A string of captivating islands that spans from St. Vincent in the north to Grenada in the south. In between, you’ll find a bevy of quaint islands… some of which are no more than spits of sand held captive by coral reef. The larger islands of St. Vincent and Grenada are well-populated, have peaks that jut 3,000 feet into the sky, and shimmer with breath-taking natural beauty. The smaller islands are laid back and off-the-beaten tourist track. Although you’ll still find lots of boats here, the islands feel remote… like the way the BVI was a few decades ago. Ports of call include:
St. Vincent, with its black sand beaches and stunning natural beauty bills itself as an “eco-tourism” island. The island has maintained the vibrant Caribbean flavor of an agricultural island with dramatic natural beauty including a magnificent rain forest and a 3,000 foot active volcano named Soufriere which last erupted in 1979. Young Island lagoon on the south side of the island – one of the few areas with white sand beaches- is an ideal place to meet your yacht.
Bequia: Only a short sail from Young Island, Bequia boasts a fine seafaring tradition and is home for the best boat builders in the Caribbean. The main harbor is usually pulsing with yachts of all kinds as well as enterprising boat boys in rowboats trying to sell you a song or wash your hull. A stroll along the waterfront brings you past numerous restaurants and bars, gift shops, and our personal favorite – the shops of the craftsman who are carving models of Bequia boats… a wonderful piece of workmanship to bring home with you. And after the sun sets, the music will lure you to the local “jump-up.” You may “get down” in Chicago, but on a yacht vacation in the West Indies, you jump up mon.
The Tobago Cays are the Crown Jewel of the Grenadines: This necklace of low-lying islands is sheltered from the sea by a horseshoe reef, and the sea shimmers a kaleidoscope of blues, greens, and lavenders. The water is so clear you can still see a starfish on the bottom in thirty feet of water. Spectacular snorkeling and beaching! You might recognize some scenes from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Dead Man’s Chest”. The crew on the 75’ catamaran Matau delights guests in the evening, setting up tables with nice linens and candles on the beach where they are served a full-on lobster bbq dinner prepared by two local men named Scrappy and Scrum.
Mustique has the mystique of celebrity with many well-knowns such as Mick Jagger , David Bowie, and Raquel Welch purportedly owning homes here. This hideaway is only 3 miles long and a mile and a half wide. Renting a golf cart and taking a self-guided tour is a lot of fun. Both horseback riding and tennis are available. And bellying up to the famous Basil’s Beach Bar is a must. Basil’s rivals Foxy’s in the BVI for one of the best New Year’s Eve parties, and they host a great Bluesfest in January
Mayreau: Salt Whistle Bay – this is the beach you have always dreamed about - a dazzling half moon bay. Raise a glass to the star-studded sky and pretend you’re never going home again. And in the morning, it’s a sheltered spot for watersports or a leisurely hike to the quaint village.
Union Island: I suppose after the remoteness of the Tobago Cays, we could say that Union brings you back to civilization. But Clifton Harbor is only bustling by Caribbean small island standards – an open air produce market, a few grocery stores, and of course, beach bars. Our favorite spot is on the far end of the island – Chatham Bay where you’ll find a few beach bars operated by battery power. “Shark Attack” is known for its great barbecue, and Vanessa and Seckie’s Sun & Beach Bar recently served TV chef Anthony Bourdain for his hit series, “No Reservations"
Canouan: Golf, spa, casino, a small airport … worth going here if you’ve been missing any of these things.
Grenada: Aptly nicknamed “The "Isle of Spice", you can literally smell the scent of spices in the air as you sail along the coast. St. Georges is a bustling, picturesque harbor rimmed by an ancient fort and a municipal building dating back to the 1700s. The city climbs up the hillside and has a fragrant outdoor market with handmade baskets, sweets, produce, and trinkets. An island tour of the rain forest, cane fields, spice farms, waterfall, and cocoa farm is a highlight.
Grenadines Yacht Charter Itinerary - round-trip from Grenada
What is the best yacht charter itinerary?
The prevailing wind, especially in the winter is from north to south so we highly recommend one-way itineraries. For 7 days - St. Vincent to Union Island and then take an island hopper back to St. Vincent to catch your flight home. Or just sail from Union Island round-trip. For 10 days, you can sail St. Vincent to Grenada.
Another option is to sail from Carriacou (part of Grenada) and end in Grenada - check out a sample itinerary.
How does it compare to the BVI?
The islands are farther apart so sailing distances are slightly longer. The islands are not as protected so the seas can be more robust. The laid back flavor of the islands are similar. The waters and reefs are even more pristine. The local people here are more seafaring so you'll have more interaction with them out on the water which is quite nice.
How do I get there?
Island connections can be made through St. Lucia, Barbados and Grenada. From one of those larger islands, you can fly to Union Island, in the heart of the Grenadines. Alternatively, you can fly round-trip to Grenada and board the charter yacht in Carriacou.
When is the best time to go?
We love Spring and Summer, but it is really a year-round destination. Because of its location in the southern Caribbean, hurricanes are rare. Many yachts re-locate here in the summer to get out of harm's way and keep chartering.
Sailing Charter Yacht Jambalaya in the Tobago Cays