Not too many years ago, St. Thomas and the USVI were the number one destination for sailboat charters in the Caribbean. Yacht vacations in St. Thomas were popular because the USVI is easy to get to, super safe, a US territory, and amazingly beautiful. Caribbean sailing vacations from the USVI remained popular until marine laws charged in the 90s and the Moorings opened their large base in a little known place called the BVI.
Today, the winds of change have come again and the USVI is once again the top Caribbean sailboat charter vacation location. Sailboat vacation clients are choosing the US Virgin Islands for their charter destination in record numbers and here is why!
- The beaches.I took my mom on a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands about 5 years ago. We spent four or five days sailing in the Drake channel when she said “where are the beach”. She was expecting beaches at every stop where she could sit at the ocean’s edge sipping a cocktail. But most Caribbean charter destinations, particularly the BVI, fail to provide enough amazing beaches for beach lovers. Only St Martin/Anguilla and the Grenadines sailing vacation destinations can rival the USVI. The beaches of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix truly stand out, and on a typical 7 night yacht vacation, you can easily make multiple stops per day with stunning long stretches of white sand. Read related article Top 10 beaches
- Snorkeling. Compared to other sailboat vacation destination, the USVI is, by far, number one when it comes to snorkel sites, and I’d rank it very high in terms of dive sites. Versus other popular sailing vacation areas, the US Virgin Island’s snorkel spots are actually under-utilized… particularly those not frequented by cruise ship clients. There are more than 40 pristine snorkel spots in the National Park that surrounds St. John alone, and most of those are only assessable from a crewed charter yacht. St. Croix’s Buck Island national park Is another amazing example of diverse and interesting, and mostly unvisited snorkel areas. And finally, St. Thomas’s “out” islands, away from the mainland, provide exquisite options. By contrast, the BVI sites are largely over used, St. Martin/Anquilla has limited options and the Grenadines exposure to large seas make snorkeling for beginners very difficult. So, for snorkel lovers, there is no better place to book your next Caribbean sailing adventure.
- Beach Bars. If beach bars, or bars in general plan a big role in your fun on a Caribbean sailing vacation, then look no further than the US Virgin Islands. As you go around the USVI on your charter yacht, it is easy to find quiet and secluded beaches but high energy, fun beach bars abound. My personal favorites, and ones that I think you should make mandatory stops at on your next sailing holiday include Bikinis, Skinny Legs, Miss Lucy’s and Lime Inn on St. John (and that does not included the amazing beach bars in quaint Cruz Bay. On/around St. Thomas make sure to stop at Dingy’s and the new trending Latino bar on Honey Moon beach on Water Island, Sunset beach bar at secret harbor and the chicken shack bars on Coki Beach. Finally, make sure you explore the funky bars along the boardwalk in St. Croix, including my favorite, the Scooter bar. Most of the bars on my list are unknown to most people. They were not made popular by country music songs, and you don’t see many people walking around wearing their shirts and hats. But these amazing beach bars are rapidly catching on, and rival some of the coolest bars the Caribbean has to offer. Read related article Top 5 Beach Bars In The Caribbean