This is the second of our two blog posts referencing the Leeward Islands and covers Anguilla, St. Barths and Dominica.
Yachting in the Leeward Islands is a privileged adventure to some of the most coveted destinations in the world. The playground of the well heeled, the yachts of high-profile celebrities crowd the ports, especially during the winter holiday. Whatever water sports you prefer, conditions are ideal, from kite board to wreck diving.
The real estate is lavish, the restaurants are Michelin-starred, the boutiques offer haute couture, and 33 white sand beaches await. Whether your charter group prefers seclusion and communion with nature, or indulgent shore excursions, or the perfect mix of both, a charter yacht vacation through the Leeward Islands will exceed your expectations.
The British dependency of Anguilla, the northernmost Leeward Island, is low key and luxurious. Yacht into Road Bay to clear customs, then cruise to Crocus Bay, drop anchor, and it’s an easy snorkel from Crocus Bay to Little Bay in gin clear water teaming with tiny, iridescent fish.
Off Anguilla’s north shore, seven shipwrecks at depths ranging from 40ft. to 80ft. offer dive and snorkel adventure regardless of skill-level. The sunken ships are home to an amazing diversity of marine life, from spiny lobsters to sharks, to parti-colored schools of fish.
Explore inland roads that showcase the pristine landscape that has thus far escaped development. The photo ops are spectacular along Anguilla’s historic Upper Valley and Heritage Trail, with lush indigenous plant species, fragrant tropical flowers, and panoramic views. Hiking or biking around the island is a gentle, pleasant excursion. Crocus Hill, at 213-feet, is the highest point on the island.
The natural beauty of Anguilla has been an inspiration to talented artists, writers, poets and musicians. Collectors will enjoy browsing the upscale galleries where local talent displays impressionist canvases in tropical hues, driftwood carvings and elegant jewelry. At the Hibernia Restaurant and Art Gallery, the cuisine is innovative, the art is superb, and the wine cellar well stocked.
Nightlife on Anguilla is the time for Caribbean music and dance. Jump up with locals and visitors at the beach bar of famous Anguillan musician Bankie Banks, adored worldwide as a master of tropical tunes. The Pumphouse and Elvis’s Beach Bar on Sandy Ground are popular spots for cocktails with a punch and live Caribbean rhythms.
The Pumphouse – http://pumphouse-anguilla.com/
Prickly Pear Cays and Seal Island Reef
Get completely away from civilization with a half-day excursion to these out islands. While you snorkel or dive the amazing reefs, your crew can organize amusing games and a sumptuous picnic or barbeque on the beach. Shallow water, tide pools and gentle surf are ideal for families with young children.
West Cay and Devil’s Wall are excellent drift dive sites off Dog Island, where inhabitants of the underwater world include creatures large and small; Spotted Eagle Rays, Tarpon, turtles, lobsters, eels, Tiger Sharks and dolphins.
Settled in 1648 by French colonists, St. Barts is the epitome of island elegance and luxury living. The main port of Gustavia is a miniature Monaco, complete with megayachts at anchor. Trendy Parisian boutiques and high-end restaurants ring the harbor.
The emerald green mountains are dotted with red-roofed villas, framed in bougainvillea and fragrant frangipani, intoxicating in color and fragrance. This is arguably the most sophisticated, exclusive and expensive island with some of the world’s finest beaches, restaurants, resorts and spas.
Take a ride around this arid, volcanic island of just eight square miles, by bicycle, scooter or jeep. You will see beaches of fine white sand, seas in a spectrum of blues, secluded coves and craggy cliffs, savannas in the shade of latanier palms, and salt flats the color of the sky. View sunning iguanas, pensive turtles, and trees draped in wild orchids.
Anse à Colombier, part of the Marine Reserve, is a best beach for launching the kayaks, or zipping across calm surf on water skis or inflatables. Remote, and wild, it is accessible only by boat or a 20-minute hike from Flamand.
The snorkeling is mesmerizing and dolphins often frequent the bay. The beautiful rolling waves at Toiny, Lorient, Anse des Cayes and Saint-Jean, lure international surfers, windsurfers and kite boarders.
At Grand Cul de Sac, kite boarders and windsurfers can fly on steady trade winds and then decompress with a therapeutic, open-air massage at the exclusive Guanahani Spa.
Guanahani Spa – http://leguanahani.com/en
The island of Dominica is an untamed paradise of soaring volcanic peaks, rainforest canopies, tumbling waterfalls and stunning beaches. The snorkeling, diving and hiking is superb. Locals welcome visitors in every village and hamlet, with lively celebrations, vibrant music, and aromatic cuisine.
This is a place for flip-flops and flippers – leave the oxfords and heels at home. Here you will discover a yachting destination that beckons with the primeval richness of Mother nature.
The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of only two islands in the region that is populated by Carib Indians. Take an eco-tour to Boiling Lake, one of the largest and most beautiful lakes on the island. The shore of volcanic rock deposits and hardened pyroclastic flow is dramatic.
Follow the hiking trail to Titou Gorge, a breathtaking ravine with playful tree monkeys and flocks of parrots. There are jungle ATV tours and heart-racing zip-lines for fans of the adrenaline rush.
In Dominica’s Kalinago Territory, dine at Waitukubuli’s Authentic Kitchen, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. This tiny bakery-food stand in the Carib Territory is worth the trek, highlighted by simply spectacular kassava-flour bread.
Dominca has fascinating dive sites due to its steep drop-offs, rich marine environment, bubbling volcanic vents and protected reefs. In addition to huge coral formations the undersea world includes unusual species like batfish, electric rays, Caribbean reef squid, seahorses, sea snakes and sea urchins.
There are more than 30 dive sites of great diversity. Massive underwater boulder fields, volcanic craters, vertical walls and pinnacles, create a world-class dive environment. Visit the “Champagne” dive site to experience warm bubbling waters issuing from geothermal vents.
Cabrits National Marine Park, near Portsmouth, is renowned for schools of rare fish. Many species of whale and huge pods of playful dolphins make the view from the sundeck an unforgettable thrill.
Embark on a luxury yacht charter to the Leeward Islands and be enchanted by extraordinary beauty above and below the water line. Services and amenities are first class, designed and executed to delight the most discriminating visitors.
Get away to a world where local people smile and wave, where beaches are bleached by the Caribbean sun and seas sparkle in every hue of blue.
At night, witness stars escape the Milky Way and shoot into the sea. Drift off to sleep with the murmur of the jungle and the rush of whales passing your hull.