Shed your winter coat and step outside in your bathing suit this festive season as you relish the winter wonderlands of the Caribbean and Bahamas on a luxury catamaran yacht charter. A luxury yacht charter is one of the safest and convenient ways to travel to multiple destinations while enjoying first-class service and a range of amenities on board: Your professional crew can have the water toys ready to go when you wake up in your secluded anchorage, and the highly trained chef will create enticing meals each day that cater to all the dietary requirements of your group.
It’s up to you whether you create your itinerary around the sensational nightlife and events of the Caribbean & Bahamas or sail off to one of myriad tropic idylls to forget the rest of the world and cherish the time spend in pristine nature with family and friends. Once you swap snow for soft white sands, long sunny days and cosying up around the barbeque, you’ll want to remain in this tropic idyll until it’s summer again back home.
The Caribbean islands are the place to be over the winter months, as proven by the long list of celebrities who top up their tans aboard their private yachts. The US Virgin Islands are closest to the Florida coast where most yacht charters commence, and the USVIs offer a great balance between shopping, entertainment and nightlife, white sand beaches, snorkelling sites and lush national parks.
Life takes a slower pace amongst the British Virgin Islands, home to The Baths on Virgin Gorda as well as numerous beaches for unwinding with a drink and watching the scenery. Snorkelling and Scuba diving are popular water sports here, and those with energy to space can dance the night away at The Soggy Dollar Bar or Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke. Treat yourself and your group to a shopping spree on Saint Martin/Sint Martin, then show off your style in the restaurants on Saint Barthelemy before the regattas begin.
The unique heritage of Cuba is a visual treat where photographers and artists will happily lose hours amongst the magnificent 16th-century architecture in Havana. Verdant national parks to the south and white sand beaches to the north make this country a week-long adventure in itself.
The farther south you travel, the more you leave the modern world behind and slip into the Caribbean pace of life. Outdoor adventurers will be in their element finding the waterfalls and hot pools on Dominica, while the Pitons on Saint Lucia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with mud pools and spectacular views of the bay.
Grenada is the Island of Spice and a place for food connoisseurs to savour the freshest ingredients after a day of swimming and sunbathing aboard your luxury yacht or on one of the scattered beaches.
On a luxury yacht charter, you can leave the rest of the world behind and cruise off to distant isles for a sunset meal on the beach, then carry on the conversation with drinks in the Jacuzzi as a fiery sunset gives way to unpolluted night skies lit with a thousand stars. With your accommodation always with you, your itinerary becomes flexible enough that you can linger in one paradise or go looking for the next.
Nassau is for many the first and last stop on a luxury yacht charter in the Bahamas: The international airport is a convenient connection before a short journey to the marina to meet up with your luxury yacht. It consists of two islands – New Providence & Paradise – which offer golden sand beaches to the west, luxury shopping, fine dining and casinos to the northeast, and plenty of museums and places of interest to absorb the island culture: Stretch your legs and walk through the Ardastra Garden & Wildlife Conservation Centre, view the Cliffton Heritage National Park, and take a romantic stroll through the Versailles Gardens before dinner, dancing and trying your luck in the casinos.
Grand Bahama Island is another one of the most visited islands in the Bahamas and has easy airport links from Freeport. Holidaymakers with a love for wildlife will find that the National Parks are an introduction to the endemic island species on the very first day of your visit. The true wonders of this tropical paradise are to be discovered in the Out Islands, away from the heavily touristed destinations – and this is where chartering a luxury yacht comes into its element.
Luxury catamarans such as S/Y CALMAO have a shallow draft perfectly suited to the Bahamas, where the best anchorages might be no more than a few metres deep. Two hulls provide excellent stability, and a greater beam with a shorter length grants access to places larger vessels cannot reach, while still providing an abundance of space on board.
Absorb the sights of the wrecks and reefs using the snorkelling equipment and underwater scooter, watching sea turtles and rays graze in their natural habitat while vibrant schools of fish vie for your attention. The Berry Islands are a treat for big game fishing, while romantics should make the time to visit Eleuthera and the pink sand beach at Harbour Island to walk its sands at sunrise or sundown.
Andros is the largest of the Bahamian islands and its verdant forests call to many explorers. The crystal-clear blue waters are just as enticing, with blue holes to discover and big game fish that your on-board chef can turn into a delectable lunch.
The Abacos are a favourite for many luxury yacht charters who want to remain close to the rest of the world while still getting a taste of island life. The Exumas, meanwhile, are famous for the swimming pigs at Pig Beach, and it’s possible to pet tame nurse sharks as well as go snorkelling in an underwater cave.
Farther south, Rum Cay has impressive Lucayan art and petroglyphs from the people that once inhabited these islands, and the wreck of HMS CONQUEROR is just part of the underwater museum.
Kayak and paddleboard around the pristine white cliffs and beaches of Long Island, or dive for sand dollars in the sheltered shallows of the Bight of Acklins.
Mayaguana and Inagua are far off the well-trodden path for those who love wildlife and serene seclusion. Mayaguana has a reputation as a spot for honeymooning couples, who can spend their time together playing with the water toys in the turquoise-coloured water, fishing or crabbing for a delicious fresh dinner, or simply unwinding on the soft warm sands.
80,000 flamingos bask in the sunshine around Inagua, where the three national parks create a stable environment for 140 endemic and migratory birds. This makes it the perfect destination for families, photographers and eco-tourists satisfied with seeing some of the world’s rarer sights.
Trina Howes is a Director of CharterWorld America. CharterWorld is a luxury private yacht charter company that creates outstanding vacations with excellent yachts at amazing prices – worldwide.
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