Cactus Women's 6" Foam LS60 6" Black Slip-Resistant Boots Memory Foam Memory Insole Work 4686678

Yes, you, too, can sail on a private yacht in the Caribbean Yes, you, too, can sail on a private yacht in the Caribbean
Renting a private vessel in the Caribbean and cruising through a warm, salty-breezed parallel universe isn’t as out of reach as you may think
Cactus Women's 6
As the old saying goes -- money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull right up alongside it.

Sailing the Caribbean.

For many, it’s just an item on the bucket list. Something reserved for those privileged few who actually own yachts in the Caribbean, know someone connected in the BVIs or who even have the foggiest idea about how to operate a 46-foot (14-meter) catamaran, right?

Think again.

Enter the world of Caribbean yacht charters and the keys to a nautical kingdom are tossed to the common among us. Not just yachties and experienced sailors, but landlubbers eager to chalk up an unforgettable, fully crewed, tropical vacation on the open water.

“A lot of first-timers are pleasantly surprised by how doable it is -- chartering a yacht and making their dream sailing trip a reality,” says Dennis Dori of Charter Sailing Unlimited, a U.S.-based charter yacht brokerage company with ties to hundreds of vessels for hire all over the Antilles.

“And there’s truly no better or easier place in the world to do it than in the Caribbean.”

Here are some Chartering 101 basics and pinch-me-I’m-dreaming, charter-friendly destinations that’ll make your next Caribbean trip your best one yet.

More on CNN: Insider Guide -- Best of Miami

How? Three chartering tips

The gist of charter sailing is simpler than tying a bowline. Here are your first three questions, and answers, on the subject:

Do I have to know how to sail -- or make dinner when a storm's blowing?

Yes, if you’re chartering a “bareboat,” meaning a fully equipped sailing yacht without a captain or crew.

No, if you opt for an all-inclusive crewed yacht charter package that comes with a skipper, crew and chef.

Both options are readily available throughout the Caribbean and you probably already know which one is for you.

While bareboat charters are more common (and cheaper), the crewed option is a great way to gain some guided sailing experience or just kick back on a private yacht and enjoy a worry-free vacation. A “skippered bareboat” is an alternative for non-sailors who need a captain but don’t want to spring for a whole crew.

How much is this gonna cost?

Cactus Women's 6How many crazy rich people do you see down there? Probably not as many as you think.
Prices range widely, depending on the vessel, passenger and crew size, and when you go (high season in the Caribbean runs from mid-December through late April).

Typical all-inclusive rates for a week on a fully crewed sailing yacht run from US$1,800-2,500 per person (for a standard-sized group of four to six people), plus incidentals and 10-15 percent gratuity. Couples can lower their costs by opting for a “cabin cruise” -- chartering a single berth on a boat shared with other guests.

Let’s do this. Who do I call?

An experienced broker accredited with a recognized chartering organization such as the Charter Yacht Brokers Association or American Yacht Charter Association can tailor a charter sailing vacation to your needs without adding to the cost.

The Moorings and Sunsail operate the two largest charter yacht fleets in North America, with several bases throughout the Caribbean.

Where? Three yacht charter hotspots

Spanish Virgin Islands

No one said you have stay on the boat.
It’s been said that cruising through the Spanish Virgin Islands (aka, the Passage Islands), a mini-archipelago wedged like a quiet middle child between Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, is the closest thing to experiencing the Caribbean 40 years ago.

A world apart from the USVIs and BVIs (the Caribbean’s yachting and boat chartering capital) the quieter “Spanish” chain -- ceded to the United States along with Puerto Rico in 1898 -- was until recently best known as a restricted U.S. Navy weapons testing ground.

Today, this untrammeled archipelago is a haven for weekend warriors from Puerto Rico (less than 10 miles -- 16 kilometers -- away) and savvy charter vacationers who know a well-kept Caribbean secret when they sail one.

Fajardo, a bustling port on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, is a natural point of departure for crewed or bareboat sailing charters to the Spanish Virgin Islands.

Trips are as flexible as your budget and time restrictions and best discussed with a reliable charter broker or company specializing in the area -- including Florida-based Virgin Island Sailing and Puerto Rico’s Sail Caribe among several others.

A short, breezy cruise from Fajardo puts you at anchor in the pristine bays and protected reefs of the area’s two principal isles, Vieques and Culebra, along with several picturesque cays that haven’t seen much of a crowd since the Spanish galleon days.

Culebra, the more secluded of the two islands, is home to a host of sandy bays, remote anchorages, enticing dive sites and a wildlife refuge occupied by sea turtles and thousands of seabirds.

