From seals and tortoises in the Galapagos to bears and whales in the Alaskan wilderness, a yacht charter is the ideal way to get up close to wildlife in a pristine environment.
The team at OceanScape Yachts has put together a list of the 9 best locations around the world for wildlife-spotting by yacht charter.
9 Best Yachting Destinations for Wildlife
1 Costa Rica
Just a short hop from the US, Costa Rica is an astonishingly good location for a wildlife-spotting yacht charter. The waters abound with dolphins, turtles, manatees, and frolicking humpback whales—the whale watching season here is the longest on the planet. You can dive down to the ocean floor and watch graceful manta rays float above you. On land, the jungles provide an immensely rich ecosystem for monkeys and toucans, sloths and even shy, furtive jaguars.
2 The Galapagos
All wildlife fanatics crave a visit to the Galapagos, and it’s little wonder why. These remote islands off the coast of Ecuador changed our understanding of the natural world. And a private yacht charter is the only way to do these islands justice. Dive with whales, penguins and seals, walk among colonies of friendly blue and red footed boobies and marvel at the giant Galapagos turtles that trundle past.
3 The Bahamas
One of the most amusing sights of the yachting world must be the famous swimming pigs of the Exumas, in the Bahamas. These pigs swim out to the yachts hoping to be fed, their pink snouts poking above the clear sapphire waters. Birdwatchers will also be delighted with the tiny wood star hummingbirds and the colorful Bahamian parrots. Plus, the world beneath the surface is even richer, with teeming coral reefs and deep caves full of wonderful marine creatures.
4 New Zealand
What a country this is! Killer whales, sea lions, humpback whales, colonies of walrus seals, pretty little fjord penguins and tiny dolphins all can be spotted from the deck of your yacht. With scenery quite literally out of a fantasy movie (Lord of the Rings even fails to do this landscape justice), there are few better places to see animals in their natural habitat than New Zealand.
Killer whales breach and circle in on their prey. Bald eagles soar above glaciers and snow-capped mountains. Grey wolves stalk quietly through the forest. If you don scuba gear with a guide you can explore pristine reefs, find giant Pacific octopus, sea lions and wolf eels. Alaska is an opportunity to see some of the great predators and prey of our world in majestic scenery.
6 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier reef is so large you can see it from outer space. This coral reef is the world’s largest living organism, stretching for a staggering 1600 miles up the northeast coast of Australia. Pull on your snorkel or scuba gear and dive off the yacht’s swim platform into a magical underwater world where colorful coral grows in fantastic shapes and vast schools of tropical fish flit and dart about in the warm, sunlit waters.
Thailand offers the yacht charterer a wild and wonderful array of creatures: tigers and leopards and bears, monkeys, mongoose, rhinoceros, water buffalo-and of course, the mighty elephant. In the water you’ll find fabulous coral reefs that teem with life, you can even dive on a reef just off magnificent Ko Phi Phi island where the blockbuster movie The Beach was filmed.
8 The Maldives
This tiny string of tropical islands far out in the Indian Ocean is heaven for divers- and easily one of the most unforgettable yacht charter destinations on earth. At anchor at night in the Maldives, you can hear the dolphins squeak and breathe heavily through their blowholes as they chase fish around the yacht. On the ocean floor, a huge carpet of corals and fans are home to schools of brightly colored fish, small reef sharks, manta rays, barracuda, groupers, unicorn fish and whale sharks.
This vast archipelago in Southeast Asia is another rising star on the superyacht scene, and its pristine ecosystem increasingly lures wildlife-spotting charters to its tropical shores. Indonesia boasts coral reefs beyond counting, and its waters hold the most biological diversity on earth. Migrating whales and prehistoric fossil fish are worth making the trip for alone. On land you’ll find that 40% of the species aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Orangutans, giant Komodo lizards, Java Rhinos and dwarf buffalo make Indonesia a spectacular wildlife destination for your yacht charter.
Looking for more amazing vacation ideas? OceanScape Yachts has put together the definitive guide to the luxurious world of yachting vacations. And for a limited time they’re giving digital copies away free of charge. Come, you’re invited to discover a whole new way to “sea” the world.