A Caribbean yachting vacation incorporates vast expanses of crystalline waters and endless clusters of idyllic paradisical islands, making for a picture-perfect family getaway. With its beautiful climate and spectacular coastlines that comprise iconic superyacht hotspots like the Virgin Islands, St Barts and Antigua, a yacht rental in the Caribbean has an alluringly evergreen appeal.
Caribbean Yacht Booking Guide:
- Caribbean Yacht Charters: At a Glance
- Are the Bahamas and the Caribbean the same thing?
- Popular Destinations for Yacht Rentals in the Caribbean
- Popular Sub-Regions in the Caribbean
- Highlights of a Caribbean Yacht Charter
- Who Goes on a Caribbean Yacht Charter?
- History and Culture
- Types of Yacht Charters in the Caribbean
- How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht in the Caribbean?
- When is the Best Time for Caribbean Yacht Charters?
- Where Should I Begin My Caribbean Yacht Charter?
- Popular Marinas and Moorings in the Caribbean
- How to Book Your Yacht Charter in the Caribbean
The Caribbean Sea comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays, and is divided into three island arcs: that of the Greater Antilles in the north, the Lesser Antilles in the south, and the Leeward Antilles to the east.
- Ideal winter destination
Boasting all-year-round pleasant weather, its powdery sand beaches and alluringly clear waters make it an especially popular choice for winter yacht charters.
The Caribbean is well-connected to the US, with a high number of international airports flying directly into the region.
- Secluded anchorages
With more than 7,000 islands and only a small percentage being inhabited, the world is your oyster when it comes to finding serenely beautiful anchorages.
- Snorkeling and diving paradise
The Caribbean is home to some of the world's most impressive snorkeling and diving sites, meaning plenty of exciting underwater adventures where your eyes will be wide with wonder.
- Excellent superyacht marinas
The Caribbean has numerous well-provisioned superyacht marinas to take your pick from, many of which have fantastic dining and shopping opportunities.
While the Bahamas is technically part of the Caribbean region, it is an island nation in its own right, forming part of the Lucayan Archipelago in the Atlantic. That said, the Caribbean is a vast area occupied by thousands of islands, coral reefs and islets, of which the Bahamas forms a part, along with strong political and cultural ties that have created a natural bond with its Caribbean neighbour.
Practically speaking, however, if you are interested in cruising the Bahamas in conjunction with your Caribbean yacht charter, it is highly unlikely you'll be able to manage the distance during a typical 7-day charter, especially for itineraries that incorporate East Caribbean destinations such as Antigua and Saint Martin. You will need to decide which destination you prefer to spend your time in, or extend your charter vacation to incorporate both.
To find out more about chartering in the region, check out our in-depth Bahamas destination guide for more information.
The most popular destinations for renting a yacht in the Caribbean are those located in the Lesser Antilles region, primarily the island groups of the Leeward Islands. and the Windward Islands.
For Leeward Island yacht rentals, Antigua, the Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barts and St Kitts and Nevis garner the most attention, thanks to not only their splendid tropical landscapes but also their extremely well-provisioned superyacht marinas, fine dining options, impossibly hip bars and medley of designer boutiques bound to keep guests entertained from dawn till dusk.
Scattered like pearls along the aquamarine seas, you'll find sun-drenched Martinique, gorgeous Grenada and the ultra-secluded St Vincent and the Grenadines are the top picks for slow-paced Windward Island yacht charters.
Although not as popular, the islands that form the Greater Antilles, such as Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico, are just as beautiful and offer an array of spectacular destinations to explore and discover on a luxury yacht charter.
Looking for the best superyacht hotspots in the Caribbean? These are the spellbinding locations guests find most enticing. If you are interested in any of these cruising grounds, we strongly advise booking as far in advance as possible.
- Antigua: the jet-set adore its unbelievable scenery, intriguing historical landmarks, lavish shopping options and a cluster of ivory-white sands coupled with gin-clear waters.
- St Martin/Sint Maarten: French and Dutch sides of the island combine to bring a fascinating fusion of influences, replete with outstanding diving spots and awe-inspiring topography.
