Chartering a yacht for your next getaway may seem an unobtainable dream right now, but if you hone on in on the following destinations that allow (and welcome!) US and Canadian tourists, you’ll find your next escape to be well within your reach.
We’ve (virtually) scoured the planet and identified the 10 best destinations for winter yacht charters right now. Some destinations are great for a winter getaway whereas some destinations would be great for planning your summer vacation. Our main priority is to make your planning easy and as hassle-free as can be. Although most will require you to present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19-test result, none will enforce you to isolate or quarantine. Moreover, these are the rare gems that have kept their coronavirus restrictions at bay, which means that you can not only visit but also explore and enjoy. Aside from the fact that on a private luxury yacht, you can create your own superb social bubble, it’s also nice to know that you can hop ashore and discover new places if you wish.
Ready to set sail and bid farewell?
Then come sail with us, right here…
1. US Virgin Islands
The US Caribbean islands are the #1 choice for Americans on yacht charter vacations, pandemic or no pandemic. In 2021, they make an even more genial choice. Short and frequent domestic flights to St Thomas from an abundance of US cities, excellent yacht charter options, warm temps, sublime seas and a local culture that’s both exotic and totally familiar. Upon arrival to the US Virgin Islands, you’ll be asked to undergo a COVID-19 screening (temperature scan and answer a few questions) and will need to produce a negative test result that’s no more than 5 days old.
Keep up with the latest USVI COVID-19 updates and, once you have the logistics out of the way, enjoy a superlative winter tropical adventure.
2. The Bahamas
The Bahamas are another brilliant and ‘close to home’ yacht charter option for yacht charters from the US. Although this necklace of pristine coral islands floats about the Atlantic, they’re still considered a Caribbean treasure. Three main islands, several outer islands and a near-infinite array of dreamy cays make up the archipelago, which boasts the world-renowned sailing cluster-islands of the Exumas, Bimini and Abaco. Fancy discovering uninhabited hidden islands lapped by turquoise, crystal-clear seas? Then the Bahamas is definitely where you’ll want to yacht charter! The Bahamas require visitors to apply for a special Health Visa, present a negative COVID-19 test result and complete a daily health questionnaire for the first five days of your stay. But trust us, if you’ve chartered a luxury yacht in the Bahamas before, you’ll certainly feel this relatively small hassle is well worth your while.
Keep up to date with the Bahamas Health Requirements whilst planning your winter yacht charter.
3. St. Maarten and St. Barths
Want to feel like you’re on a round-the-world journey but sailing in just one destination? Then a St Maarten, St Barths and Anguilla yacht charter will be your ticket! Here, you’ll explore and taste the best of the West Indies, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands yet barely have to move an inch. Admire the glorious old-world European architecture, shop with abandon, feast on French Creole culinary delights and, of course, snorkel, swim and frolic in simply perfect waters. To charter a yacht in St Maarten, you’ll need to register your visit prior to traveling and, naturally, present a negative PCR-test result for COVID-19. Anguilla is still deciding, contact us for more info.
Travel restrictions are subject to change. Keep up to date.
4. Antigua and Barbuda
Vibrant Antigua and laid-back Barbuda are a Caribbean dream-team: combined, they offer a little of everything that makes luxury yacht charters in the Leewards so special. On an Antigua & Barbuda Yacht Charter, you’ll have UNESCO-listed historic highlights, picturesque villages and desolate coves framed by white and pink sands. Dramatic coastlines, bird sanctuaries and priceless reefs complete the picture quite nicely, we must say.
When chartering in Antigua & Barbuda, you’ll need to submit your negative corona test result and your detailed travel info to the government’s online portal.
Keep abreast of all the news on the Visit Antigua & Barbuda Travel Advisory
5. Florida and the Keys
A sailing destination that’s immensely close to our hearts, Florida and its glorious Keys never fail to impress. Close to home, wonderful at any time of year, familiar, varied and convenient, yacht charters in the Sunshine State are ideal if you only have a long weekend up your sleeve or simply don’t wish to fly abroad.
Because really, when you have Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West to explore aboard your own private luxury yacht…why go anywhere else?
To charter in Florida and the Keys this winter, you’ll be asked to pack plenty of facial coverings and hand sanitizing gel, and take the usual social distancing precautions. All public beaches, restaurants and bars are open down south.
Check back with the official Florida & The Keys COVID-19 Guideline paget for last-minute changes before traveling.
