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Grenadines, Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin by sailboat 

Guide to the most beautiful destinations in the French Antilles

A constellation of islands immersed in a crystal clear sea ranging from green to deep blue: the clear seabed hides a treasure that is not only that of pirates...

The destination that everyone dreams of visiting at least once in a lifetime, synonymous with relaxing on blinding-white sandy beaches, winter sunbathing and cocktails served inside coconuts. The Caribbean is this and much, much more, especially from the vantage point of a sailboat or catamaran

Gently buoyed by the trade winds, which blow in a constant direction throughout the dry season, it is easy to get to the most secluded places on each island, discover its most remote coves and swim carefree among multicolored fish and sea turtles. Just arrive in Paris and then take a direct flight to one of the islands of the archipelago: Saint Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe or the Grenadines? Each with its own soul, quite distinct from the others, holds an immense heritage of biodiversity and Creole traditions to be discovered to the rhythm of the waves that will take you from one to the other.

The best time of year

The climate is typically tropical, with consistently high temperatures throughout the year ranging from 20 to 30 degrees. The best time to visit these islands coincides with European winter and spring, from November to April. These are the months of the dry season, during which disturbances are almost absent, temperatures high and winds constant but not too strong.

From May onward, however, the humidity rate rises and the rainy season begins: it is possible to run into much stronger winds with the possibility of hurricanes especially from June to September. 

Here are all the best periods to go to the Caribbean and those that are best avoided!

Travel Ideas

Travel Ideas

An exotic destination par excellence, the French Caribbean will transport you to a remote place of ancient culture. Sailing tirelessly from island to island, you will discover a huge variety of landscapes and traditions that will never cease to amaze you. Sailing is the perfect means to sail freely amidst this constellation of islands, but don't forget your hiking shoes: on land they will be your best allies!

Sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism

The Lesser Antilles hold an enormous wealth of biodiversity, on land as well as below sea level. They are often included in marine protected areas, such as the Cousteau Reserve or the Petite-Terre Reserve in Guadeloupe. Reachable only by boat, the Tobago Cays Marine Park is a must during a vacation to the Grenadines. If, on the other hand, you find yourself in Saint Martin, try the eco-snorkeling trail around the islet of Pinel.

Perfect for

Perfect for

Each island has its own well-defined identity. Saint Martin is for young peoplenightlife and casinos. Guadeloupe has a green soul, perfect for nature hikersMartinique, on the other hand, welcomes families, thanks to its proximity to French culture and food and the safety of its villages and roads. Finally, the Grenadines, an ideal place for those who just want to get away and enjoy island hopping by sailboat.

First time on a boat

First time on a boat

During the dry season, the trade winds blow steadily and give pleasant sailing even for first-timers. For quiet mooring, a roadstead in one of the many bays facing the western side of the islands toward the Caribbean Sea will suffice. Prefer a catamaran vacation for maximum comfort and avoid the rainy season. If you plan to visit many islands, consider that there may be more formed waves between them.

5 reasons to choose a Caribbean sailing vacation

  • Immerse yourself in a distant and very rich culture

    The islands of the French Caribbean are the perfect mix of hints from France and Creole culture: you will discover ancient traditions, cuisine with tasty seafood flavors, small towns with bright colors and a relaxed atmosphere, and good rum to delight at the end of a meal.

  • A warm New Year's Eve

    The European winter corresponds to the dry season in the Caribbean, which is the perfect time to visit! Buy flights well in advance and you will spend the winter vacations in costume! 

  • Discover a true paradise on earth

    Long snorkeling sessions in the Tobago Cays, hiking in Guadeloupe's lush forest, visiting Martinique's flourishing gardens, and sailing around the completely deserted atolls of Saint Martin: where to start?

  • Enjoy the perfect sailing conditions

    Whether you are an experienced sailor or just on your first experience, the trade winds will make you experience enjoyable sailing in optimal weather and sea conditions.

  • Getting there by crossing the ocean

    For the more experienced, trying your hand at an Atlantic crossing is a thrilling challenge that will be rewarded with arriving in the beautiful Caribbean. Not convinced? Here's everything you need to know about the Atlantic crossing.

The exotic destination par excellence perfect to discover on a catamaran

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The starting point for most cruises thanks to the Fort-de-France International Airport, Martinique is an island that stretches from north to south and offers two completely different types of landscapes. In the south you will find everything you expect from the Caribbean: turquoise water full of multicolored fish, fine sand, and palm trees with green foliage. Here sailing will be pleasant and peaceful as all the coves are sheltered from the ocean's most vigorous waves. The southern route will enable you to quickly reach Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with an intermediate stop on the island of Saint Lucia.

