5 Best-Kept Charter Destination Secrets In The Caribbean
Private yachting holidays are the favored choice for today’s cultured traveler looking for the ultimate in luxury accommodations, privacy, flexibility and personalized service. Chartering a luxury yacht allows you to travel to the world’s most desirable and exotic locations creating unforgettable life experiences along the way. While the list of popular cruising destinations is endless, you also have the option to venture off the beaten path and access places few will ever get to discover. There's certainly something enticing about chartering to more remote locations where unspoiled tropical beauty and unbelievable privacy abounds. If exploring under the radar yet ever-so-dreamy destinations sounds like your kind of vacation, consider adding these five little-known Caribbean islands to your charter itinerary.
You've no doubt heard of Antigua but what about its lesser known sister island 28 miles to the North? Barbuda is a little gem of a Caribbean island that remains blissfully undeveloped featuring secluded pink sand beaches, a perfectly laid back pace of life and a tiny population of only 1,600 people. A small island of just 62 square miles, what Barbuda lacks in size it certainly makes up for in character. To charter a yacht here is to intimately experience pure, unfiltered tropical beauty that will leave a lasting impression on you and yours. While the picturesque beaches and shallow reefs teeming with tropical marine life are the big attractions on Barbuda, there's much more to explore on the island. Barbuda is home to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the only nesting place for the species outside the Galapagos. Visitors give rave reviews on touring the sanctuary which is located in the island's northwestern lagoon and is accessible only by boat. Over 170 species of birds live here including over 5,000 frigate birds. Fregata Magnificens, is the most aerial of waterbirds and their claim to fame is their amazing wingspan of four to five feet, the largest in proportion to body size of any bird in the world. Frigates are known as the "war bird", because of their tremendous size and flight capabilities. They tend to harass less agile flyers like pelicans and egrets until they drop their catch. Another natural wonder on Barbuda is its network of caves including Darby Cave, a popular sinkhole adorned with fascinating ancient cave drawings.
Photo: Dominica The Nature Island
Not to be mistaken for the Dominican Republic, the "Nature Island" of Dominica encompasses a total of 268 square miles of volcanic peaks, lush tropical rainforest, sulfurous hot springs, stellar diving and the Caribbean's first long-distance hiking trail. Dominica is less about sandy beaches with all-inclusive resorts and more about totally immersing yourself in some of mother nature's best and most awe-inspiring work. You can spend time exploring the wonders of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site that includes the Morne Trois Pitons volcano, Boiling Lake and Trafalgar Falls. Hiking the amazing treks of Dominca offer explorers thrilling views and an overall exhilarating experience not soon to be forgotten. The island has a rich culture that is to be celebrated as well being that it's the only location in the Eastern Caribbean that’s still home to a large population of indigenous people, the Kalinago, who've inhabited the island since the 13th century. Thanks in part to the Kalinago’s strong resistance, Dominica was the last Caribbean island to be colonized, by the British, in 1763. Other activities on Dominica include a variety of bars and restaurants, local festivals, and diving or snorkeling the surrounding reefs. Batibou Beach is one of Dominica's best kept secrets that you'll have to check out. It is located on the north-east side of the island and there's a small fee charged to access the beach. A 4WD vehicle is required or you can opt to take a 25-minute trek from the main road.
Photo: The Mustique Company
A one-of-a-kind private island, Mustique is a fabulous yachting destination that lures A-list celebrities to its shores all year round - but you don't have to be a celebrity to enjoy this paradise. The island is located in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chain in the South-Eastern portion of the Caribbean. Purchased by aristocrat Colin Tennant in 1958, Mustique is a 1400-acre private island now owned by The Mustique Company, which is owned by the residents of the island. Tennant made the purchase with the intention of developing a place where one can be totally secluded or socially enthralled and the rich and famous can escape from it all to privately enjoy the simple pleasures in life. His vision has been realized ten-fold. You can admire Mustique both on shore of from your yacht where you'll catch the best view of the exclusive villas of celebrities, business powerhouses, and royalty sprinkled throughout rich tropical folliage. While on the island you have to stop at the popular Basil’s Beach Bar. Built on piers above the ocean, it is a beloved gathering place for yachtsmen, charterers, island’s guests and residents alike. Stop in for a cold drink or to sample the famous seafood and admire the view, you might even rub elbows with a celebrity or two. While visiting Mustique on your charter yacht you could also stop in at Gelliceaux Bay, where you'll experience the island's best snorkeling. If you find yourself on a charter that includes St. Vincent and the Granadines, be sure to add Mustique to your intinerary. Your experience here will be worth a few extra nautical miles.
Photo: Nevis Tourism Authority
Sharing its nation status with St. Kitts, Nevis is the smaller of the two islands at just thirty-six square miles in size, and this little-touristed Caribbean jewel has so much to offer should you choose to chart your course here. As you approach the island by sea the views of Mount Nevis, the island's dormant volcano, are utterly breathtaking. Nevis residents will tell you that the best beaches on the island are located on the northern and western shores however every beach is meticulously well-cared-for, public and free plus, they are never crowded so you just might find that you have an entire beach to yourself. The most well-known beach on Nevis is Pinney’s Beach which runs about three miles long and can be found on the outskirts of the capital, Charlestown. Here you can relax on the powdery sand or enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the beach bars or nearby Four Seasons Resort. Other activities on Nevis include exploring historical landmarks throughout the island, dining at beachfront restaurants where you'll find everything from classic West Indian goat water stew to fresh grilled lobster and hiking through the rain forests and foothills - epic views, monkeys and tropical birds await you on the trails.
SabaPhoto: Saba Tourist Bureau
Referred to as the "Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean", Saba is the neighboring island to popular tourist spot St. Maarten and part of the Dutch Caribbean. One of the rare places on earth that remains delightfully untouched by the hustle and bustle of mass-tourism and an increasingly fast-paced modern day life, Saba offers visitors a different kind of island getaway. Escaping here means receiving the warmest of welcomes from friendly locals, exploring stunning natural beauty both above and below the sea and really learning how to slow down and savor the moment, the old Caribbean way. The smallest island, only five square miles, in the Netherlands Antilles, Saba is mainly a dormant volcano covered in rain forest. A single road quite literally named "The Road", takes visitors to quaint villages, where you can purchase traditional Saba lace. Despite it's relatively tiny size, there is so much to do and see on Saba from hiking memorable trails throughout lush mountainous terrain to enjoying spectacular diving or snorkeling opportunities. You'll find a collection of rustic seaside bars and specialty restaurants across the island giving you tons of options for enjoying a cold beverage and sampling the local fare. If you're looking for something different, not your typical Caribbean vacation, then Saba has the perfect adventure in store for you.