Vieques has stunning beaches, a pair of friendly island communities and the area’s hallmark nighttime stop at Puerto Mosquito -- a surreal bay illuminated by millions of light-producing micro-organisms -- one of the last glowing “biobays” on earth.

More on CNN: Insider Guide -- What to do in Havana

The Bahamas

The color of relaxation.
More than half a millennium since Columbus made landfall in the Bahamas (his intro to the New World) and noted “the soft balmy smell of trees and flowers” and “flocks of parrots so big that they darken the sun,” the instant charms of this sweeping archipelago off the Florida coast are still pretty obvious.

Close enough for a day trip from Fort Lauderdale and popular enough to attract scores of major cruise lines, the Bahamas are home to 700 islands spread over 100,000 square miles (259,000 square kilometers). In other words, prime territory for a chartered yacht.

Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco (a quick puddle jump from Nassau) is chartering headquarters in the Bahamas, and the base for its two largest rental fleets, operated by The Moorings and Florida Yacht Charters.

Options run the gamut from un-crewed catamarans and mono-hulls to all-inclusive luxury vessels staffed with a captain, chef and PADI-certified dive master.

Very Volatile Gatsby olive suede booties sz 8.5 heels slip ons & free shipping! , $129 FRANCO SARTO NARCISSA BLACK BOOTIE SZ 7.5MKHOMBU Womens Faux Fur green Brown Rubber Suede Duck Ankle Shoe Boots 10M , DKNY, Tall Rain Boots, Women's Size 8, Black, Very Sturdy Rubber, Excellent! , Columbia Cityside Fold Waterproof Boots Womens size 6 Leather/Suede Cordovan/MudHush Puppies Womens Casual Boots Brown Leather Thinsulate Size 8.5 wide calf , NEW Red Wing Women's 5.5 Electrical Hazard Waterproof Steal Toe Work BootsEllie Shoes 418-Cowgirl Faux Leather Western Boots, Women's Size 9, Brown , EUC FRENCH CONNECTION MONAY BOOTIES SZ 7 US GRAY SUEDE WOMANS MSRP 119$ , Justin Purple Suede Leather Roper Cowboy Boots Womens Size 7 B Style C5964 USA , Ralph Lauren Purple Velvet Boots - size 8.5 , EMU Australia NWOB Women Winter Ankle Boots Size 8 Brown Suede , $165 Clarks MIA WILD II Women's Soft Leather Mid Calf Boots Dark Brown Sz 7.5MWomen's Chaps Riding Boots sz 8.5Dolce Vita Black Suede Elisa Bootie Sz. 6 Brand New For Fall, Great Price!!Kamik Women's Porto Black Faux Shearling Winter Snow Boot Black SZ 8 NEWBearpaw ANASTASIA Women’s Boots, Anastasia Chocolate, Size 8 Eur 39 , Ann Creek Women's 'Kaunay' Buckle Strap Croc BootsLucky Brand Orsander Gray Womens Shoes Size 5.5 M Boots MSRP $139 , Tommy Hilfiger Woman's Boots Size 8 Tw02949 Black Leather Chunky , Clarks Nevella March Tall Riding Boots Brown Suede Women’s Size 11 $164 , Steve Madden Haydun Block Heel Tall Boots, Taupe Suede, 6.5 US , Louise & Cie Black Leather Vasca Ankle Booties Womens Size US 9MFRYE Leather Pull On Ankle Boots - Harness Ladies size 9M,  , Black, Made USA , Miz Mooz Leather Ankle Boots w/ Zipper Detail - Bangkok Black 38(7.5-8)Sam Edelman Mateo Womens Boots Brown Suede Mid Calf Faux Fur Lined Size 9 , WOMENS SAM EDELMAN Boot Rudie Fringe Saddle Kid Suede Brown Ankle Booties 8.5 MWomens Anderson Bean NRS Brown Leather Shorty Cowboy Boots 7.5 B Very Good Cond , NIB Teva Delavina Gray Perforated Suede Ankel Boots New Sz 6 W

What’s out there?

One of the 10 nicest beaches in the world (according to a National Geographic worldwide poll) at Treasure Cay; one of the western hemisphere’s most extensive barrier reefs off Great Abaco; and one of the strongest rum libations anywhere at Great Guana Cay’s landmark beach joint, Nippers Beach Bar & Grill. It’s a yachtie’s rite of passage.

A night’s sail away, the Exumas feature 365 more islands to explore (“one for every day of the year,” boast local sailors) plus the showpiece Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a spectacular marine preserve accessible only by boat.

