From the Miami Beach Marina, where you can gobble up Florida stone crab claws at Monty’s Sunset a catwalk away from super-chic South Beach, to the Red Frog Beach Marina in Bocas del Toro, Panama, where capuchin monkeys fill the dense rainforest – marinas here run a wide gamut. This isn’t surprising considering the region spans two oceans, a sea and one giant gulf. What they do have in common is mild year-round temperatures that will have you forgetting what a shiver feels like.
Florida has no shortage of excellent places to park the boat, with world-class marinas dotting the Atlantic coast and Intracoastal Waterway from Key West to St Augustine. The Municipal Marina in the latter puts you in the picturesque heart of the nearly-500-year-old city, which was recently named one of the most beautiful in America by Condé Nast Traveler. Need to get some work done? Fort Lauderdale’s title of Yachting Capital of the US (some claim the world) is well earned, as there is a skilled contractor on hand for literally every nautical need. Lauderdale Marine Center even has more than 20 of them on site.
Heading down the coast, turn right at the Southernmost Point Buoy and a quieter Gulf coast awaits around the corner, including the sugary sands of Captiva Island and resort life at Longboat Key Club Marina, which boasts 20 tennis courts and greens with 45 holes. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway fringing the Gulf of Mexico provides a protected path to experience the southern states’ many charms while sidestepping the heavy commercial traffic and minefield of oil rigs that pepper the waters to the west.
As the Gulf gives way to Caribbean south, Central America welcomes superyachts with some relatively recent developments that offer a spot of luxury and comfort along a wild coastline – like Belize’s Marina at The Placencia, where you can get a Relax & Unwind massage at the spa following your day wall-diving on the world’s second largest barrier reef.
Cut across Panama to reach the next ocean, where superports provide respite from the gentle but incessant Pacific swell. Costa Rica’s west coast marinas are a gateway to outstanding surfing, sportfishing and ecotourism adventures. The country has more than its fair share of national parks protecting its biodiversity. Stay at the Golfito Marina Village and you can trek to waterfalls in neighbouring Piedras Blancas Park, while keeping eyes peeled for scarlet macaws and toucans.