A Very British (Virgin Islands) Christmas!

Specializing in Caribbean charters, here are our top 5 reasons to charter a yacht and why the British Virgin Islands is officially one of the best places in the world to charter for your 2020 holiday season!


Escape the bleak mid-winter and spend Christmas 2020 island hopping between the white sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands. The world’s best sailing conditions, island hopping, world-class scuba diving grounds, and a Christmas day conch meal. All of this plus an unforgettable New Year’s Eve makes the British Virgin Islands the only place to charter a yacht this Christmas!!


Christmas day on the yacht

Whether you’re a seasoned yachtie or sailing around the best sailing grounds of the Caribbean is something you’ve always dreamt of, a yacht charter in the BVI is guaranteed to make 2020 your best Christmas yet.

Although you’ll be on a yacht in the Caribbean, don’t worry there’s still plenty of decorations to make you feel just at home. Expect to see masts with fairy lights going to the top, red and white bikinis and palm Christmas trees!

Spend this Christmas walking around the white sand-beaches of Anegada and join in the local celebrations! Chose from having your own personal crew onboard to sailing solo around the many BVI white-sand beached islands.


New years eve at Foxy’s

Be sure to head to the island of Jost Van Dyke to bring in the New Year. Foxy’s on the island is renowned as being one of the top 5 parties in the world on New Year’s Eve.

Instead of celebrating the ‘New Year’, this bar celebrates the ‘Old Year’s Night’, making this iconic location different from every other New Year Party on the globe.

Hop off your boat and enjoy being in one of the best places in the world this New Year. Be sure to catch the theme before deciding on your outfits!


December diving

Switch the traditional family board games on Christmas day for a scuba diving lesson! Scuba dives are an extremely popular Christmas day activity and really make it a Christmas day to remember.

The BVI waters surrounding the islands of Norman Island are renowned for being extremely clear during the months of December and January. The Caribbean waters are full of different corals, turtles, shipwrecks and thousands of different species of fish.

Surprise your loved ones with a diving course and give the gift of the ocean this Christmas!


A Caribbean Christmas lunch

Eat like a local and celebrate the festivities with a freshly grilled lobster or conch! Head over to the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda for your Christmas lunch, be sure to book early this year as most restaurants serving local Caribbean Christmas delicacies tend to get booked up very quickly.


Unrivalled weather conditions

The trade winds blowing across the islands of the BVI offer a consistent breeze, ideal for sailing and for keeping slightly cool during this period. Christmas is without a doubt one of the best times of year to visit the BVI due to long, sunny days with ocean breezes coming through in the afternoon and slightly cooler evenings.

The BVI is known for ‘line of sight’ sailing and protected bays for anchorages and sailing. Unlike other locations in the Caribbean, the waters in the BVI are usually a lot calmer than many other locations.


Aftermath of Irma

Despite the saddening damage, caused by hurricane IRMA in 2017, the BVI’s are being cared for and maintained. The process of rebuilding infrastructure has been a work in progress since the hurricane struck, however, the BVI is back on track and the boat standards and sailing grounds are as popular as ever.

Don’t let the damage caused in 2017 put you off from a yacht charter in the BVI this Christmas – the BVI is up and running. For current information, we please see our “what is open in the BVI after Irma” page, which is updated regularly.

Give Santa a change from the chimney and let him slide down your mast this Christmas! Get in touch today!

Spend 2020 on a Belize Crewed Catamaran

If you’re looking to sample a new crewed catamaran destination, then you have to try a Belize yacht charter this season. Combining the rainforests of Central America with the translucent waters of the Caribbean Sea, Belize is an adventurers dream. Belize is a mixing pot of cultures so get ready for the best Caribbean lobster as you sip cold beer to the sound of the Garifuna drum. You’ll be in heaven!

Belize sits on the Mesoamerican reef, the second largest in the world. You are guaranteed some of the best snorkelling and diving found anywhere on the planet. The tradewinds blow at a steady 15-22 knots so you can make the most of wind and kitesurfing off your Belize crewed catamaran. There really is something for everyone!

The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47 TRANQUILO is one of our favourite Belize catamarans. She’s perfect for family charters exploring Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Join Captain Jesse and Karla as they show you their Belize highlights which will leave you wanting more. We’ve been before and want to go back!

