The balmy and inviting shores of the Bahamas make the islands an ideal vacation destination all year round, but only chartering your own private yacht truly allows you to explore outside of the areas usually frequented by tourists. Of course, some spots are more popular than others, even among yacht owners and renters. Try checking out these less-crowded anchorage gems dotted among the Bahamas to enjoy pristine beaches and charming cities away from the beaten track.
Looking for an old-fashioned Bahamas experience with the amenities of a modern island settlement? Hope Town maintains its charm by banning motorized traffic and encouraging art galleries and other small businesses to thrive, even though this town gets far less traffic than Nassau. If your plans bring you to the Abacos as you depart from Florida, make this one of your first anchorages. The harbor is settled and is somewhat crowded with moorings, but shallow yachts can access plenty of open areas for dropping anchor. There are also three different marinas for yacht users who need fueling and other services.
When it's nature that you're heading to the Bahamas to enjoy, Conception Island definitely deserves a day trip. Surrounded by rich reefs that are easy to explore even if you're a beginning diver, the island also has a sheltered lagoon that is easily accessed by a dinghy moored a few miles south of the anchoring area. The island is completely uninhabited and home to several endangered and threatened species, so take care not to disturb the wildlife or scenery when visiting. This island is quite far from the nearest protected bays, so expect to stop overnight at a nearby cay instead of making the entire round trip in one day.
Samson Cay in the Exumas is not home to a public settlement, but it does offer a luxurious marina that provides plenty of services for non-members who drop in for a visit. Unlike many other private marinas, the Samson Cay establishment has a restaurant, pool, and small store that is accessible to all guests. If you decide to stay in one of the rental lodges in order to explore the lush dunes around the area, you can take a quick trip to Staniel Cay to access the local hospital, airport, and other essential services. The area is a convenient place to make your home base as you explore the hundreds of cays and coves across the Exumas area.
Are you willing to chart a difficult course through tricky shallows and hidden reefs in order to reach a hidden gem of the Bahamas few yacht users ever explore? Head to Eleuthera. Not only does this well-guarded cove offer unusual beauty, even by Bahamas standards, it's also well-known for having a welcoming atmosphere that draws strangers in. You'll leave knowing you've made new friends, which is why so many people who make the trip to Eleuthera return again and again despite the difficulties. The harbors are small and hard to enter around the various islands, but there are a few protected anchorages around the north end that are easier to access.
Finally, make Whale Cay your goal if you're interested in some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities to be found in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, yacht cruisers also consider it one of the most difficult areas to approach thanks to the wide berth of extremely shallow sand bars. Make sure you polish up on your shallow water navigation skills and take along a boat that can bypass sand bars if you plan to take a trip to Whale Cay.
For more information, contact a yacht charter company like Charter Bonaparte.