Exciting Nautical Adventures Every Aquaphile Should Experience

There’s nothing quite like getting out to sea and sailing the mighty waters and if you’ve ever experienced it, there’s a good chance you’re hooked. For some, sailing around the world is a dream but for others, a blithe reality. Whether it’s your first time sailing or you’re an accomplished ocean master, the spray of the sea and the feel of the salty wind in your hair never gets old. Moorings and anchorages are easy to find alongside dynamic coastal destinations, from classic sailing points such as the British Virgin Islands to exotic stops like Zanzibar.

7. Galápagos Islands | Ecuador

Sailing in the Galapagos Islands is like cruising through one of the world’s most magical places filled with so many different species it’s literally a wild kingdom. Sailing around the volcanic peninsula, the name Galapagos conjures images of some of the world’s most important wildlife but it’s also a lesser known yet equally thrilling sailing destination. A live-aboard boat is one of the best ways to experience sailing throughout the area–take a week-long cruise aboard a yacht (but don’t worry, there’s usually a motor just incase the wind’s not sufficient). The days can be wiled away diving or snorkeling or just relaxing offshore or head to land and cavort–while treading carefully ofcourse–among the vast numbers of giant tortoises, playful sea lions, emerald iguanas, and bounty of bird species in this ecological Eden. Get there on any of the daily flights leaving Quito, Ecuador’s capital, via Guayaquil.

6. Bay of Islands | New Zealand

Over the last decade, there have been an abundance of cruising boats around the Bay Islands in Honduras–spectacular scenery and world-class worthy diving and snorkeling are easy guesses for why this small island region has been named one of the largest per-population estimated rates of boat ownership around the globe. From 25km to 50 km off the northern mainland coast, Honduras’s three main islands–Guanaja, Roatan, and Utila–are home to barrier reefs that are the world’s second largest, churning with fish, sea turtles, sponges, whale sharks, coral, and rays. Dozens of coves make for an interesting nautical adventure, where clear waters beckon into the cool, refreshing turquoise depths. Most of the other islands, numbering around 150, are free of the advancing development found on the three favourites, making it a choice area for exploring. Anchor offshore and spend weeks discovering some of nature’s finest, uninhabited islands.

5. French Riviera

The glitz, the glamour…the sailing! Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Monaco, Nice–this revered coastline is brimming with myths and legends and scandals of the rich and famous. This is where ultra-luxurious yachts host some of the most enduring, hedonistic lifestyles in the world but not to fret, there’s still room for the average sailor swapping the sometimes-pretentious coast for offshore pursuits. You don’t need a monumental yacht–you can hire a classic sail boat and crew for a trip around the Cote D’Azur–or if you’re a greenhorn, take an independent journey around the calm waters. One of the best places to avoid the crowds is to sail to Port Cros and I_le de Porquerolle, a beautiful, pristine paradise several nautical miles from the Cote-D’Azur’s stratospheric indulgences. These unspoilt islands are the best place to be unseen, showcasing the pretty, rocky inlets, rugged shorelines, and some of the riviera’s finest stretches of sand.

4. British Virgin Islands

The name British Virgin Islands swiftly brings to mind nature’s most unsullied landscapes and one of the best-known destinations for getting your sails wet, whether as an experienced captain or complete novice. Stretched out in front, like in a sailor’s most vivid dream, is the Sir Frances Drake Channel, the main focus of the nautical crowd. The trade winds are so beautifully consistent, the sun shines almost every day, cerulean water is all about, and most surrounding islands are so close they’re navigated by eye alone. The total navigating area in the British Virgin Islands is a broad 51 x 24 kilometers, a perfect amount of space for an easygoing journey. With hundreds of anchorages across more than 40 islands, this is one easy place to sail. With hundreds upon hundreds of protected bays ideal for mooring for a day–or days on end–and such tame currents there’s virtually never a cause for concern, the BVIs are seafarer’s Shangri-la.

3. Croatia

Croatia has headed in one direction only when it comes to the travel world, and that is up-way up. Called the “new Tuscany,” and reminiscent of both the Riviera and the Greek Islands, Croatia has gained substantial attention from the sailing world. The in-crowd is here, taking full advantage of the incredible conditions and lower costs of sailing in the Adriatic. Less trend-setting and more timeless, Croatia’s 1777km coastline and no less than 1184 islands practically begs to be discovered and there’s really no better way to achieve that then by sailing. It puts you in the perfect position for all the best places. Dubrovnik, Kornati, Split, Zadar, Skradin, and countless other coastal cities keep sailors tied up for weeks, even months. Traditional fishing villages, clandestine coves, and remote islands like Elafiti make the decision between land and water difficult but the clear choice is both. Gateway cities like famed and stunning Dubrovnik are history-filled, landmark dotted travel havens–be sure to set your feet on dry land, even if just for a while.