THE diving destination in the Caribbean and undoubtedly among the world’s best, Belize is framed by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and is an astonishing destination for luxury yacht charters. Dive or snorkel the Great Blue Hole, spot dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks and bask in the tropical warmth as you cay-hop in this lesser-known paradise. A luxury yacht charter in Belize, filled with an insane choice for snorkeling and scuba excursions, will make you feel as if all is right in the world. From where you’ll be lounging, it sure will be! To charter a yacht in Belize, you’ll need to present your negative PCR COVID-19 test result, taken no more than 72hr prior to arriving. You’ll also be required to download the Belize Health App and will have to register your arrival into the country within 3 days. That’s it! Belize has designated a so-called ‘tourism corridor’ where you’ll be free to explore, enjoy and indulge.
Don’t forget to always keep abreast of the latest requirements, via the official Belize Covid-19 Update.
With mild and sunny winters and a coastline that’ll stop you dead on your (sailing) tracks, Croatia is by far the most relaxed and enticing western Mediterranean escape-pod. COVID restrictions are very much regional affairs and, thus far, mostly affect Zagreb (the inland capital) and the northern coastal hub of Zadar. That leaves you free to explore the countless islands of the Dalmatian coast plus all those treasure-trove villages that dot the southern coastline, including the UNESCO-listed Medieval centers for Trogir and Dubrovnik.
If coming from the US, you’ll need to show your negative PCR test result (taken 1-3 days prior to travel) but, other than that, Croatia remains mostly open for tourism and graciously welcoming towards foreigners.
Keep up to date with Croatia’s COVID-19 current measures.
8. French Polynesia
A famous person once said that ‘enjoying a yacht charter in French Polynesia is an excellent idea’ and, if they didn’t, they should’ve! Escape to Tahiti and French Polynesia and you will be, quite literally, escaping the world. If unplugged isolation is what you’re after, then you and your loved ones will relish the remoteness and idyllic beauty of this South Pacific gem. Come get totally lost among hundreds of coral islets and thousands of islands and bid an apt farewell to 2020 as you can explore, delight and indulge in one of the world’s most precious ancient cultures. As of July this year, French Polynesia has been fully open to US and other foreign tourists. Upon entry, you’ll be required to show your negative COVID-19 test result and will be given a self-testing kit, which you’ll have to take on day 4 of your stay.
9. The Maldives
The Maldives have long been considered a social isolation dream. You know, the kind of place you escape to when you want to get away from it all for a while. Floating off the coast of southwestern India, this coral-enriched archipelago has long been revered by snorkelers and avid scuba divers. For superb yacht charter escapes, you’d hardly find a better place to hideaway. In total, the Maldives comprise over 1,200 islets of jaw-dropping beauty, a few home to ultra-deluxe island resorts that’ll boggle the mind. Here, your winter days will be filled with kayaking and snorkeling, diving, SUP boarding, sunbathing, beachcombing, water skiing, kite surfing, and feasting on fresh seafood. The torture!
Charter a yacht in the Maldives and you’ll have this smorgasbord of tropical delights at your beck and call, with no restrictions at all. The country closed its borders for well over 100 days early in the pandemic and reopened fully to tourism in July. Of course, protective guidelines do exist and they’ll be outlined to you upon inquiry. Before travelling, you’ll be required to fill in an online health form and present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result that’s no more than 96 hours old.
Find out more about the latest requirements to charter in the Maldives, right here.
Turkey blurs the divide between East and West in Europe and that makes for a fascinating eastern Med yacht charter experience. With its ancient seaside castles, sapphire seas, verdant mountains and white sandy beaches, the famed ‘rainbow’ Turquoise Coast of Turkey is, truth be told, probably the most magnificent stretch of the entire Mediterranean for sailing. Don’t tell anyone we said that!
On a private yacht charter in Turkey, you can spend your mornings scrambling over ancient ruins, bartering for spices in markets dating back to antiquity or sheltered in a utopian hidden cove, enjoying zoomies on wave runners.
As of now, you can visit and charter a yacht in Turkey without the need for a COVID test. The government simply asks that you use common sense: if you don’t feel well prior to traveling, please take a test of your own accord. You can be required to take a test upon entry, however, if you show visible symptoms of the disease. As a foreign tourist, you’ll also be exempt for any kind of travel restriction or curfew.
Follow the latest guidelines as detailed by the US Embassy in Turkey
As much as we all might pine for a simpler (and healthier) time to travel, the current situation need not be all doom and gloom. So, instead of just longing for a dreamy getaway, why not make concrete plans to enjoy a yacht charter vacation somewhere extraordinary?
At Ocean Getaways, we’re here to guide you, every step of the way. Contact us today and tell us about your 2021 travel dreams. We bet we’ll find a luxury private yacht to sail you there.
This information was posted on 12-11-2020. For the latest information on what's open, and we encourage you to visit the links provided for each destination or give us a call at 239-896-7278.