As the leaves start to redden and the foliage begins to fall, we know what time of the year it is. The boats are beginning to vacate the Mediterranean ports and the landscape is starting to look bleaker. Winter is approaching.
8,000km away the crippling effects of the seasons are far more muted. In the Caribbean, small green shoots are still sprouting, exotic fish dance playfully under the sun and the time is nearly right for a yacht charter.
Following the close of the rainy season at the end of October, the ideal yachting conditions in the Caribbean are perfectly synchronised to the deteriorating weather in more Northern climes. Temperatures there at this time of year never drop below 24°C and are almost invariably in the low to mid 30s. The local flora and fauna are exotic and luscious, the landscape is dramatic and captivating and the people are as warm as the climate they live in. This is a land where stress is as foreign as the visitors who migrate there for the winter sun. The only headache however is choosing a destination from among the 1,000 islands available.
AquaCruise recommends the British Virgin Islands: a winter paradise! The more than 60 islands that constitute the British Virgin Islands are still relatively wild and a joy to visit for those keen to explore the Caribbean off the beaten track. Each island has its own charms and allures making it perfect for visiting by yacht. A private yacht charter allows you to discover the islands at your own leisure based on your personal preferences and interests.
Most yacht charters of the BVI begin however in Tortola, not only because that is the destination of arriving flights, but also because it is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and home to the exquisite Cane Garden Bay: a beautiful arcing bay with golden sands and a selection of lively bars and exotic seafood restaurants.
Other particular highlights include the feast of snorkelling locations just north of Norman Island at a crest of rock called The Indians, supposedly because the rising, jutting rocks resemble an Indian headdress emerging from the pristine clear Caribbean waters. Likewise, the RMS Rhone wreck provides an extraordinary diving location for yacht charterers. Lying on the seabed since 1867, we are certain you will enjoy the ship ruins as much as the myriad of rare marine animals that now inhabit it.
If you’d rather spend more time with your own species however, head to nearby Jost Van Dyke and in particular White Bay, where there are some world renowned bars and restaurants in the kind of atmosphere you would expect from an Antilles beach resort. There, people enjoy the delights of Soggy Dollar bar and its famous ‘Painkiller’ cocktail while rocking in a hammock beneath swaying palm trees. Later, freshly caught lobsters are served at quaint restaurants and traditional rum is poured out generously as people relax into evening parties on the beach.
If you would like something rather more peaceful from your Caribbean yacht charter, Sandy Spit will undoubtedly give you a real to life idea of being stranded on a desert island. Lay anchor off shore and snorkel through the beautiful encircling coral before setting foot on a miniature island with no one but your friends and your thoughts for company.
If you want to make a return to civilisation, visit Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour where luxury modern shopping facilities, gourmet restaurants and artisan boutiques are plentiful. Nearby, The Baths are an excellent crowd pleasing attraction. An awe-inspiring natural sculpture of giant boulders lie one atop another. Below them, a network of azure blue streams and shallow sea pools flow whilst shafts of Caribbean sunlight burst through the cracks in the rocks to illuminate the current.
All the other islands are alive with National Parks and rainforests each one interconnected by a series of natural paths, waterfalls and botanical gardens with only the tropical animals as your guides. Undoubtedly they will lead you back to a beautiful palm strewn beach fit for paradise.
The British Virgin Islands are ideal for exploring by private yacht charter, and since a luxury 40ft catamaran charter with 4 en-suite cabins can cost as little as £5,000 for a two week holiday, you would do well to disagree. You don’t even have to be an experienced sailor to enjoy the wonders of the Caribbean by yacht. No island is more than a few miles from the next and the winds and seas here are as easy as the living.
Visit the AquaCruise British Virgin Islands page here to discover which vessels are available for charter in the region.
Images are courtesy of expert yacht photographer Mark O’Connell.
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