2. Nile River | Egypt

One of the most relaxing and euphoric experiences in Egypt is sailing up the Nile River on a traditional Felucca boat, a wood vessel used in calmer waters of the Nile and rigged with one, and sometimes two, canvas lateen sails. Crewed by two or three people and taking up to ten passengers, a Felucca is still a great way to slow-travel outside of the popular and most frequented ferries and motorboats. Feluccas are more than just budget-friendly, but that’s one of the great things about them. You can hardly believe how inexpensive a journey up the Nile can be–a fraction of the cost of sailing on a dahabiyya, extravagant houseboats that have become the Nile’s version of a Rolls Royce. Following a millennia of transportation over one of the world’s oldest trade routes, a sailing journey will take you deep into nautical history and tradition. Start in Aswan and take the well-sailed route to Edfu, stopping at landmarks and smaller islands en route.

1. Zanzibar

Arty, edgy, and historically rich, Zanzibar is a proper archipelago off Tanzania’s east coast in the Indian Ocean. It’s a destination ideal for stepping off Tanzania’s beaten path–in fact, get right off any path and onto the waters surrounding Zanzibar and the area’s wild, raw backdrop will take your breath away. It’s not hard to feel as if you’ve slipped back a century or two, as the flat-topped, low-rise buildings in Stone Town’s (a World Heritage accredited town) come into view off the ocean, laid out along the coast while the Muslim call to prayer reproduces itself endlessly across the water. Old town, with it’s twisting, narrow streets and fabulously adorned doors evoke memories of a Persia lost, ancient kingdom, sultans, and caliphs. If you’re not up for manning a boat yourself, hire a dhow, an ancient traditional Arabic vessel, to whisk you off into the distance where snorkeling and diving are first-rate and the beaches are stunning.

Island Hopping in the Caribbean: 10 Pristine Getaways

For the ultimate paradise experience, head to theses 10 pristine getaways filled with tropical wonders. In a world of underwater coral gardens teeming with marine wildlife and lush tropical rainforests, the islands of the Caribbean are some of the most cherished natural wonders in the world. In fact, vacationers travel from all corners to witness the clear, turquoise waters and scuba dive in the rare marine sanctuaries.

10. Guadaloupe

Set sail for a magical adventure in the tropics of Guadaloupe, a natural paradise filled with unforgettable activities like snorkeling the reefs, swimming with dolphins, and relaxing on white sandy beaches with a bright colored cocktail. With a minimum of tourism infrastructure, the large island is ideal for exploring pristine waterfalls and rivers in Basse-Terre, the mountainous western half and the smaller islands that float nearby in a stunning turquoise hued-sea. Other highlights can be found on the north coast at the Port D’Enfer and Pointe de la Grande Vigie with dramatic cliffs scattered across the dazzling aqua waters. Nature lovers can go on mountain treks through tropical jungles in Basse-Terre on a trail leading to the magnificent Cascade aux Ecrevisses on Route de la Traversee. And for an unforgettable scuba diving excursion, grab your gear and head to the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, a protected underwater oasis.

Pointe de la Grande Vigie

9. Cuba

With Cuba’s vibrant cultural and history starting with the Spanish influence, get ready to enter a world of café con leches, vintage 1950s cars, and the cherished Buena Vista Social Club. Part of the Greater Antilles, Cuba is a perfect getaway spot for experiencing their distinctive cultural mecca of Havana and discovering some of the most untouched marine ecosystems in the world. For a scuba diving adventure of a lifetime, head to La Costa de las Piratas, an underwater sanctuary of 56 reef sites teeming with marine wildlife. Along the way, make a stop at the beachside town of Varadero to sample some Cuban cigars and drink rum with the sociable locals. All-inclusive hotels line the island’s most popular beach and could be a useful home base for afternoon water excursions.

cuba varadero

8. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

What sets St. Vincent and the Grenadines apart is its dramatic natural beauty and like many islands in the Caribbean, a great way to see the sights is by sailboat. You might recognize the white sandy beaches, waterfalls, and lush rainforests in scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean, which was filmed here. It also is home to Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s private islands outside of St. Vincent. With its jagged mountain terrain and La Soufriere volcano in the north, it’s a haven for eco-tours and nature trekkers. The hike up the 4,000-ft volcano is about a four-hour climb and along the way, you’ll pass through a series of diverse vegetation like tropical rainforests, coconut plantations, and a cloud forest with stunted growth.

