Destinations & Sample Itineraries
Spanish Virgin Islands by Catamaran Manna
The Spanish Virgin Islands
The Spanish Virgin Islands have always been a well-kept secret, even back in the days of Bluebeard and other famous pirates who used the islands for hideouts.The fact that the U.S. Navy & Marines used the islands for bombing practice until 2003 also kept land developers, commercialism, and an abundance of sailing charters away.
The result is pristine and unspoiled islands, with spacious deserted white sandy beaches; crystal clear turquoise blue water, and healthy intact reefs teeming with fish, coral and crustaceans. There are hills to climb and explore; nearly empty anchorages, and the natural charm of the BVI from thirty-five years ago.
If you are looking for a somewhat remote pure paradise for your next vacation, or you are suffering from "been there, done that" syndrome, then the Spanish Virgin Islands might be your answer!
Arrive at SJU Airport in San Juan where the crew on Manna will be awaiting to pick you up in your own private van for the drive to Fajardo where Manna is berthed. Welcome drinks on board and safety briefing with a relaxing evening before our journey begins.
Early morning sail towards Culebra, arriving at Cayo Luis Pena for snorkeling and hiking. Cayo Luis Pena, is just off the island of Culebra. This 2-mile long, uninhabited wildlife refuge has numerous hiking paths and spectacular secluded beaches. For the sailing charterer looking for solitude, this is the spot.
Short sail over to Culebra for diving and snorkeling. Some of the Caribbean’s best diving and snorkeling is on Culebra.
Since 1909, the entire coastline and one-third of the interior has been designated the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, which is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These protected lands are home to endangered sea turtles, including the leatherback turtle, and some 50,000 sea birds. There are three roads on Culebra – all leading to a beach. The most famous and perhaps most spectacular in the entire Caribbean is Playa Flamenco.
Explore Culebra and Flamenco beach by golf carts. Home to only about 2,000 residents who live strictly by “island time,” this island has no resorts or nightclubs to entertain you. The sleepy town of Dewey is comprised of a ragtag assortment of two-story wooden lean-tos and a handful of bars and restaurants, whose owners may or may not choose to open them on any given day.
Sail to the tiny offshore cay, Culebrita. The snorkeling here is excellent. The beaches are fabulous, especially the 400-foot white sand crescent on the northern shore.The small uninhabited island of Culebrita is a nature reserve. It is part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge which protects large colonies of sea birds and nesting sea turtles. You’ll never get tired of watching the terns, red-billed tropic birds, and boobies soar above the island and swoop down low to catch fish.
The island is home to one of the oldest lighthouses in the Caribbean, which can be visited by hiking to its breathtaking location at the top of a large hill. Better yet, visit the seaward pools known locally as “the Jacuzzis”, a series of shallow, natural sea-fed pools filled with warm water. The “jacuzzi” action comes when the surf refreshes the water supply. You can also snorkel nearby reefs and ledges, or dive the Cayos Ballena, Tiburon and Geniqui a mile to the north.
Sail to Vieques.Twenty-one miles long and three to four miles wide, many cruisers consider the bays, coves, and beaches of this island the best of all Virgin Island anchorages. Due to its recent history as a U.S. bombing practice site, the island has been untouched by developers, With a population of only 8,000 human residents living in the central part, the island is also home to a large herd of roaming goats, a few scrawny cattle, and wild Paso Fino horses.
Another Vieques attraction is stargazing. The island is small and only has two small towns. Light pollution is low which is the perfect condition for enjoying a sky full of bright stars. The dark black cloudless skies paint the perfect background for a fantastic show of stars. If you are quiet and listen, the stars twinkle and create a beautiful melody accompanied by the sweet serenading sounds of the Puerto Rican “coquis”.
Sail back towards Fajardo and arrive at Isla Palominos, a jewel of a tropical island for your last evening aboard Manna.
Arrive at Sunbay Marina for preparation to go to SJU Airport by our private van.
Our professional crews will make sure each charter guest experiences the perfect personalized itinerary for their Virgin Islands sailing vacation.