6 of the world’s best private boat trips to tick off your bucket list

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“Sail Away” isn’t just an Enya lyric (beloved by expressive dance routines of the 80s) but a riotous call-to-action.

Whether you’re clambering abroad a traditional dhow or a high-speed RIB, a private boat trip carries with it the thrill of romance and glamour.

Not only is sailing a luxe way of travelling, when you’re out there on the open horizon, you’ll feel master of your own destiny.

It’s sort of James Bond meets Eat, Pray, Love: and you don’t get *that* everyday.

So, without further ado, come hoist up the mainsails and join us on the world’s most spectacular private boat adventures:

Overnight sailing in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Winter sun

For those who yearn for a slower pace of life, you can’t beat a languorous two-day sail around the limestone karsts and fishing villages of Halong Bay. This ancient seafaring landscape crackles with the promise of the Great Unknown – all brought to life as you pootle around in your Vietnamese junk boat. There’ll be plenty of stops for swimming and kayaking in nearby coves, topped off with on-board karaoke and sunrise yoga. Now there’s a killer combination…

Vietnam calling

Twilight gliding down the Amazon, Peru

Come dusk, the Peruvian rainforest comes alive with the chirrups and cries of nocturnal wildlife: it’s just the time to hop into your Amazonian canoe. Stay tuned for a spectacular sunset as you begin your magical mystery tour down Madre de Dios River, then watch as daylight fades over the dense jungle canopy. With dark shadow of overhanging trees and your senses attuned to the darkness, you’ll feel like a regular Indiana Jones. It’s a magical journey, particularly when the night sky glows with stars.

Amazon bound

Boating between beaches in Paraty, Brazil


Well, if you’re going to sail between beaches anywhere, let it be in Braaazil: a country that sure knows how to live the sweet life. A day-long private boat trip on the coastal enclave of Paraty will take you from one impossibly scenic stretch of sand to the next: all framed by palm trees and a glittering blue sea. Palapa huts serving potent caipirinhas are part of the experience, as is the swaying beat of Bossa Nova; and some of the clearest snorkelling known to mankind.

Brazil, Brazil

Dhow boat sailing around Zanzibar’s coast, Tanzania

We could write a small novel dedicated to the beauty of Zanzibar sailing – but just take a look at that photo wontcha? With powdery white sands to starboard and emerald waters scrolling out into the horizon, Tanzania’s island gem would charm even the hardiest of souls. Hold onto your sunhats as your traditional dhow boat cuts effortlessly across the ocean, stopping for coral reef swimming and a casual dip with turtles. Keep your eyes peeled for pods of friendly dolphins before embarking on a series of idyllic beach stops, each one more jaw-dropping than the last.

Zanzibar, we’re ready

RIB boating across the fjords, Norway

RIB boat

With serene glacial waters and a horizon of snow-capped peaks, Norway’s majestic fjords speak to the explorer within. This is the kind of ravishing scenery that will have you breaking out into impromptu song: at once, vast, inspiring and deeply moving. And a private RIB simply ups the ante on it all. Speed across the deep blue in the shadow of towering ravines, with the whip of the wind on your cheeks, and raise a toast to the brilliance of being.

Norway, you beauty

Island-hopping the Bacuit Archipelago, the Philippines

Give us a sunshine destination and we’ll give you the Philippines: a country where the sun seems to shine brighter, and the sea glow more turquoise than any other place on earth. Savour it to the max with a private boat trip around Bacuit Archipelago: a sprawling maze of lagoons and inlets off the coast of Palawan (regularly voted the world’s most beautiful island). This is true adventurer territory, allowing you to unplug and follow your nose to all the best hidden beaches. One of these will be your home for two days, with glamping and a private chef for  barbecues down by the waves.

Oh hey, the Philippines 

Images: Shutterstock, Flash Pack


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