The Grenadines

Yacht Sudiki cruises the Grenadines. You can, too.
One of the last outposts to awaken (dozily) to Caribbean tourism, the 30 isles and cays stretching from St. Vincent to Grenada that make up the Grenadines have always been a natural draw in boating circles.

Pristine, sandy coves. Storybook harbors. Isolated coral reefs. Traffic-free cays hanging off the Atlantic-battered rim of the Caribbean Sea.

These are all on deck during a week of yachting through the Grenadines, which aren’t called the Windward Islands for nothing.

You can expect gustier, choppier, more exposed sailing conditions compared with the calmer Leeward waters of the British Virgin Islands -- a good place to practice before coming here.

The payoff: An unforgettable sailing experience through some of the most alluringly out-there hideaways in the Caribbean -- Canouan, Bequia, the Grenadian island of Carriacou (have your passport handy, it’s an international border).

Even farther out are the Tobago Cays, a group of five mirage-like isles shielded from the Atlantic Ocean by a horseshoe barrier reef where the diving is superb and the “crowd” is just you.

St. Vincent is the obvious gateway into the Grenadines, though St. Lucia, Grenada and several smaller islands within the chain are also popular entry points for sailors.

Charter companies serving the area include Sunsail, The Moorings (headquartered on Canouan in the Grenadines) and Nicholson Yacht Charters, along with several local outfits and entrepreneurs offering competitive deals on catamarans, sloops, cutters, ketches, trimarans, schooners and virtually everything else that floats.

More on CNN: 10 outrageous yachts for hire -- if you're filthy rich enough


NWOT Women's Madden Girl Finnn Microsuede Moccasin Black Ankle Boots Size: 7 , SOUTH POLE SIGNATURE WINTER BOOTS FAUX FUR 8.5NEW Brilliant Monica Purple Suede Waterproof Wedge Heel Mid Calf Boot Size 7M , Donald j pliner Russell & Bromley Bond Street London Wedge Sz8ANDREA CARRANO Vintage Fashion Leather Woman Boots Size 5.5 N /35.5 EU , BLACK mid-calf LEATHER BOOTS Womens Sz 6.5M ZIPPER w stretch side. NEW Helice , I. Fahnee Knee High Riding Boots, Black, 5.5 US DisplayMorris Costumes Women's Patent Emma Knee Length Pull Boots Yellow 10. HA131YW10NEW WITHOUT BOX TALBOTS WOMANS BRAZILIAN GENUINE LEATHER WALNUT BOOTS SIZE 9M , Jeffrey Campbell Womens Cienega Over The Knee Boots Taupe Black Size 5.5 New , Soludos - Women's Somking SM Mix Sole Platform Slipper - Black - 7 , CLARKS Women's Acre Bridge Ankle Bootie, Sand, Size 8.5 aoQo , New $195 Vince 'Preston' Woven Slip-On Sneaker - Black - Sz 7KMB Shoes Slippers Slip On Notturno Gold Glitter Textile Rubber LeatherNine West Womens Adelphine Leather Pointed Toe Flat- Pick SZ/Color. , Nine West Womens Zance Leather Ballet Flat- Pick SZ/Color. , LADIES RIEKER 44856 FLAT CASUAL ROUND TOE LEATHER SLIP ON EVERYDAY COMFY SHOES , Naot Moana Volcanic Bronze Leather Slip on Comfort Shoe 40 9 NewPRADA Embellished Studded Swarovski Crystals Jeweled Black Leather Sneakers 40 9Sam Edelman Augusta Womens Ballet Flat, Papaya Punch, 10 M US , New Balance Womens Ww1865gy Grey Walking Shoes Size 7 (361690) , New! Women's G.M. Bass & Co. Brown Leather Slip-On Loafers Shoes Size 7 , women's shoes ARMANI JEANS 6 () slip on gold leather BT419-36 , Pleaser Pink Label Women's Pinup 10 Slingback Red-White Patent Heeled Sandals , new balance 515 women's sneaker/shoes. Brand new size 6Women’s Size 12 M Nike Free Running Shoes EUC Transform Flyknit Lightweight$79 ADIDAS ORIGINALS WHITE WITH BLACK STRIPES SNEAKERS TENNIS SHOES SIZE 37.5Women's Sperry 7 Seas Womens White Athletic ShoesKelsi Dagger Brooklyn Jordana Suede Ankle Boots Latte New 7 $160KEEN Utility Women's Atlanta Cool ESD Steel Toe Work Shoe ,

Cactus Women's 6" Foam LS60 6" Black Slip-Resistant Boots Memory Foam Memory Insole Work 4686678 -

Cactus Women's 6" Foam LS60 6" Black Slip-Resistant Boots Memory Foam Memory Insole Work 4686678