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An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around the islands in the Caribbean. The whole Caribbean region is one of the most popular cruising and sailing regions in the world.

The Caribbean (Dutch: Cariben or Caraïben; French: Caraïbe or more commonly Antilles; Spanish: Caribe) is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. The region is located southeast of the United States, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.

Solitude in the Bahamas
Photo: Yacht Lynx (Click for larger view)

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. Also called the West Indies, since Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492 believing he was in India, the region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), and the Bahamas. Geopolitically, the West Indies are usually reckoned as a subregion of North America and are organised into 27 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. At one time, there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories.

The Caribbean islands are an island chain 4,020 kilometres (2,500 mi) long and no more than 257 kilometres (160 mi) wide at any given point. They enclose the Caribbean Sea.

The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of European contact. In the English-speaking Caribbean, someone from the Caribbean is usually referred to as a "West Indian," although the phrase "Caribbean person" is sometimes used.

The Caribbean Cruising and Sailing Region (Islands). Map by kind permission and copyright of Paradise Islands (Click on map for larger view)

General Cruising/Sailing in the Caribbean

Expand about cruising/sailing in the region?

The Caribbean Islands/Groups

Antigua & Barbuda
Aruba (Neth) Question icon.png
Bonaire (Neth)
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
Cayman Isles
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Dominican Republic
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Netherlands Antilles
Puerto Rico (US)
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San Andres (Colombia) Question icon.png
San Blas Islands (Panama) Question icon.png
Sint Maarten (Neth)
Spanish Virgin Islands
St Barthelemy
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin (Fr)
St Vincent & The Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
Turks & Caicos
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US Virgin Islands

Question icon.png = Needs data.

Caribbean Climate and Weather

Islands of the Lesser Antilles: In the north, the Leeward Islands; in the south, the Windward Islands; and in the west, the Leeward Antilles. Click for larger view.

The climate of the region is tropical but rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. Winters are warm, but drier.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricanes, which at times batter the region, usually strike northwards of Grenada, and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean.

Sources of weather forecasting information:

Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

  • HF Nets:
  • VHF Nets:
    • St. Martin/Maarten 0730 VHF 14 Monday-Saturday
    • English Harbour 0900 VHF 68/06 Daily
    • Grenada 0730 VHF 68 Monday-Saturday
    • Chaguaramas 0800 VHF 68 Monday-Sunday
    • Porlamar 0800 VHF 72 Monday-Saturday
    • Puerto La Cruz 0745 VHF 72 Monday-Saturday
    • Rodney Bay 0830 VHF 68 Monday-Saturday

Popular Caribbean Cruising Circuits

Also see Gulf Stream Crossing.

References & Publications

Books, Guides, etc.

Websites that List Available Guides & Books

  • RCC Pilotage Foundation, Passage Planning Map based index to RCC Crusing Guide Books & Passage Planning Guides.
  • Imray produce many Cruising Guides for Many areas of the world, [1]
  • Conference of Yacht Cruising Clubs (UK), Sailing Directions published by CYCC members has many guides for the UK and a few that cover over areas of Europe.
  • Ocean Cruising Club, Cruising Areas This website contains information for a large number of cruing areas including brief information about each area and a list of guide books as well as a Google map of the locations in the reports.
  • Cruising Association, Publications Books and Cruising Guides.
  • Adlard Coles Nautical Publisher, Cruising & Chartering Produce a number of Cruising Guides and Passage Planning Books as well as many other nautical books.
  • (Kelvin Hughes Limited) On Line Book Shop Has many Pilot books covering many areas of the world.

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

Links to relative websites

Personal Notes

This Page/Section has an outline in place but it needs more content. Please sail in and help it grow into a useful resource! GRAB THE PAGE AND BUILD IT!.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Mezzaluna, TaoJones, Rr7

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