Three Highly Protected Superyacht Destinations

By Jenna Mehdi

In recent years the superyacht industry has seen a definite surge in explorer yachting, with more and more owners and charterers choosing to take the path less trodden in the quest to discover remote and beautiful corners of the earth. Of course though with great beauty comes the need to protect and preserve these sites, along with the landscape, wildlife and other natural wonders that come with them. We took a closer look at some of the most highly protected superyacht destinations in the world to bring you the latest on current trends in explorer yachting…

1. The Galapagos Islands
A volcanic cluster of islands located 1,000 km off of the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands are a must-see for the more adventurously spirited traveller and nature lover. Its prolific wildlife, made famous by Darwin almost 2 centuries ago, make the islands one of the most fascinating spots the world has to offer, making its label as a UNESCO world heritage site perhaps a little unsurprising. The Galapagos Islands are brimming with wonder; stunning landscape, incredible wildlife, all made the more appealing by their extreme isolation. But like all the best things, sailing a superyacht here is not necessarily the easiest task. Owners or charterers will need two permits to sail in the Galapagos, for which it is advisable to apply two months before visiting the islands. Every vessel undergoes an Environmental Risk Assessment upon arrival, and some protected areas will require government-mandated routes and an onboard guide. Nevertheless, if you are looking to discover a destination truly unlike any other in its remoteness and beauty, the Galapagos Islands is top on our list of recommendations.

2. Norwegian Fjords
A novel alternative to the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean, Norway’s fjords are now increasingly frequented by superyacht owners and charterers who opt for a more non-traditional choice of destination – and it is easy to see why. These long, winding inlets are renowned spots of exceptional natural beauty; surrounded on both sides by sheer, rugged landscape and snow-topped mountains, many of them are UNESCO protected in the fierce effort to preserve them. Special measures have been taken to restrict pollution, including emissions regulations and even restrictions on the type of fuel and engines that vessels can use. These are likely to be ramped up, too, with Norwegian authorities announcing that zero emissions restrictions will be introduced in 2025 in fjords such as the Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.

3. Antarctica
Last but definitively not least, the Antarctic takes the final spot on our guide to remote and highly protected world destinations. If you’re looking for an area untouched by human hands and home only to its natural occupants, it doesn’t get much better than here in the earth’s southernmost region. This vast, otherworldly landscape has an almost ethereal appeal that cannot be replicated anywhere else – but it is also extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and is therefore heavily protected against any damage that could be done by visiting vessels. Every yacht to visit the Antarctic must apply for a permit in advance, and requires a further special permit to enter Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) within the region. Visitors should also be wary of Historic Sites and Monuments, and follow the Code of Conduct for activities within Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMAs). Regardless, the Antarctic does attract around 30,000 tourists a year, and if one has the opportunity and desire to experience a truly once-in-a-lifetime holiday, we would highly recommend a visit here.

By Jenna Mehdi