The Caribbean season runs from mid-December to mid-April, but there are plenty of benefits to undertaking a yacht charter in the region once the crowds have dispersed. Quieter waters will suit those after a more secluded cruising experience, and the days are still warm and sunny, with little rainfall expected.
There is also a fantastic selection of events taking place. Best experienced as part of a private charter vacation, these local gatherings give travellers a rare insight into the unique cultural traditions of the region’s islands. Read on to find out more.
Although Easter is the busiest time of the month, the long weekend still provides the perfect excuse to swap the unpredictable climes of the northern hemisphere with the guaranteed sunshine and beautiful warm waters of the Caribbean.
As well as relaxing and spending time with loved ones, yacht-goers will also be able to experience the holiday celebrations unique to each island. Jamaica in the Greater Antilles hosts its annual Trelawny Yam Festival, while carnival-style celebrations take place in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Plus, kite flying is an extremely popular pastime, which peaks on Easter Sunday. After church, islanders in St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Barbados will unveil their homespun creations to cheering crowds along the sun-kissed beaches and charterers aboard their luxury yachts.
LES VOILES DE SAINT BARTH
More than 1,000 sailors from all over the world meet each April to partake in a week of competition at the Les Voiles De Saint Barth. From short coastal runs to an around-the-island race, the St Barths regatta challenges even the most experienced competitors.
In addition to the racing, there will also be a lively on-shore social programme, culminating on the final evening with a prize-giving ceremony and fireworks display. Be part of the thrilling action on a regatta charter or watch the spectacle from the sidelines.
ST THOMAS CARNIVAL
The St Thomas Carnival is a month-long celebration taking place in the yachting hub of the US Virgin Islands. Among the festivities are dazzling pageants, calypso competitions, a traditional games night, water sports activities, steel band jamboree performances and horse races.
Drawing to a close during the last week of April, the carnival concludes with vibrant parades of multi-coloured costumes, dancing troupes and decorated floats. There will also be a fireworks display in Charlotte Amalie Harbour, where superyachts are able to dock.
ANTIGUA CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA
In late-April, a magical combination of serious racing, laid-back Antiguan hospitality, rum, sunshine and infectious camaraderie bring to life the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, which marks the end of the Caribbean’s classic sailing season.
Part of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the event brings dozens of classic and vintage ketches, sloops, schooners and yawls to the idyllic waters Antigua for four days of spectacular racing. There is also the unique spirit of tradition class.
SAINT LUCIA JAZZ AND ARTS FESTIVAL
The Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, running annually in May, has attracted some big names in the past. R. Kelly, Diana Ross and Amy Winehouse have all headlined the event but it’s the dynamic line-up of Caribbean artists that gives the event its unique vibe.
Performances take place across St Lucia, from intimate spots to sweeping venues. Yet, all benefit from the atmospheric island backdrop of lush green mountains and palm-lined beaches. The festival also highlights the island’s local arts scene, with exhibitions, poet performances and local cuisine.
These local events give travellers a rare insight into the unique cultural traditions of each Caribbean island