Top Yachting Destinations for Winter 2020
by Holly Overton
If, like us, the cold weather has you dreaming of sunnier climes, then it might be time to book in that winter getaway. Charter experts give the lowdown on the top yachting destinations for winter 2020.
As ever, the Bahamas remains the number one destination for superyachts this winter. Offering sheltered harbours, clear blue waters and swimming pigs, it’s easy to see why. The islands are already in full swing with “no indication of slowing down” says Northrop & Johnson’s Jessica Engelmann.
While the Abacos are still in recovery after taking a hit from Hurricane Dorian, the rest of the islands remain remarkably untouched and are open for business. “Almost one in five of worldwide holiday charters start here in the Bahamas” says Hein Velema, CEO of Thompson Westwood & White. “Nassau is still the number one port of embarkation for a Christmas cruises”.
Elsewhere, there’s a growing number of yachts deciding to skip the Atlantic crossing and instead head east to the Indian Ocean for some winter sun. Head of Sales & Charter for Imperial Yachts, Eric Lepeingle, says that this year there’s a “certain excitement for the Indian Ocean. The Maldives and the Seychelles are among the top requests we have received”.
The Indian Ocean offers a quieter alternative to the bustle of the Caribbean, with blissful island-hopping and peaceful anchorages. Split into essentially two superyachting hubs, to the west there’s the verdant islands of the Seychelles and to the east are the coral atolls of the Maldives. Despite the relatively small number of yachts available to charter here when compared to the Caribbean, there’s still “more and more demand for the Maldives and Seychelles” says Elisabeth Niek from CSO Yachts.
With over a thousand islands to explore, the Maldives is an island-hopping paradise. Drop anchor and spend the day as a castaway on an uninhabited island or grab a snorkel and discover the hidden treasures below the waterline. Meanwhile, the Seychelles might be smaller in size with just over 100 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, but its tropical forests, Creole cuisine and unmatched diving might just be enough to tempt you away from the Caribbean this season.
Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez is another destination generating increasing demand. According to Fraser charter broker, James Bond, “There are now more yachts available for charter that are based down there, with others passing through”.
On the west coast of Mexico, bordering the Baja Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez offers off-grid cruising and bountiful wildlife set against a backdrop of desert sands and rugged red bluffs. Famously described by Jacque Cousteau as ‘the world’s aquarium', the waters are home to an abundance of marine life from dolphins and whales to turtles, manta rays, sea lions, whale sharks, and the list goes on.
At the tip of the Peninsula, the capital of La Paz and its surrounding islands are a hotspot for diving with numerous wrecks and caves to explore. If you choose to step ashore make sure to sample the local cuisine – freshly caught shrimp tacos, homemade guacamole and margaritas are all on the menu.