Chartering a yacht in the Caribbean is a great vacation option. There are no crowds, just your bubble of family and friends. There’s plenty of open ocean. Plus, there are places ashore to visit, albeit with a mask in the company of other visitors and island residents alike, to add to the fun. One of the best places to charter, especially because it’s a bit off the beaten track, is St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“For decades St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), a nautical playground of 32 islands and cays stretch over 44 miles, has been a favorite sailing heaven for seasoned yachters,” says Natasha Anderson, marketing officer for the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Authority, based in Kingston, St. Vincent. “However, SVG has managed to remain unspoiled from overdevelopment and mass tourism. Each of the inhabited 9 islands has a unique personality but share a warm and unpretentious vibe that is infectious to all. There are countless treasures including deserted cays, secluded bays and beaches, vibrant harbors, verdant mountainous forest, and open stretches of clear turquoise waters teeming with marine life.
7 Day Charter Itinerary in St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Companies such as Horizon Yacht Charters, with a base at the Blue Lagoon Marina in St. Vincent, and Sail Grenadines, a family-owned charter company located in Port Elizabeth, Bequia, offer bareboat and crewed yacht charters on a fleet of multihulls and monohulls. There are many ways to weave through SVG for a week. Here is one suggestion:
Day 1: Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent to Britannica Bay, Mustique.
Cast off on a southerly 16-nautical mile sail to the private island of Mustique, home to the rich and royal.
“Stop off at Petit Nevis for some snorkeling en route,” says Katie Bingham, founder of Sail Grenadines. “Then, on Mustique, enjoy sunset cocktails at Basil’s Bar and Sunday sunset Jazz if this day coincides with your holiday plans. It’s also worth visiting the local fish market and buying lobster, tuna, mahi-mahi or barracuda.”
Day 2: Mustique to the Tobago Cays.
Continue sailing south, past the island of Canouan and just east of Mayreau, to the Tobago Cays. The five small islands here are all surrounded by magnificent coral reefs, and part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park.
“Enjoy a Lobster BBQ on the beach, hosted by Romeo, one of Tobago Cay’s local guides,” recommends Lesley Dowden, reservation specialist at Horizon Yacht Charter’s Blue Lagoon base.
Day 3: Tobago Cays.
“Spend the day snorkeling and swimming in the turquoise waters with the turtles. Hike the islands to the various viewpoints and spot iguanas on the way. If you have time and you are qualified, go diving with one of the local dive schools. At night, stargaze,” says Bingham.
Day 4: The Tobago Cays to Petit St Vincent.
Six nautical miles further south is the private island home of the luxurious Petite St Vincent Resort. “You must stop off at Mopion on the way. It’s a tiny, tiny island with just room for a single coconut thatched sun shelter,” says Dowden. More of a sandy cay than an island, it’s the picture-perfect place to envision yourself in a castaway fantasy. On Petit St Vincent, hike to the top of Marni Hill, 275-feet above sea level and the perfect vantage point to see the whole of the Grenadines.
Day 5: Petit St Vincent to Union Island.
Time to head back north, sailing just under 5 miles to Chatham Bay in Union. “Anchor in Chatham Bay and for dinner head for Seckie and Vanessa’s restaurant, Sun, Beach & Eat. They are the friendliest, most helpful people in the islands,” advises Dowden. There’s everything from rum punch starters to rum cake for dessert on the menu, plus everything in-between from conch fritters and callaloo soup to lobster in season and fresh fish of the day.
Day 6: Union Island to Mayreau.
Less than five nautical miles north of Union is Mayreau, the smallest inhabited Grenadine Island at 1.5-square miles in size. There’s no airport here; the only access is by sea. Anchor in Salt Whistle Bay to the north or Saline Bay to the southwest.
“Take a walk to the village (named Old Wall and located on the only paved road between Salt Whistle and Saline Bays) and enjoy the local atmosphere. The view from the church (Roman Catholic, on Station Hill) over to the (Tobago) cays is stunning. Book a dive to explore the nearby reefs,” suggests Bingham.
Day 7: Mayreau to Bequia.
Sail 24 nautical miles northeast to Bequia, the second largest of the Grenadines. “Spend the afternoon anchored off Princess Margaret beach. Walk the trail along the waterfront to explore market stands, shops for provisioning and local handicrafts. Sip rum punches in Lower Bay at sunset and spend the evening at one of the many restaurants and waterside dining experiences in the harbor. If you are feeling energetic, take a morning hike the next day to Mount Peggy,” says Bingham.
Depart for Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent, and the end of the week’s charter.
Or, Bingham adds, “if you have a few more days, take an upwind sail to Saint Vincent’s Cumberland Bay and Wallilabou Bay. Snorkel, organize a rain forest hike, go fishing with the locals, or BBQ on the beach. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful coastline and numerous bays rarely visited by passing yachts.
The sample itinerary illustrates why SVG is a great place to charter: there are so many different islands to visit and all within a short sailing distance of each other.
Editor’s Note: Also Check out the 10 Day Charter Itinerary from St. Vincent to Grenada
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR ENTERING & CHARTERING IN SVG
Like the rest of the World’s countries, COVID-19 entry protocols into SVG are revised periodically to reduce the virus’ spread. That why it’s essential to check this website for the most current information: www.gov.vc/index.php/visitors/covid-19-protocols
That said, as of press time in early December, yacht visitors were required to arrive with a negative PCR ideally 3 days old or less. A PCR test was also required on arrival, followed by a 5-day quarantine. To join a charter boat after quarantine, guests must register with [email protected], at least five days before the start of the charter. SVG Arrivals will need to be in daily communication each morning for temperature checks, contact tracing and location reporting in case symptoms appear later. Communication with SVG Arrivals is by WhatsApp or email, therefore access to Wi-Fi, a thermometer and an action plan or knowledge of what to do in case symptoms develop is needed.