So skip your yearly British Virgin islands sailing tradition and try something new in 2020. Speak to Broker Ben for unrivalled local insights to get the most out of your trip to Central America.

Top 3 anchorages in the Southern Ionian

Me working exceptionally hard on the bow of our girl PARIS.

There’s a special place in my heart for the Ionian. I have lived, sailed, swam, and grew as a person there. From Lefkas to Kefalonia, these islands are what I called home onboard a 2015, 37ft Bavaria called PARIS.

She may not look like much, but this girl got us through some bad weather, sticky situations, and above all, our refuge.

Like many sailors who have sailed in one particular area, you tend to have your favourite anchorages – your ‘go-to’ place which is versatile and enjoyed by many a ‘crowd-pleaser’ if you will! Below I talk about my top three anchorages and why you should incorporate them in your itinerary.

Number 1. KIONI – Ithaki Island.

The pretty bay and harbour of Kioni on the small island of Ithaki.

Check out our 7-day bareboat sailing itinerary here!

Why?

  • Kioni, in my opinion, has the cleanest water due to how quiet it is. In the evenings you MUST go swimming! It’s absolutely teeming with phosphorescent algae which sparkle when disturbed.
  • You can, more often than not, find a place to drop anchor and tie off to a rock, and if there’s space, on the town quay.
  • The town is quaint, with a few stunning restaurants located along the harbour wall and up in the foothills overlooking the bay.
  • Fantastic holding, and normally fairly quiet.

Where?

Kioni pin drop.

Kioni is located on the northeastern tip, protected from the northwesterly prevailing winds. Many sailors tend to hot-foot it down to (big) Vathy located further south which subsequently means that Kioni is fairly quiet, even during high season.

In this lovely town, the time has stopped in the previous century

When?

This anchorage is best enjoyed overnight. It provides protection from the prevailing NW winds and is best viewed early morning!

Anything to watch out for?

A common phenomenon happens pretty much everywhere in the Ionian and that is the Katabatic winds. Most of the tiny anchorages in the Ionian are hidden and tucked away between hills. As the air cools, and the land is warm, it pushed air and funnels between the hills. From around 5:30 PM onwards it can get pretty breezy. It normally settles by about 7:30/8 pm so make sure your anchor is well dug before heading off for your fresh greek dinner!

Number 2. Foki Bay – Kephalonia.

Yes, before you ask it really is called that – and it is truly stunning.

White yacht moored in the bay of Foki beach with cypress trees in background, Fiskardo, Cefalonia, Ionian, Greece.

Why?

  • The Trees. I nicknamed this bay ‘Little Canada’ because of the Cypress trees that almost fall into the water.
  • The caves. Accessable by tender or simply swim in! Turn your outboard off just as you enter the caves as people swim in and out of them. The Caves were used for mining in the ’50s and still remain now. Don’t worry if you’re scared of small spaces as these caves are absolutely massive. They are so big you could easily fit a two-story house in them! Take a torch and enclosed shoes (don’t wear flipflops as some bits are quite steep).
  • The beach. Sometimes while sailing around you just need some time on a beach! Well, this bay has one. In the top right-hand corner is an adorable beach with a quaint taverna serving the best drinks!
  • You can walk into Fiskardo for some shopping, it’s around 1.5-2km walk.
  • The water is CRYSTAL clear!

Where?

Foki bay is based on the northeastern tip of Kephelonia, a stone’s throw (or 10-minute tender ride) into the famous Fiskardo, boasting up-market restaurants and beautiful jewellery shops.

When?

This is a perfect lunch spot, or evening stopover (if the winds are favourable). Great holding for lunchtime with the most stunning scenery to enjoy your freshly prepared lunch!

Foki Fiskardo with crystal clear and transparent water, Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece.

Anything to watch out for?

In the high season time, the beach is buoyed off to protect the swimmers, make sure you don’t get caught up in there. Try and head as far in towards the beach as possible as most of the superyachts take the entrance area as its deeper. This will also protect you from the swell that is created from the passing ferries.

Number 3. One house bay – Atokos

Beautiful bay in Ionian sea, called One house bay.

Why?

