Bay hopping is a great idea and gives you the time to explore these little areas in closer detail. Take bags of bread to feed the fish, before you know it you will have your own aquarium all around your boat. Get out your snorkel and mask, tender or Kayak and go around the sides of the bay, you will find little crevices that seem to be natural baths for you to just sit and relax.
If you come out of Puerto Portals (1) drop in to the Punta Negra bay (2), it is just past the bay in front of Puerto Portals, most people miss this one as they come out of Puerto Portals and race out to sea. Punta Negra bay is one of my favourites and it is just a picture. Surrounded by rocks and Pine trees that are over hanging the water. It really is romantic. In the summer there is a floating pontoon connected to a small beach, this gives you an opportunity to get off and walk around too.
From here keep going west to the west side of Palma Nova beach (3), tugged in the corner of this bay is a great wind protector and gives a flat calm sea. I like to sit here and watch the boats rolling past and just see the elegant luxury life on the sea. There is a pontoon to pull a tender on to and walk the beach front of grab some food.
From Palma Nova you can go around the island of Sa Porrassa, Magaluf (4), you may see boats go through the gap between the islands as a short cut but unless you know the waters well it is best to play it safe and go around it. Going around the island you can also see the wildlife as this island is also a protected nature reserve. Magaluf bay doesn’t really have a nice anchorage but if you stick in close to the west side of the bay you will see the caves in the cliff wall. There is a small bay that creeps in but it is a little too small to get boats in and there is nowhere to drop anchor, so this is just a spot to see from the boat. Magaluf has been gaining ground in terms of exclusiveness since 2012, thanks to the presence of the glamorous Nikki Beach , a place where you can spend luxurious days in the sunshine, with the best theme parties and superb facilities: huge sunbeds, private lounges, gastronomy delights, champagne and the music of internationally-acclaimed DJs. Another exclusive Beach Bar is Zhero Beach House. To relax, there is the Hotel ME Mallorca, with two pools, restaurants, bars, spa, gym and personalised service.
Just around the corner of Magaluf still going west is where the coast really starts to open up to small hidden gems, between Magaluf and the Light house there are a number of secret bays to see and discover. But they can be quite small only allowing 1 or 2 boats room to anchor, 1 is Cap Falco (5) which has small beach bar CapFalco-Beach and a beautiful beach. The others are small anchorages for you to discover from the boat and are all great for swimming and snorkelling, if you get the chance to drop anchor and to explore by tender, for sure you will find even more. Just before the light house which marks the westerly point of Palma bay you will find the 3 fingers bay or Portals Vells (6). This is a very popular bay and a favourite for many. Well protected from the elements, surrounded by pine forest and has a small fish restaurant. There are 3 small beaches, caves and a small port. To me and many this place is just heaven. In the peak seasons of July and August bay can get very busy so will need to keep a look out and on guard when people drop anchor, making sure they don’t get too close or your anchor or theirs start to drag. They are two small restaurants where you can get by tender.
Moving off from Portals Vells a slow cruise around the light house and up the coast going west gives you the back drop of the cliffs and a view of the Islands of El Toro (7). You may see boats go through the gap between the islands but please don’t follow, these waters are shallow and not to be taken for granted, go around the islands of El Toro and then stick in close to the coast. There is only 1 small bay for a small boat to drop anchor if you are too far out for sure you will miss it, any boat bigger than 35 ft will be too big, but if you do have the opportunity to drop anchor in this bay it is literally yours and nobody else can come near or close. This will give you complete protection very little or nobody will be there. You have steep cliffs around you and on top is a large pine forest, there are small steps coming down but even the locals are not familiar with this one. The aquatic life is abundant, the water is Cristal clear, and there is a large rock of about 5 m to jump and dive off. This is my favourite place at sea.
From this secret gem you have Port Adriano (8) just a little further down the coast, this new reformed, modern, luxury port can give you a nice safe place to moor, walk around, shop and lunch. From Port Adriano keep going west up the coast keeping close in and you will be greeted by the beautiful islands of Malgrats (9) just off Santa Ponsa. If you keep in and don’t go around the islands there is a small anchorage, this is a turquoise spot and you can’t help yourself to not relax and unwind here. When you’re in this bay look at the rocks and see if you can see the Crocodile rock that sticks out from the edge. When at anchor jump in the tender or kayak and go and discover the Island of Malgrats, go round the east side first and see if there is any spot you like, or carry on all the way around the islands and when you get all the way round to the west side of them you will find a secret gem, very small cala/bay, too small for boats to get in to, and this is literally your private oasis over looked by nobody.