Grenadines

7. Martinique

With its tropical flowers covering the countryside and lush mountain rainforests in the background, Martinique is a beautiful getaway that inspired the famous landscapes by French artist Paul Gaugin. To see the vibrant natural wonders up close, head to the Carbet Mountains on a scenic drive through the interior rainforest. The drive starts at Route de la Trace that follows an old path laid by the Jesuit priests in the 1700s. Scuba diving excursions are also popular, especially the graveyard of sunken ships off Saint-Pierre and the caves and tunnels off Rocher du Diamant. For the novice diver, a good place to get your fins wet are in the shallow coral gardens near Cap Enrage, a underwater habitat filled with tropical fish and sea turtles. The Main Hull, a sunken Canadian barge, is also an ideal spot for the beginner wreck diver.

Martinique

6. St. Lucia

When it comes to tropical island getaways, you can expect all the standards of paradise in St. Lucia, a small island in the Windwards and neighboring Martinique and St. Vincent. Get swept away in a natural wonderland filled with turquoise waters teeming with fish and corals, tropical rainforests, and unspoiled, white sand beaches. A good place to get into the island spirit is at Discovery, a high-end resort in the popular Marigot Bay. Flanked by lush, green hills, the bay is considered one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean and has been the setting of several films, including Firepower (1979) and Dr. Dolittle (1967). For stunning bay views and lounging poolside with cocktails, Discovery suites are nestled high in the hills overlooking the bustling marina. From here, you can take excursions to nearby coral sites for an afternoon of snorkeling.

St. Lucia

5. Barbados

With its beautiful beaches, clear turquoise waters and natural wonders abounding, the tiny island of Barbados encourages exploration, particularly along the coastline of Bathsheba, which is known for its massive rock formations and boulders scattered along the shore. Another popular eco-destination is Harrison’s Cave near St. Thomas, a spectacular labyrinth of hidden waterfalls and underground rivers. On the west coast, you’ll find pristine sandy beaches that are ideal for sunbathing under coconut and palm trees swaying in the breeze and with a coast lined with luxury resort hotels in the distance. The island is also full of colonial relics like St. Nicholas Abbey, a grand stone mansion built on a sugar plantation in the mid-17th century.

Harrison’s Cave

4. Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire

Just outside the Atlantic hurricane belt are the Dutch isles of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire, which are protected from storms by their strategic southern Caribbean location. In Aruba, you’ll find a mix of lively street scenes at the action-packed casinos and resorts lining the coast. Close by is the Arikok National Park, a change of pace with its natural tranquility and thriving wildlife. Meanwhile, over in Bonaire, the flamingo colony in southern Pekelmeer enjoys protected seclusion in between trips from Venezuela for nesting obligations. The isle also has several protected marine sanctuaries, making it one of the top scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean.

Bonaire, flamingo

3. Anguilla

Standing out among the beautiful islands of the French Antilles is Anquilla, a modern resort island that is cherished by vacationers for its bright turquoise waters that glow from the surrounding ancient coral base. All around the island you’ll find cays and coral reef sites for unforgettable scuba diving and snorkeling excursions. Back on the mainland are some of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts like the swanky Carimar Beach Club on Meads Bay Beach or Cap Jula lining the west end of the coastline. The flatlands of the interior are also ideal for a horseback ride through the tropics and the horse handlers at Seaside Stables are always ready to help you saddle up for a romantic sunset trail ride in paradise.

Anguilla

2. Virgin Islands

The jewel of the Virgin Islands is St. John and the Virgin Islands National Park is the major highlight, a tropical Eden filled with pristine natural beaches, verdant hillsides, and reef patches in Caneel Bay. The great thing about tiny islands is that you’re never far from a strip of coastline that invites afternoons of swimming and snorkeling year round. Day sailing is also a favorite activity and a great way to explore the waters and inlets surrounding the islands. Boats leave daily from Cruz Bay and venture out to offshore cays and snorkeling meccas. Back on the mainland are excellent wooded hiking trails like Reef Bay Trail and Lind Point Trail, which have impressive views of Cruz Bay.

Virgin Islands

1. Trinidad and Tobago

Situated in the southernmost part of the Caribbean chain, the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a fascinating getaway with its diverse natural habitats and thriving tourism infrastructure. The shorelines range from wild, hilly terrain carpeted with verdant foliage to calm, sandy beaches that encourage blissful seaside afternoons and tranquil sunset strolls. Tobago’s central forest preserve is also full of wildlife and exotic plants in the oldest protect rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. More lush rainforests dominate the northern landscape of Trinidad next door while peaceful waters lap onto the serene shorelines on the east coast.

