clack of dishes and the whisper of conversations only threatening to begin.

On Guana Island, there is just the peace and quiet and the miraculous views and the playful wind.

And your own private beach bar.

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