- St Lucia: considered the tropical jewel of the Windward Islands, it's virtually unspoiled. Bordered by lush rainforest and dark volcanic sands, it makes for a truly unique anchorage spot.
- Grenada: known as the Isle of Spice thanks to being one of the world's largest exporters of mace and nutmeg, its capital St George is regularly called the Caribbean's most picture-perfect town.
- St Barts: Well-known for its moniker "St Moritz of the Caribbean" due to its unique Swedish-French colonial heritage, this iconic tiny island is synonymous with glamour, movie stars and designer shopping.
- St Croix, US Virgin Islands: The largest of the USVIs boasts a National Park, breath-taking scenic beauty and some of the best dive spots in the Caribbean.
- Puerto Rico: Affectionately known locally as the ‘island of enchantment’, Puerto Rico is a profusion of vibrant Latin culture entwined with the laid back rhythm of the Caribbean, with pristine beaches, excellent diving spots and exquisite local dishes.
A yacht rental vacation in the Caribbean delights guests with its truly endless number of things to see and do. Here are our top picks:
- Eden Rock St. Barts: one of the most in-demand hotels in the Caribbean, with a seven-star bar and spa.
- Hermitage Bay, Antigua: kick back and relax on this tropical beach that delivers on sensational views.
- Bagatelle, St. Barts: overlooking the glittering Gustavia harbor, this sophisticated bar and restaurant is a hugely popular superyacht spot, showcasing the finest of French-Caribbean cuisine.
- Basil's Bar, Mustique: legendary bar and restaurant designed by Philippe Starck, frequented by royals, supermodels and rockstars for decades.
- The Cotton House, Mustique: a wellness center unsurpassed in beauty.
- Watermelon Cay, St John, US Virgin Islands: dreamy islet surrounded by coral reefs and a veritable snorkeling wonderland
- Rhone Marine Park, British Virgin Islands: the wreck of the RMS Rhone is the BVIs' most popular dive site, and arguably one of the best in the Caribbean.
- Trunk Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands: all dazzling white sand lapped by the bluer-than-blue ocean, this island paradise ranks consistently among the world’s top 10 beaches.
- Jardines del Rey archipelago, Cuba: known locally as the ‘King’s Gardens’, this collection of islands is a registered UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an island-hopper's paradise, offering myriad secluded beaches and sensational sunsets.
For anyone looking to get a dose of serious sunshine during the Northern Hemisphere winter, a yacht charter in the Caribbean is a seriously enticing prospect, with St Barts being the clear favorite for Christmas and New Year's Eve, thanks to the showstopping celebrations that take place in Gustavia Harbour.
For avid island hoppers, the Windward islands offer an enchanting itinerary full of sun-kissed isles and laid back charm juxtaposed with chic resorts and heavenly French-based cuisine, not to mention unrivalled vistas and sultry sunsets accompanied by warm rum-laced winds.
Across all Caribbean destinations, keen divers and snorkelers will be in for a subaquatic treat, and you'll find a wide range of designer boutiques and ultra-high-end resorts peppered across the isles wherever you go.
The Caribbean is a mesmerizing melting pot of cultures and influences, rooted in its rich heritage and undeniably shaped by its history of colonization and waves of immigration. Each island group is highly diverse in terms of its language, music, customs, architecture and cuisine, but it's mainly English, Dutch, French or Spanish colonial influences that are keenly felt. While the mix of languages spoken will differ between island groups, English is widely spoken.
Caribbean cuisine sees influences from Africa, Europe, Latin America and Spain, Meat, seafood, coconut, potatoes, beans and tomatoes tend to feature heavily in local dishes.
Locals are friendly and regularly celebrate their culture, with music, food and wildly colorful festivals held throughout the year.
A luxury yacht rental vacation in the Caribbean is, without doubt, the most sublime way to experience this region, giving you exclusive access to heavenly anchorages that are otherwise impossible to reach or are far from the typical tourist trail.
Guests have boundless fleet options when it comes to a crewed Caribbean charter. If you don't know whether to go for a motor yacht, sailing yacht or catamaran to cruise Caribbean waters, we've laid out the main points worth considering.