Tobago

The Best 12 Places in the World to Charter a Yacht

Planning your vacation is always one of the best parts about the vacation itself and if you happen to be taking a sailing trip in the near future, the first thing you have to decide is where you want to go. Are you looking for the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, complete with palm trees and white sand? Or are you after a more rugged and wild adventure? From the Southwest Pacific to the Mediterranean there are hundreds of amazing places to charter a yacht. Looking at an array of factors we have narrowed the list down to our favorite 12 places to charter a yacht around the world.

12. Fiji

In the Southwest Pacific there are 300 stunning islands over a large area of ocean waiting to be explored. These islands are surrounded by an abundance of sea life, spectacular reefs, crystal clear waters and beautiful lagoons. Fiji is also known for having some of the most welcoming people around. The remoteness of Fiji makes exploring these water and islands unlike anything else in the world. Discover the land of amazing beaches, coconut plantations, tropical rainforests and underwater adventures. Experiencing Fiji is easy, as English is widely spoken and it is known to be very safe. If you are looking for those long sandy beaches with palm trees and coral reefs make sure to get to the Mamanuca Islands. If you want to experience the traditional way of life, make sure to head to Yasawa Islands where the amazing scenery and crystal clear lagoons go perfectly with the laid-back lifestyle here.

Fiji Island

11. Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles Islands can best be described as paradise on earth with towering granite rocks, swaying giant palm trees and turquoise inlets that are framed with sparkling white sand beaches. These 115 islands lay off the east coast of Africa, just south of the Equator and are absolutely breathtaking. The outer islands are low-laying, mostly coral atolls and sailing is done mainly within the inner islands, all close together which make for easy island hopping. They are blessed to be situated in a balmy, calm part of the Indian Ocean and exploring these secluded islands is a once in a lifetime experience. Mahe is the largest and most developed isle and deserves to be explored at the mountains soar to almost 3,000 feet above sea level and the tropical forests are laced with hiking trails. Picturesque bays and coves line e 44 miles of coastline and boast 65 world-class beaches.

Seychelles

10. Tortola, British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands boast that they have more yachts there than anyone else in the world, reminding everyone that this destination is the perfect place to charter a yacht. What makes this destination so perfect? To start, the consistent trade winds, line-of-site navigations and abundance of sheltered anchorages. The ideal blend of easy deep water island hops is perfect for the whole family. Combine all of this with crystal clear waters, picture perfect beaches, breathtaking rock formations, abundance of on-shore activities and a great selection of dining options, and you can see why so many people love to sail here. Make sure to visit Anegada with its pristine white sand beaches and colonies of pink flamingoes. If you are sailing as a family you won’t want to miss Marina Cay, a flower covered island nestled in the calm, sheltered warm water lagoon that is perfect for young children.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

9. Thailand

Thailand is truly an awesome destination for sailors from anywhere in the world. Sandy beaches, towering palm trees, mountain ranges and bright blue sea make for an unforgettable landscape. Chartering a yacht here allows you to find both peace and tranquility while still letting you indulge in the sensational nightlife. Each island will share the same tranquil waters but feature different beaches and amazing landscapes. Head to Phuket if you want to escape the busyness and explore the exotic flora and fauna, hidden coves and bays. Everywhere you go in Thailand expect wonderful food and the warmest of welcomes from the locals. They don’t call this place “The Land of Smiles” without good reason. Warm waters mean plenty of snorkeling and diving throughout the day and we promise a yacht trip here won’t be boring.

Thailand yacht

8. Sicily, Italy

Sailors are attracted to this part of the Mediterranean for its famous beaches, secluded anchorages and quiet fishing villages. You will want to spend some time in the port of Palermo as this ancient city begs to be explored. Visitors can expect historic squares, impressive cuisine and stunning architecture. Also found in Palermo are an abundance of galleries, museums and opera houses. Don’t miss out on heading to the Aeolian Islands which are located just 35 miles north of Sicily. This chain of volcanic islands offers seas as clear as the Bahamas, exceptional cuisine and breathtaking landscapes. Also plan on visiting Catania where you will have extraordinary views of Mount Etna, as well as Trapani and Marsala.

