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Caribbean: Our top picks

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Dreaming of a Caribbean getaway? With so many Caribbean islands at your fingertips, searching for the perfect one is always a nice problem to have. At Burgess we have selected our pick of the best Caribbean islands, just for you.

Island hopping... Three archipelagos, hundreds of islands

Awakening the senses with their colour, warmth and vibrant culture, the hundreds of islands that make up the Caribbean archipelagos offer superyacht guests an almost infinite variety of cruising possibilities. Three of the archipelagos are firm favourites among the yachting crowd: The Windward Islands feature beautiful St Lucia and 'spice island' Grenada; the Leeward Islands with super chic St Barth and sophisticated Antigua; and the British Virgin Islands offering the white sands of Virgin Gorda and the party scene on Jost Van Dyke.

To help you chose your cruising ground we have profiled our top picks for the finest beaches, restaurants, night spots and activities spread across these Caribbean hot spots. Whichever island group you choose, you will have a fun-filled, action-packed adventure as you island hop through these sun-kissed isles.

What is on your Caribbean wish list?
What is on your Caribbean wish list?

Sailing the Windward Islands

Made up of towering mountains and sheltered bays, the Windward Islands form the tail end of the eastern Caribbean. From St Lucia and St Vincent to the Grenadines and Grenada, the islands here reflect a combination of Creole, French and English influences, ensuring a colourful ambience. Each of the islands is just a short hop from the next and the best way to discover them is by yacht.

St Lucia

Relax into the chilled 'island' vibe
Relax into the chilled 'island' vibe

One of the most naturally beautiful islands in the Caribbean, St Lucia is a tropical paradise, home to numerous volcanic and white sand beaches, hot springs and pretty coves. Cruising around the island you will have plenty of opportunity to step ashore and discover both the natural wonders and the man-made variety. Whether hiking up a volcano, taking rainforest walks and snorkelling forays, drinking rum punch to a reggae soundtrack in an unpretentious bar, or discovering gastronomic delights at one of the idyllic five-star resorts, St Lucia really has it all.

Best island for... Diving

Get ready for a close encounter with amazing marine life
Get ready for a close encounter with amazing marine life

St Lucia is surrounded by waters that are rich in marine life. They play host to migratory whales during the winter months and are home to stunning indigenous underwater life all year round. Soufriere Marine Park is perfect for snorkelling, as is the coral reef around Anse Chastanet. Just north, you can swim with turtles at Anse Cochon, while the east coast and Grand Anse are the best places for turtle spotting.

Must see... The Pitons

The twin peaks of The Pitons dominate the skyline
The twin peaks of The Pitons dominate the skyline

The lush coastline of St Lucia is dominated by the duelling Piton peaks, a titanic pair of jungle-covered spires rising 800m (2625ft) high in sheer walls from the sea. These twin dormant volcanic peaks dominate the southwest of the island and have become a symbol of the nation. Anchor beneath them and take the tender ashore to hike Gros Piton, or if you have a head for heights you can even zip wire down through the rainforest.

Grenada

Here distilling rum is an art form
Here distilling rum is an art form

Known as the 'spice island', mountainous Grenada is covered with fragrant spice trees and lush green scenery, and miles and miles of pure white sands almost encircle the island. As you draw near this southernmost of the Windward Islands, the fresh ocean breeze mingles with the aroma of spices carried on the trade winds and will permeate your senses. 

Step ashore to enjoy the many delights including waterfall chasing, scuba diving and tours of old spice plantations, organic farms and ancient rum distilleries. Cool off with a dip in the longest pool in the Caribbean at Silversands Grenada, or a take a swim around the gentle bay of Grand Anse Beach - without doubt the best beach on the island.

Best island for... Rainforest

Take a trek inland to find the wild side of the Caribbean
Take a trek inland to find the wild side of the Caribbean

Grenada’s interior is a verdant volcanic rainforest landscape with some of the most stunning terrain in the entire archipelago. The magical scenery here is made up of mountains, rivers, rainforests and waterfalls. Head ashore to discover Annandale Falls, Seven Sisters Falls, and Mount Carmel Waterfall. And don’t miss the Grand Etang Forest Reserve – one of the finest natural areas in the whole Caribbean, it is filled with towering bamboo, razorgrass, wildflowers, and the crystal-clear Grand Etang Lake.

Must see... St George

Moor up at St George for a night of music and dancing
Moor up at St George for a night of music and dancing

The capital of St George is the focal point of the island. Spend the evening in the horseshoe-shaped harbour surrounded by a pastel rainbow of dockside warehouses and red-tiled roofs. Drink the local rum punch into the small hours and dance the night away on deck to the sounds of a local steel band.

Grenadines

See a beach bar - drop anchor!
See a beach bar - drop anchor!

