Discover the Gamma destinations to visit on board a superyacht charter

Published 24 January 2024

A superyacht allows you to use the world as your canvas, travel beyond your comfort zone and embark on an eye-opening adventure, all while ensconced in a luxurious and safe setting. Whether you are looking to experience new cultures or for high-adrenaline activities in remote locations, there is an alternative destination for every type of charter party.  

What are Gamma destinations? 

'Off the beaten path,' 'further afield,' 'rare' and 'extraordinary' are all ways to describe Gamma destinations. Providing new and alternative experiences for travellers, several Gamma destinations are in hard-to-reach places inaccessible any way other than by boat, making them ideal for extreme adventures undertaken by superyacht. From Papua New Guinea to the Arabian Gulf, it is only a matter of time before these relatively undiscovered Gamma destinations attract more of the superyacht crowd. 

Set sail for some of the best Gamma cities in the world

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast  

For those looking to experience something genuinely unique and off the beaten yachting track, Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast offers a treasure trove of unique attractions. The nation’s rich heritage and traditions have of course been uniquely shaped by it being the birthplace of Islam, and also a historic regional trading hub since ancient times. Having only lifted its veil to foreign visitors very recently in 2019, the conservative Kingdom is now going through a massive transformation, evolving its century-old customs, and investing in a number of huge developments, including both Neom and the Red Sea Project.  

Make sure to stop and take in all the natural beauty Saudi Arabia has to offer

Located on the northeast tip of the Red Sea, the giga-development of Neom stretches along almost 300 miles of coastline and offers 40 islands for the waterborne to explore. A new focal point for yacht owners and charterers seeking an alternative winter cruising ground, Neom is just a day’s cruise through the Suez Canal from Europe (or a short flight if you would rather meet your yacht there). With every luxury service imaginable, including a state-of-the-art superyacht marina on Sindalah Island, beach clubs and high-end resorts, Neom will in due course become the gateway to the Red Sea and to all the new offerings of the Red Sea Project.  

Visit the Georgios G shipwreck

The latter, Red Sea Project, encompasses an archipelago of more than 90 islands near Umluj. Often referred to as the Maldives of the Middle East, the waters lapping these islands are home to unrivalled marine biodiversity with great swathes of coral reef untouched by modern man. In fact, in contrast with Saudi Arabia’s reputation as the desert kingdom, the opportunities for snorkelling and diving along the 1,000 miles of Saudi coastline are plentiful. 

From great coral walls and small reefs to wrecks, all manner of sub-tropical marine life, including a variety of shark species, can be discovered by both beginners and advanced divers alike, and compared with Egypt for example the dive sites here are essentially untouched. You’ll be unlikely to see another dive boat there, whereas in the popular sites of Dahab and Sharm Al Sheikh you might have as many as 20 or 30 boats all diving the same site, making for a less than unique experience.  

Take a deep dive and explore Saudi's stunning marine life

Ashore, the vibrant Saudi culture that has long been kept out of sight boasts centuries-old customs and civilisation along with modern riches, while desert-trekking through the Acacia Valley – a massive swathe of rocky desert escarpment known as the 'Edge of the World' – is a rewarding experience for any intrepid explorer, with numerous archaeological wonders to visit along the way. In fact, Saudi Arabia is home to no fewer than six UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the historic city of Jeddah.

Stroll along the streets and public gardens of Jeddah

Spend time ashore wandering the ancient streets of the historical area of Al-Balad and the bustling Souq Al Alawi which flourish with the rich mix of influences and traditions of this important trade route. The UNESCO-protected Al Ula on the Arabian Peninsula was also a major outpost on the trade route and the ancient walled city here is home to a few stunning and well-preserved archaeological sites. 

Papua New Guinea 

As one of the last undiscovered places on earth, Papua New Guinea is for the adventurous and for those willing to explore. The awe-inspiring landscapes and underwater world can be simply mind-blowing. The infrastructure here is practically non-existent, reducing the number of visitors and making the archipelago perfect for anyone capable of visiting by yacht.

Absorb the picturesque views as you cruise

Given the country’s diverse landscape and being a culturally diverse nation, having an experienced expedition leader who understands the people and has an in-depth knowledge of the areas to navigate safely is key to a successful superyacht charter experience. Dense rainforests and ancient tribal villages are home to immense cultural and biological differences, while the underwater world is home to abundant marine biodiversity that makes these waters home to entirely unique species.  

Adventure ashore and discover the volcanic landscapes

From diving in Madang Province and exploring the wrecks of warships off Bogia, to trekking up the active volcanoes of East New Britain and exploring the fjords of Oro Province, the Papua New Guinea archipelago is both enthralling and exciting. However, it is generally the indigenous communities of Papua New Guinea that leave the most indelible mark on the memory. Over 851 indigenous languages are spoken across these islands, among some of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Head inland to remote villages with your expert guide for enlightening experiences with people whose way of life could not be more different to your own. 

