Beat Busy Marinas in the Caribbean With These Secret Alternative Mooring Spots

Petit Tabac in the Grenadines is the perfect spot to drop anchor and kick back on the beach
Petit Tabac in the Grenadines is the perfect spot to drop anchor and kick back on the beach | © BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock Photo
Nicola O'Leary

Comprising more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays, there is little wonder why the Caribbean is the top choice for a yacht charter each winter. From the volcanic Windward Islands of St Lucia and Dominica to the sophisticated ports of St Barts and Antigua, or the bounty paradise hideaways of the BVIs, the Caribbean offers an infinite variety of off-the-beaten-track cruising options. Here we reveal some of the best places to dock your vessel in a bid to beat the sailing crowds.

Kick back on the quieter side of the Caribbean.

Hurricane Hole, St Lucia

With rugged topography, St Lucia is not your usual superyacht charter destination – which makes it a quieter option. However, it is a must-see for those with a love of hiking, snorkeling and nature. Drop anchor at Marigot Bay, lovingly known as Hurricane Hole due to its sheltered position from prevailing winds on the west of the island, jump on the tender and enjoy a cocktail or two at the aptly named Hurricane Hole bar at Marigot Bay Hotel and Marina. Once back on board, relax on the top deck and marvel at the unique lush green mountainous scenery.

Westerhall Bay, Grenada

Thanks to its production of spices, Grenada is well regarded as one of the more upmarket islands of the Caribbean. As the most southerly of the Windward Islands, this is a land of mountains and forests, a rum distillery, plus a spice, chocolate and nutmeg factory, too. Head to the south to escape the crowds and drop anchor in Westerhall Bay – this is a quieter, sheltered bay that can be a little tricky to navigate given its mangrove-lined shores. Once anchored, hop on your tender and go ashore for a rainforest tour to see the infamous mona monkeys. The long-tailed primates are thought to have caught a ride onto the island with traders during the 18th century. Now, they’re happily at home swinging from the treetops and swimming in the freshwater pools beneath the cascading waterfalls.

White Bay, British Virgin Islands

Set to the east of the British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda is one of the larger islands within the archipelago. Well known for its labyrinth of pools and seawater-flooded grottos, white sand beaches and upmarket resorts, this island is also one of the best spots in the region for watersports. Drop anchor in White Bay, a remote anchorage on nearby Peter Island and you can spend your day testing out both motorized and non-motorized water toys. A must-see on Virgin Gorda is the Baths. Located in the southwest, this series of saltwater grottos, pools and caves created by volcanic boulder formations make for a fantastic playground for both young and old.

Petit Tabac anchorage, Grenadines

The northern part of the Grenadines consists of 32 islands dispersed over 60mi (97km) of the Caribbean Sea, and it makes for a wonderful place to dip into secluded bays. The Tobago Cays are a series of five uninhabited islands, with a wildlife reserve and marine park offering a stunning underwater safari for swimmers of any level. If weather permits, drop your anchor in the sands of Petit Tabac and make it your base for the day. Be warned, this anchorage is small, so it can only accommodate a few yachts at a time.

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands

No tour of the Caribbean is complete without a stop at Tortola, the largest island in the BVIs. This volcanic outcrop is a mountainous paradise complete with picture-perfect bays. To escape the crowds, sail over to Cane Garden Bay. This palm-fringed, horseshoe-shaped bay offers a sheltered anchorage for all kinds of vessels. Behind the trees, a bustling, yet small, parade of shacks offers coconuts, shell necklaces and other charming Caribbean essentials.

Holandes Cay, Panama

Off the coast of Panama, and well off the well-trodden cruising route of the Caribbean, those who venture this far will be rewarded with remote anchorages, deserted beaches and friendly locals. There are approximately 365 islands in the San Blas archipelago, of which only 49 are inhabited. Holandes Cay is the furthest outcrop from the mainland and it serves up some wonderful diving and snorkeling opportunities. Drop anchor at Swimming Pool Anchorage, located between Turtle Island and Isla Benedup, and indulge in a private beach BBQ.

Christiansted, US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Island of St Croix is a wonderful treat for the whole family – no matter your interest. Golf-lovers will be in heaven with the par 72 Carambola Golf Course at their disposal, The Wall at Cane Bay offers a real treat for divers, while the shop-lined streets of Christiansted will be pure joy for those in need of some retail therapy. After having your fill of activity, simply relax on board with a pair of binoculars as the dolphins play in the shallows of the anchorage outside Christiansted.

Friendship Bay, Bequia

A firm favorite among sailors is the small, secluded island of Bequia. With many small anchorages, you will be spoilt for choice here. Friendship Bay lies to the south of the island and while it’s one of the more popular spots, it’s well worth nudging in for the night. Not only does the bay offer crystal clear waters, much like the Indian Ocean, it’s also home to a turtle nesting site. Stay until after dusk to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures as they come ashore to lay their eggs.

Cruise around the Caribbean.

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