Sailing in the Caribbean is one of life’s pleasures. If you live in NZ there is a good chance you have not yet visited this wonderful region. This post provides you a few good reasons to put sailing in the Caribbean on (or up) your list.
1. Warmth and more
Yes you can find warmth in the Bay of Islands or Whitsundays. But Caribbean warmth is only a third of the environment piece. This is warmth plus crystal clear blue water, plus beautifully consistent trade winds means. With conditions like these sailing in the Caribbean is some of the best sailing you can do, anywhere.
2. Proximity - far yet close
The fact that it is about as far from NZ as you can get makes it an adventure (for those who like adventure). Even so, once you're in New York it's only a four hour direct flight to St Thomas, the heart of the US Virgin Islands. From there the British Virgin Islands is but a one hour ferry ride away.
3. Cultures - a huge variety
Over a dozen countries in such a relatively small area. If you start in Cuba, think Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Spanish Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda and Guadeloupe. And that’s not even halfway through the chain (Martinique, the Grenadines, Trinidad, etc etc). You can choose one country to sail around or spend a few weeks and sail them all. Sailing Virgins runs such adventures. Click here to learn more.
4. Relaxed - slow down mon
This is the only place you’ll be told by a stranger to “slow down your walkin mon”. The one attribute the Caribbean cultures possess in abundance (saving perhaps a couple of BVI Customs officers) is an easygoing, friendly temperament. Don't let the initial reserved lack of smile fool you. Within two minutes of your being genuine, you will see them open up
5. Cheap - ish
If you know where to go you can have a pretty low cost holiday. Shoulder season booking (June/July or October) often means half price boat charters for example. If you like fresh locally-grown food, some of the windward islands (such as Martinique, the Grenadines and Grenada) provide great value.
6. Green - steep, lush nature
Some islands such as Dominica offer lush green mountains with volcanic springs. Indeed Dominica's Boiling Lake is the second largest hot lake in the world (guess where the largest is? Yep. :))
7. Local Produce - plentiful
Windward islands grow their own produce. Grenada even has its own organic chocolate farm, using centuries-old techniques. Grenada even has its own organic chocolate farm, using centuries-old techniques. They plant their cocoa trees next to avocado to bring some of the "essence" of other fruits into their chocolate. Want some organic chocolate goat's cheese? You can find it there (incidentally it tastes - and costs - like the lovechild of Valrhona and Nutella. No it's better than that).
9. Activities - a lot
Sailing, kite-surfing, scuba diving, free-diving. All these and more are possible. There’s even a decent surf break in a few places at the right time. This is a true playground for adventure activities. Your correspondent works for a sailing company here (want to learn to become a skippe or already know how and want to charter a boat?) so can tell you a lot about the sailing situation in the Caribbean.
10. History - pirates and slaves
Not just the sordid slavery past, but thousands of pirates used to roam these waters as well. Evidence of their history remains. You can literally stumble across not-so-ruined ruins of sugar mills, refineries and so on throughout the islands. Want to visit the island where the famed buried treasure in Treasure Island was located? Or learn about Blackbeard’s exploits (he even had an island named after him)? Head to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean
Above lists nine great reasons to put the Caribbean on your holiday list. There are a few ways to "do" the Caribbean. Cruise ship, small plane and yacht are about the three main ways of seeing the "other" islands (ie. away from the US Virgin Islands). We definitely suggest a yacht as the most adventurous of the three. If there are a few of you in the group it can be surprisingly reasonable way to spend a fantastic week or two.
Sailing Virgins runs week-long fast-track sailing courses. These intense courses make skippers out of their students. Click here to book time for a free consultation. If you'd like a one-pager click here to be sent a free infographic map showing ten great sailing holidays around the world.