When you want to charter a yacht, your best course of action is to rely on a charter broker, because these brokers make it their business to carefully match each client with the perfect yacht and destination.
To do this, charter brokers spend considerable time traveling to visit yachts, interview the crews, taste the cuisine, and sample a variety of destinations worldwide. From this base of experience, they can make thoughtful and accurate recommendations to fit the needs of each client.
But where would these brokers go if they were on a charter themselves? To take a look at a “busman’s holiday” for these brokers, we asked some of our friends in the charter business to share with you their favorite charter destinations worldwide. We also shared a few of own special slices of paradise discovered during our years chartering. Here’s what we found. – Chris Caswell
Angela Connery Yacht Charters
The Galapagos Islands are for passionate adventurers, where you can swim with friendly sea lions who come up to peer into your mask. You’ll also see swimming iguanas. The Ecuadorian government tightly controls the trips, so there are never too many people on each island. Be sure to visit the Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz to see Lonesome George, an 80-year-old giant tortoise who is, sadly, the last of his breed. A volcano erupted during our visit, and watching molten lava pour into a steaming sea was like the beginning of time, but so are the Galapagos.
Rikki Davis Yacht Charters
I just love New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. Discovered by Capt. Cook just 150 miles from Auckland on the North Island, there are more than 140 islands, including one where a dolphin led us into a beautiful bay. Besides being scenic, the Bay is full of history and the weather from November to April is in the 70s. In Russell, a must is a seven-course dinner at Kamakura on The Strand, so arrive hungry and leave plenty of time. Nearby is Eagle’s Nest, a five-star villa and spa retreat that is Zen-like in it’s peacefulness.
Camper & Nicholsons International
I love Italy’s Sorrento Peninsula. On the drive from Rome, I’d encourage my clients to stop at the wonderful pottery factory in Minori, and then enjoy a meal at the Cumpa Cosimo restaurant in Ravello, which is famous for its pasta. Once aboard, we’d cruise to Positano and Amalfi, do some shopping in Sorrento, and then venture out to Ischia and Capri. It’s an absolutely spectacular coast with little villages and wonderful scenery.
The Sacks Group
I’d pick the British Virgin Islands-I like the whole collection. It’s an easy flight, the people are friendly and casual, and the sailing is great. Road Town is quaint, and don’t miss the Roti Palace just off Main Street, which serves the local wrap meal of meat and curry. There’s a wonderful anchorage for a couple of boats behind the reef on Great Camano, which is like a swimming pool with fabulous coral. The BVIs are an adult playground where nothing bites except the sun, so grab your favorite T-shirt and shorts and chill out.
International Yacht Collection
I pick the Italian coast because there’s so much to see and you can travel easily by yacht. I recommend the mud baths on the island of Ischia to clients, and the Blue Grotto on Capri is absolutely spectacular. Il San Pietro is a hotel and restaurant high above the Positano harbor, so you dine in the garden and overlook your yacht. One memory is circling the Stromboli volcano at night while it was active, and this isn’t far from the pretty island of Panarea. If you head north, don’t miss Portofino and the villages of Cinque Terre.
Fraser Yachts Worldwide
The Yasawa Islands of Fiji are superb. This chain of islands is in the lee of Viti Levu, so the cruising is protected inside reefs, and these are incredible living coral reefs! The snorkeling and diving is world-class, the beaches pristine, and you can visit here year ’round. The Fijians are a delightfully warm and welcoming people. Make sure your crew knows locals so you will be invited to a meke, or traditional feast. You’ll wear native attire, the children serenade you, and it’s wonderful!
I’d pick up a classic sailing yacht in Antigua’s English Harbour, and then I’d spend ten days dawdling down to the Grenadines. I’d anchor in all the wonderful little coves and holes along the way, swim, snorkel, and relax. I’d dive for crayfish in the Grenadines and then have a picnic on a deserted beach with some cold Red Stripes to wash it down. Ideally, I’d reach St. George’s in Grenada for the end-of-the-season sailing regatta.
Shannon Webster Yacht Charters
I’d go deep into the Exumas, which are fabulous but often overlooked. At Shroud Cay, there is a beautiful creek that goes right across the island through the mangroves to a sand beach-it’s like a secret jungle cruise. At Warderick Wells, the Exuma Land and Sea Park has great snorkeling reefs, but be sure to follow Shaggy Dog Trail to the hilltop to leave a piece of driftwood or junk with your boat name and date like yachts have been doing for years. And we could spend days just exploring the beautiful islands in the Pipe Creek area.
Global Yacht Charters
From St. Lucia to Grenada is the part of the Caribbean that I love the best, and it’s perfect for Christmas charters because the weather is better in the Eastern Caribbean at that time. I’d be sure to stop in Bequia because it’s so funky and, just steps from the sea in Port Elizabeth, the Gingerbread Restaurant is famous for fine curry dishes as well as the local bands that play regularly. The Grenadines are more remote and idyllic-these are the classic calendar image of white sand beaches and beautiful islets.
George Sass Jr.
Relaxing on the private island of Mustique and then indulging in the rustic beauty of the Tobago Cays can make for a vacation bursting over with contentment. The gentrified island of Mustique has the air of a gated community but without the gates. Be sure to stop by Basil’s Bar, a thatch and bamboo watering hole that could easily host Humphrey Bogart draped with his best white linen suit. Each winter, the bar’s owner Basil Charles hosts a rocking Blues Festival. Be sure to rent a golf cart and discover the pristine beaches around Sandy Bay. For an entirely different experience, point the bow to the south and bask in the isolation of the Tobago Cays. These small deserted islands are protected by Horseshoe Reef, allowing the wind to howl but the seas to stay relatively flat. It’s makes windsurfing a scream and the snorkeling is stunning.
We love everything about the British Virgin Islands. Get to The Baths on Virgin Gorda early to beat the tourists, and try to catch Foxy when’s he’s singing at his bar on Jost Van Dyke. Peter Island Resort is snooty to yachtsmen, but we always make time to visit Biras Creek Resort for a night off the yacht or just a superb meal in the restaurant overlooking both the Atlantic and Caribbean. Don’t miss Sandy Cay, an often-missed but perfect islet between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke. Carefully preserved by Laurance Rockefeller, it has walking trails and great snorkeling.