The Windward Islands lie south of the Leeward Islands and are comprised of Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG consists of the following islands: Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Petite St Vincent (PSV), Palm Island, & Union Island), Carriacou & Grenada. Currencies vary – please see below for details.
Due to the distance between the Windward Islands (for example Martinque to Grenada is approximately 170 nm) during a single Windward Islands yacht charter it would be difficult to visit every island, so cruising this area is preferably broken up into separate cruises or you may request a one way cruise to certain islands. As a standard practice, Customs & Immigration fees, bar and beverages carry an additional cost whilst cruising these islands. An example of suggested cruise routes are listed below, but please talk to us and we will advise you on the best way to cruise the islands.
St Lucia – Bequia – Mustique – Union Island – Tobago Cays – Bequia – St Lucia
Grenada – Union Island – Tobago Cays – Mustique – Bequia – Canouan – Grenada
Alternatively you could spend more time in the Grenadines by taking an island hopper aeroplane to Union Island or Bequia and eliminate the longer sailing passages between St Lucia to Bequia and Grenada to Union Island which can be quite rough during the winter months. This way you get to cruise the best islands for longer:
Union Island – Tobago Cays – Mustique – Bequia – Canouan – Mayreau – Union Island
Brief Descriptions Of The Islands:
Martinique which offers a unique blend of French and West Indian cultures is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean.
It has numerous anchorages on the west shore and is famous for its many eateries selling excellent French food.
Take time to visit the interior of this island. You will be amazed as to how active the farming is on this Caribbean island. As you drive around Martinique the roads are surrounded by banana, pineapple & sugar cane plantations. The topography of the island is a lot flatter and dryer than St Lucia, and yet the bananas grow in abundance. The majority of the produce is shipping back to France to be sold on the mainland.
Ste Anne to the south is an old fishing village which has a beautiful church located on the town square and a great beach with local fish restaurants.
Neighbouring Marin is the location for the local yachts.
Sail past Diamond Rock a huge rock emerging from the seabed which was inhabited by English soldiers at one time.
There are two beautiful bays Anse d’Arlet & Grand Anse d’Arlet as you sail north along the west coast of the island. Here you will find two beautiful white sandy bays with good snorkeling.
Anse Mitan has a small marina and a selection of cafes and boutiques.
Fort de France is the main commercial & cruise ship port. Here you can buy anything, and everything is shipped from mainland France, so you have a great choice.
St Pierre to the north of the island lies in the shadow of the now dormant Mte Pelee volcano. It last erupted in 1902 when there were only 2 survivors, Leon Leandre a cobbler who was in his cellar and the famous prisoner Cyparis who was jailed for murder and who was locked in a stone prison located on the seafront. There is a tiny museum that you can visit, and there is an abundance of excellent French eateries.
Diving off Martinique is excellent, especially off St Pierre where you have numerous wrecks within easy access located in the bay.
Local Language: French
St Lucia is famous for its tropical rain forests, waterfalls and two soaring Pitons, mountains which are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
St Lucia yacht charters will normally start from either IGY Marina at Rodney Bay to the Northwest of the island or Marigot Bay which is a famous lagoon where the old movie Doctor Doolittle was filmed; there is a marina at this location and a top-rated hotel.
You can then start your cruise by spending the first night at Soufriere looking up at the two towering Pitons.
Due to the depth of the anchorage a mooring buoy has to be picked up.
St Lucia is a beautiful island filled with tropical rainforests and lots of banana plantations. If possible try and spend a little time ashore to explore the island prior to starting your Grenadines cruise.
Ladera Hotel which sits high in the hillside between the Pitons is a must to visit for a drink, it is simply stunning.
If you like hiking and you are feeling very energetic on your holiday then you can hire a guide to take you to the top of the Piton. These hikes usual start early in the morning to avoid the mid-day sun.
St Lucia also has Sulphur Springs which are worth a visit if you are taking a mini island tour.
The local currency is the XCD referred to locally as EC$ Eastern Caribbean Dollar. At banks the fixed rate of exchange is 2.67 to $1 USD.
Local Language: English
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar
St Vincent & The Grenadines
Bequia is a small island famous for whaling and fishing.