From the islands of Malgrats you have Santa Ponsa port (10) just around the corner that has 3 restaurants that are close to the waiting key. Call them up on the radio and see if there is space for you to go and have lunch. If you can’t get on the waiting key, you may have to moor up near the fuel key. From here you have a good 10-minute walk all the way round port to get to the other side, but Santa Ponca port is very quiet and tranquil I think you will enjoy the walk and the privilege. Just outside Santa Ponsa Port you have the Bay to the right of the port, this is a big bay but not all the open space is for cruising or anchoring, you will need to check your charts to see where you can drop anchor if you would like to, he water is very shallow and there are rocks, the rocks are clearly marked, yet every year there seems to be someone who manages to park the boat on top of them. They calmly sit there acting as that is what they wanted to do and was in the plan as they wait for a boat to come and pull them to safety. So, keep an eye out in this bay.
Or as you come out of the Port of Santa Ponca go straight ahead across the bay to the other side, this is Costa de la Calma (11) and Paguera (12), Pick your spot, this is all a lovely area to anchor or just to potter. You will see lovely sandy white beaches, I feel these are best viewed from the boat as they will be crowded with tourists from the hotels. When you in this bay go the furthest side of the bay and to the last place you can find a spot to anchor, secure the boat and grab the tender as there is a beautiful bay that you can only get to by small tender or kayak. With the Tender come out of the bay and around the corner hugging the coats closely, you will be automatically drawn in with the bright blue waters and coves. Slowly navigate in and you see a small pebble beach, in this bay there is a small cave and big rocks you can sit on in the middle of the bay. I always feel this place is something that god designed as a private natural swimming pool. Snorkel equipment is a must.
After this place you can go up the coast around the corner to Camp De Mar (13) this is a huge bay with many small little calas and coves to discover there is one on the west side of the bay, but also here in this bay of Camp De Mar you have a large beach with restaurants and shops, we can recommend ACCANA Summer Club. From the beach there is a wooden bridge taking you to a small island just big enough to fit a small restaurant and terrace. The restaurant Bar Restaurante Illeta is not the best, but the situation is idyllic. If you have time to have a walk around there is a small fish restaurant just above the beach with a lovely little view over the bay, I think this is a better choice, not as romantic as the situation on the small island but the food and service is better. Cruising out of Camp de Mar going West, go around the head land and dip in again to another beautiful bay.
If there is space drop anchor close to the coast and tender the whole family or group over to the Beach restaurant Gran Folies (14). This restaurant is fabulous and is right on the water’s edge, you can enjoy the fantastic food and keep an eye on the boat at the same time. Just after this bay where Gran Folies beach restaurant is you can go around the dramatic coast line with its steep rocky cliffs and dip in to the deep long bay of Andratx (15). Andratx port is beautiful and scenic. Full of great restaurants Restaurante Rocamar and shops, many people stay the night in the port so feel free to add this to your plan. On the outside of Andratx bay coming out keep going west, there is a small anchorage with crystal clear waters and well protected from north or westerly winds, if you have any easterly winds in may not be the best spot, but maybe after lunch in one of the bays beforehand this could be a close spot to drop anchor and relax or maybe siesta.
From Andratx keep going West and you will come to Sant Elmo (16) or Dragonera (17). This Bay is well protected and has the famous Cala Cornells restaurant (18) that is situated on the rocks at the water’s edge. Don’t worry if you can’t get a table there are about 5‐ 6 restaurants to choose from all serving great food. There is small beach and shops too.
The Island of Dragonera is a large island that is a nature reserve, surrounded by small calas and caves. The island gives a natural beauty as a back drop and plenty of shelter. This is a great spot for scuba diving.
This is almost as far as you want to go West for a day charter when coming out of Palma or Puerto Portals. You could go further and there are more beautiful bays and calas, but much further in 1 day could be too much cruising for some people.
Palma bay is a very wide bay and can have some commercial traffic coming in and out, so you need to keep your eye out for ships. You also need to check your charts as there are some shallow waters close to the coast and no-go zones in front of the Kings Palace and the Cathedral.
Cross over the bay to the far east side and start to come up the coast, not many people do this as they head straight for the headland and miss out on the beautiful scenery. There are 4 small ports in the bay of Palma once you’re out of the main port. You have Portixol, Coll dèn Rabassa , Can Pastilla and Club Nautico Arenal.
When you past Arenal and cruise up the coast, you come to a beach club called Delta beach, the waters are not that shallow, so you need to let out plenty of chain, but the waters are crystal clear, and the club looks over the water and your boat. Name of this bay is Cala Blava.
From here you can keep going west around the head land and this is where the bays and calas start. The first one is called Cala Pi, it’s well protected and surrounded by pine trees. There is a small beach you can swim too and relax.
Just around the corner there is a small port called Sa Rapita, as you walk from the port to the town about 300 yards from the harbor there is a great seafood restaurant.
After the port of Sa Rapita you have the well-known, well-loved Es Trenc beach. This is described as the Spanish Carribean. The waters are shallow and warm, turquoise and white white sands. You can’t get much better than this place.
There are many more places if you keep going up the coast but for day charters, we would say this would be as far as you would like to go in a day as you still need to get back.