Yacht Charter in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. It is located southeast of Northern America, east of Central America and to the north and west of South America. The Caribbean comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays. The name "Caribbean" is named after the Caribs, one of the one of the dominant Amerindian groups in the region at the time of European contact during the late 15th century. There are plentiful flights to various island throughout the Caribbean. But some of the islands have several connections in order to get there.

Consider a private plane charters to cut out some of the many connections and they are not very expensive. Many private air charters will pick up in San Juan Puerto Rico or St. Thomas and fly to places like Martinique or St. Vincent.

Many parts of the Caribbean have mooring systems in place and anchoring a yacht is prohibited. This measure prevents anchors damaging the coral reefs. Cynics will argue that the measures are more about revenue generation that protecting the environment and at $30 per night for a yacht mooring it is hard not to have some sympathy with this point of view. Yacht charter boats should aim to arrive at an anchorage in order to get a mooring or spot before the crowds arrive. The climate of the Caribbean mainly ranges between sub-tropical to tropical and depends a great deal upon location in proximity to the tradewinds that blow towards the Eastern Caribbean islands heading northwest up the chain of Windward islands. When these tradewinds arrive close to the island of Cuba they tend to be overcome by other minor jet streams across the Caribbean region.

Normally hurricanes which at times effect the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean. September and October are considered the height of hurricane season, although the nominal season is June through November. Check yacht charter company policies in regards to hurricanes. During the November through January winter months; the prevailing wind is 15 - 20 knots from the northeast.

On and off all winter, the famous "Christmas Winds" blow at 25 - 30 knots for several day periods. Beginning in February and finishing in June, the winds move from a northeast direction to southeast when 10 - 15 knots can be expected. Late summer through autumn is the Caribbean's rainy season. However, rain squalls can occur at any time but are usually short lived. Average high temperatures range from 85° to 90° with the highest in July through October; average low temperatures are about 10° less.

The geography in the Caribbean region varies from one place to another. Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. Such islands include Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands or Anguilla. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. The waters of the Caribbean Sea are home to large schools of fish, turtles and coral reef formations. Antigua and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator.

The two islands are part of the Lesser Antilles archipelago. Reliable trade winds throughout the season, which runs from December to May, make Antigua and Barbuda a great yacht charter destination. Coral reefs and abundant marine life make for great snorkelling and scuba diving. Antigua has an international airport, with daily flights from many cities throughout the world. The East Caribbean dollar is the official currency but both US Dollars and Euros are used and major credit cards may be accepted in hotels, restaurants and some shops.

Creole cusine predominates on the islands. The national dish of Antigua is fungie and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish almost entirely made from cornmeal and very similar to the Italian polenta. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster from Barbuda. There are also local confectionaries which include: fudge, peanut brittle, raspberry and tamarind stew and sugarcake. Good international cusine is also widely available.

The Bahamas lie just 100 miles of the coast of Florida. Bimini is the closest island to the USA and is also known as the gateway to the Bahamas. The island of Abaco lies to the east of Grand Bahama. Great Inagua is the most southeastern. Other notable islands include Andros Island, the largest island in the Bahamas, Acklins, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Long Island, Mayaguana and San Salvador Island.

Nassau, the Bahamas capital city, lies on island of New Providence. In all there are over 700 islands in the Bahamas. Yacht charter in the Bahamas offers turquoise waters and sparkling white sandy beaches.

There are many attractive, interesting yacht anchorages. The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical. The Gulf Stream significantly moderates the climate particularly in the winter. Summer temperatures in the Bahamas average 30 degrees Celsius and are just 5 degrees Celsius cooler in the winter. Summer and autumn can bring very severe weather in the form of hurricanes.

The culture of the Bahamas is a mix of African and European influences. This can be seen in the islands music and different styles include; junkanoo, rake and scrape, calypso and a unique form of hymnal. Marching bands are also an important part of life and are heard playing at funerals, weddings and other ceremonial events. In the less developed outer islands of the Bahamas, known as the "Out Islands" or "Family Islands", regattas are important social events. They usually comprise one or more days of racing by old-fashioned workboats and combine an onshore festival.