A luxury motor yacht charter in the Caribbean is a seven-star way of uncovering the epic beauty of the Caribbean in total privacy.
For regions with minimal water depth the ideal choice is a motor yacht with low draft, perfect for accessing shallow lagoons and secluded bays.
For those who have their heart set on a superyacht without a shallow draft, dropping anchor further out into deeper waters and then getting a tender ride ashore, so you can get up close and personal to exquisite island reefs and blue lagoons, is the preferred option.
Chartering a sailing yacht in the Caribbean is ideal for guests looking for a slower pace to fully lap up the Caribbean rays with more outdoor deck space, and add a little old-school charm to their cruising adventure.
Even better, the majority of sailing charter yachts come equipped with a retractable keel, meaning reaching turquoise shallows is a breeze. But, if you are keen to charter a larger sailing yacht, keep in mind that some may still find their draft too deep for some areas, even with the keel up.
Luxury catamaran charters are a firm guest favourite for those embarking on Caribbean vacation, especially in the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Thanks to their shallow draft, catamarans give you the ability to get close to cays and islets guests can savor the thrilling feeling of being able to jump off-board at almost any point.
The charter cost of a motor yacht, sailing yacht or luxury catamaran rental in the Caribbean will vary according to the vessel's size, age, type, number of crew, as well as the location and duration of the vacation as well as the season it takes place.
With so many options available, there’s something to suit every type of budget. For convenience we have listed the average prices for motor yacht and sailing yacht charters in the Caribbean below;
- For motor yacht rentals in the Caribbean, prices can range from $39,167 to $1.4m per week, plus expenses
- For luxury sailing yacht rentals in the Caribbean, prices can go from $29,855 to $276,495 weekly, plus expenses
The best time for luxury yacht charters in the Caribbean is between November and March, when guests can expect clement weather and vividly blue cloudless skies.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that this is also the time when you will have the largest selection of yachts to choose from, as most charter yachts descend on the Caribbean around November after the Mediterranean season has ended and any yacht maintenance has been carried out, before returning back to the Mediterranean in March/April.
The most popular starting point for a Caribbean yacht rental is usually in either Saint Martin/Sint Maarten or Antigua, both of which have international airports.
It is certainly possible to begin your charter in other Caribbean destinations, providing this has been agreed with the Owner and charter broker.
For most private Caribbean yacht charters, there isn't one definitive place where to disembark given the vastness of the region. However, what is likely is that you will finish your yacht rental vacation in the same location that you started. For example, the majority of British Virgin Island yacht charters will begin and end in St Thomas, while for Antigua yacht charters, it'll be the iconic English Harbour.
The Caribbean offers some of the most spellbinding berthing spots in the world. These tropical, barefoot hotspots are of the finest calibre, surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery, and often feature award-winning restaurants, hip boutiques, beach bars and more.
But which marinas are the best? Below are some charter favorites:
- Falmouth Harbour, Antigua: impressive marina facilities and scenery, catering to yachts up to 100m.
- Marina Fort Louis, Saint Martin: offers 150 berths for yachts up to 79m.
- Crown Bay in St Thomas (USVI): full-serviced marina with 99 slips, including 16 berths for superyachts up to 60m
- Port Louis Marina, Grenada: idyllically located, with 227 moorings for yachts up to 91m.
- Port de Gustavia, Saint Barts: widely regarded as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, accommodating up to 152 yachts up to 152m.
- Puerto Del Rey, Puerto Rico: conveniently located as a jumping off point for yacht charters incorporating the Virgin Islands and Lesser Antilles, this marina has plentiful wet slips, including capacity for yachts up to 200ft (60m) LOA.
We strongly advise booking through a qualified yacht charter broker at least three months in advance for all Caribbean yacht charters. By doing so, you will increase the likelihood of securing your preferred dates and you will have a greater selection of yachts on offer to choose from.
This also ensures your yacht broker has enough time to craft a carefully curated itinerary and secure an overnight berth in the most popular Caribbean marinas.
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