TOP 5 SECRET YACHTING DESTINATIONS YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T HEARD OF YET
You have certainly never heard of the incredible paradise called Socotra Archipelago located in the south of Yemen. Often called “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”, Socotra has long been a land of mystery. Over the centuries travellers returned from these Indian Ocean isles with bizarre tales – of trees yielding dragon’s blood and cucumbers, forest of frankincense, and towering pinnacles in the mist. Now a fuller picture has emerged of the four semi-desert islands, portraying a rich and unique flora and fauna with over a third of plants found nowhere else in the world, a diverse landscape of plateau, plain and mountain, all safeguarded from the mass tourism. Only few tourists make it here but those that do are rewarded with mesmerising blue shores and a world of alien landscapes. Being one of the most isolated and last untouched landforms on Earth, Socotra is a definite must-see yachting destination for all those who desire ultimate seclusion and exquisite natural heritage with a hint of adventure.
Svalbard Archipelago, Norway
Svalbard, situated halfway between Norway and the North Pole, is a completely untouched stretch of island off which beluga whales, walrus and seals play in the arctic waters. Accessible only by explorer yacht, Svalbard offers an experience like no other. Explore regions considered off-limits alongside experts, before basking in the northern lights and midnight sun. Search for Polar Bear and Walrus colonies as you cross the tundra by dog sledge. Cruise into glacial valleys, fjords, and abseil into deep creases. Go underwater with dive masters to watch guillemots beneath the surface catching fish. Ski on top virgin slopes and voyage to ice caps covered in glacial waterfalls, before a BBQ overlooking the pack ice in complete seclusion.
Kuril Islands, Russia
Rising from the deep, shrouded in cloud and mystery, the remote Kuril Islands originally inhabited by the native Ainu people make for a magnificent sight. Stretching 1,300km northeast from Hokkaido, Japan all the way to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, this volcanic archipelago is one of the last outposts of a land less trodden. For superyacht owners and charter guests on the hunt for explorative ‘off the beaten track’ travel, the Kuril Islands – featuring virgin forests, dramatic rocky shores, wide rivers, pools of gargling springs and snow-capped peaks – more than deliver. Nearly 30 of the islands’ 300 volcanoes still erupt with spectacular regularity, and towns and villages remain sparse. Only accessed by air or water, wildlife thrives in this isolated landscape. Pink salmons, brown bears roaming the volcanic terrain, migrating orca whales passing through the icy waters on their way north or near-threatened Stellar sea lions languoring salubriously on the black-ash shoreline. The mystifying Kuril Islands offer a huge, untapped potential for adventure – be one of the first ones to explore this secret gem!
This cluster of 9 tiny islands in the Atlantic Ocean belong to Portugal. These volcanic islands are known for their dramatic landscape and are ideal to explore by boat. As they are literally in the middle of nowhere, the Azores remain very unspoilt and make an unusual and otherworldly destination to see by luxury yacht. Natural wonders like impossibly blue lakes, hot springs, hydrangeas and volcanic craters will literally take your breath away. From whale watching to scuba diving to incredible heritage sites, tea plantations and vineyards, a visit to the Azores can be fun for everyone!
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The sparsely populated Raja Ampat Islands comprise more than 1500 islands just off Sorong. With their sublime scenery of steep, jungle-covered islands, fine white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, weird mushroom-shaped islets and pellucid turquoise waters, Raja Ampat is without question one of the most beautiful island chains in the world. Home to the richest marine biodiversity on earth, these islands are heaven on earth for divers who come to explore the seas teaming with a huge variety of wildlife. Look out for whale sharks, manta rays, and the endangered Pacific Leatherback turtle. Experience of a lifetime!