The northern part of the island, on the other hand, is wilder. Dominated by the volcano La Pelée, from which the black color of the beaches derives, it hides rainforestsmangroves and banana plantations. Going ashore, you will find numerous hiking trails and botanical gardens that are among the best maintained and richest in the French Antilles, such as Balata. It is no coincidence that Martinique is called "the island of flowers"!

Saint Vincent e le Grenadine

Saint Vincent e le Grenadine

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) make up the southernmost archipelago in the Caribbean and have more than 600 islands, of which only nine are inhabited-a sailor's paradiseSaint Vincent, the main island, is volcanic in origin, and its landscape is characterized by craggy mountains interspersed with valleys and gullies. The coastline of the island's east coast is rugged and rocky, while that of the west coast slopes down to black sand beaches.

Sailing south you will arrive at Bequia, smaller and idyllic, to admire Princess Margaret Beach with its golden sand and a coastline framed by almond and cedar trees. Still farther south you can stop at the roadsteads of Mayreau or Union Island within easy reach of each other. Not to be missed is the Tobago Cays Marine Park: five islets protected by coral reef and surrounded by sea that ranges from green to azure to deep blue. This is the ideal place for long snorkeling sessions among fish, sea turtles, small sharks and rays, but also for kite or windsurfers thanks to the trade winds. 



Guadeloupe is an incredible playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Using your catamaran as a base, you can enjoy so many activities and alternate between sailingdivingsnorkeling or hiking. During a week's vacation, you will have no difficulty finding a heavenly spot for a stop at the roadstead, then go ashore and stroll around discovering the incredible atmosphere of the Creole villages. You will discover an island with lush nature, famous for its tropical forests and its sulfur volcano, La Grande Soufrière. 

Sailing along the west coast of the island, you will discover the Cousteau Reserve: a true paradise for diving enthusiasts and one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean where all you need to do is don a mask and snorkel to admire a very wide range of marine flora and fauna.

A short distance to the south of the island you can reach Les Saintes, an archipelago of small islands where life flows slowly among the colorful houses of the locals and turquoise-water bays sheltered from the winds.

Marie-Galante, a small, round-shaped island not far away, is also far off the beaten path of tourism, so you will find plenty of authenticity and folklore there-the ideal place for sailors looking for completely deserted beaches. This is called "l'île aux cent moulins" because mills once dominated the landscape, used to crush sugar cane and produce the excellent local syrup.

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

The island of Saint Martin is located in the north, a short distance from Puerto Rico. Like the other islands in the Caribbean, it has had a long history of foreign domination, which today is reflected in the division of its territory into two parts: the northern part, belonging to France, and the southern part to the Netherlands.

It is an island of volcanic origin, with lush nature and blinding white sandy beaches. All around are many small islets, perfect for island hopping by sailboat: the island of Pinel, the nature reserve of Tintamarre, and the famous island of Saint-Barthélemy, a true paradise oasis and vacation resort of many VIPs. 

On land, too, there will be no shortage of activities to do: hiking in the tropical forest to discover the old sugar mills, relaxing on semi-deserted beaches, shopping in duty-free stores or nightlife in the island's many restaurants and clubs. Don't miss: a tour of the island's largest artisanal market in Grand-Case and a traditional dinner at a Lolo, a typical restaurant on the beach where you can eat exclusively grilled fish. 

Pratical info


The Lesser Antilles are islands in the Caribbean that, creating almost a semicircle, divide the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Caribbean Sea to the west. The island of Saint Martin is the northernmost one, a few miles away from the others. Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique follow one after the other as they descend southward to St. Vincent and the tiny Grenadines. Politically, their territories belong to France.

How to get there

All of the French Caribbean is well connected to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Find direct flights to Fort-de-France (Martinique), Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) and Simpson Bay (Saint Martin) throughout the year. You can also often find flights from Paris Orly airport, or from Milan and Rome with stopovers in between. 

Getting around

The Caribbean is well connected by domestic planes and ferries, but on a sailing vacation you won't need them. Often the port of departure is very close to the airport or otherwise easily accessible by local transportation. The skipper will then guide you on a tour of the main islands and coves, without needing to think about anything else! 


Throughout the winter and spring the trade winds blow, regular and steady winds from the northeast to the southwest that bring relief from the Caribbean heat, as well as creating a favorable environment for sailing.

Ports and marinas

The Caribbean is small to medium in size and dominated by lush wilderness. For this reason you will not encounter many ports during a sailing itinerary, but you will prefer to stop at the beautiful island roadsteads. The main ports are Port La Royale in Saint Martin, the port of Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, and Fort-de-France in Martinique.


The price of a Caribbean sailing or catamaran vacation can range from 1,500 to 2,000 euros per person. The final cost, however, will depend on many factors. For example, these types of experiences often include a hostess on board and sometimes full board with a cook on board, which may drive up the price. In addition, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Easter cruises cost more than average, as do airline tickets during these periods.



Guides & tips

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The Caribbean archipelago by sailboat

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