Charter a private yacht to cruise and explore the paradise of the Caribbean archipelago with its blue skies, pristine waters and white powder sand beaches, island-hopping between the Leeward and Windward Islands. Dive among the colourful reefs, discover the rich marine life, hike the volcanic mountains and visit the buzzing harbours. Then drop anchor in little coves to enjoy delicious seafood and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Caribbean.
When the Northern Hemisphere is entrenched in the gloomy winter with its cold, blustery days, the sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean are humming with activity. A Caribbean yacht charter is the ultimate cure for the blues at any time of year.
Crystal-clear, sparkling blue waters, long stretches of white-sand beaches, secluded anchorages and incredible flora and fauna mix seamlessly with luxury hotels, five-star restaurants and spas to ensure your every desire becomes a reality. Enjoying the superb weather to top up your tan is ‘a given’ in this climate, but there is so much else to do in the Caribbean. Each island has a unique terrain; some boast active volcanoes and mountain ranges begging to be hiked, while others display stunning coral reefs that must be seen to be believed.
Thousands of islands can be found in the Caribbean Sea, from The Bahamas to the North, to Trinidad and Tobago in the South. There are roughly five regions: Bahamas, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and the Greater and Lesser Antilles.
Each region showcases its own unique culture, soul and flavour of its own, many being former colonies of the French, British and Dutch among others. Though many islands are self-governed, history refines each locality for example in its cuisine and traffic laws.
As a destination for a luxury yacht charter, the Caribbean is surprisingly accessible. Most islands have their own airports, many of which are international. Despite the esteem in which the Caribbean is held, there are also many less-travelled localities to visit, if you wish to get away from it all. You truly can have it all during a Caribbean yacht charter.
To visit the Lesser Antilles, Antigua is a great place to start. Embark in the English Harbour to take your place among the many superyachts at anchor and start to enjoy the slower pace of life. Then head along its 50 mile coastline and choose some of the 300 coves to visit, with their picture postcard, icing-sugar beaches lined with palms. Antigua is a dream for surfers, divers too with its vast and protected coral reef offering unparalleled snorkelling and diving. Perhaps head to Jabberwock Beach on your sailing dinghy or Nonsuch Bay with your paddleboard, or head inland to visit the historic sites and rainforests. Finally sail out to sea to watch the spectacular Caribbean sunset.
Barbuda is one of the two major islands making the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, with 97% of the population residing on Antigua. Arguably, along with Guadaloupe, Barbuda boasts the most beautiful beaches of all the islands. If birdlife is your passion then take time to visit Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Lagoon, one of the species largest nesting sites, along with more than 150 other species. Running alongside is a paradisiacal 11 mile coastline of fine white-sand beach coated with tiny pink shells. Visit the reef-lined Spanish Point, and North Beach, with their picturesque palm trees or explore Codrington, the only village on the island.
Chartering a yacht to cruise in the quintissential British Virgin Islands you can expect a perfect, balmy climate and steady easterly breeze. This relatively unspoiled region consists of more than 50 islands – ideal for island hopping adventures, and are neighbours to the more cosmopolitan US Virgin Islands. They are the perfect cruising grounds for first-time or family charters with multiple protected anchorages, coral reefs, stunning beaches, green hills and all manner of watersports. Abundant fish in these placid waters make them ideal for divers and sports fishing enthusiasts. Why not learn to kitesurf at Anegada or kayak around the boulders and grottoes of The Baths, Virgin Gorda. If you prefer to sample the local drafts however, then head to Cooper Island Beach Club’s microbrewery.
Between Guadaloupe and Martinique you will find Dominica- the nature island-showing off its natural hot springs, mountainous scenery and tropical rainforests. Take the trail through Morne Trois Pitons National Park to find the eerie, volcanically heated,steaming Boiling Lake, sulphur vents, the stunning Trafalgar Falls and Titou Gorge. To the west is Dominica’s capital Roseau where you can absorb the authentic Caribbean culture as you meander through the streets lined with colourful timber houses, or visit the botanic gardens. Like most islands in the region you can also dive and snorkel among the pristine, thriving coral gardens between the walls and pinnacles created by the ancient volcanic activity around the island.
Head to Grenada the ‘Spice Island’ which has the best of both worlds, with its pristine beaches, chic city and lush vegetation. Explore the fragrant spice market with its scents of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cocoa and visit St George’s shops for last minute gifts and souvenirs. You can take the trail and meander through the Grand Etang National Park to the crater lake, enjoying the scent of the nutmeg groves and tropical rainforest as you go. Don’t be surprised if you are greeted by the local monkeys at the visitor centre. Alternatively take the time to simply relax and enjoy a swim at the Concord Waterfalls. If you like to sample the local fare, then consider taking a tour of the chocolate factory, rum distillery, or spice plantation, before you head for home from Grenada’s international airport.
With prevailing northerly winds and close proximity to one another, the Leeward Islands provide a sailing paradise ideal for cruising. Guadaloupe’s two main islands, shaped like a butterfly, are joined by bridges and mangroves. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches with Grand Terre teaming with activities and Basse Terre home to its national park and La Soufriere volcano. In Guadaloupe you can enjoy views of the surrounding mountains, lush rain forests and explore the vibrant towns. The crystal-clear waters enhance the colourful marine life making snorkeling a highly rewarding activity. Finally settle down to a peaceful overnight mooring in Deshais Harbour or Islet a Cabrit on the Isles des Saints which offer a quiet, sheltered anchorage.