The Bahamas also have festivals associated with the local traditional crop or food, such as the "Pineapple Fest" in Gregory Town, Eleuthera or the "Crab Fest" on Andros. Abaco is a major centre for yacht charter in the Bahamas. Here a full service marina is home to many charter yachts.

Fuel, water, ice, laundry and shower facilities are all available. You can also provision the yacht here. Fly to Abaco from Florida's Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports.

Your charter yacht is just five minutes from airport. The main cruising area for yacht charters comprises Great Abaco and Little Abaco, along with a delightful string of sandy cays just to the east. Begin in the centre at quaint Man-O-War Cay. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory, located in the north of the Caribbean Sea to the east of both Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. They are part of the Leeward Island chain.

The approximate co-ordinates are 18° 20' N 64° 40' W. The archipelago of the Virgin Islands archipelago is made up of the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands enjoy a sub-tropical climate, moderated by the trade winds.

Temperatures remain fairly steady year round with a daily maximum of around 29°C in the summer and 25°C in the winter. The BVI averages about 115 cm of rain per year, although this is higher in the hills and coast is drier. The wettest months are September through to December. The British Virgin Islands are in an area that can see hurricanes from June to October and this effectively limits the sailing season to November - May. Amongst the many attractions on the British Virgin Islands are the; numerous white sandy beaches; the baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkelling on the coral reefs near Anegada; the well-known bars of Jost Van Dyke Island. The British Virgin Islands include the main islands of Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda together with over fifty other smaller islands and cays.

The smaller islands include; Beef Island, Cooper Island, Ginger Island, Great Camanoe, Great Thatch, Guana Island, Mosquito Island, Necker Island, Norman Island, Peter Island, Salt Island. Only some fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The BVI are mostly volcanic in origin and have a rugged, hilly terrain.

Anegada is the exception and is a flat island composed of limestone and coral. Tortola is the largest island, approximately twelve miles long and three miles wide. Road Town, on Tortola, is the capital of the islands. The British Virgin Islands have a total population of around 22,000 people.

The Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, also known as Beef Island Airport, has regular connections to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Saint Thomas, USVI. There are also flights from most of the major islands in the Caribbean, Antigua and Saint Martin.

It is located on Beef Island, just off the eastern tip of Tortola. Virgin Gorda and Anegada have smaller airports. The islands are a popular destination for cruise ships in the Caribbean and they use the British Virgin Islands main harbour in Road Town on Tortola.

The official currency of the British Virgin Islands is the US dollar. Major credit cards are honoured at the larger BVI establishments but do not expect to use them at small restaurants. The British Virgin Islands are one of the Caribbean's most popular yacht charter destinations and Tortola is home to the world's largest fleet of charter yachts.

Prospective charters can choose between Skippered or bareboat charter. Motor or sailing vessels. Monohulls or catamarans. The short distances between the islands, often only 2 to 3 hours, make the BVI perfect for the first time yacht charterer and for families with young children. There are many flights to the BVI making access easy.

On the downside the BVI can become crowded at peak periods; Christmas; Presidents Week and the Easter holidays. The first two weeks of July are also extremely busy due to Puerto Ricoxs holiday schedule. Charter Yachts require a National Park Permit; ask your charter company for more details. Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea at 16°15'N, 61°35'W. It comprises five islands; Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, La Désirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante. Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France and one of the twenty-six regions of France, an integral part of the Republic.

Being part of France, Guadeloupe is also part of the European Union and its currency is the Euro. Guadeloupe is a mix of modern cities, rainforests, stunning landscapes, sun-drenched beaches, attractive architecture and friendly people make this a popular yacht charter destination. In addition the area benefits from reliable trade winds during the season that rune from December to May.

Most sailing can be done by line of sight so the navigator gets a holiday as well. The Euro is the official currency. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. There are ATM in all the cities of Guadeloupe and in the marinas. St Barts, officially the Collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy, is an overseas collectivity of France that came into being on 22 Feb 2007, encompassing the island of St Barts proper plus several offshore islets.

