Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao make up the ABC Islands, a beautiful Dutch-Caribbean archipelago which is attracting a growing number of superyachts for Caribbean yacht charters. The islands lie safely to the south of the hurricane belt just off the South American coast, meaning an ABC Islands yacht charter is a wonderful option at any time of year.
ABC Islands Yacht Charter – Finding an Unexpected Treasure
Famous for the pastel facades that line the colonial waterfronts, some of the finest dive sites in the world off Bonaire, and an exceptional selection of activities including kitesurfing, golf, and big game fishing, the ABC Islands are a breathtaking yacht charter destination. As you might expect of the Caribbean, the islands are naturally blessed with dreamy turquoise seas, stunning coral reefs, and white sands shaded by coconut palms – but that’s where the similarities end.
For as you float through the ABC Islands on your charter superyacht, gone are the lush rainforests of the northern Caribbean. Instead, you’ll find semi-arid, hauntingly beautiful landscapes of vast flamingo lakes and cacti stands dotted across the tropical savannah. It feels more South American than the Caribbean you might expect – a sense only exacerbated by the white-tailed deer and capybaras found grazing in the hills: both transplants from the vast continent to the south.
And the surprises don’t end there, as you wander quaint Dutch towns with their colourful buildings and marvel at the sense of Northern Europe transplanted to the Caribbean. Yet when you get back on your yacht, you’re back in a more ‘typical’ Caribbean again – diving and swimming and playing the days away.
In the ABC Islands, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America collide in the most fascinating way.
5 Signature Experiences on an ABC Islands Yacht Charter
1. See the pink lakes, flamingos, and salt pyramids of Bonaire
Bonaire cultivates salt, and the giant white pyramids rise up over lakes that are coloured a deep pink by the salt content. In places, you can see the bright pink water of the salt ponds contrasting vividly with the nearby turquoise blue sea. And where you see pink water…you’ll also see pink flamingos, who stalk through the ponds and along the breezy beaches. The pyramids and salt ponds are a photographer’s dream!
2. Dive Bonaire’s Underwater Paradise
When it comes to scuba diving, Bonaire has almost an embarrassment of riches, and the island is simply unmissable for a Caribbean diving yacht charter itinerary. There are 86 dive sites in Bonaire Marine Park, with splendid coral reefs, over 350 species of fish, incredible shipwrecks including the famous Hilma Hooker. Bonaire is well protected from currents too, making this a great place for divers of all levels. Salt Pier and La Dania’s Leap are standout sites in an extremely high standard of diving.
3. Sail (or kitesurf) the Caribbean trade winds
If you’re chartering a sailing yacht in the ABC Islands or enjoy windsurfing or kitesurfing, you are in for a serious treat. The trade winds make this archipelago a world-class playground for wind sports – and Bonaire constantly features in “best windsurfing destinations in the world” lists.
4. Hit the beach
The islands have many excellent beaches, that your only difficulty will be deciding where to spend your time. On Aruba, Eagle Beach and Palm Beach are popular favourites – and their white sands and sapphire seas are just a stone’s throw from some excellent spa hotels for an afternoon massage. On quiet, dreamy Bonaire, you’ll find the rocky coast indented with private coves, as well as larger beaches on the southern shore. Curaçao offers a mix of both, with swanky private beaches lining the shorefront of fine hotels, as well as quiet, secluded beaches dotted around the island. No matter where you decide to drop anchor for your ABC Islands beach day, you’ll want to finish the afternoon with a rum cocktail in a breezy beach shack, watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea.
5. Wander the charming streets of Willemstad, Curacao
Curaçao’s capital is a sight for sore eyes. Willemstad has earned UNESCO World Heritage status for its colourful Dutch facades and rich history and wandering its rainbow-coloured waterfronts and pretty waterways is a morning very well-spent. Pavement cafes and restaurants sit under 17th-century facades in Pietermaai, and galleries and boutiques line the streets in Punda. And just when you feel you’ve been transported into Holland, you’ll glimpse between two buildings and see a flash of the tropical blue sea. An ABC Islands yacht charter is the ideal way to explore this fascinating archipelago in the southern Caribbean.