Solomon Islands 

The Solomon Islands are another of the Gamma destinations on the superyacht radar. One of four Melanesian nations located in the waters between South East Asia, Australia and Polynesia, the Solomon Islands are somewhat similar to neighbouring Papua New Guinea in their undiscovered and remote nature. Their volcanic, deeply forested landscape provides stunning scenery ashore, while in the water submerged volcanoes and World War II relics are the main draw for the waterborne.

Exploring ashore is a must with stunning forest landscapes, who could resist?

Over 60 Japanese ships and planes sunk during the World War II have these days become underwater playgrounds for a number of unique species that can only be found in these waters. While migrating whale sharks and over a 1,000 different reef fish species, rays and marine turtles can also be spotted.

Embrace the underwater playground of the Solomon Islands

For the fortunate few who step ashore, the tiny island villages you might visit are home to a wide variety of Melanesian, Polynesia, and Micronesian indigenous tribes, with over 120 different vernaculars spoken. Discover the traditional customs and ceremonies that still play an important role in Solomon Islanders’ daily life.  

The Tuamotu Atolls and the Marquesas, French Polynesia  

A sprawling region made up of five well-separated archipelagos, French Polynesia provides visitors with access to some of the most remote and spectacular cruising grounds on earth. Firmly on the cruising map, the Society Islands are at the cultural heart of island groups and are home to the well-known islands of Tahiti and the atolls of Bora Bora, both of which have plenty of airborne tourists visiting in their tens of thousands. However, the Tuamotu Atolls in the centre of the archipelago, the neighbouring Marquesas, the lesser-known Gambier Islands, and the Austral Islands are all so much more remote that they are much more firmly on the Gamma cruising map for the superyacht crowd.  

There is no better view than crystal-clear waters and luscious green islands

Comprising more than 70 low-lying islands and atolls, the little-known Tuamotu Atolls were originally volcanic islands, but their volcanic cones collapsed over the millennia and coral reefs have now formed around the edge of the ancient craters, creating the shallow and protected lagoons that are there today. A top 10 diving destination, these UNESCO islands also include the world’s second largest atoll, Rangiroa. Many of the islands remain virtually untouched and are uninhabited, but some are also home to welcoming locals. Spend your days cruising in the waters around the UNESCO-classified biosphere reserve in the Toau atoll, and for a change of scene step ashore to visit the main villages of Tiputa and Avatoru where you will witness an everyday island life infused with a vibrant culture and tradition. 

Take a dive and visit the UNESCO-classified biosphere reserve

Lying to the northeast of the Tuamotu Atolls, the Marquesas are the remotest group of islands in the world in terms of distance from a continental landfall. Here there simply is no mainland. Comprised of 12 volcanic islands covered with dense jungle canopy, half the islands have roads and buildings, but ancient cultures remain prevalent and ruins and stone-carved tikis are tucked away in the vegetation. Step ashore for a dose of real Polynesian culture and lose yourself amid the flora and fauna on the verdant island of Hiva Oa. Dive around the islets of Teuaua and Hemeni and witness the wild horses on the island of Ua Huka, and hike or take a four-wheel drive through the lush valleys on Ua Pou. These Gamma archipelagos are the perfect cruising grounds for those looking to disconnect from life in the fast lane.  

If you're lucky you might have the opportunity to see wild horses galloping along the beach

Alternatively, lying to the southwest of the Society Islands the Austral Islands straddle the Tropic of Capricorn. Made up of limestone and volcanic rock, the islands are inhabited primarily by local tribes living in rural villages. Head inland and discover entire houses and churches built out of coral limestone. To the east of the Austral Islands, the Gambier Islands also remain in splendid isolation and are largely untouched. Composed of 14 mountainous landscapes, the indigenous population was harshly affected by the crusades of the Catholic Church and its missionaries, a shameful episode worth finding out more about. Today the islands are also home to hundreds of pearl farms, and you can even try pearl diving for yourself.  

Raja Ampat, Indonesia  

Firmly on the bucket list for the diving community, the waters around the Raja Ampat archipelago are widely considered to host among the most spectacular dive and snorkel sites in the world. More recently, they have been attracting the adventurous yachting fraternity and have become one of the hottest yachting destinations on the world-cruising map. However, being so remote and largely uninhabited they remain straddled between being a Beta or Gamma destination. Just 10 years ago chartering a vessel in these waters would have been impossible in anything other than a fishing boat or a junk. Today however, there are several yachts in the Burgess fleet available for charter, and the clear tropical waters provide ample opportunity for cruising with year-round pleasant temperatures and ideal sailing conditions.  