Also known as Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Barths, or Saint Barth, the collectivity is one of the four territories among the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies. St Barts lies close to the islands of St Martin, Saba and Anguilla. The weather of St Barts is tropical, meaning it's hot and sunny year-round with very little temperature variation between seasons.

Expect an average of 30°C during the summer, with a drop of only a few degrees for the winter season. S Barts weather turns wetter in the autumn but the showers are generally brief if. St Barts catches the trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean all year round but especially in the winter.

Winter sees winds in excess of 20 knots making for a great yacht charter. Summer months see winds anywhere from 10 to 20 knots. Summer is the least expensive time to charter with many yacht charter companies offering significant discounts. St Vincent and the Grenadines is located in the southeast Caribbean about 90 miles west of Barbados. The island group lie south of St Lucia and north of Grenada. The Grenadines are comprised of 32 islands and cays stretching south from St Vincent.

Only 8 of the Grenadines are populated and the remaining are bird sanctuaries and very popular for both hiking and snorkelling. All are volcanic in origin and deeply embellished with inlets where the sea washes up on fine white sandy beaches. St Vincent has lush green mountains. A yacht charter in St Vincent and the Grenadines also offers the opportunity to visit some of the sites used in the making of the film xPirates of the Caribbeanx. St Vincent and the Grenadines is a yacht charter destination for those looking for peace and seclusion. Year round winds in St Vincent and the Grenadines make for the perfect yacht charter holiday.

During the summer months a prevailing 10 - 20 knot wind from the southeast blows. The winter months will see more challenging winds of 20 ? 25 knots generally from the northeast. Although St Vincent is below the hurricane belt there is always a possibility during the months of July to October. Check this with your yacht charter company. Average high temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C with the highest in July through October.

The major airport in St Vincent and the Grenadines is Joshua Airport on St Vincent. There are flights from Barbados, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Martinique and Grenada. Both US Dollars and x Euro are used. Major credit cards may be accepted in hotels, restaurants and some shops.

There are many places throughout the yacht charter area to change money. English is spoken throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines Many yacht charters start at the Lagoon Hotel and Marina on the southern tip of St Vincent. There is a swimming pool for a refreshing dip on shore before or after your yacht charter and good supermarket for provisioning. This is a well protected yacht anchorage nicely positioned to sail south to the Grenadines and for land trips around the island of St Vincent. Take a day ashore and follow the foot trail along the windward coast, through banana and coconut plantations to La Soufriére volcano. On the leeward side Trinity Falls can be reached by following the trail from Richmond.

Bequia lies just nine miles south of St Vincent and it the gateway to some of the best sailing in the Caribbean. The history of Bequia Island runs deep with age-old seafaring traditions of boat building, fishing and whaling. The main port of entry is Port Elizabeth in Admiralty Bay. The quaint waterfront of Port Elizabeth is lined with bars, restaurants and shops selling local crafts. This yacht anchorage is extremely popular with mariners from all over the world because of its ample and clear waters that allow deep-keeled boats to arrive for repairs and services. Bequia has an excellent selection of marine services with amenities that include showers, laundry services and internet access.

Bequia offers great beaches, spectacular snorkelling and diving and great food. Princess Margaret Beach is the best yacht anchorage in all of Bequia. It boasts calm clear waters and a beautiful golden sand beach. The beach has no road access and as a consequence is virtually deserted. A short dinghy ride around the bayxs northern headland and you will come find Frangipani bar, a popular meeting place for a cruisers Happy Hour. One way yacht charter options are available from St Vincent to Union, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Martinique.

Consult with the yacht charter company for more details. Diving: St Vincent and the Grenadines have a large number of recognized and enthusiastic diving schools on St Vincent, Bequia, Mustique and of course the Tobago Cays. Spectacular underwater seascapes include the wreck of Jonas on the eastern side of the Montezuma shoal near Mustique and there are many drift dives offering a changing panorama of soft corals, turtles, Creole wrasses and the occasional sighting of an eagle ray.

Ken Jones runs a Yacht Charters Guide. Click here for info about Caribbean Yacht Charter And here for reports on Caribbean Marinas

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