Thursday, November 28th, 2019
The Caribbean is Heaven on Earth
The Caribbean is the stuff holiday dreams are made of. Soft white sands sweep down from lush rainforest to fringe turquoise seas in a paradisiacal playground of over 7,000 islands, many of which have changed little in millennia.
Against a backing track of tropical birds singing from the tops of gently swaying coconut trees, exotic aromas scent the air, and sunglasses are essential attire on the blindingly white and sun-drenched beaches.
From the comfort of your superyacht, there is no end of idyllic anchorages and secret bays to explore as you hop from island to island, while innumerable colourful coral reefs combined with some of the clearest waters in the world make for incredible diving and snorkelling.
By day, you can nod off beneath the shelter of a palm tree, swim with giant sea turtles or get playful in the warm waters as you work your way through the garage toys. As day melts into evening, the pace picks up at the many laid-back beach bars, where dozy domino playing makes way for calypso, reggae and salsa sounds and you can sip rum cocktails as you paddle in the shallows and watch the sunset over the horizon. If this isn’t Paradise found, we don’t know where is.
While not strictly speaking in the Caribbean, the Bahamas has all the hallmarks of its slightly more southerly neighbours. This archipelago of 700 subtropical isles and more than 240 cays sprinkles down from Florida’s east coast in the North Atlantic, but only the pedant would rule it out.
For a history lesson, cruise amid the historic Loyalist Cays of Abacos, an island chain where relics of its early European settlers and even earlier Lucayan Indians can still be seen.
Dock up at Treasure Cay for a game of championship golf, or to pamper yourself in one of the exclusive resorts, or for a real treasure island adventure, visit the Exumas where you can stroll on footprint-free beaches and swim with local pigs.
For one of the best dives of your life, head to Shark Rodeo in the northern Bahamas where you could be joined by up to 100 of these fearsome fish, or snorkel in the company of Leatherbacks in the blue-green waters of Turtle Sound.
Follow in the wake of Christopher Columbus at Crooked Island. Plunge into the 500-square-mile lagoon of Bight of Acklins, which has changed little since his visit in the 15th century, and bask in the bare beauty of the world’s largest swimming pool.
British Virgin Islands
One of the world’s premier charter destinations, the BVIs are a series of impossibly beautiful volcanic isles where you can both bliss out and party until dawn.
Kick back at one of the cool beach bars of Jost Van Dyke, feel the buzz in the colourful craft shops of the capital of Road Town, or swim up to a deserted beach and sink your toes into soft powder-white sands under unbroken blue skies.
Adventurers can trek to geological wonders such as Virgin Gorda’s Baths where nature has carved her finger through the land, creating giant granite boulders that provide natural plunge pools and secret grottoes. Alternatively, hike Sage Mountain for panoramic views of the islands, drop anchor and dive in peace off the little-known uninhabited Dog Islands or simply soak up the sound of silence in a lonesome lagoon.
Rare fauna and wildlife such as rock iguanas can be seen on the sleepy coral and limestone isle of Anegada, or for more exclusivity, hire your own desert island for the weekend for a real Robinson Crusoe feel.
Turks & Caicos
These twinned island groups, made up of 40 exotic isles and cays, are in vogue with Hollywood jet-setters right now thanks to their ultra-luxury resorts, pristine aquamarine waters and uncrowded influencer-ready beaches.
For plush resorts and a hip party scene, Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales in the Caicos is the place to be seen and is repeatedly voted the world’s best beach. Look out for stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors on a clifftop overlooking the now deserted Marina Inn near the untouched bay of Chalk Sound.
See wild flamingoes wading in the salt ponds of North Caicos or head to the A-list resort on Parrot Cay where the likes of Bruce Willis and Keith Richards like to holiday in peace, and indulge in some quietude yourself in the COMO Shambhala Retreat.
Cruise across the 20-mile-wide Columbus Passage, named after the first European to reach the isles in 1492, to the smaller Turks Islands and stroll amid the colonial grandeur of Cockburn Town on Grand Turk.
For more privacy, take your pick of pretty much any of the other isles, most of which are uninhabited, or discover the islands’ main draw – world-class diving amid the third largest barrier reef in the world, with some of the steepest coral walls you will ever witness.
And remember, even for the Caribbean, rainfall here is low, meaning sunny days are virtually guaranteed.
The Leeward Islands
Named after the prevailing winds that blow north through the island group, the Leewards are home to an incredible variety of ecosystems as well as a mix of cultures.
Perhaps our favourite is St Lucia with the stunning superyacht marina and Marigot Bay Resort Hotel hidden away inside and idyllic cove
Unlike many Caribbean islands, the volcanic isle of Dominica is less beach-paradise and more hiker’s Heaven. Blanketed in untamed rainforest, she offers peaceful nature trails that reveal hidden waterfalls, hundreds of gushing rivers, and the world’s second largest boiling lake. However, as beaches are relatively sparse – and those that are here having grey or black volcanic sands – tourists tend to steer clear, meaning you’ll often have the island to yourself.
When you are ready to return to the beach, there can be fewer places more perfect than St Kitts, whose seductive sands under endless blues skies are hard to resist. Old sugar plantations and relaxed beach bars add to the easy-living feel.
Meanwhile, the quieter sibling of St Kitts, Nevis is a peaceful haven where goats wander freely, and you can join an eco-hike, or simply plan a candlelit beach dinner for a little tete-a-tete.
This archipelago of uncluttered islands framed with sapphire waters and sugar-fine white beaches is the epitome of Caribbean rum-soaked calm and is as close to utopia as you could ever hope to be.
Nothing says you’ve made it quite like a holiday on the private island of Mustique. Head to the celebrity-favourite of Macaroni Beach, where the beach is framed by a thick forest of tropical trees, providing an air of privacy.
Start your day with a sunrise yoga session or treat yourself to a blissful ritual at the island’s Cotton House Spa where therapists use natural ingredients found on the island, such as clippings from Moringa, Baobab and frangipani trees in their restorative treatments.
Take a trek up into the hills on a thoroughbred horse before cooling down with a swim on horseback and get your private chef to provide a beach barbecue afterwards.
Elsewhere in the region, everything is so beautiful and bright on Mopion Island, it doesn’t seem real. Little more than a spit of sand surrounded by the clearest waters, the fish are so friendly here they swim right up to you as you snorkel.
From here, your charter itinerary may take you to Barbados, or perhaps the Underwater Sculpture Park of Grenada – quite unlike any gallery you have seen before.
Like the intoxicating sound of calypso, the Caribbean has a way of getting under your sun-kissed skin and staying with you long after you’ve left.
Where else in the world can you dive into glassy waters naturally heated by the sun – day in day out, be welcomed with warm hearts by fun-loving locals, find your own paradise beach and feel like you have reached nirvana?
Islands once used to hide pirate treasure are yours to explore, the catch-of-the-day in a humble bayside restaurants may just be one of the best things you’ve ever tasted, and calm waters mean you can take a solo voyage up mangrove rivers in search of wildlife.
In the Caribbean, time is of no importance, as days and nights blend into each other, just as a holiday should be.
Plus, when the heat gets too much, you can get back on board and cool down in your own luxurious sanctuary, with staff on hand to tend to your every need.
For a selection of yachts available in the Caribbean this winter contact Edmiston