Windward Islands Yacht Charter Guide
A combination of steady winds, dramatic landscapes, and natural harbors
Stretching out at the tail end of the eastern Caribbean, the Grenadines are made up of lush rainforests, towering mountains, and sheltered bays fringed with white sandy beaches. Supremely unspoiled, the Windward Islands offer the finest combination of warm, steady trade winds, stunning waters, and very short cruising distances between. The 32 Grenadines and the larger islands of St. Lucia to the north and Grenada in the south combine to create the perfect ports for a Windward Island cruising itinerary.
Sprinkled between the volcanic peaks of St. Lucia and Grenada are a trail of palm-studded sandbars, coral reefs and islets known as the Grenadines.
The unspoiled cruising grounds offer an abundance of natural beauty, ample dive sites and some of the best fishing grounds in the world. Combined with a few days ashore on the Caribbean idyll of St. Lucia, a week-long charter aboard a luxury yacht cruising the islands allows you to experience a part of the Caribbean that has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries.
St. Lucia is one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the Caribbean and is the perfect place to spend a few nights acclimatizing to the Caribbean pace of life before stepping aboard your luxury yacht to cruise through the Grenadines chain of islands. St. Vincent and the Grenadines consist of 32 islands and cays strung out over 60 miles of strikingly blue sea, each one a short hop from the next.
A short hop from St. Vincent, the first island in the Grenadines archipelago, the island of Bequia is one of the most developed of the archipelago. The glamorous and sophisticated island of Mustique offers a private retreat, while the lesser-known Petit St. Vincent also is a resort island welcoming superyacht guests ashore to enjoy barefoot luxury. One by one the aforementioned islands slowly prepare you for the main attraction in the Grenadines, the Tobago Cays.
Comprising five uninhabited desert island idylls, they offer a wildlife reserve and marine park with a stunning kaleidoscopic underwater world. In fact, the varied coastlines and offshore islets throughout the archipelago offer ample opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and diving with all manner of sea life. It’s simply a question of flitting from idyll to idyll – all you need is your own luxury yacht.
- Hike up Gros Piton, St. Lucia
- Snorkel and scuba dive off Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia
- Zipline from hill heights to sea level on St. Lucia
- Take afternoon tea at the Cotton House, Mustique
- Be pampered at the Ila Spa, Cotton Beach, Mustique
- Hike Mount Pleasant, Bequia
- Head inland to the spectacular waterfalls of Baleine, St. Vincent
- Stroll through the cobblestone streets to the picturesque waterfront of St. George’s, Grenada
- Dive the remote reefs off Carriaçou
Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago
A crewed yacht charter in the Caribbean would not be complete without a visit to the Windward Islands. Located on the southern end of the Caribbean chain, the Windward Islands are the Caribbean’s best-kept yacht charter secret. These lush and richly tropical volcanic islands are a little piece of France, floating amongst the palm-lined sandy beaches and misty rain forests, of the Caribbean.
The Windward Islands yacht charter area is so named due to being on the windier and wetter side of the Lesser Antilles and consist of Martinique, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada Trinidad and Tobago. Together all the islands make up the group of Caribbean islands known as the Lesser Antilles.
This jewel area of the Caribbean hosts yachting year-round, with a rainy season from July through October. From its distinctive cuisine to its language, The Windward Islands exude the ambiance of Paris with the warmth, friendliness and spice of the West Indies.
As with most of the Caribbean, The Windward Islands yacht charter season runs from November through to July. The Caribbean’s primary high season is from mid-December to March when the winter escapees from North America and Europe arrive in their greatest numbers.
The hurricane season is from late July to early October. Although hurricanes are generally rare, this is still the least expensive time for chartering in the Caribbean and there are some really good deals available – however, as well as running the risk of storms, this time of year also tends to be associated with lighter (or non-existent) winds.
The types of yacht charters available for a vacation in the Windward Islands are all the main types including motor, sailing, skippered, crewed yachts, catamaran, powerboat, sailboat, luxury yachts and superyacht charters.
Renting a yacht in Martinique
Martinique is the largest of the Windward Islands yacht charter area. Known as Madinina, or Island of Flowers, Martinique, is renowned for its scenic beauty. The 425-square-mile island is speckled with plantations producing guavas, mangos, papayas, bananas, pineapples, sugar, cinnamon and coffee and is home to countless varieties of plants, trees and flowers including hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea, poinsettias and nearly 100 species of orchid. Martinique is a French overseas territory and has strong French influences with Parisian style bistros and quaint narrow streets.
