Stop what you’re doing for a moment and picture the ocean – sliding across sparkling water, sunlit sails shining above a plain of perfect blue as your boat drifts onwards into the endless horizon. Yes, it’s pretty easy to imagine why so many sailors embrace this activity with every ounce of their being.
Some destinations are more memorable than others, however, so here are five that are guaranteed to render you speechless with their paradise-like beauty.
- French Polynesia
- South America
- the Caribbean
Situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar once served the Arab world as a trading post. Sail through the island’s shimmering turquoise waters and stop at its numerous beautiful beaches for a breathtaking experience.
Pro tip: One of the best ways to discover the region is on board a dhow, a traditional boat that has large, triangular sails. Schedule plenty of stops for outstanding diving and snorkeling opportunities.
French Polynesia consists of five main groups of islands, the most famous of which is Tahiti. With a landscape characterized by mountainous former volcanoes covered in lush vegetation and spectacular waterfalls, the islands are the epitome of tropical paradise. They branch out over 460 square miles, an area the size of Western Europe, making sailing tours as diverse as the islands themselves.
Pro tip: Widely regarded as the center of French Polynesia, Raiatea is the ideal starting point to discover its other islands – including Bora-Bora, Moorea, Taha’a and Tahiti – by sailboat.
This small archipelago of volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador remains serene and unspoiled, despite attracting travelers from all over the world. They come to marvel at the islands’ famous flora and fauna, which include giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins and marine iguanas. Perfectly condensed in a small area of the Pacific Ocean, all 19 islands can be discovered on a sailing tour.
Pro tip: Treat yourself to a week-long tour where you stay on the ship. The mix of sailing, relaxing, snorkeling and nature is unlike anywhere else.
The Grenadines are a chain of 32 islands between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. With impressive landscapes and a rich marine life, you’ll be equally charmed by its friendly people and its pristine white beaches. Offering ideal sailing conditions in a secluded environment, the experience is unparalleled.
Pro tip: Bequia, the Grenadines’ second largest island, has been its hub for sailing for centuries. Port Elizabeth, the capital, features numerous options if you want to charter a boat.
To best sum up Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, it’s necessary to paraphrase Shakespeare and describe them as “the stuff dreams are made of”. Azure waters, cloudless skies and 74 stunning islands with shimmering white, sandy beaches are everything a sailor could ask for. Much of the area forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, renowned for its sea turtles, brightly coloured fish and kaleidoscopic coral.
Pro tip: Head to the mainland resort town of Airlie Beach, known as ‘the gateway to the Whitsundays’, to rent a boat or book your tour.