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Situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands’ proximity to the Tropic of Cancer makes them an exhilarating destination for yacht charters. The Canary archipelago comprises seven main islands, which are divided into two areas. The first area brings together the main island of Gran Canaria with Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, while the second area encompasses Tenerife and its satellite islands of La Gomera, La Palma and Hierro. The varied terrain of the islands offers explorers everything from tropical vegetation to volcanic desert. The islands are spaced out so that yachties can enjoy one day’s sailing between most of them, beginning at Lanzarote before sailing on to Gran Canaria, Tenerife and its satellite islands. Nestled on the coastline of Gran Canaria, the city of Las Palmas boasts the largest marina in the Canaries. The marina offers a range of facilities and services, including ship-makers, spare parts shops, fuel, bars, shops and restaurants. Visitors are often enchanted by Las Palmas’ historical treasures, which include a host of diverse museums and the impressive Santa Ana cathedral. The Islands’ unique position means that marine life varies between North Atlantic, Mediterranean and endemic species. This is great news for divers, who should keep their eyes peeled for endangered Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Kemp’s Ridley turtles that call the archipelago home.
Positioned off the west coast of Senegal, the distinct charm of the islands of Cape Verde is attracting an increasing number of boating enthusiasts. Comprising 15 islands, the Verde archipelago is somewhat removed from the beaten tourist track, which means the craggy mountains, windswept deserts and sugar-white beaches are all ripe for exploration. Many yacht charters begin at the harbour of Mindelo on San Vicente, as the prevailing north-easterly trade wings make the harbour easily accessible from most of the other islands in the archipelago. The breezy, open waters of the Atlantic make for ideal cruising grounds, whether you are exploring via short hops between the islands or more challenging long distance journeys. Visitors exploring the jagged mountain scenery of the northern islands shouldn’t miss the opportunity to go canyoning in Santo Antao. Alternatively, hiking through the enchanting valleys of Fogo Island is another popular Verde pursuit. Many divers make a beeline for the island of Sal, where the waters are rich with reefs, wrecks and even offer cave diving.