The Best of the Best in the Caribbean
The Caribbean spans over 7,000 islands and offers a huge diversity of activities and experiences to the holiday-maker, and a luxury yacht charter offers you the opportunity to sample some of the best of it. Here are some of our recommendations of islands to visit – our highlights of the Caribbean.
Beaches in The Bahamas
With such a seriously long list of fabulous award-winning beaches in the Caribbean trying to decide the location of the best ones was difficult. Everyone, of course, will have their favourites whether it is quiet and secluded coves, wide sweeping bays with laidback beach bars or a busier seaside, home to 5 star resorts.
The island reputed to have the most beautiful beaches is Anguilla however the country that really excels in postcard-worthy beaches has to be The Bahamas. And even with narrowing down the choice to The Bahamas there is still a long list of those that deserve the accolade of the best beach.
Fortunately, on a luxury charter yacht you are not restricted to just one but have the opportunity to sample many of them.
Here's a few that we like in The Bahamas:
• Long and narrow the islands of Eleuthera and Harbour, east of the capital Nassau, has miles of shoreline featuring stunning pink and white sand beaches and secluded coves as well as massive coral reefs, a snorkeler's paradise!
• Stocking Island in the Exumas, a small, long, narrow island off the port of Georgetown, has one of the finest white sandy beaches in The Bahamas. The island also features blue holes, coral gardens, and undersea caves.
• Abaco Island boasts many beautiful beaches. One of our favourite's is Tahiti Beach. An isolated gem only accessible by boat (or on foot), you can be sure that you'll find a stretch of soft white sand here to call your own. With crystal clear calm waters, you won't be able to stay out of the sea here.
• And for a total change of pace you can head to Cable Beach on New Providence Island. The dazzling coastline here offers easy access to shops, casinos, restaurants, watersports, and bars. It's a sandy strip 6.5km-long with a great selection of facilities and activities.
Snorkelling in Buck Island, USVI
This was another incredibly difficult decision to make. We were tempted by the snorkelling in the Tobago Cay Marine Park, as well as Champagne Reef in Domenica, not to mention Exuma Cays in the Bahamas and Trunk Bay in St John, amongst a long list of others, but in the end chose the underwater exploration that Buck Island provides.
Situated near St. Croix, this is a U.S. Reef National Monument boasting a picturesque underwater snorkelling trail that teems with a wealth of fish, coral and marine life in an amazing display of colours, forms, textures and designs. You will swim with some of the over 250 fish species that live here along with a variety of other marine life including eagle rays, sea turtles and reef sharks. With its 4,554 acre long reef that forms a lagoon, Buck Island was, according to John F. Kennedy: '...one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.' And having been extended in recent years it's even better now!
Snorkelling gives you the time along the trail to truly appreciate the beauty that the ocean provides in this magical ecosystem that surrounds you. It really is an astonishing underwater world located in crystalline aquamarine waters and experiencing the snorkelling here will no doubt be one of the highlights of any holiday, even one on a luxury charter yacht that provides a vacation full of extraordinary and special times.
History in Antigua
While the history in Antigua dates back to "stone-people" some 2400BC most Antiguans are of African descent from the slaves brought to the island to work in the sugarcane fields from the late1600s onwards. By the end of the eighteenth century Antigua had become an important tactical port and a valued commercial colony and much of what is of interest to an amateur historian on a luxury crewed yacht charter in the region dates from this time.
• Most notable, of course, is Nelson's Dockyard, the restored Georgian British naval shipyard at English Harbour surrounded by nature trails and the ruins of historic forts. The Dockyard is home to beautiful old stone warehouses that house hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums. Both the Admiral's House Museum and Dockyard Museum trace the site's history from the 17th century to the present.
• The colourful capital of St. John's skyline is dominated by the twin white Baroque-style towers of St. John's Cathedral. It is said that the carved figures of both St. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the entrance gate to this city landmark originally decorated the masts of one of Napoleon's ships.
• The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda housed in the former 18th-century Courthouse in St John's depicts the history of these islands from their geological origins to independence in 1981. The museum has a full-scale replica of an Arawak dwelling, as well as portraits of colonial dignitaries and royalty.
• Betty's Hope is a sugar plantation that is in the process of restoration. New sails have been installed on the mill and the crushing machinery is now functional. This heritage landmark dates back to 1651 and is one of 112 sugar mill towers that still dot the lansdscape. A small but interesting visitors' centre/museum makes this place worth a visit.