Go kayaking and adventure out to places unreachable by yacht charter

Comprising four main islands and thousands of small islets, Raja Ampat is well suited to yachting. Wending your way in and out of secluded coves of the majestic archipelago there are few signs of life, but under the water however, there is plenty going on. Home to the country’s largest marine park, there are world-class dive sites – for example, the waters around the Dampier Straits have the highest recorded marine biodiversity on earth – while scientists have catalogued more than six times as many coral species in just a few acres of the Wayag archipelago than live in the entire Caribbean. 

Admire the beautiful array of colourful coral as you explore under the surface

Land activities are also diverse, with tropical rainforests populated by endemic wildlife species. Head inland (with a guide) to climb the Wayag Peaks, discover the ancestral caves of Tomolol in Misool, and meet local villagers as they welcome you to their islands.  

Svalbard, Norway  

Although the Baltic is still in an embryonic stage compared to the Alpha cruising grounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, this region’s stunning scenery attracts more and more superyachts year on year. The cruising areas off Sweden’s capital Stockholm and in the Norwegian fjords, for example, have been on the cruising map for years and remain a safe Beta destination, but for those looking to explore further afield, the spectacular Norwegian Svalbard archipelago is Gamma in every way – so much so that it almost feels like you are cruising to the edge of the earth.

Experience the Northern Lights ashore or on board

Cruising from Tromsø, known as the Arctic gateway, head your yacht towards Svalbard and you might be lucky enough to spot breaching whales, see the mighty polar bear and experience the Northern Lights, all potentially on the same day. Anchored off Bear Island, take the tender ashore to discover the Arctic-battered landscape with its sea stack rock columns, sea caves and tunnels. On Svalbard itself, enjoy breathtaking vistas that include majestic glacial ice walls looming out of the ocean. Marvel at the immense size of the Monacobreen glacier or hire a guide and discover this varied landscape on snowshoes, cross-country skis, on a snowmobile or even behind a pack of huskies.  

What is a Gamma city?  

Rather than the Alpha cities of the world, like Paris or Rome, or even the Beta cities like Athens or Miami, Gamma cities can offer the visitor some amazing sites, cuisine, and a high interest factor, without the queues and prices of Alpha city attractions. Spend time ashore while cruising at any of these Gamma cities and discover a different side to your yacht game. 

Porto, Portugal  

Pay a visit to the vineyards and indulge in a glass or two of Portuguese port

Portugal is by no means a Gamma cruising ground, nor is it a mainstream cruising ground, but the Iberian destination is slowly becoming a safe haven for superyachts. Attracting a new generation of yacht owners and charterers to visit. While cruising the Algarve coastline, cruise your yacht up the Douro River and spend a few days ashore in Porto – Portugal’s second city after Lisbon, itself a Gamma city thanks to its historic centre and port cellars. Aside from port tasting, Porto’s attractions also include great shopping, particularly gold jewellery, and park walks. 

Malmö, Sweden  

Stroll the streets of Malmö, observing the architecture or stopping for some much needed retail therapy

The ancient shipbuilding hub of Malmö is certainly no stranger to nautical visitors, but the city has recently reinvented itself with an injection of Scandinavian-cool. From the coffee-shop filled neighbourhood of St Knut to the Möllevångstorget quarter, the cosmopolitan city offers the waterborne a wealth of attractions ashore. Chic lifestyle boutiques, superb restaurants, and walkable city beaches, and just a short hop across the Øresund Bridge to nearby Copenhagen, this Swedish coastal city is a must visit on any Baltic yacht charter. 

Wellington, New Zealand 

New Zealand isn’t short of idyllic waterside attractions, with the popular Bay of Islands, Marlborough Sounds, and the maritime playground the Hauraki Gulf around Auckland. As a result of Auckland’s popularity, the remote capital city of Wellington is often overlooked during a New Zealand superyacht charter. Dubbed New Zealand’s 'Windy City,' the winds here are very favourable for sailing, while ashore this compact city is wedged between verdant mountains and the sea and has plenty to offer.

Take an helicopter ride and discover New Zealand from another perspective

Curled around a harbour on the southern-most point of North Island, Wellington put itself on the world map while hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. From the bohemian Cuba Street to coffee shops and craft beer brewpubs, it is well-worth an itinerary diversion while cruising North Island.  

Nassau, Bahamas  

Enjoy the gentle Caribbean breeze as you explore Nassau's nightlife

The perfect embarkation point for a charter through The Bahamas, the charming Bahamian capital of Nassau offers world-class marinas and an international airport. However, before sailing off into the sunset why not spend a few days exploring the vibrant city, with its high-end boutiques, casinos, and a lively beach scene. 

Get ready to discover some of the world’s best Gamma cities with Burgess. Enquire now.

As Alpha and Beta destinations become overly busy at certain times of the year, break your routine with Burgess recommendations for extraordinary experiences in emerging Gamma destinations. 

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

- Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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