When it comes to island hopping, it can be difficult to know how to begin planning it. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up on nothing more than a pre-planned tour of a few islands.
Island hopping, as a pastime, combines the feeling of a tropical villa with the constant variety of a road trip, letting you holiday around an entire island chain rather than staying waterborne for the whole journey.A lot of companies will offer more generalisland hopping packages, often being scheduled to use a variety of ferries or passenger boats to get from place to place on a strict time limit – the experience isn’t quite the same when you’re having to spend a lot of it travelling on slow, linear boats.
However, there are a few companies, such West Nautical, that offer a more freeform approach to island hopping – take out a charter and you can go pretty much anywhere you want in a luxury yacht, with all of the maintenance and technical work carried out by the on-board crew. Not only do you have complete freedom, you’ll also be able to stay on board as long as you want – you can even sleep on the yacht itself, if you’ve got a bed to use!
No matter how you do it, though, there’s always a lot to consider when taking a boat out for island hopping. For example, are you going to have enough places to resupply your boat with food and other necessities? A lot of islands, especially in warmer parts of the world, are uninhabited, so it’s a good idea to at least know where you can reliably restock during your holiday.
You’ll also want to decide what you’ll actually do on your trip. Some people might like to visit unexplored islands, or spend time relaxing on their beaches and shores. Others might want to travel from party venue to party venue, using the yacht as a place to relax afterwards and prepare for their next night out. Others still might go with the flow, stopping off at each island and seeing that there is – or isn’t – and letting things play out from there.
It also depends on what kind of yacht you’re using – some are meant to be used as a place to sleep, eat and live, with beds and kitchens that can reliably supply you with food and shelter overnight. Others are more for transport, meaning you’ll have to stay in a hotel (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a tent) most of the time. If it’s fast, consider planning a longer route than usual when setting up a yacht charter so that you don’t run out of things to do.
Finally, you need to plan out your ending point. It sounds odd, but if you’re doing down a chain of islands, you’ll likely not end up finishing your journey near where you started. In that case, you need to make sure you can stock up on things you need for the return journey, find out how long it could take to get home, and make sure that you aren’t sailing in the wrong direction – those clusters of islands can be disorienting at times.