The island of Martinique has several shipwrecks to dive and plenty of sites to visit including the islands volcano Mt. Pelee, a trio of stunning coves at Les Anses-d’Arlets and the towering fortress of Diamond Rock.
St. Lucia Yacht rental
St Lucia is the sort of tropical paradise that a yacht charterer dreams about, with white sand beaches framed by the dramatic Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the calm Caribbean waters to the west. A St Lucia yacht charter offers some of the finest scenery in the Caribbean including St Lucia’s twin Pitons that tower 2000 feet over lush rainforest delightfully spotted with colored flowers, ancient ferns and exotic wildlife, interrupted only by plantations of tropical fruit.
The geography of St Lucia creates a fantastic environment for outdoor activities of all kinds. Steep coastlines and beautiful reefs offer excellent diving and snorkeling. Island waters are an angler’s dream, filled with king mackerel, barracuda and white marlin.
St. Vincent Yachting vacation
Saint Vincent is a volcanic island featuring a 3000-foot volcano named Soufriere. Mountainous, covered in tropical greenery, there are no white sand beaches on this island, a stark contrast to the amazing pure white beaches found further South in St Vincent and Grenadines island chain.
The lack of beaches, however, does make this island unique as it has remained largely unspoiled by the more commercial style of tourism. The interior of the island is largely undeveloped, with no roads crossing the island.
Yacht charter vacation in Grenadines
The Grenadine Islands, until recently, were one of the Caribbean’s best-kept yacht charter secrets. The Grenadines are headed by St Vincent and consist of 32 islands and cays, stretching south to Union Island offering an incredible variety of charter destinations and diversions, in all directions. With gorgeous scenery and secluded beaches, calm anchorages and picturesque villages a Grenadines yacht charter have something for everyone. The Grenadines offer it all, from the bustling waterfront of Port Elizabeth on Saint Vincent, to the stunning natural beauty of the Tobago Cays.
The main group of islands that make up to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which you can visit on your luxury charter yacht includes Young Island (Grenadines), Bequia, Moonhole Rock, Petite Nevis, Quatre, Bettowia, Baliceaux, Mustique, Petite Mustique, Savan, Petite Canouan, Canouan, Mayreau, The Tobago Cays, Union Island, Petit Saint Vincent, Palm Island and Mopion. A few of the islands are inhabited, but many are simply bird sanctuaries and environmental sites.
The island of Barbados
The Caribbean Island of Barbados is the most easterly island in the Lesser Antilles Caribbean chain of islands. Friendly and relaxed, Barbados is a relatively flat tropical Caribbean island with an abundant supply of large gradually sloping beaches punctuated by sandstone cliffs.
Barbados is home to Mount Gay Rum and holds many festivals and sailing events every year. Barbados offers great nightlife, shops, and restaurants as well as many beautiful natural landscapes.
Yachting in the island of Grenada
Grenada is an island country consisting of the main island of Grenada and six smaller islands and is one of the most beautiful destinations in the West Indies. Grenada is known as the “Island of Spice” or the Spice Islands due to its production of aromatic crops grown in its fertile soil.
Grenada is a popular yacht charter destination because of its tranquil sea, beautiful climate, excellent sea conditions, and beautiful beaches and provides easy access for charter yachts to the Grenadines.
Luxury yachts available for rent in the Windward islands
Below is a selection of Windward Islands charter yacht – please contact us for detailed information and personalized charter itineraries.
Luxury yacht Highlander
Luxury yacht Utopia
Yacht types available in the Windward Islands
In the Windward Islands, there are all the main types including motor yachts, sailing yachts, bareboat charter, skippered, crewed yachts, catamaran, powerboat, luxury yachts, and even the occasional superyacht charter.
Yachting Destinations around the Windward Islands
About the Windward Islands
The Windward Islands are a Caribbean yachting paradise named after the English ships in the 18th century, bound for Jamaica, were blown to this group of islands due to the prevailing trade winds in the West Indies. They include the Antilles Islands of Martinique; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. This stunning arch of islands offers the true essence of a Caribbean yacht charter – tropical island scenery, secluded anchorages, beautiful beaches, stunning sea life and laid-back pace of life.
Main Winward islands
Saint Vincent & Grenadines
St Vincent and the Grenadines are a group of islands that make up one country. Other than being next-door neighbors, they bear no relation to Grenada, despite the similarity of the name.
