When it comes to winter yachting, most people head south to escape the cold and get away on a relaxing break. There are plenty of destinations to choose from to satisfy all yacht charter requirements, from cosmopolitan city life to exciting scuba diving and picture postcard beaches.
Although much of the Caribbean suffered from this year’s hurricanes, it still remains the ultimate winter yacht charter destination and the best place to visit if you buy a yacht in Florida. Some places were largely unaffected and others are quickly rebuilding and getting back to business, so the best thing you can do is support this region by visiting.
Antigua is a laid-back historic heritage site with a beautiful harbor, Nelson’s Dockyard, which fortunately protects boats and ships during storms and hurricanes. Along with its sister island Barbuda, it is famous for its pink sand that comprises crushed shells and coral. The island is also known for its fun atmosphere, showcased internationally at its world-famous regatta where classic racing takes place in an atmosphere of warm Antiguan hospitality.
This volcanic island combines pristine nature and boutique luxury. Explore rainforest waterfalls, ride horses on the beach, spot rare turtles and luxuriate in thermal mud springs. A winter yacht charter in St Lucia can be as active or relaxed as you desire.
Once unchartered territory, Cuba takes more planning than other Caribbean destinations, but it is well worth the extra investment of time and paperwork. A good charter company will help you with the formalities so that you can enjoy a stress-free yacht charter on the Caribbean’s most unique island. It’s an island where time has stood still; classic cars fill streets that exude an intriguing mix of Soviet and Spanish architecture. Cuba offers all the Caribbean pleasure of a typical yacht charter with a cultural twist. Watch tropical sunsets from the deck of your yacht while sampling Cuba Libres and Cubanitos (Cuban Bloody Mary).
The Seychelles offer a great alternative to the Caribbean for winter yachting that provides similarly pristine beaches, transparent waters, and verdant green interiors. Autumn and winter offer peaceful sailing conditions with a gentle breeze to help you cruise between the country’s 115 islands. The capital Victoria is a great place to stock up on supplies and souvenirs at its vibrant Sir Selwyn Clarke Market.
Sainte Anne Island, just off the northeast coast of Mahé, is home to a spectacular Marine National Park where green turtles and dolphins can be spotted. If you’re interested in nature and diving, the Seychelles are perfect with two unique coral islands, Denis Island and Bird Island where sooty terns and hawksbill turtles enjoy the powder soft sand and sea life as much as human visitors. Bird Island is also the home of Esmeralda, the oldest and heaviest giant tortoise in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles have some good Christmas celebrations, including atmospheric midnight masses with choirs at some churches. There is also a range of beach parties to see in the New Year.
It is becoming increasingly common for yacht owners and charterers to extend their season in the Mediterranean. The southern regions have mild, sunny climates and decent sailing conditions. In the Central Mediterranean, Malta is a good choice for those who want a mix of city nightlife, historic buildings, and calm mesmerizing views. However, there are lots of other spots across the Mediterranean where you can catch the winter sun from the deck of a luxury yacht.
The Eastern Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean has some of the best winter temperatures and dramatic scenery that is ideal at any time of year. If you cruise the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, there will be plenty of local life happening on land but you’ll have the marinas of Gocek and Fethiye, as well as the sea, to yourself for the most part. It is a good time to enjoy local hikes, such as small sections of the legendary Lycian Way in the Taurus Mountains.
Greece is a dream destination with 6,000 islands awaiting discovery, and the southernmost islands are good for yacht charters in early winter. Most of the islands close up for the season so don’t expect much in the way of nightlife, but you will get to see a more authentic way of life and tavernas are lovely and cozy. Expect empty beaches, azure waters ancient ruins, whitewashed buildings and olive groves set against a backdrop of blue winter skies.
The Canary Islands
The warmest temperatures and best sailing conditions can be found in the Canary Islands. The beautiful volcanic archipelago ensures diving, snorkeling, hiking, and windsurfing is possible year-round. The Canaries have a biodiversity that varies from the moonscapes of Lanzarote and the desert-like Maspalomas Dunes to the beaches of Fuerteventura and black sands of Caleta Negra.