One of the jewels of the Windward Islands, St. Lucia boasts a landscape expansive in banana plantations, picturesque hamlets and beautiful harbors reminiscent of an older Caribbean. The island, volcanic in origin, still slopes with forested peaks, the highest of which is Mt. Gimie, soaring more than 3,000 feet skyward. The area is abundant with flora, including the wild orchids and giant ferns. Look for the tropical birds while hiking the islands curving trails and pathways. A popular attraction that shouldn’t be missed is the nearby Soufriére volcano where you can hike to the crater and learn about the volcano’s impact on the island. Travel along the west coast to idyllic Marigot Bay then further south to the spectacular Pitons that rise above the sea and are covered in dark-green foliage. Once you’ve taken in the island scene your bareboat journey continues southward to Bequia, Mustique, Mayreau and Tobago Cays for more island treasures or voyage north to the nearby island of Martinique.
Forming the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea, the Windward Islands’ north-south orientation means the winds will be on the beam more often than not when sailing south. This is ideal for fast sailing on the longer passages between some of the islands. A prime time for a St. Lucia yacht charter is during the winter months when a cool northeast wind blows across the shores. Heading north, sailing close-hauled or on a close reach is typical while those that opt for a one-way charter can cover more ground and avoid sailing windward. Wind velocities run the gamut from a gentle 10 knots to a more spirited 25 knots, often strengthening off the northern ends of the islands due to land effect. Temperatures range from 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) December through May, and from 75°F to 95°F (24°C to 35°C) June through November. Navigation is straightforward, though plotting courses and keeping an eye on the GPS is important.
Whether you’re enjoying the sights of your St. Lucia yacht charter from the deck of your boat, in the water, or on land, there is no doubt you will be captivated by your surroundings. Historic sites and lush landscapes are the backdrop to beaches suited for swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. Around the island you will discover natural beauty in places such as Marigot Bay and the stunning Pitons to the south. When you’re not cutting through the surf on your yacht, you may want to take advantage of the many sightseeing opportunities on land while hiking, shopping or simply taking in the scene from a table at a quaint shorefront restaurant.
A favored first stop for those traveling St. Lucia’s waters is at the Pitons, conical peaks that rise more than 2,000 feet from the sea. Gros Piton and the smaller Petit Piton have been named a World Heritage Site and are stunning sites when arriving by sea. The two volcanic plugs have challenged hikers to climb the lush slopes that look out over the breathtaking sea. Further out is the town of Soufriére where you can dine along the beach, swim among the reef or take in the view from the top of Gros Piton.
The island of Bequia is no stranger to sailors as it has a history rich in fishing and seafaring that is still prominent on its coast. Part of the cluster of islands that make up the Grenadines, the island’s residents have a quiet pride for their community and its maritime traditions. The main settlement of Port Elizabeth is located at Admiralty Bay, the principle harbor on the island. Find your own hideaway along the bay where shops spill into the streets and restaurants tempt with the aromas that waft from their kitchens. End the evening at The Frangipani Hotel with a candlelit dinner and a view of the twinkling stars outside.
Whether you choose to jump in the water of The Tobago Cays Marine Park, or simply take it in from your yacht’s deck, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable time. Here among the encompassing Mayreau Island and the small cluster of isles comprising Tobago, scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities abound. The visibility is excellent and marine life can be found all throughout the reefs in the area. Anchor at Mayreau’s Salt Whistle Bay for a protected and scenic stop where ashore a small resort and scattering of restaurants can be found. Fill your senses with the undisturbed surroundings of land and sea by day and the clear sky filled with stars at night.
To the south of St. Lucia lays the larger island of St. Vincent with its spectacular Blue Lagoon. This well protected harbor on the southern end of the island has two restaurants to dine at before heading inland by taxi or car rental to see more of the area. At the head of the Mesopotamia Valley sits Montreal Gardens where you can walk along paths lined with fragrant tropical flowers. Visit The Botanical Gardens, the Falls of Baleine, Fort Charlotte and the 3,000-foot Soufriére volcano where you will leave with memories to last a lifetime.