The Caribbean Sea has been all about pirates, rum and colonies, but today it's a place assocaited with tourism where a number of islands have become sailing paradises to the hoards of visitors that come to their shores every year.
Sea & Coast
The over 7000 Caribbean islands form a huge curve with a length of nearly 4,000 kilometers. They are located to the north of the Central American land bridge between the North American peninsula of Florida
and the northeast coast of South American Venezuela. The islands’ entire area is smaller than the area of Germany
They are basically divided into the Greater Antilles (e.g. Cuba
, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola) and the Lesser Antilles, which again are subdivided in to the Leeward Islands in the north and the Windward Islands in the south. But one thing is for sure, they sure do make a popular Yacht Charter destination.
The geography of the islands is diverse, ranging from flat coral-based islands, to mountainous volcanic origin. Among to the highest islands are Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia
, Grenada, Guadeloupe
, while some of the lowest include Barbados, Bahamas
. So make sure you choose carefully your Caribbean destination when planning that Yacht Charter trip.
The disposition of the islands is as follows: first an outer ring of coral islands with white sandy beaches, a second inner ring made up of volcanic islands with black sands and volcanic ash that proves to be extremely fertile, a fact that was noticed long ago by the conquering nations of the native Carib tribes who decided to bring plantation culture here. Closer to the shores of South America, the islands turn into an alluvial plane.
The flora and fauna found on the islands is very diverse, despite the fact that for the last 500 years, the European civilization wiped out most of the indigenous species. However, outside the plantations, some of the original landscape still survives, especially on islands that have rugged terrain and thus were unsuited for agriculture. Depending on the altitude, the landscape can change from jungle to forest and woodland to savanna to mangrove and lagoon
vegetation. So, the Yacht Charter tourist can catch a glimpse of every aspect of what is generally considered tropical vegetation.
The climate here has been often described as “perpetual spring” thanks to the cooling easterly trade winds which create lovely temperatures throughout the year. Rainfall is heavily dependent on altitude and topography (generally the eastern shores receive more rain). The downside to the yacht charter Caribbean climate is the rare occurrence of hurricanes (between July and October) which could spell trouble for a Yacht Charter skippers, but these are usually small in force and predictable.
Culture & History
From tropical paradise to colonial empire to Yacht Charter touristic haven, the Caribbean islands’ history stretches for centuries and it’s not always a pretty picture. After their discovery by Columbus in 1492, the islands became an important asset worth fighting over, thanks to the riches and agricultural potential.
These European influences (Spanish, French, British, Dutch) changed the face of the islands forever, from the local populace to their culture and traditions. Many of the original tribes were wiped out, being replaced with Africans, Indians and Far East dwellers. The result was a mélange of cultures which today is identified with the Caribbean region and actually has become a point of attraction to the visiting Yacht Charter sailors.
The feasts, the culture, the clothes, the cuisine and the towns have gained the interest of those who sail to these shores, which actually aided some of the impoverished countries in the region to establish thriving economies based on tourism.
Seamanship & Experience
The reason why so many Yacht Charter sailors cross the Atlantic to sail the yacht charter Caribbean waters becomes clear the first time you set eyes on the islands here. Not only are these some of the most beautiful sailing waters in this part of the world, but the conditions and infrastructure are also very good for sailing enthusiasts.
The tidal range in the Caribbean doesn’t exceed 12 inches and thus is not classed as tidal, there are plenty of line-of-sight sailing opportunities, there are many bays and coves where you can moor your boat, the huge number of islands and islets offers an endless number of sailing trips and the prevailing trade winds are predictable in force and timing, almost like clockwork.
When you add the extensive infrastructure and boating facilities on many f the islands, it becomes clear why the Caribbean is such a popular place for Yacht Charter aficionados.