Sprinkled in the clear waters between the volcanic peaks of St Vincent and Grenada is a 96km (60 mile) trail of palm-studded sandbars, coral reefs and tiny islets, known as the Grenadines. At the top of the chain lies Bequia, one of the more populated of the islands where the bustling Port Elizabeth welcomes the waterborne to browse the shops and restaurants. A short cruise from Bequia lies the inherently glamorous island of Mustique – a private retreat of barefoot luxury. Tobago Cays comprises four uninhabited, palm-fringed islets, while Union Island is a sailor’s delight, offering pretty anchorages and a couple of bars and restaurants ashore. A stone’s throw from Union Island, Petit St Vincent is your own desert island and offers total privacy and seclusion, while Carriacou, aka ‘Island of Reefs’, is perfect for diving and snorkelling. Spontaneously flit from idyll to idyll along the stunning islands – all you need is your own private yacht.

Best islands for... Snorkelling

Snorkelling is easy for all the family, and there's so much to see
Snorkelling is easy for all the family, and there's so much to see

If you’re a movie buff then you might recognise the four islets that make up the Tobago Cays. Ringed by pristine, white sand beaches and clear azure waters, they provided some of the backdrops for the Holllywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean. Anchor between Petit Rameau and Petite Bateau and swim and snorkel in the kaleidoscope of colourful waters that are protected by the famous horseshoe reef.

Must visit... Carriacou

Watch the pelicans diving for fish at Sandy Point
Watch the pelicans diving for fish at Sandy Point

Carriacou’s varied coastline has many offshore islets which are perfect for diving and snorkelling. Visit the oyster beds around Tyrrel Bay, where you can also watch local men building boats by hand, or step ashore and explore the French and English ruins of the Belair National Park. Swim at Sandy Island – a flawless sandy spit – and watch the pelicans dive and plunge into the water as you enjoy a leisurely afternoon on deck.

Sailing the Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands are an intriguing mix of West Indian, French, Dutch and British influences, depending on which island you visit. To experience the French Riviera of the Caribbean, look no further than St Barth. Further to the east, and surely one of the most famous of the Caribbean islands is Antigua – steeped in British maritime history, and a wonderful place for fun, socialising and complete relaxation.

Antigua

Take your pick of 365 beaches
Take your pick of 365 beaches

With beaches galore and a seafaring history, the island of Antigua has pole position on the Caribbean cruising map. Soak up this unpretentious, old-world island before embarking on a cruise around the Leeward Islands. Save time not only for the amazing beaches but for the island’s verdant interior, which has much to offer visitors, not least of which is a nail-biting zip wire through the rainforest.

Best island for... Beaches

Head to the north Atlantic side of the island for high-octane watersports
Head to the north Atlantic side of the island for high-octane watersports

Beaches are what Antigua does best. The island alone has 365, literally one for every day of the year. But which beach is right for you? Some suit families, others are only accessible by yacht (and are therefore perfect for those in search of complete privacy), still others are ideal for partygoers or watersports enthusiasts.

The locals will tell you that the best of them include Dickenson Bay on the northwest corner and Half Moon Bay on the east coast – both are long stretches of white sandy beach that provide the perfect base for beach games and barbecues. Carlisle Bay to the south also provides a protected anchorage and has a hotel to dine ashore at, while the perfect, crescent shaped beach is lapped by calm clear waters, ideal for young children. Head to Jabberwock Beach on the northern Atlantic side for windsurfing and kite surfing.

Must see... Nelson’s Dockyard

Witness the dockyard as Nelson left it in the 1800s
Witness the dockyard as Nelson left it in the 1800s

The entire island is steeped in maritime history, with Nelson’s Dockyard at the heart of the action. The restored Georgian naval dockyard is at the centre of the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park and remains a visible symbol of England’s powerful navy in the West Indies. Home to the British fleet in the late 17th Century, the colonial naval buildings remain as they were when Nelson made his headquarters here as the Admiral in command of the West Indies fleet.

St Barth

Tres chic! A superyacht favourite and the most glamorous Caribbean island
Tres chic! A superyacht favourite and the most glamorous Caribbean island

St Barth is the epitome of Caribbean French chic – and never more so than when enjoyed from the decks of a superyacht. The island’s capital Gustavia is one of the prettiest in the West Indies archipelago, while its beaches are the stuff of Caribbean dreams. Michelin starred restaurants, beaches and expensive boutiques abound – you simply have to decide which beach to grace, where to snorkel, and which desirable restaurant to book.

Best island for... Foodies

Caribbean food has been given a French makeover in St Barth
Caribbean food has been given a French makeover in St Barth

St Barth is French through and through – from its joie de vivre to its cool nonchalance, but most importantly, its great cuisine. The chefs on the island adapt traditional French dishes to suit the warmer climate, with lighter sauces and Caribbean fruits and spices make their way into more classic French dishes. Among several dozen high-quality places to eat on the island, a few really stand out. For French flavours try L’Espirit, L’Isola, Bonito, or La Langouste (the best Lobster Thermidor). For a romantic affair, head to Le Tamarin, and for breakfast try La Petite Colombe. If it’s Creole cuisine you are after though, Eddy’s Gehto is another favourite for breakfast, while Eden Rock’s The Sand Restaurant is the go-to favourite for lunch or dinner.