• There are also numerous forts to explore: enjoy panoramic island views from the ruins of Fort Shirley or wander through Fort Berkeley both in close proximity to English Harbour. Fort Barrington at the northern beach side of Deep Bay offers a stunning outlook across to St Kitts & Nevis while Fort James at the entrance to the harbour in St. John's is the only fort in Antigua where the original ten great guns are still in place.
Dining in Martinque
Caribbean cuisine is an eclectic mix of influences from Africa, Asia, Europe and America. It is a cuisine that features vivid seasonings, luscious fruits and exceptionally fresh seafood, meats & poultry. Although having similar ingredients each region has developed its own distinct dishes that reflect the make-up of their locals. Their food is as striking and colourful as the islands themselves and there are any number of destinations that offer foodies tantalizing treats in stunning tropical scenery.
And Martinique is considered one of the crème de la crème. Martinique's cuisine reflects her strong connection with France richly fused with African and Creole flavours. This French outpost enjoys the characteristic Gallic passion for food and cooking, yet with a definitive Caribbean twist. French classics and traditional island fare combine providing culinary surprises that are rich and exotic. Seafood, of course, takes the spotlight with a French flair that creamy sauces and gratins give but also a touch of chilli and spices acknowledging the Creole influence. Sweet potatoes and plantains replace the more traditional "pomme frites", while desserts usually feature succulent tropical fruits.
And good food is everywhere. French bakeries abound; there are humble roadside stalls offering fastfood that while fast is also delicious; local bistros and beach bars serve quality casual cuisine and elegant eateries provide highly polished presentations with high-end ingredients!
Francophile's love visiting this tropical gastronomic paradise and you too can have the opportunity to sample her delights when on a luxury charter yacht in the Caribbean.
Exclusivity in Mustique
The Caribbean with more than 7,000 islands offers something for every traveller, including the rich and very rich wanting luxury, privacy and awe-inspiring views. There are numerous expensive private islands that offer the celebrities and wealthy the ultimate setting for their vacations. And the joy of a crewed yacht charter is that you too can be part of this opulent lifestyle and visit one or more of these resorts while you are on your own dream vacation.
One of our favourites is Mustique, located in the Grenadines in the Windward Islands. It is known throughout the world as a hideaway for the rich and famous with gracious private villas and two five star hotels, the Cotton House and Firefly. It is one of the world's hottest tourist destinations for high profile guests and royalty.
A Mustique institution that draws tourists and locals alike is the famous Basil's Bar. It's mostly just a wooden balcony with the waves lapping underneath serving great food with a sociable bar and an open-air dance floor. You can never be sure what celeb (think Mick Jagger) is going to rock up here on any given night.
There are beautiful palm-fringed beaches, colourful coral reefs, rocky headlands and stunning hilltops, a pleasant climate all year round and an assortment of outdoor activities such as tennis, scuba diving and horse riding, along with numerous revitalizing spa treatments. All these and more make Mustique a truly unique private island paradise. And, of course, a recommended stop on your luxury charter vacation in the Grenadines.
Shopping in St Thomas, USVI
With a long colonial history for trading and commerce and one of the Caribbean's earliest duty-free ports dating back to 1724 St Thomas still lives up to its billing as THE duty-free destination in the Caribbean. While shopping may not be high up on your agenda while on a luxury yacht charter there is some splendid shopping to be had in the chic capital town of Charlotte Amalie.
The best buys on St. Thomas include jewellery, fine leather, alcohol, (most especially of course rum!), china, crystal, perfumes, art, clothing, watches and cameras.
If shopping is on your mind then there are three main areas in town to explore:
Wander through the streets and alleys and you will find warehouses once filled with pirate plunder that now serve as boutiques and shops selling an array of duty-free goods. These are gorgeous historical buildings ... you get to sightsee while you shop ... a bonus!
• Vendor's Plaza
For a more open-air market-like experience vendors set up small booths, tents and tables to sell mostly souvenirs, sundresses, inexpensive jewellery and the like, opposite Emancipation Park. There are also local food stalls and a co-op selling locally made arts and crafts.
Located near the West Indian Company wharf where the cruise ships dock these long buildings boast some 100 stores with everything from Argentinian leather to Bohemian crystal, French cosmetics to Swiss watches at excellent prices. There is also beachwear, electronics, sunglasses, hot sauces and more available to purchase.
Please contact one of the charter yacht specialists at Luxury Charter Group for details about the luxury sail and motor yachts available in the area so that you too can experience some of these Caribbean highlights. And read more about the Caribbean as a destination for a luxury yacht charter here.
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