  • The pictures speak for its self. One House Bay, characterised by the one house which sits by its self in the foothills.
  • The crystal blue water and picturesque beach are just some of the reasons you should stop over here!
  • Gorgeous scenery.
  • Deep blue water.
  • Excellent walking.

Where?

One House Bay is on the Southeastern corner of Atoko Island, East of Ithica island. The island is only home to goats, which the shepherd attends to every 4th day.

When?

A perfect lunch spot when travelling from the eastern islands to the western islands. If the winds are favourable, you can possibly stay here overnight, please bear in mind it offers little to no protection.

Getting first-hand knowledge about the area is key to creating a memorable charter. I have traveled extensively throughout Greece and the Meditterenian to visit destinations to provide you with the best recommendations and advice. Looking to explore the Southern Ionian? Speak with Alice today at an@boatbookings.com!

Fine Dining on the Amalfi Coast

What is the world’s favourite cuisine? Suitable for all ages, tastes and dietary requirements, Italian gets our vote. When chartering a yacht along the Amalfi Coast, you will sample the unique cuisine of Campania. The area is world-famous for lemons and San Marzano tomatoes, as well as fresh octopus, sea bream and shrimps. An Amalfi Coast yacht charter delivers excellent restaurants in each town, but which ones should you visit for summer 2020?

C/O Quattro Passi Nerano

Quattro Passi, Nerano

Quattro Passi in Nerano overlooks the stunning Marina del Cantone in Nerano. Nerano is the first village you will explore on your Amalfi Coast motor yacht charter. First impressions are everything and Nerano will not disappoint!

C/O Quattro Passi Nerano

Chef Antonio Mellino holds 2 Michelin stars for his gourmet cuisine at Quattro Passi. His cuisine focuses on local produce, most prominently lemons and tomatoes. The Michelin guide praises Mellino for his “ability to extract maximum aromas from lemons and tomatoes is unique, lending extraordinary flavour to his dishes.” We know you will be dazzled so book your table for summer 2020 now!

La Sponda at Le Sirenuse Hotel, Positano

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. A favourite for engagements, honeymoons and anniversaries, you will definitely impress your better half. La Sponda at Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano is famous for being one of the most romantic restaurants on the Amalfi Coast. Whether you choose to dine on the terrace or under four hundred candles inside, the views are spectacular.

Chef Gennaro Russo’s menu is based on fresh local ingredients and inspired by the great culinary traditions of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. His motto is “respect for the territory, for local traditions and local ingredients”. His risotto is to die for!

The Boatbookings Brokers know the best restaurants on the Amalfi Coast for every taste. The best yachts and restaurants are booked well in advance so speak to the team today to plan your Amalfi Coast adventure for summer 2020.

How about the Azores?

Capelinhos Volcan view from above

So you’re fed up with the crowds that flock to the Mediterranean (sailors and nonsailors alike) and you’re looking for something new to conquer. How about the AZORES? The Azores offer steady winds either side of July and August, with July and August providing comfortable calmer winds perfect for families. Looking for a challenge? Charter in March and April where the winds are strong and steady.

Why?

Are you into your nature, geography, and sailing? Would you like to see whales, dolphins, lagoons, extinct volcanos, fajas, and unique anchorages? Then this cluster of islands located in the Atlantic could be for you. Located roughly 1,400 miles west of mainland Portugal, the Azores boasts 9 exquisite, prehistoric islands ready for you to explore. The archipelago is comprised of 9 islands each with its own individual character.

São Miguel Island – Lagoa das Sete Cidades

Itinerary

Start from Horta and explore Sao Miguel, Pico and Terceira Island all within one week. If you are planning on doing a two-week charter (which would be advised as there is just SO much to see) then you can go further afield and explore the islands such as Graciosa Island and Sao Jorge island.

Azores landscape with waterfalls and cliffs in Flores island. Portugal.

Getting there

Direct flights are available from most major airports (within flying distance!) From the US you have the luxury of choosing between Azores Airlines and Delta Airlines. You can fly directly via Boston, Oakland, and New York City. Flight time from Boston is roughly around the 4.5-hour mark with the UK being the same. Tap Air Portugal and Ryanair fly most frequently to the Azores.

Panoramic view over the Sete Cidades lake on Sao Miguel Azores

Want to find out more? Contact us today to find out how you could sail in the Jurrasic world of the Azores!