Sicily, Italy

7. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

The 74 Whitsunday Islands are located along the northeastern coast of Australia, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Water sports along with snorkeling and diving excursions brings yachters from all over the world to experience these waters. The eight main islands here offer resorts but there are plenty of deserted islands and sandbars to visit as well. Make sure to anchor at Bauer Bay and walk to the top; as you will get the best view of the islands. Blue Pearl Bay is the spot you will want to anchor at if you want great snorkeling and plenty of whale sightings. Make sure you don’t miss Whitehaven Beach, considered one of the best beaches in the world. True to its name this beach offers pure white sand, some of the purest on earth and charms visitors with beautiful sunsets and breathtaking views.

Hamilton Island Whitsundays

6. French Rivera

This coastal region along the Mediterranean is just packed full of breathtaking beaches and stunning scenery. Full of sunshine all year round, to charter a yacht here will be an experience unlike any other. This area manages to do an incredible job of combining the rugged landscapes with the large cosmopolitan resorts of Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo. For vibrant nightlife and exceptional cuisine, head inland to any of these places. To escape the crowds, yacht down to Port Cros and Porquerolles where the atmosphere is relaxed and gently swaying palm trees is all the action you will see. Historical architecture along this coast combined with white sandy beaches and small marinas make this one of the most fabled places to charter a yacht.

Oleg Znamenskiy / Shutterstock.com
Oleg Znamenskiy / Shutterstock.com

5. Canary Islands, Spain

Located just off the coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are a popular European vacation destination, especially for those looking to take to the seas. Unspoiled nature and favorable winds make this a year round destination. The islands are a mix of different cultures, people, historical influences and warm local hospitality. The best way to explore the islands is to travel to and from them by yacht. The beaches of Gran Canaria are among the favorite of all visitors as well as the bustling nightlife of Tenerife. The island of La Palma is what makes this destination stand out among the rest though, and some visitors here refer to it as the most beautiful place in the world. With sheltered marinas, breathtaking beaches and favorable winds; this is one of the best places to be on the water in the world.

Canary Islands Tenerife

4. Croatia

Croatia is one of the Mediterranean’s hidden gems, offering over 1,000 islands and is truly a sailor’s paradise. The Dalmatian Islands are wild, rugged and mostly uninhabited and offer some of the best sailing in the area. Ancient villages steeped in history, pristine beaches and the isolated Kornati archipelago await you here. If you do plan on sailing here and want seclusion, plan on coming from in early spring where you can find your own private little cove. The water in April and May can be warm enough to swim in. If you are looking for exceptional cuisine, wine and culture; head on over to the West and South Istria where the people are proud to offer you these goods. Croatia happens to be a very popular spot for yacht owners who wish to keep their yachts in Europe but not in the EU, as it gives them a tax break.

Dubrovnik Croatia

3. Turkey

Turkey boasts over 8,300 kilometers of coastline, four seas and an abundance of coves, inlets, bays, beaches and marinas. Sailing in turkey is amongst the best in the world due to the crystal clear blue waters, the steady winds and the abundance of beautiful beaches and secluded anchorages. Turkey has long since been the meeting point between the Far East and Mediterranean and the culture and cuisine in this country can reflect this. The stretch of Turkish coast line is divided in four different yacht charter areas; each offering their own unique experience. Head up the Ionian Coast if you are looking for the best climate and to discover the shores which brought forth the rich culture of the Ionians or if you feel like discovering mountainous shores head to the West Lycian Coast. Rock tombs make up much of the Easy Lycian Coast and the Carian Coast is the most popular sailing ground.

Turkish Riveira

2. St. Martin

St. Martin has to be one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world and it’s no wonder why as this island is overflowing with beauty. The island is ruled by both French and the Netherlands and you truly get to experience two cultures in one place when you visit. When you charter a yacht here there are plenty of other islands to explore including St Barths, Anguilla and Saba. Expect beautiful deserted beaches full of silky white sand, exceptional waterfront restaurants and exceptional shopping. Explore the waters and learn why Saba is a diver and snorkelers paradise. The enchanting tropical scenery combined with enough nightlife, world-famous beaches and other islands to explore make this the number one Caribbean escape.

Yachts St. Martin

1. Greece

Greece boasts over 3,000 islands and islets and truly is one of the best places on earth to charter a yacht. The ancient archeology, stunning natural landscapes and rich culture draws yacht goers from all over the world. Some of the most popular islands to explore include Santorini, Mykonos and Crete. In Santorini you will find white washed houses, striking hillside towns and sunsets to die for. Crete offers visitors exceptional Greek food and the chance to go back thousands of years in history at one of their many archeological sites. Mykonos is where you will find the busyness of the Greek Islands, so head here if you want to experience the epic nightlife and packed main beaches. Sail through the ancient seas here exploring the many islands, both inhabited and not, under the glorious Mediterranean sun.

Greece islandssi