In the tropical part of the Atlantic, north of the equator, are the Caribbean islands. They stretch over a distance of almost 4,000 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico, just before the coast of Venezuela. In the west, the Caribbean Sea borders central America. The Caribbean Islands are the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico), Lesser Antilles and the Bahamas. In terms of surface, the archipelago of the Greater Antilles are the largest. These islands form separate sailing areas. Island hopping is the recommended way to explore the small Antilles.
Sailors call it "island-hopping", when they are drifting relaxed from one island to another and from bay to bay, accompanied by the steady trade winds.
Each single tropical island has its very own characteristics and individual charm, often based on the cultural features of the former colonial powers. These islands, many of volcanic origin, enchant with tropical nature, the sound of reggae and steel bands and the scent of freshly grilled, exotic-spiced food, often served from converted old oil barrels which serve as barbeques.
For a long time, the islands in the Caribbean were considered as an ideal place for honeymooners and retirees who wanted to escape from the European winter. However, in recent decades the region has become one of the most attractive sailing areas in the world. In spring time, there are numerous regattas in which both international sailors and charter amateurs take part.
All the different cultural influences and the belonging to many states make every stay in the Caribbean an unique experience. The atmosphere is informal, loose and relaxing. Tourists from around the world are welcome. Residents proudly present the beauty of their islands and the secrets of the local cuisine. You can relax by spending your vacation onboard of a yacht, cruising through the Caribbean islands with short breaks for a swim or a small walk on a nearby beach. But the Caribbean offers much more. Nature lovers will be delighted finding pelicans and frigates, turtles and colorful tropical fishes. Green, steep volcanic mountains, rushing waterfalls, endless white, shiny, sandy beaches and spectacular reefs form this tropical scenery.
Those who want to visit the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe (part of the French oversea territories) or the islands of the Greater Antilles, should opt for one island in order to have enough time exploring it. Countries and distances between them are too large to circumnavigate them in a few days. Above all, Cuba is considered as the main destination of travelers. The rhythm of salsa in Havanna, a slightly ruinous charm within most cities, the diversity of music and beautiful, secluded beaches and bays attract many tourists.
Island-hopping is the best way to explore the Lesser Antilles, whose island arch extends from the Virgin Islands to the Venezuelan coast. Here you can rediscover the colorful diversity of the Caribbean: lush greenery, volcanic craters inland, crystal clear water surrounding beautiful sandy beaches, sunlit colonial architecture, colorful wooden houses and wonderfully scented Creole cuisine served in numerous restaurants and bars.
The clean Caribbean turquoise sea, beautiful white sandy beaches and romantic bays, especially around the Virgin Islands and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe will make every day an unique experience. The whole region is well prepared for the needs of water sports enthusiasts and the daily stages are reasonable. Spending a night on anchor in one of the numerous bays is easy to do in this region.
And when you go ashore by using the dinghy, you often find a small beach restaurant or bar that offers original Caribbean drinks with a decent dash of rum. If you like it more adventurous, you can swim from aboard the yacht and pay for your dinner or drinks in style with a banknote soaked in seawater. In recent years, well-equipped, large charter bases have emerged on the islands of St. Martin, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia and Grenada. In addition to classic yachts with a hull, catamarans are very popular in this sailing area. They allow a much larger space and offer a lot of comfort on deck.
If there is a sailor's paradise existing, then it's the Caribbean Islands. They offer ideal conditions for sailing for almost the whole year, the climate is tropical and subtropical.
The sun is shining almost every day and the temperatures are enjoyable high. From May to November there may be heavy rainfall. Depending on the geographical location, there are climatic differences: in the northern Caribbean, e.g. on the Bahamas, the climate is very mild and pleasant. In the winter period, when average temperature falls to 20°, the water is often warmer than the air. The climate on the Greater Antilles is a bit wetter due to the constant wind. The Lesser Antilles, the "leeward islands", are under the influence of the northeast trade winds, which bring moist air with short, violent rain. The "leeward islands" in the south have a much drier climate. Although the Caribbean islands are considered as a year-round region for sailing, you should take into account the period of hurricanes that occur from June to December.
Especially in August and September, there are more and more violent storms.
Air and water temperatures at a glance (eg Antigua):
January: air 28 ° - water 26 °
February: air 29 ° - water 25 °
March: air 29 ° - water 26 °
April: air 30 ° - water 26 °
May: air 30 ° - water 27 °
June: air 31 ° - water 27 °
July: air 31 ° - water 28 °
August: air 31 ° - water 28 °
September: air 31 ° - water 28 °
October: air 31 ° - water 28 °
November: 30 ° - water 27 °
December: 29 ° - water 27 °