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The Bahamas archipelago consists of over 700 islands and islets scattered in the azure waters off the north coast of Cuba. Gentle trade winds and pleasant sailing conditions make for pleasant diving and snorkelling, particularly in protected underwater areas like the Fowl Cay National Reserve and Pelican Cays Land in the waters off the coast of The Abaco Islands. At certain sites, adventurous divers are almost guaranteed the thrill of encountering reef sharks up close. The Abaco Islands are the ideal starting point for a yachting holiday around the Bahamas, and many yacht charters set sail from the marina at Marsh Harbour. On land, the 120-mile chain of islands that make up the Abacos are home to a number of championship golf courses on Treasure Cay, and enticing colonial towns on Green Turtle and Elbow Cays.
The Virgin Islands are positioned on calm seas at the border of the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. Politically, the Islands are divided between the US, Britain and Spain. Tortola, situated in the British Virgin Islands, is a popular place for yachting enthusiasts to begin their Caribbean adventure. Tortola's coast is peppered with a range of marinas to choose from, although the largest bases can be found at the Nanny Cay or Manual Reef marinas. Line-of-sight navigation, easy island hops and consistent trade winds make the British Virgin Islands ideal exploration grounds for a family holiday. Visitors should look out for the islands' striking rock formations and even hawksbill turtles, manta rays and eagle rays. Tortola is home to some intriguing historical sites, including a Spanish fort, The Dungeon that dates back to the 1700s. Located off Salt Island, the underwater wreckage of the RMS Rhone is one of the BVI's signature dive sites.
Blissful yachting conditions and consistent trade winds favour Antigua as one of the Caribbean's most popular jumping off points for yacht charters. Many charters set sail from Nelson's Dockyard Marina, the only working Georgian dockyard in the world. In addition to the marina's sublime historical setting, it has all the modern facilities needed by modern vessels. To take in the best of Antigua, most routes head towards the tranquil island of Barbuda, which makes up the second part of the Antiguan nation. The island is home to soft pink coral sands and visitors are treated to a rainbow of coral reefs surrounding the island should they decide to explore the underworld by snorkelling or diving. If you find yourself in Antigua between late July and early August, a trip to St John's Recreation Ground is a must for visitors that want to enjoy the festivities of Antigua's main festival.
The territory of Saint Martin is divided between the French side of the island, Saint Martin and the Dutch side, Sint Maarten. Long stretches of sandy white beach make up the island's main attractions, although a trip to the island's Butterfly Farm on the French side is always popular with families. Each of the island's ten marinas offer the amenities any yacht requires to moor, although Marina Fort Louis is home to a vibrant atmosphere due to its convenient position on Marigot waterfront. Fort Louis is also within easy reach of a number of shops and restaurants. The seas around Saint Martin are ideal for confident cruisers who take pleasure in good winds and medium seas. The island serves as a convenient base for those who prefer island hopping in the locality, or even open water blue cruising. Spectacular dive sites can be found on either side of the island, although the labyrinthine channels of Anse Marcel point are a favourite with keen divers.
Positioned between St Lucia and Dominica, the French island of Martinique is dominated by the imposing silhouette of Mount Pelee volcano. Fort-de-France, Martinique's capital, is a long-favoured stop-off for yachters, although Martinique's largest and best equipped marina Port de Plaisance is situated in Le Marin. Many yachting enthusiasts choose to spend a week enjoying the waters off the coast of Martinique, where they can take in the impressive mountainous silhouette of the island, and striking black sand beaches on the northern coast. Hiking is a popular activity on land, and the island is also home to Golf Trous Ilets, an impressive golf course in Quartier la Pagerie. A colourful array of treasures welcomes divers who choose to explore the Martinique's underwater kingdom, and advanced divers often enjoy the thrill of exploring the wreckage of Le Roraima.
Lying in the tranquil turquoise waters to the north of Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia is widely regarded as one of the world's most picturesque yachting havens. Consistent trade winds and a collection of sheltered ports make the island's scenery all the more attractive to visitors, who often use the island as a starting point before going on to explore surrounding islands like Mustique, St Vincent and the Tobago Cays. The marina in Rodney Bay is one of the best places to begin a yachting journey. St Lucia's underwater world is as spectacular as many other Caribbean locations, and home to a vivid assortment of fish and coral. The Barrel of Beef is a popular dive site, and is home to Triggerfish, Lobster and Great Barracuda. On land, visitors shouldn't miss the chance to indulge in a dip in the hot water of the Island's Sulfur Springs.
The idyllic Grenadines comprise approximately twelve islands and a plethora of islets between Grenada and St Vincent. The Port Louis Marina on Grenada offers a convenient starting point for yachters to begin their exploration of the Grenadines, and is home to 170 berths for yachts of all sizes. A yacht is really the only way to explore the tranquil beauty of the islands, which are home to a scattering of natural anchorages and scores of protected cays. Many yachts follow a northerly route from Union Island, making time to stop at Mayeau for a spot of the best diving the region can offer. On land, visitors can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and local culture along Young Island Cut's waterfront.
The island of Grenada is nestled on the southernmost tip of the Windward Islands, and is a short hop for yachters that also want to explore the Grenadines, St Vincent and Martinique. Majestic mountains and abundant rainforest make up Grenada's tropical interior, while its shores are lined with some of the most charming stretches of white-sand beach in the Caribbean. Many yacht charters begin at the Port Louis marina, which is home to 170 berths and accommodates some of the world's most luxurious super yachts. Grenada's bustling markets make up some of the island's chief land attractions, where shoppers can get their hands on a range of unique handicrafts before indulging in some spicy Creole cuisine. The Dive Grenada Scuba Dive Centre is located a ten-minute boat ride from some of the island's most popular dive sites, including 15 different shipwrecks.
Dubbed by Christopher Columbus as the most beautiful land one has ever seen, Cuba has become one of the Caribbean's most popular yachting destinations. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and is situated merely 90 miles from Florida's Key West. A total of 20 marinas pepper the island's impressive coastline, with Marina Hemingway, one of the island's largest, situated nine miles south of downtown Havana in Santa Fe. Cuba's coastline stretches 1,746km and includes a charming collection of islands and cays, many of which are uninhabited. Yachters exploring Cuba's treasures should note that most of the island's facilities lie on the northern and southern coasts due to its long and narrow shape. A stroll along Havana's Malecon in the early evening offers a great chance for visitors to take in some authentic Cuban culture. Cuba's most impressive dive sites all lie in the waters off the Isle of Youth.