yacht charter

What to Know about Shoulder Seasons when Booking Your Next Yacht Charter Vacation

When planning your luxury yacht charter, understanding “shoulder seasons” is essential for making the most of your time on board and vacations.

Different from the bustling high seasons and the unpredictable hurricane periods, shoulder seasons offer a perfect blend of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and more competitive pricing.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the shoulder seasons—primarily April through early June and mid-November to mid-December—are the ideal time to sail. While June may see a slight increase in rainfall, these months generally promise enjoyable temperatures and smoother sailing conditions.

By contrast, the high season, spanning December through March, is quite popular. It coincides with the end of the hurricane season and attracts tourists from the colder regions of the US and Europe seeking warmth in the Caribbean. This period is marked by its higher costs, shorter days, and crowded moorings. It also means being mindful of the ‘Christmas Winds’, trade winds that can start towards the end of December and produce winds up to 25-35 knots and rougher water.

To help you find the best time for your next yacht charter, we’re providing some insights on each of the lesser-known yachting seasons below, including both shoulder seasons and hurricane season. For even more information, you’re more than welcome to speak with our yacht charter specialists, too.

BVI and USVI Shoulder Season 1 (April to June)

April through early June in the BVI marks a great period for luxury yacht charters, offering tranquility and exceptional sailing conditions. 

Here’s what to expect

  • Weather and Winds – Expect predictable weather with steady winds from the east to southeast, typically ranging between 10-15 knots.
  • Rainfall – Light, occasional showers provide a refreshing cool down, enhancing the lush, tropical scenery.
  • Crowds – Fewer tourists mean more secluded beaches and quieter moorings, allowing for a more exclusive and relaxing experience.

BVI and USVI Peak Hurricane Season (July to October)

Sailing the BVI from July to October offers a unique opportunity, albeit with considerations for tropical weather. 

Key aspects include:

  • Weather and Winds – The region experiences milder trade winds (5-15 knots) and increased temperatures, suitable for those enjoying a leisurely pace.
  • Tropical Activity – Being the wet season, preparedness for potential storms is essential, though it also means less crowded islands.
  • Availability – Many local establishments have reduced operations, which could mean fewer options but also more privacy.

BVI and USVI Shoulder Season 2 (mid-November to mid-December)

The month ranging from mid-November to mid-December brings another advantageous shoulder season to the BVI, characterized by excellent sailing conditions and reduced visitor numbers. 

Details include:

  • Weather and Winds – Conditions stabilize with trade winds from the east to northeast, around 15-20 knots—ideal for sailing enthusiasts.
  • Daylight – The days are getting shorter, and with daylight means slightly less time for certain outdoor and underwater activities.
  • Crowds – The calm before the holiday season rush, offering peace and exclusivity on the water and ashore.

FAQs About Shoulder Season vs. High Season Yacht Charters

  1. What is the season for yacht charters?

Yacht charter seasons are broadly categorized into high season, shoulder season, and hurricane season. 

The high season runs from December to March, shoulder seasons occur in April to June and again from November to December, while the hurricane season spans from July to October.

  1. What is the best season for yachting?

If you prefer quieter sails with fewer crowds and more favorable charter rates, the shoulder seasons (April to June and November) are ideal. These periods offer excellent weather conditions and less crowded marinas. 

For those who enjoy a vibrant atmosphere and don’t mind the crowds, the high season (December to March) might be preferable, offering cooler temperatures and lively local events.

  1. Is it possible to charter yachts during hurricane season?

Yes, it is possible to charter yachts during the hurricane season, which lasts from July to October. However, this period requires careful planning and awareness of weather conditions due to the potential for tropical storms. 

Some travelers find this season appealing for its reduced prices and lower tourist numbers, but it’s important to consider the increased risk and ensure that your charter company is prepared for sudden weather changes.

  1. What’s the difference between shoulder season and high season for yacht charters?

The main differences between shoulder season and high season for yacht charters revolve around crowd size, cost, and weather conditions. 

High season, occurring during the winter months, attracts the most tourists due to its milder weather, resulting in higher prices and busier locations. 

Shoulder seasons, on the other hand, offer a more relaxed experience with fewer tourists, lower costs, and still favorable weather, making them excellent times for those seeking both value and a more serene environment.

  1. How do rains during shoulder and hurricane seasons affect snorkeling, scuba diving, and other underwater activities?

Rain can have an impact on snorkeling, scuba diving, and other underwater activities, especially during the hurricane and shoulder seasons. 

During the hurricane season, which spans from July to October, frequent and heavy rains can reduce underwater visibility by stirring up sediments and causing increased runoff from the land. 

In the shoulder seasons, particularly from May to June and in November and December, these periods generally provide more stable and clearer conditions for underwater explorations. 

Let Our Yacht Charter Specialists Help You Take Advantage Of Shoulder Season

At Waypoints Yacht Charters, we specialize in crafting tailored luxury yacht charters that allow you to take advantage of gorgeous destinations like the BVI and USVI. We invite you to experience the unmatched beauty of the Virgin Islands through a personalized  yacht charter itinerary. Contact Waypoints Yacht Charters today to get started.