Head to Fort De France, the capital of Martinique, and experience the chic, while dining at 5 star restaurants or enjoying luxurious shopping, before you anchor a short distance away near the beach at Anse a L’ane . From here you can reach and explore the picturesque towns or relax on one of the many velvety beaches. Alternatively you can enjoy snorkeling among the marvellous marine flora and fauna on the outer reefs.
The very French island of St Barthelemy offers spectacular cruising and natural beauty, while exuding exclusivity with its chic ‘jet-set’ vibe. The modern marina can accommodate up to 160 yachts, and the island hosts many prestigious yachting events including the Bucket Regatta in the Spring. The St Barts Cup later in the year entices some of the world’s finest yachts to the area. The island’s capital Gustavia has plentiful high-end boutiques, bars and cafes, and the rural villages along the coast have their own charm. If you are interested in architecture visit the Wall House with the museum which exhibits the changing architectural style over the centuries. From your yacht you will get a wonderful view of the rolling hills, but to see the canyons with their cascading waterfalls you will need to go ashore. There is no shortage of colourful marine life on the coral reefs and lagoons which offer ideal conditions for snorkelling and diving.
Make your way to Marigot Bay an area of serene tranquility, then head for the excellent seafood restaurants onshore. You may prefer to visit the dive centre at Marigot Beach Club if seeking a marine adventure; St Lucia offers a superb range of areas for diving and snorkeling. The nearby Soufriere, is well worth taking time to visit – a small town with brightly painted buildings and a bustling seafront. It also boasts the Diamond Botanical Gardens, with copious ornamental plants, geothermal mineral baths and a beautiful waterfall. If you head inland you will find the stunning Toraille Waterfall, a sight not to be forgotten as are the famous volcanic twin peaks – the Pitons. Gros Piton, the loftier of the two peaks is accessible for keen hikers and offers a unique view over the island. For the even more adventurous, take a trip by island buggy or Segway, or try rainforest ziplining for unique views.
Situated at the southern end of the island, the long white sandy beaches are great for wind and kitesurfing, or you can head ashore to Moule a Chique, to take advantage of the 360 vistas. Cruise round to Anse des Sables Beach and drop anchor to enjoy lunch and in the evening you can anchor near Vieux Fort for a peaceful night in the harbour.
Although only 37 square miles St Martin (St. Maarten) is governed by both France and the Netherlands, so offers a fascinating cultural blend with its fusion cuisine and vibrant nightlife. In Philipsburg you can enjoy shopping, trying your luck in the fabulous Coliseum Princess Casino or simply enjoy a dip in Orient Bay. With hundreds of top-class restaurants, beautiful lagoons, soft sandy beaches and towering mountains, this is one of the most popular of the Leeward islands. St Martin will guarantee a lively cosmopolitan Caribbean atmosphere while offering sheltered anchorages and fascinating marine life; St Martin delivers on all levels.
In this southeastern region of the Caribbean in the path of the northeast trade winds, along with Martinique and St Lucia, lie St Vincent and The Grenadines. Of the 30 islands and cays, only 9 are inhabited. You will soon see why they are called the ‘Jewels of the Caribbean’. They are well-known for their tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, remote anchorages and secluded coves, many accessible only by boat. These islands are also famous for their legends of pirates, rum distilleries and leafy plantations. Here you are assured of unique adventures among the spectacular backdrop of rainforests, mangroves and volcanic formations. Follow the trails to the ultimate bathing experience – under cascading waterfalls, or pause to appreciate the local wildlife. With many top-class resorts and restaurants on the islands, what more could you ask from a yacht charter?
Bequia meaning “island of the clouds” in the ancient Arawak is the second-largest island in the Grenadines at 7 square miles. Relax with a passion fruit mojito at Jack’s Beach Bar or dance the night away to a local band on the soft sand of the seashore. There is an excellent MusicFest in January and if you appreciate wildlife then head for the Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, alternatively enjoy the seclusion of Margaret Beach.
Mustique is a private island in this archipelago and known for its sugar-sand beaches like Macaroni Beach, Pasture Bay and Endeavour Bay. The North Point trail meanders through coastal areas inhabited by native seabirds and on the island’s west coast, and Britannia Bay is home to a collection of fruit stalls and small shops. The island’s gentle climate and natural beauty of dramatic hilltops and pristine palm fringed beaches has attracted visitors for many years.
Explore the island or swim and scuba dive in the jewel coloured waters, you can even snorkel with the turtles at nearby Tobago Cays. Onshore there is the magical opportunity to enjoy the spectacular beaches on horseback, or play tennis at the famous Mustique Tennis Club. If all that is too much, you can simply indulge yourself with a world-class spa treatment.
In the South West enjoy the laidback atmosphere of Canouan Island and the coral reefs of Tobago Cays Marine Park with its outstanding underwater marine life waiting to be discovered. Then head to Mayreau the smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines; it is a secret treasure of tranquility with a population of around 300. This isolated community is mainly located in a small village at the top of Station Hill in the south-west. With no airstrip it is only accessible by boat, so with its picture postcard bays and quaint village, Mayreau is the untouched Caribbean you only dreamt of.
Palm Island is a 135-acre privately owned eco-friendly island with five stunning white-sand beaches and aquamarine water, which can only be accessed by boat. It features an exclusive resort and spa and is only a short hop away from Union Island, the main local commercial centre and transfer hub.