There’s something so romantic about being on a boat out on the open sea, especially on a sailboat. It’s a feast for the senses with the sound of sails aflutter, the sight of the waves rhythmically rolling against the hull, and the scent of the salty breeze pungent in the air. My good friend and co-worker has done it several times to various islands in the Caribbean through a company called Tradewinds, which offers its members luxury all-inclusive yacht charters in destinations around the globe. Read on for my interview with Kala about her latest experience sailing around the exotic island of Guadeloupe with Tradewinds.
Lisa: Before we talk about your experience in Guadeloupe, Tell me about this company, Tradewinds. Do you have to be a member to book a trip with them?
Kala: My family purchased a membership but you can book one trip as a referral. This means if you know someone who has a Tradewinds membership and they refer you, you can book one vacation with them. The membership benefits are really incredible though; the cost of the yacht charter is significantly reduced and it includes a captain and chef, all of your gourmet meals, fine wines, water sports including 3 scuba dives, and a very personalized experience with small anchorages away from the crowds. It’s the ultimate in relaxation and pampering.
Lisa: Does Tradewinds offer only luxury yacht charters? Or do they have land-based options too?
Kala: With a membership, Tradewinds offers direct access to their affiliate and associate resort programs, including RCI, 3rd Home, and Karma Royal Group, which offer land-based stays at some of the most beautiful properties in the world. If you want to combine sea and land options, Tradewinds‘ new AQUA-TERRA experience on the Grenadine Island of Mayreau offers partial sailing and luxury villa stays. Tradewinds also offers partial yacht ownership to its members.
Lisa: Sounds like heaven. Are all the boats the same or do they differ in size and level of luxury?
Kala: Tradewinds has different classes of yachts, depending on how much you want to spend. The Flagship Class yachts are the ultimate in luxury and decadence, with a crew of 3-4 for extra pampering and a food and beverage package rivaling the best gourmet restaurants on shore. These are also the largest vessels at 70 feet long. The Luxury and Cruising Class yachts are between 50 and 60 feet long, each with their own unique design features.
Lisa: Where can you travel with Tradewinds yachts and resorts?
Kala: I personally have chartered yachts through Tradewinds in the Caribean Islands, but they also offer charters in Greece, Belize, Fiji, and French Polynesia, my next destination with Tradewinds in 2020. I’m beyond excited!! Their land-based destinations include France, Sint Maarten, and Mayreau in the Tobago Cays.
Lisa: Those are all spectacular places – I have travelled to the Tobago Cays in the Grenadine’s and that part of the Caribbean is my favorite for its unspoiled beauty. Many don’t even know it exists. Speaking of unspoiled, I want to hear about Guadeloupe. The image it conjures up in my mind is one of lush jungles, leggy palms on deserted beaches, and deep blue water.
Kala: You are right on target with that. Guadeloupe is a French Island in the southern Caribbean with lush green mountains and waterfalls. It is shaped like a butterfly with the 2 main islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre separated by a narrow strait that is crossed with bridges. To the south of the main islands are the smaller ones of Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and the Iles Des Saintes.
Unlike some of the islands I have sailed to and around with Tradewinds, Guadeloupe is unique with its deep waters that are more of a marine blue than turquoise. My husband and I did 3 scuba dives on this trip and it was so easy, as Tradewinds provided all of the gear, including my cute yellow wet suit! We explored The Coral Garden off the Pigeon Islands near the west coast of Guadeloupe, which is part of their underwater national park. It was spectacular with unique coral heads and colorful fish.
Lisa: Describe a typical day onboard a Tradewinds yacht charter for the reader and anything else someone might want to know before booking one.
Kala: The day started with breakfast served at about 8 am. After breakfast the captain brought out his map and briefed us on the course for the day as well as any activities offered along our route. We sailed for about 3-4 hours a day on this particular trip and if we wanted to assist in pulling lines and driving the yacht we could. Otherwise, every morning we staked out our respective reading spots on the boat. There was also a space to do yoga on the bow and hammocks and beanbags for lounging. Once anchored,we used the water toys, snorkeled, napped, enjoyed the special cocktail of the day, or went exploring on the island. In the evenings we ate deliciously prepared food, drank, and played games (those were provided too). We were usually in bed by 11 pm.
Please note this is a very unstructured, relaxing way to vacation. No phones, no computers, no schedules. It is the kind of vacation that leaves you feeling completely relaxed and refreshed. I highly recommend you try it!