There is no better way to discover the wonders of the West Indies than on a private luxury yacht charter as you experience the glamour of Caribbean island hopping.
From the Cayman Islands and Cuba in the northwest, down to Trinidad and Tobago in the south, each sparkling jewel in the shimmering, aquamarine sea is just waiting to be explored while visiting multiple islands in the Caribbean.
The area’s name derives from the 15th century, when explorer Christopher Columbus was seeking a faster sea route from Europe to India but mistook the glistening isles of the Caribbean for his intended destination. Today, the islands sway to the rhythm of reggae and are bursting with culture and character, not to mention a balmy climate and some of the most stunning scenery in the world.
But it is the sea itself, which has the most hypnotic allure, with kaleidoscopic hues of blues and greens that beguile all who visit.
The most thrilling way to enjoy a Caribbean island hopping adventure is on a luxury crewed private yacht charter where the crew will cater for your every comfort as you relax and indulge in the vacation of a lifetime.
Why go Caribbean island hopping?
Although all the islands enjoy sun, sea and sand, each has its own character and culture, so the best way to experience each piece of paradise is by visiting multiple islands in the Caribbean, and there is no better way to do this than on a Caribbean yacht charter.
And while most destinations can be reached by air, the real magic of the Caribbean is encountered while gliding through the iridescent turquoise waters. Whether aboard a motor yacht or a sailing yacht, a luxurious yacht offers the ideal way to hop from harbor to harbor in elegant style.
It also gives the chance to linger longer on any of the islands where you simply can't leave the beautiful beaches, sensational sunsets, or the many locals with whom you are likely to strike life-long friendships.
But of the dozens of dazzling islands in this volcanic archipelago, there are a few that simply should not be missed. Read on to discover which destinations to put on your itinerary if you’re planning to go Caribbean island hopping on a vacation sure to exceed all expectations.
Cuba – A reflection of the past
The largest island in the region, Cuba is a country frozen in time and the ideal start to your Caribbean island hopping adventure. With buildings exuding the faded grandeur of pre-revolution days, you’ll glimpse a way of life that has barely changed since the 1950s. Although surrounded by unspoiled white-sand beaches, the lure of Cuba is predominantly in places like Old Havana, best explored on foot, or driving in one of the classic cars that have been on the road since pre-Castro days. Enjoy the sizzling sounds of salsa, walk the Malecón, and get ready to rumba. A Caribbean yacht charter must.
Jamaica – Land of wood and water
Next on your vacation visiting multiple islands in the Caribbean, drop anchor to enjoy some jammin’ in Jamaica. Boasting the Blue Mountains, which are the highest in the Caribbean, the island is crisscrossed by rivers gushing with crystal-clear water, as well as breathtaking beaches around the coastline. It also reverberates with music in every corner, as the legacy of icons such as Bob Marley continue to inspire and uplift. Whether you’re looking for the urban vibes of the capital, Kingston, or experiencing the likes of bamboo river rafting, swimming in a blue hole, zip-lining through a tree-top canopy or horse-riding on a former plantation, there is an exciting experience for every hour of the day.
The Virgin Islands – Heaven on earth
Both the British and the US Virgin Islands are long-established centers for Caribbean island hopping. In the US Virgin Islands group, St Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are each unique but between them have more than 60 dive sites. There are also excellent snorkel spots where you might well encounter a sea turtle. On land, you can hike the national park, go off-roading in a jeep, and tour historic buildings. In the British Virgin Islands, every place you dock has its own unique charm from the four largest islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada to more than 50 smaller isles. In each location, there are friendly people, incredible beaches and recreational activities that will draw you back again and again.
Antigua – Following in Nelson’s footsteps
With a coastline of safe harbours, it is no wonder that Admiral Horatio Nelson established Britain’s most important naval base of the time there in 1784. Today, this island is an ever-popular stop with yachting enthusiasts enjoying a Caribbean yacht charter. Safety, coupled with the island’s natural beauty, makes it a perfect haven for year-round boating adventures. The coasts of Antigua are ideal for yachting and cruising, and there is a popular annual sailing week at the end of April or beginning of May – a glittering event which attracts participants from all around the globe. English Harbour and the neighboring village of Falmouth are yachting and provisioning centers.
Saint Martin & Sint Maarten – Chic and sophisticated
Another popular stop for anyone Caribbean island hopping, this two-nation island oozes glamour and sophistication. With the French Saint Martin on one side, and the Dutch Sint Maarten on the other, they combine their unique characteristics with all the charisma of the Caribbean. Known for their excellent gastronomy, lively nightlife and superb shopping, along with fabulous beaches, both halves of the island are a must-stop when visiting multiple islands in the Caribbean.
So, whether you visit the above destinations, or some of the other wonderful West Indian islands, you’ll never tire of things to see and do while Caribbean island hopping aboard a luxury yacht.
Article by Catherine MacGillivray