The Caribbean has always been a favourite for superyachts during the winter season. But, following two of the most devastating hurricanes the region has seen for over 100 years, its readiness to welcome travellers has wavered.
Thankfully, with over three-quarters of the region largely unaffected by Irma and Maria, and those that were relying on continued tourism to help them rebuild, now is an excellent time to visit and Ocean Independence are on hand to plan your ultimate Caribbean charter vacation. Part of the Windward Islands, the Grenadines are one of Ocean Independence’s favourite yachting destinations – and they are most certainly open for business.
In many ways, the Grenadines are a rare offering. Quieter, more laid-back and still relatively off the beaten path compared to much of the Caribbean, there is a refreshing authenticity and rustic charm to this chain of 32 islands. This unassuming appeal belies the Grenadines’ position as a long-favoured hideaway for sophisticated travellers and, for decades, these islands have enticed rockstars and royalty looking for somewhere special to escape.
Yachts are an integral part of this, and dot themselves along island coastlines and congregate in the harbours of islands like Bequia, Mustique and Canouan, affording the Grenadines the feeling of an exclusive private members club. But you’ll find no aloofness here.
"The Grenadines are a rare offering - quieter, more laid-back and still relatively off the beaten path..."
The short cruising distances between the islands and abundance of stunning anchorages make this area ideal for an island-hopping itinerary on board one of Ocean Independence’s charter yachts. Only nine of the islands are inhabited, meaning an entire itinerary could be crafted simply moving from one deserted island to the next, enjoying total privacy.
The beaches you’ll find are almost a postcard cliché – white sand that glows in the sun, gin-clear waters that move from turquoise to indigo and swaying palms. From the tiny island of Mopion with its token single palm umbrella and bottle opener to Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau with its idyllic beach club, the Grenadines have a beach for every mood.
Travellers looking for action will find more than just barefoot bliss. On St Vincent, the largest island in the chain, is La Soufrière, an active volcano that last erupted in 1979. A steady, misty climb high into the clouds will take you 1,234m up to the crater’s edge and breathtaking views. For on-water action, the trade winds up and down the Grenadines make this a world-renowned sailing destination, with conditions perfect for both experienced sailors or family adventures.
Below the waves, an underwater eden awaits where ever you jump in. At 9km long, tiny Carriacou is known as ‘the island of reefs’ and is ringed by swathes of soft corals. Divers can glide through swirls of spa-like volcanic bubbles rising from the ocean floor at the Mabouya Whirlpool or experience one of many drift dives around Sister Rocks. Or head to Tobago Cays Marine Park a sandy lagoon featuring magnificent coral gardens, turtle nesting sites, endangered mangroves and kilometres of powder-sand beach.
Surrounded by so much natural beauty, away from prying eyes it is easy to understand why the Grenadines have been a secret hideout for the rich and famous for years. The lush island of Bequia is a yachtsman’s favourite, unchanged in its laid-back approach to life. Your charter will take you to anchor in the protected Admiralty Bay, where you’ll jump in the tender to Port Elizabeth, Bequia’s vibrant mini-hub, home to plenty of stylishly relaxed restaurants and bars.
Nearby the private island of Mustique takes a more polished approach, its sprawling mansions, trendy beach bars and immaculate beaches making it a celebrity refuge since the 1950s. Flanked by rustling palms, Macaroni Beach is an A-list highlight.
But Mustique is perhaps best known for its nightlife – begin with a sundowner at the Firefly Hotel Mustique and then make your way to Basil’s Bar. This legendary waterfront spot is currently operating from a pop-up while it is being renovated (the new Basil’s will be unveiled Spring 2018) but you are guaranteed a colourful night, excellent cocktails and, if you are lucky enough to meet Basil himself, incredible stories of the rich and famous.
The real beauty of the Grenadines is that no matter how long your charter is, you’ll still only have scratched the surface. This oceanic labyrinth of islands, with its balmy trade winds, unspoiled natural expanses above and below the waves, and easygoing authenticity, positively encourages getting lost, making memories and discovering new favourite spots.
Learn more about a superyacht charter in the Grenadines and beyond with Ocean Independence here
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