Is The U.s. Virgin Islands A New Hotbed For Yacht Chartering?

By Michelle G. | July 13, 2023

Since Covid, the U.S. Virgin Islands has gained tremendous popularity as a yacht charter destination due to the restricted access to other popular destinations. Until then, these beautiful islands had been mostly overlooked. But these islands have answered the call and earned their place on the world charter map.

The VIPCA (Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association) Charter Yacht Show has seen tremendous growth over the last several years. This organization is largely responsible for the yacht charter growth. The annual show is hosted each November at Yacht Haven Grande and allows for yacht charter brokers to meet and build relationships with charter yacht crews as well as inspect a large number of yachts available for charter.

The U. S. Virgin Islands is an ideal location because it allows for quick and easy flights into St. Thomas from the continental United States. Beyond that it has gorgeous mountain views, beautiful white sand beaches and secluded harbors in addition to short distances between islands. The weather is predictable and ideal throughout the year making this location ideal for water sports and fishing. The islands are also home to seven national parks.

Charters typically begin in Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook in St. Thomas. Yacht Haven Grande is located in Charlotte Amalie and offers boutique and restaurants. You can stay a night or two and enjoy the marina, swimming pools, tennis and a private yacht club. This area is also rich in history and you can even enjoy a walking tour or a shopping trip downtown. Magens Bay is a popular beach to enjoy (weather dependent). You can paddleboard swim or walk on St. Thomas’ longest beach or head up to the beach bar.

St. John offers a different vibe. Most of the island is a national park and it is beautiful and unspoiled. You can snorkel with sea turtles at Waterlemon Bay. In Maho Bay you can also snorkel with sea turtles or take the dinghy in and explore Maho Crossroads. Here you will find a tiki bar, food truck, beach games and a small boutique. You can’t go wrong in Coral Bay with a visit to Lime Out, the floating taco restaurant. Have a cocktail, enjoy gourmet tacos and the festive atmosphere. You can also hike on Rams Head Trail and catch a breathtaking sunset. Lovango Beach Club at Caneel Bay is another wonderful spot to explore and sip on a cocktail.

Christmas Cove off of Great St. James, offers the famous Pizza Pi boat when open. At Little St. James you can snorkel or dive at “Ledges” or “Cow and Calf”. Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is another great spot. Grab a cocktail at Dinghy’s Beach Bar or rent a golf cart and explore this island.

If conditions are right, you can sail to St. Croix in 4-5 hours on a beam reach. Take a jeep tour to see the rainforest, epic water views and also make sure to stop at Norma’s Domino Club and feed the beer drinking pigs (it’s nonalcoholic ). Tour Fort Christian, Fort Frederick or Estate Whim or snorkel Buck Island and enjoy this laid back island’s unique culture.

Don’t overlook the U.S. Virgin Islands as a great spot for the both novice and experienced charterers!