Sitting on the southern side of the Caribbean, the Leeward Antilles weaves the holy tropical trio of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao together. These three charming islands are splashed in Caribbean color but each boasts its own unique personality. Only 30 kilometers long and 9 kilometers wide, Aruba can be conquered with ease. Drop anchor and prepare to be amazed by the rugged national parks, turtle nests and jade green waters, and bright Dutch inspired capital of Oranjstad. Over in Bonaire and its all salt pans, pink flamingos, and pastel shades to sweeten the mood. Curacao is another delight with its chocolate box style, tiny strips of sand to call your own, and UNESCO towns.
Reasons to Charter a Yacht in the Leeward Antilles
A Divers Treasure Chest
Blue holes, drifting rays, drop off points, and an endless tapestry of pure blue - Bonaire is a veritable divers paradise. The small island is home to endless marine parks, secret coves, and lagoons – so much so, that diving and snorkeling have become its main tourist draw industry. Discover the seahorses and cave grottos of Karpata, drift with big fish in the aptly named Sweet Dreams and get up close with reef sharks at the 1000 steps. World Class Diving. The bright blue seas of Aruba are littered with famous shipwrecks and psychedelic coral gardens.
Duty free delights are another hallmark of cool Curacao. Downtown Willemstad sees pottery, windmill trinkets, and Dutch cheeses lining the tourist shops. Liquor, tobacco, perfume, and other staples can all be picked up for wonderful prices, and designer wares and diamonds invite yacht charter guests and the well-heeled elite to splurge. The capital of Aruba may have the cruise ship crowds, but it manages to hold on to its low-key feel. The pretty painted buildings that line the port have become the poster child for the allure of the ABC islands. A well-orchestrated blend of local charm mingles with top tourist facilities. Five-star hotels and world class restaurants sit side-by-side pop up shops and fish shacks.
Pure Caribbean Calm
Bonaire may be the smallest yacht charter destination in the Leeward Antilles, but she is also the one that captures the authentic feel of the Caribbean more than her neighbors. Low key restaurants, prickly cactus plants, patchwork plantations, and a sleepy feel that ebbs and flows throughout the day. Bonaire is the perfect place to snooze, snorkel, sip rum, and repeat.
Where to Visit in the Leeward Antilles
Kickstarting the first stop in the shimmering ABC Islands, yacht charters to Aruba come for the glitz and stay for the turquoise sea. It’s easy to see the draw - sweeping white beaches, Dutch cool in the pint-sized capital and heady casino nights. Unlike other Caribbean destinations – Aruba shakes off her sleepy vibes. Aruba is the Gemini of the ABC islands – on one side the untamed Atlantic swell whips up white foam, and on the other the Caribbean gently laps against palm fringed sands. In-between, desert landscapes swelter beneath towering cacti, lush pockets of green and wandering pink flamingos.
A smudge of a yacht charter destination on the map – Bonaire is the tiniest of the ABC islands, stretching out at barely 112 miles. Still, of all the sisters, Bonaire is the island that echoes off the beaten track Caribbean bliss. Free from the tangle of large-scale resorts and chain brands, you will find peeling pastel homes, rogue donkeys wandering sun-drenched streets, and hidden scarves of sand draped around the neck of the turquoise waters. For charter days filled with diving, sipping cactus liquor, and immersing yourself in the wild wonders of small island life – Bonaire is a beauty.
Pastel painted Curacao is one of those Caribbean yacht charter destinations that comes with lashings of style. Part of the evocative ABC islands, Curacao sits prettily on the yachting route often connected with Aruba and Bonaire. Those charter guests turning their sights towards Curacao will find an island that offers so much more than a standard beach scene. Galleries, museums, duty free shopping, and an eclectic combination of Caribbean cultures that come with a hint of Dutch spirit and a pinch of Portuguese flair, all this is waiting for you on the chocolate box shores of Curacao.
When to Charter a Yacht in the Leeward Antilles
The rainy season in the Leeward Antilles tends to falls between October and February and can bring gentle pattering showers in the evenings. Visitors looking for calm waters and fewer crowds will be wooed by the island chain between the peaceful months of May and November. As the ABC chain enjoys mild weather throughout the year and doesn’t sit in the destructive hurricane path, yacht charter guests can’t go wrong when picking the perfect time to visit.