Best Places To Take Your Yacht
"The Med" is probably the best place in the world to see yachts and be seen on them. From the French Riviera to the Greek Isles, this body of water is packed with every manner of pleasure craft during the European summer. The principality of pleasure, Monaco, is the unofficial capital of the international yachting community and stomping grounds of royalty and the jetset. Nice and Cannes swell with population as the temperature rises and the Hollywood set makes the annual pilgrimage for the film festival and associated revelry. But to judge the Med on these hot spots alone would do this body of water a disservice. Here are some appropriate destinations that you may find less crowded and more appealing than the Cote'd Azur.
Ibiza - Well, I start with a not-so backwater place, but one that is sure to please the younger crowd. Ibiza is the world's clubbing capital with massive clubs that house riotous nightlife and even "foam parties." As a center for electronic music, this island attracts a young set that dance till dawn night after night. If dancing isn't your bag, the island's history and natural scenery can keep one occupied for days.
Dubrovnik - Croatia may not seem like a place that would be great for taking your yacht, but the Dalmatian coast is becoming the new place to go experience th joys of Mediterranean life. Compared to 1950's Italy, the laid back atmosphere and ancient walled city make for a fantastic port of call along the Adriatic.
My favorite destination is home to palm trees and lots of run factories. The problem here is these massive floating cities of 5,000 people that come and go from island to island, disrupting the peace that makes these islands great. Surprisingly, there is a Caribbean that exists apart from Little Switzerland and all of the "Duty Free" mania that comes with the major islands.
Martinique - What makes Martinique a great island is the fact that even though it is a pretty populated place, very few cruise ships dock here and the daily life stays pretty relaxed. The island is a French Overseas Department, meaning that the island is technically French home turf and even votes in the French Assembly. This enables the island to boast the best highways and paved roads in the Caribbean. Martinique is a great place to see rainfores and the great volcano, Mt. Pelee, that destroyed the old capital St. Pierre. Side note: If you want to experience the lush nature of Hawaii and don't wish to make the long plane trip, Martinique is a great alternative.
The Spanish Virgin Islands - Culebra and Vieques are two islands that make up this little group off the coast Puerto Rico. Now, Vieques may have been in the news for Navy bomb testings a while back, but the military is gone now and tourism is slowing coming alive. Beaches on both islands border on the surreal and remain mostly deserted. Check out the Biolumenesant Bays which are filled with microscopic life that glow with movement, simply incredible
These options give you a glimpse of a different Mediterranean and Caribbean, but what if you want to totally abandon the beaten path and blaze a path to your own hideaway. Here are some that places that offer great scenery and guarantee a unique unforgettable yachting expedition.
Labrador - The northernmost Canadian Maritimes don't attract a lot of the tourist set, but it isn't for lack of something to see. A yacht gives a traveler the utmost accessibility to the remote communities of the Labrador. Quaint fishing villages and scores of wildlife make the rocky coastline a delightful place to summer. Yes, I say summer only because even in the heat of July, expect to see icebergs drifting along and keeping the voyage exciting. A great photolog of a cruise to the Labrador can be found here.
The Amazon - Sure, a jungle excursion is fun, but why not experience the exotic with the comfort of air conditioning and a personal chef? Sail up the mighty river as far as your yacht will allow and see monkeys and pink dolphins. Bring the kids along for the ride too. They'll behave if they know that the waters are infested with Piranhas.
The Galapagos - Darwin may have been the first outsider to appreciate these strange islands, but modern travelers won't be working on any famous theories whilst visiting the Galapagos. The big draw here is the wildlife and volcanic activity. Be sure to see the tortoise and various marine lizards. The islands are becoming a tourist draw, but the biggest cruise ships that travel these waters have fewer than 500 guests.
Ultimately, you and your captain should decide the best itinerary for you and your yacht. Some locations aren't made for the modern megayacht, but can easily handle smaller vessels. The options are limitless, deserted beaches abound for those with the means to get to them. A yacht, whether owned or chartered, can be the key to visiting places that haven't been changed by the ravages of mass tourism. Wherever you decide to sail, remember to experience the culture and lifestyle of your surroundings. This will make your memories sweeter and the time you spend there all the more valuable. Bon Voyage!!