It has a turtle sanctuary on it’s north east shores that you can visit, and a fresh local vegetable and fish market which is fun to explore as well as a few lively local bars.
It also has an extremely pretty white sandy beach where most of the yachts anchor in Port Elizabeth called Princess Margaret Beach, named after the Queen of England’s sister who often used to visit this island whilst she was vacationing on the nearby island of Mustique.
If you visit Sweetie Pie in town you can buy the best local Roti in the Grenadines.
Another nice winter anchorage is located on the southeast corner of the island called Friendship Bay. This bay has a beautiful crescent shaped white sandy beach.
Diving is great off Bequia however the current can be strong. You can expect to see shoals of fish as well as reef fish and you also have the wreck of the Stratmann Tug to explore.
Bequia holds a popular Sailing Regatta ever Easter. You will find local wooden workboats as well as visitors taking part in this regatta.
Mustique is well known due to the rich and famous that own villas on this small immaculately manicured island.
Frequent visitors include the late Princess Margaret who used to visit regularly, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, the late David Bowie and more recently Robbie Williams who purchased a villa on the island in 2013.
You can sit having lunch at the Cotton House and pet Guinness, Mick Jagger’s dog, who’s only allowed out when Mick’s off island.
The other famous bar is Basil’s Bar which used to attract celebrities, however since Basil sold his story in the form of a book, it isn’t quite so popular.
Yachts are only allowed to moor in Britannia Bay. You are charged a fee, which gives you up to 3 nights mooring in this location.
Exploring this tiny island is a must. Instead of taking a taxi, hire a Mule (motorised golf cart) they are available in various sizes and explore the island by yourself, it’s great fun, and you are provided with a map of the island.
The beaches on the east side of Mustique are stunning they are very wild and windy, but very beautiful especially Macaroni Bay.
Horse riding on this island is the best in the Caribbean. You will be checked out first to establish that you are able to ride, and then you can enjoy a great trek a long one of the beautiful sandy beaches on this island.
Diving off Mustique is also very good, however there are strong currently. Mustique Watersports will take you to the best dive sites given the conditions on the day that you want to dive.
The small island of Canouan used to rely on fishermen & farmers with no other industry.
Then 15 years ago half of the island got sold initially to an Italian developer who created the luxurious Canouan Resort.
This exclusive resort was managed by Raffles for several years with a very good but extremely expensive
Trump International golf course which was designed by Jim Fazio.
Sadly Raffles pulled out of the resort but it re-opened in 2014 as Pink Sands Club with the owners of Sandy Lane Barbados backing the new venture.
Your charter yacht can anchor in Charlestown Bay on this island, and ashore you can visit the Tamarind Hotel, which is nice for lunch if you do not wish to visit the luxury resort of Pink Sands Club.
Mayreau is a tiny island with a large salt pond and lots of local fishermen.
There is one small resort on the island located in Salt Whistle Bay.
Your charter yacht will moor in Saline Bay just off a long white sandy beach. There is a dock where your yacht crew can land the tender so that you can go ashore to explore. If you take the road that runs up the hill through the village it will eventually come to the tiny church at the top of the hill which has stunning views over Tobago Cays to the east and Union Island to the south.
From Saline Bay you can also walk to the beaches on the east side of the island that are wild and windy, but extremely beautiful and semi protected by an outer reef.
Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island within the Grenadines cluster of islands.
This is a cluster of tiny uninhabited islands surrounded by coral reef.
Daily locals sail out from Union Island to sell their teeshirts, ice etc. to the boats that are moored here.
Normally you can swim with turtles at this location.
Anchoring in Tobago Cays is one of the highlights of your Grenadines cruise. To be moored behind the reef knowing that the seas lapping around your yacht, have travelled 2,500 miles from Africa. Tobago Cays is a unique location in the Grenadines.
Tobago Cays is a designated Marine Park
This is a private island resort once called Prune Island, however due to the number of coconut palms that were planted on this island it was renamed Palm Island.
You can visit this island for lunch.
Palm Island is located to the southeast of Union Island.
