Considering a luxury yacht charter in the Bahamas? With over 700 colourful islands and innumerable tiny cays – home to stunning beaches and picturesque towns, deep caves and rich vegetation – the sun-baked Bahamas are an ideal destination for travellers of all ages. With sheltered waters and schools of tropical fish dancing beneath the surface, a cruise to the Bahamas is a paradise for divers and snorkellers. Its welcoming people echo the temperament of the hospitable Gulf Stream winds, making this the perfect destination for a yacht charter.
The Bahamas islands have lured and captivated seafarers for centuries, enchanting both settlers and traders alike. Explorer Christopher Columbus landed on San Salvador in 1492 and declared this place to be a ‘baja mar’ or ‘shallow sea’ – and hence The Bahamas gained its name. This area is famed for attracting the boisterous pirates of centuries past, making use of its countless quiet hideouts and its eponymous shallow waters for burying stolen loot.
The archipelago of the Bahamas is formed from coral, creating 700 islands and cays that contain incredible reefs. Nassau is its best-known port, and having lured pirates for centuries it now attracts charter yachts as an ideal place to begin or end a charter vacation. This high-energy port is a centre for international traders, alive with bartering, excited shoppers and the occasional celebrity trying to blend into the hustle and bustle. The docks of many of the five-star marinas are an easy tender ride from the airport, meaning you can easily add on an extra few days to explore the land. Casinos, bars and gourmet restaurants offer plenty of choice to fill your evenings, and the days can be spent in amongst the action or visiting the museums.
If you are looking for a slower-paced destination to really relax during your charter, leave the civilization of Nassau and head south to the Exumas. These 365 cays are known for their laid-back way of life, and many of the rich and famous have homes here to escape and relax. The shallow waters exclude large cruise ships, so your charter yacht holiday will take you to a place where the pristine beaches are free from the tourist crowds. Crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving, and watch out for the locals that may choose to join you – the swimming pigs. It is not known how they got there, but on Major cay the ‘domestic’ pigs love the water, and swim out to meet the boats as they arrive.
Reef-and-key sheltered waters on The Sea of Abaco give travellers over one hundred miles of calm cruising in relatively shallow seas, and Great Abaco Island is found at its centre with its clutch of striking colonial towns. Inland there is much to discover, from historical plantation houses to rum distilleries. The Exumas archipelago is a shallow cruising ground, ideal for a private yacht charter as its depths allow for private yachts but exclude cruise ships. The atmosphere here is calm, and charter yachts can easily find secluded white beaches that can be enjoyed in full privacy. The clear turquoise waters are beautiful for sailing, enjoying water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving. Its reefs are full of fish, including parrotfish and angelfish, which you can often spot without a mask.
Be sure to visit Thunderball Grotto – where its namesake James Bond movie was filmed. Here you can reenact the action and swim through the cave which hid 007 until he was airlifted to safety. The waters here are teeming with colourful parrot fish and angel fish, which can often be spotted from above the water - it really is that clear! Snorkeling through the reef you may also come across stromatolites – the oldest macro-fossils on earth which hold traces of biological life thousands of years old.
Another must-see is the Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island and just 25 miles from Freeport: the largest unchartered system of caves in the world and the only place in which you can see all six of the islands’ ecosystems in one place. North of Nassau you can take your charter yacht to the Abacos. Here you will find charming settlements like Hope Town, with a postcard perfect red and white striped lighthouse, set against the glittering blue of the ocean. With a small international airport, this could be the ideal place to end your cruise to the Bahamas. Chartering a luxury yacht in the Bahamas is the only way to experience these captivating islands in outstanding comfort, from the most exquisite perspective of the sea.
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