These islands provide a refreshing break from the BVIs, giving you the sense of land far less developed and far less “discovered”. No jet skis, aqua scooters, or spearfishing are permitted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Here there is a conscious effort towards protecting the spectacular natural heritage of the islands.
The prevailing winds and currents are north to south, especially in the winter months. It is comfortable to sail southward from St. Vincent down to Union Island, with the wind and the swell. Steaming north can be more of a struggle but the islands are close together and a round trip can easily be accomplished in a week to ten days. But…the main point of the Grenadines is not to ‘accomplish” anything. As one visitor put it, “There is enough nothing to do…”.
Grenada is located south of the Grenadines and north of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. It is popularly known as ‘The Spice Isle’ because of an abundance of locally grown spices and a culture of music, dance, and food built into the image of ‘spice of life’.
St. Lucia lies south of Martinique and north of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. An English speaking island that was originally French (until 1796), the island boasts unspoiled natural beauty: dramatic mountain peaks, tropical rainforest, and beautiful, secluded white-sand beaches.
From afar, the island is easily recognizable by its mountain peaks: Piton Flore (north), Mt Beaujolais (center), Mt Magasin (south), Gros Piton and Petit Piton (southwest coast). Adventurers can rent four-wheel-drive vehicles for exploring or go inland on foot for spectacular hiking.
Yachts typically arrive into Rodney Bay, a safe and tranquil lagoon. To the south lies the capital city of Castries, a bustling, historic center, and then, along the southwest coast, small, traditional fishing villages and Soufriere, the oldest town on the island.
Martinique is a French Territory which enjoys a striking dual culture- head to the north to experience the laid-back typical Caribbean atmosphere or to the south for a slice of France.
The north of the island is mountainous and lushly forested while the south is more easily traveled featuring some impressive geographic features. The South receives most of the tourist traffic due to its ease of travel and because of the many beautiful beaches, restaurants and amenities of this region. The beaches from Pointe de Bout, Diamant, St. Luce, St. Anne and Les Salines are also very popular.
Some of the best restaurants in Martinique include La Cave à Vin, where you will find some classic French cuisine, Le Rendez Vous, which has a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea, and Le Touloulou, where you can taste some of Martinique’s best seafood! During your visit you should also be sure to get involved in some of the island’s best activities, such as scuba diving to see the wreck of the 1902 volcano ships, and climb up to the St Pierre Mount Pele volcano itself!
Dominica sits between Guadeloupe and Martinique. The name means “Sunday” in Latin, so named by Columbus because he discovered it on a Sunday. Dominica has been nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its unspoiled natural beauty.
It is one of the youngest islands in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by volcanic activity. The island offers the charterer lush mountainous rainforests, home of many very rare plant, animal, and bird species.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago are situated northeast of Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. The country consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 smaller islands. Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the main islands; Tobago is much smaller, comprising about 6% of the total area and 4% of the population. The nation lies outside the hurricane belt.
Trinidad is a bustling island that offers excellent sailing, snorkeling and watersports. Trinidad is the birthplace of calypso music and steelpan. The key cultural event of the year Trinidad is the Carnival – the biggest celebration on the island not to be missed.
Tobago is a true Caribbean island paradise, offering a lush hilly terrain, excellent diving and beaches, and a relaxed pace of life. Nearly all Tobago’s bays have a reef for excellent snorkeling. Most of the more popular beaches are situated around the airport area, Crown Point. These have coral white sands and beautiful clear waters. Some of the more remote and untouched bays include Englishman’s Bay, Castara, and Parlatuvier.
Barbados is the most eastern island in the Caribbean, with an area of 430 square kilometers. Under British rule from the 1600s until 1966 – it is a mix of British, African and Caribbean cultures. Barbados is an all-coral Caribbean island, providing beautiful white sandy beaches and great diving (but relatively fewer bays and inlets).
Visitors can explore Colonial Bridgetown, mangrove forests with monkeys, the Mount Gay Rum refinery, and of course miles and miles of beautiful beach. Because it is relatively secluded and unprotected, it can be tricky to cruise by yacht.
Other helpful information
There are infinite ways to spend your holiday in the Windward Islands. It is just as easy to find a quiet cove each night for a peaceful diner on board with your group, as it is to find the many restaurants and bars for late-night entertainment. If you’d like any further suggestions about the Windward Islands, please feel free to get in touch with our experienced brokers.