TRIPS

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NORTH AMERICA

The Best Sailing Vacations for Exploring Secret Islands

Imagine anchoring on an unspoilt island without a soul in sight; only lapping turquoise waves and silky sand. From the Seychelles islands to Bora Bora, these once-in-a-lifetime sailing holidays will give you a taste of life on a tropical hideaway – with the bonus of a private cook and skipper.
Mark Nayler
18 Mar 2022
Pack your Desert Island Discs – these TRIPS by Culture Trip will take you to the most paradisiacal locations on the planet. While the boat is moored, snorkel around barrier reefs, sunbathe on empty beaches and kayak through aquamarine lagoons. With international destinations ranging from French Polynesia to the Caribbean and the Seychelles, here are the places where you can find your island sanctuary.
1 . Meet flamingos and snorkel multicoloured reefs in the British Virgin Islands
Make sure you bring an underwater camera for this sailing odyssey around the British Virgin Islands. When you’re not snorkelling over technicolour reefs or swimming through boulder canyons, you’ll be lazing on white sand beaches, enjoying the culinary creations of the on-board chef or paddling through saltwater lagoons. On-land highlights include hiking a birdwatching trail on tiny Sandy Cay and an optional trip to Anegada, where you’ll have a chance to meet the resident flamingos before a traditional lobster dinner.
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2 . Swim with barracudas, sharks and rays on a trip to French Polynesia
Sailing destinations don’t come much more remote than the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia, surrounded by a lagoon and teeming barrier reef. Swim with rays, barracudas and reef sharks in its coral gardens before sailing to Raiatea to visit a black pearl farm, browse the market and explore a temple reputedly built by descendants of Polynesian gods. The next anchor point is Huahine, where you’ll see ancient archaeological sites, snorkel off a sugar-white beach and meet sacred blue-eyed eels.
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3 . Deserted islands and geothermal pools await on this voyage around the Grenadines
Discover the uninhabited Tobago Cays on this sailing holiday around the Grenadine islands, where you’ll encounter green sea turtles and spotted eagle rays gliding through crystalline lagoons. You’ll also get the chance to step ashore at Petit Tabac, a pristine island that appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). Cap off the trip with a mud bath inside Saint Lucia’s La Soufrière volcano and a swim at the foot of the Dark View waterfalls in Saint Vincent.
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4 . Hike through tropical forests and spot giant tortoises while sailing in the Seychelles
Sample a slower pace of life as you cruise around the Seychelles islands. Bike or hike around tropical La Digue, the fourth-largest island in the archipelago at 10sqkm (4sqmi). Make time to check out beaches such as Anse Source d’Argent, where sculpture-like granite boulders scatter the white sand. Deserted beaches await on Praslin and Grande Soeur, while on Curieuse you’ll share the sand with aldabra giant tortoises, a breed found only in the Seychelles.
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5 . Snorkel over a plane wreck and kayak through mangrove forests in the Bahamas
This Bahamas island-hopping excursion includes a trip to Norman’s Cay, an off-the-radar strip of land that was used as a den for the Medellín drug cartel in the 1970s and ‘80s. Here, you’ll have the option of spearfishing or snorkelling around the wreck of a World War II plane. On the neighbouring island of Shroud Cay, explore dense mangrove forests by kayak or dinghy, then swim inside a tidal lagoon known as the “washing machine”.
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