There are two safe anchorages on this island the main one being Clifton Harbour where you can pickup your charter yacht, and the other secluded anchorage being Chatham Bay where snorkeling is excellent.
Clifton Harbour anchorage lies outside of the main town on Union Island, you will anchor behind a reef. Several years ago the then Minister of Tourism on Union Island was tasked with cleaning up the beaches and clearing the discarded conch shells that the local fishermen used to throw onto the beach, once they had harvested their catch. He decided to gather the empty conch shells and to pile them in a heap onto the reef outside of Clifton Harbour. Soon the mound was above water and it continued to grow with more and more conch shells. The entrepreneurial Janti decided to use these conch shells as a foundation, and built a bar on top. You can still visit Janti’s Happy Island and enjoy a great rum punch or a sundowner and watch the world go by. You will probably be entertained by the kiteboarders who skim across the reef with great agility.
The town of Clifton doesn’t have a lot to offer the tourists except for a few teeshirts. There is however a great vegetable market in town.
Chatham Bay is a beautiful secluded anchorage with a stunning crescent shaped beach. Snorkeling in this bay is excellent a long the north wall of the bay. You are likely to spot turtles, rays, flying gurnards as well as reef fish. Over the past few years several tiny beach bars have been erected on the beach, and this is a great spot to enjoy a beer and watch your beautiful yacht at anchor.
Petit St Vincent (PSV)
This is a tiny island again with a private resort which you can visit for lunch or dinner.
This luxury boutique hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotel group, and it has a new addition to the amenities on offer this year; it is now the home of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s (son of the famous Jacques Cousteau) Ocean Future Society that offers excellent diving in the Grenadines.
Just a short dinghy ride away from PSV is the tiny sand bar called Mopion. Here you will find a tiny deserted sandy island surrounded by turquoise crystal clear water. The only structure erected on this island is a tiny wooden sun shade roofed with palm fronds and attached to it’s support is a bottle opener, so that you can open your bottle of beer and relax in paradise! The real Robinson Crusoe adventure.
This island is still home to traditional wooden boat builders and every year in July the Carriacou Regatta is held.
There are two main anchorages Hillsborough being the main commercial area and Tyrrel Bay being the main bay for cruising yachts to visit.
Carriacou is a Grenadian Grenadine Island and ferries run regularly each day between Grenada and Carriacou.
The island is very baron compared to Grenada because it has no waterfalls or rivers. The houses rely on water catchment in there underground cisterns to provide water for the property.
Because Carriacou has no rivers the island does not suffer from run-off during the rainy season. This means that diving is excellent all year around in this location.
There are some stunning white sandy beaches to explore on Carriacou.
Also known as Spice Island.
Grenada is home to the Nutmeg & Mace as well as dozens of other spices which are still grown here.
Visiting the fruit, veg, spice & fish markets are a must.
You can take a trip and visit the Nutmeg Factory still in operation in Sauteurs where you can see locals returning to the factory after a hard days picking Nutmeg with sacks laden with the spice.
There is a magnificent lake called Grand Etang in the centre of the island and many beautiful waterfalls to visit.
Charters tend to start from Port Louis Marina which is located in St Georges southwest of the island.
Grenada is true Caribbean. It is a vibrant country with very friendly and helpful locals.
Make sure that you spend a few days exploring Grenada either at the start or end of your charter. You will be amazed at the diversity on this Caribbean Island. The local food is great; it tends to be a little more Caribbean spiced than the other islands, probably due to the amount of spices grown locally. Everything grows in abundance on this beautiful tropical island. No wonder Grenada always wins Gold at the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London, the flora and fauna is truly amazing.
Grenada also has a 9 hole parkland golf course which is set high in the hills overlooking the famous Grand Anse beach, the course was opened in 1936 so it an established old course surrounded by woodland.
Grenada is the perfect destination to start your Grenadines crewed yacht charter. With direct flights from the USA & UK several times each week, the travelling time to this destination has been reduced considerably.
The language spoken in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and its neighbouring islands is English.
Currency in all of these islands is XCD referred to locally as EC$ Eastern Caribbean Dollar at banks the fixed rate of exchange is 2.67 to $1USD.