Sailing the Caribbean
Are you dreaming of an endless summer with bright turquoise water and thousands of islands to explore? The Caribbean is the place for you! With over 7,000 islands and year-round warm weather, the Caribbean is a sailor’s dream.
From the luxuriousness of Turks and Caicos to the culturally rich islands of Trinidad and Tobago, there is something for everyone. So whether you’re a sun seeker, history enthusiast, or food lover, we’ve curated a list of must-visit Caribbean sailing routes, the best activities, and frequently asked questions to help you make the most out of your Caribbean sailing adventure!
How much time do you need?
The amount of time you need for your Caribbean boat vacation depends on the experience you’d like to have. How many islands and territories do you want to see? How long do you want to spend at each? What type of boat will you have?
It is possible to have a great sailing vacation that lasts one to two weeks or even a few days. However, some may choose to spend the entire sailing season in the Caribbean and stay for six to eight months. It largely depends on how much time you have and where you would like to go.
Best Caribbean Islands to explore by boat
With over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, creating a list of the best islands to explore by boat is no easy feat. However, here is the list we’ve compiled of our favorite Caribbean Islands to explore with a boat rental!
The Bahamas is a group of 700 islands situated just east of southern Florida. The islands of the Bahamas stretch for 760 miles, so it is possible to stay within the Bahamas for the entirety of your sailing vacation.
When it comes to exploring the Bahamas, there are several islands that are must-sees. One of the top destinations is the island of Exuma, famous for its crystal-clear waters and gorgeous beaches. Exuma is also home to the world-famous Pig Beach where you can swim with pigs! You can also take a boat tour of the Exuma Cays, a stunning chain of small islands that offer endless opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and beachcombing.
Another popular destination in the Bahamas is Nassau, the capital city, and the hub of the country’s tourism industry. Nassau is a vibrant and bustling city, with a rich history and culture. You can explore colonial-era architecture, visit the famous Straw Market, or sample some of the delicious Bahamian cuisines.
Turks and Caicos
For the next stop on your sailing vacation, Turks and Caicos is located just southeast of the Bahamas. Comprised of 40 islands and cays, Turks and Caicos offer a pristine natural environment, with gorgeous beaches and crystal-clear waters. The islands are a favorite destination for luxury travelers, thanks to their upscale resorts, fine dining restaurants, and high-end shopping.
Providenciales, or “Provo,” is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos and offers plenty of activities for sailors. One of the top attractions of the island is Grace Bay Beach, a 12-mile stretch of powdery white sand. It’s known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, which are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
For those seeking an eco-tourism experience, Turks and Caicos is the ideal destination! The islands are home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Turks and Caicos rock iguana. It is also home to many bird species, including flamingos. And there’s beautiful marine life, which makes for great for snorkeling and scuba diving.
British Virgin Islands
On the east side of the Caribbean lay the British Virgin Islands. With over 60 islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands offer a tranquil natural environment, perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape. The islands are a favorite destination for sailors, thanks to their calm and sheltered waters, making it a perfect stop on your Caribbean sailing vacation.
One of the top destinations in the British Virgin Islands is Virgin Gorda, famous for its unique geology and beautiful beaches. The Baths, located on the southern end of the island, is a must-see attraction, with giant granite boulders forming a series of natural pools and grottos.
Snorkeling and diving are popular activities in the BVI, with many opportunities to explore the coral reefs and underwater caves that surround the islands. You can also anchor your boat and hike the trails of Sage Mountain National Park, the highest point in the British Virgin Islands.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a stunning archipelago located in the southeastern Caribbean with 32 islands. This is a great stop on your sailing route as you head south from the British Virgin Islands. These islands are known for their natural beauty, with lush rainforests and pristine beaches.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are famous for the Tobago Cays. The Tobago Cays, a group of small uninhabited islands, are a protected marine park and offer some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean. You can swim with sea turtles, explore vibrant coral reefs, and marvel at the diversity of marine life.
Another popular destination is the island of St. Vincent, home to the La Soufriere volcano, an active volcano that last erupted in 1979. You can hike to the top of the volcano for breathtaking views of the island and the bright blue Caribbean water.
Other popular destinations: Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Martin, and St. Lucia
FAQs for sailing the Caribbean
What is the weather like? Is there a hurricane season?
The Caribbean has a tropical climate with a daily average high of around 82°F. For this reason, the Caribbean is a popular wintertime destination.
There is a hurricane season in the Caribbean that lasts from June to November. Therefore, the best time to plan your sailing vacation is from December to May.
Is the Caribbean safe?
The Caribbean is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Like any other travel destination, it is always best to take the necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
The crime rates and overall safety will also depend on which island you are visiting in the Caribbean.
What is the best type of boat for sailing the Caribbean?
The type of boat that is best for your sailing vacation in the Caribbean will depend on your preferences and experience level. If you’re new to sailing, a catamaran is the best choice because they are stable and spacious.
If you are a more experienced sailor, you may prefer a sailboat for a more traditional sailing experience. Sailboats will also perform better in high winds.
What is the cuisine like?
The cuisine will also differ depending on the island. In general, you can expect lots of seafood and bold flavors and spices. Most islands’ cuisine is a fusion of African, European, and Indigenous cuisines.
The region is also famous for its rum production, so you can taste amazing rum-base cocktails, such as pina coladas and daiquiris.
Plan your sailing vacation in the Caribbean
With thousands of islands to explore and a beautiful tropical climate, the Caribbean is truly a slice of paradise on Earth. From the peacefulness of the British Virgin Islands to the spices and flavors of Grenada, the Caribbean is waiting for you to explore its beauty, cuisine, and nature by boat. So rent a boat and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime!