Charter File: Winter Favorites

Find out where charter experts play.

St. Lucia
Thinking of a surf-and-turf charter? One option is to wake up at St. Lucia’s Ti Kaye Resort & Spa with a view of the charter yacht at anchor.Quin Bisset

One of the job perks that charter brokers enjoy is visiting the Caribbean and Bahamian islands where they help clients book vacations. A well-traveled broker can offer local knowledge about everything from the most untouched snorkeling reef in the Grenadines to the best hidden conch shack in the Abacos, places that offer experiences well beyond what is in a typical brochure.

We asked six brokers to tell us about their favorite ­yacht-charter experience in the Caribbean or Bahamas — the spot that left them inspired and wanting to return. Here’s their take on the best places to play this winter.

Staniel Cay is part of the Exumas, which “offer diversity, and there’s a lot of things to do, and all kinds of boats can go there,” says broker Patti Trusel.Zach Stovall

St. Lucia

Lara-Jo Houghting

"I love the fact that there are quite a few places to go with a combination of private beaches with no one in sight, spa treatments ashore with beautiful views, rum tasting in rum caves, wine tasting in wine caves — there just are some really fun excursions. It's a wonderful island, and it's easy to get to with direct flights from Europe and the United States." The 142-foot Palmer Johnson Lady J regularly charters in St. Lucia, and is available from the Bahamian Out Islands to Grenada. The 147-foot Intermarine M3 is another favorite. "The crew are amazing. Our charter clients always have a great time on board."


Kim Vickery

When considering Bahamas itineraries, "I think it gets overlooked quite a bit. People tend to gravitate toward the Exumas, which are more remote. The ­Abacos are beautiful, but different. There are more restaurants and places to go." The 116-foot Azimut Tail Lights "is a lot of boat for a 116, with five proper staterooms for 10 guests. She just had a new paint job done at the Azimut yard in Viareggio last year, a two-tone metallic silver on the top and darker gray on the bottom. She's a ­head-turner." The 140-foot Proteksan Ice 5, which formerly chartered by the name Capricorn, is also available. "She has an all-new, modern décor."

Compass Cay

Katy Carter

"You can feed the sharks. There are nature trails for walking off the calories you've consumed from the wonderful chef's meals on the yacht. Compass Cay as a base for at least two nights means you can take the tender to Sampson Cay. You can take the Jet Skis into the mangroves. You can put the paddleboards in the water, and there is a very shallow stream through a sandy bay where I've paddleboarded over little baby conchs. The water is so clear that you can see that." The 130-foot ­Mangusta Incognito has a crew who are "really special. They just started doing private fireworks shows for their guests on private beaches."

St. Lucia
The Caribbean has more mountainous landscapes than the Bahamas. For charter guests who enjoy hiking, one of the most majestic Caribbean views is of St. Lucia’s Pitons, an excursion that can be done alone, with crew or with a local guide such as this man from Island Routes.Zach Stovall

Staniel Cay

Patti Trusel

"You just have to do Staniel Cay. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is interesting in itself. A guy comes in and drops 40 conchs on the dock and starts making conch salad. You have all the personalities and characters there at the bar. I was there for the Super Bowl this year, and there must have been 400 people crammed into that bar, the scruffiest people from sailboats to guys coming in with their epaulets from superyachts. There's a blue hole and great snorkeling there. It's just a terrific spot." The 63-foot Hylas Blue Star "is tricked out with almost every powerboat amenity you can ask for in a 63-foot boat, and she can really sail."

Hope Town

Susan Harris

Hope Town Harbour Lodge is "where a lot of the charter boats are based, so you can extend your trip or go earlier if you stay there. I stayed in a loft room, and it was wonerful. It's very private on the top floor — it felt remote. But from the marina, you can walk to one of the oldest lighthouses." The 105-foot Hargrave Exit Strategy has a captain who "has been on for nine years, and the yacht is immaculate. The owner keeps the boat in the Bahamas and Florida, so they have great local knowledge. I stayed on board, and the chef was over-the-top amazing. She made octopus; she baked it. It was incredible."


Heather Hatcher

"The pigs on Big Major Island were a highlight of my life. When we pulled up on the tender, there was not a pig to be seen. And then the captain starts going, 'Heeere, piggy piggy piggieees!' They came out of the bushes full force, something like 12 pigs charging the beach. We spent about 40 minutes running around with them chasing us and feeding them apples, and then they laid down. You can swim with them. Talk about swimming with the dolphins? This is way better than that." The 161-foot Christensen Three Forks "just bought a 33-foot tender, perfect for island hopping, snorkeling, fishing and diving."