Must see... St Jean Beach

Eden Rock hotel perches on the edge of St Jean Bay
Eden Rock hotel perches on the edge of St Jean Bay

Beaches don’t get much livelier than the hip strip of sand that is St Jean Beach. Famous for beachside bistros, bronzed bodies, windsurfing, and the most popular island sport - people watching. It is also where you will find one of the most glamourous hotels in the Caribbean, the Eden Rock - St Barth first and most famous hotel sits proudly on the rocky promontory in St Jean Bay. Having undergone a recent rebuild, including new rooms and suites, there is also a new bar and restaurant, and the three cabin Eden Spa. The latter sports a nautical theme along with the local health and beauty brand Ligne St Barth.

Sailing the British Virgin Islands

The expression ‘made for the waterborne’ describes the British Virgin Islands. With its balmy climate, steady easterly trade winds and an abundance of sheltered anchorages, it is clear why the archipelago has been attracting yachtsmen for centuries. Exuding a low-key ambience, the islands are famed for their beaches and in turn a handful of beach-bar settings, including quintessential classics like Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar Bar, both of which are situated on the centrally located island of Jost Van Dyke.

Virgin Gorda

Here you will find secluded beaches lapped by clear water
Here you will find secluded beaches lapped by clear water

Lying to the east of the archipelago, the island of Virgin Gorda boasts beautiful white sand beaches lapped by some of the clearest waters to be found in the Caribbean. From Spring Bay to Little Dix Bay, Savannah Bay to Mahoe Bay, there are plenty of beautiful, secluded beaches with picturesque reefs and a tropical landscape. The interior of the island also has lots to offer, including the riuns of Spanish fortress at Little Fort National Park, and National Parks at Devil’s Bay, North Sound, Spring Bay and Gorda Peak.

 

Best island for... Watersports

RMS Rhone sits on the sea bed, where she sank in 1867
RMS Rhone sits on the sea bed, where she sank in 1867

From snorkelling to diving to enjoying the yacht’s watertoys, Virgin Gorda has several bays in which to anchor and jump in to enjoy life both beneath the waterline and above. Be sure not to miss out on the underwater mysteries of RMS Rhone (RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship) - it is regarded as one of the world’s top 10 wreck dive sites.

Must see... The Baths

Snorkel from the beach to enjoy The Baths' shallow pools
Snorkel from the beach to enjoy The Baths' shallow pools

Virgin Gorda is most widely known for The Baths on the southwest coast – a granite collection of boulders cupping pools of turquoise, shallow water. With their colourful fish and coral, they are a delight to discover by kayak or snorkelling.  

Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke is legendary as the party island
Jost Van Dyke is legendary as the party island

The sandy island of Jost Van Dyke is a favourite among the yachting crowd for its wonderful beaches and safe anchorages. It is also one of the liveliest islands in the British Virgin Islands, with several restaurants and bars in Great Harbour and White Bay. However, the small island’s reputation with the superyacht set is mostly down to such legendary beach bars like Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar.

Best island for... Beach bars

The island's trademark cocktail of rum, coconut, orange and pineapple
The island's trademark cocktail of rum, coconut, orange and pineapple

If there is one place that defines the Caribbean beach bar, then it has to be the Soggy Dollar Bar. Anchor in White Bay and swim ashore here for their world-famous Painkiller cocktail. The island’s trademark cocktail is made from rum, orange juice, pineapple and cream of coconut – and provides the perfect toast to an excellent yacht charter. Later, sway along to reggae tunes as you enjoy even stronger Painkiller rum cocktails at the infamous Foxy’s. Open since 1968, there is a small jetty for your yacht’s tender to escort you back on board.

Must see... Bubbly Pool

At high tide Bubbly Pool is natural jacuzzi with fizzing jets of water
At high tide Bubbly Pool is natural jacuzzi with fizzing jets of water

Known to locals as Mother Nature’s jacuzzi, Bubbly Pool is a beautiful shallow tidal pool set behind cliffs to the north of Jost Van Dyke. Its many moods depend on the tides and sea swell, which when coming from the north creates a jet-like spurts of water into the pool which causes a fizzing effect. Smaller swells and a low tide make for less dramatic experience when the pool becomes still – perfect for a relaxing dip to cool off.

Get in touch

Feeling inspired to take a Caribbean getaway? Talk to our Charter experts to tailor your bespoke itinerary aboard one of the unbeatable yachts for charter with Burgess, and set sail for dreamy Caribbean island hopping.

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