On this page we’ll share our cost for sailing in the Caribbean. As far as we understood it, what you spend money on will vary throughout the world so that’s why we thought to divide our costs to separate areas of the world. Our hope is that what we share will make the planning easier for others. We have divided our sailing trip into four different geographical areas:
- Northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, France)
- Atlantic Europe & Africa (Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Cape Verde)
- Caribbean (St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Sint Maarten)
- Europe return trip (Azores, Wales, Scotland, Sweden)
All of the above are quite detailed, if you just want to read the summary go to this page:
During our year sailing the Atlantic Circuit we have kept close watch on what we spend money on, and will present which categories we think it’s possible to spend less money and also when it’s not possible.
A little note, all crews and all boats are different and a lot of the costs presented here could be both higher and lower for another crew or boat. We have not lived on a minimum throughout our sailing trip. We have been eating out a bit, for example and done some excursions. We also have an old boat, so boat maintenance is a big post for us.
First some info about us:
- In total we spent 117 days (about 4 months) sailing in the Caribbean. We visited Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Statia, Sint Maarten and St Barths. More details on how we sailed and where we stopped along the way can be found under Our route.
- Our boat is 35 ft (10,7 meters) and 3,3 meters wide which is relevant for marina fees. The bigger the boat, the more marinas will cost.
- Our boat is old (built 1965) so boat maintenance is a biggie for us.
- We are on a work-leave for one year. During that year we will plan our budget so that the money will last for our entire trip but at the same time maximize our experience. This means enjoying local food, some touristing activities etc. This is a cost that could easily be less.
- All the costs are for the two of us and not per person.
- And finally, we have done a trip like this ONCE. We are not experts. Everything we write is based on our experience and is not an ultimate truth. Our tip is to read about different peoples experiences and conclude all of them.
Here is our cost for sailing in the Caribbean. More details of each category can be found further down the page.
|Food & Drinks||48’208||4’724||5’785|
Food & Drinks
|SUMMARY FOOD & DRINKS||48’208||4’724||5’785|
The food you buy in grocery stores is generally cheaper in Atlantic Europe than northern Europe and food in Europe is cheaper than Caribbean. We bought a lot of food both in Portugal and Canary Island, which both had really good stores and possible to find everything we wanted. We were afraid that food in the Caribbean would be very expensive, but it was not! Specific stuff, like some seasonings and stuff like that is very expensive, but pasta, rice, canned food is not that expensive. If you make your own bread it can be hard to find good quality flour and yeast at some islands in the Caribbean.
If we would have this trip once more, we would buy more spices and seasonings in Sweden and throughout Europe good quality flour and yeast. We would have bought olive oil and natural oil in Spain or Portugal instead of Sweden (way cheaper) and less dried food and canned food. We didn’t even use half of our cans! And we wouldn’t buy so much food in the Canary Island for the Atlantic Crossing.
So as a conclusion: Don’t buy too much unnecessary food!
Sailing on a budget? Make sure to make a proper planning before buying food. Don’t buy food you’ll never eat. Plan where in the world you buy certain food. Buy beans, lentils etc instead of meat and fish.
Eating out on a restaurant in the Caribbean can be quite expensive. But what we noticed is that you can find cheap local meals. We ate a lot of roti, fried or grilled chicken with either fries or rice and such, and that was not very expensive. We had some lobster bbq evenings and also ate at restaurants sometimes.
Sailing on a budget? This post could easily be less, by simply eating all meals at the boat or make sure to choose cheap places.
Bars & pubs
We visited bars and bought beer or rum punch from shacks on the beach. Most of the time the beer cost the same at the bar as it did in the store. In the Caribbean we mostly drank beer or rum. Wine in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica was expensive. At Antigua and Sint Maarten you could find wine to a better price.
Sailing on a budget? This is also something that could be less, if sailing on a budget. Buy drinks at the grocery store instead or just skip the drinks.
Here we have other small food we might have bought, a coffee to go or something like that.
|Spares & Repair||8’134||797||976|
|SUMMARY BOAT MAINTENANCE||10’294||1’009||1’235|
Spares & Repair
We bought new VHF antenna in the Caribbean, two new anchorhooks, new sheets and similar things. We bought a lot of small stuff that together add up.
Sailing on a budget? The boat maintenance is an unnecessary evil and very dependent on what kind of boat you have. But all boats that do a trip like this break down eventually, you can only hope that it is something that can be fixed and that it won’t be too expensive… We do all work ourselves, though, and by doing that it saves us a lot of money.
Other consumables that we have bought for the boat; engine oil, buckets, oil filters and things like that.
Sailing on a budget? Don’t skip maintenance to save money. Service the boat and all that goes with it in time, or it might cost more than to just do it in the first place.
We used local transport a lot, a lot of times on Dominica. We took cab a few times. We took the ferry to St Barths from Sint Maarten. Rented a car together with Sanuti on Sint Maarten.
Sailing on a budget? Take the bus or walk instead of taking a cab or renting a car.
We took a guided tour twice (Car trip and Indian River boat tour) and went canyoning at Dominica. Most of the time we explored by ourselves without a guide as having a guide was expensive.
Sailing on a budget? There’s a lot of excursions in the nature and in cities/town you could do without spending so much money. Just walk around and don’t visit places that charges.
We took three dives in Statia.
|Cruising permits/check in costs||3’959||388||475|
|Covid-19 PCR test||4’245||416||509|
|SUMMARY CRUISING FEES||13’473||1’320||1’617|
Cruising fees/check in costs
The cost for checking in to Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Statia and Sint Maarten. As we sailed during 2020/21 with covid-19 we had to use agents to enter SVG and Dominica, so a bit more expensive that year than they usually are.
Sailing on a budget? The check-in costs have to be paid when entering a new country (if not EU/Schengen) but by staying longer in a country and visiting fewer countries money can be saved. (Also way nicer to stay a while in a place and not rush)
We had to stay at mooring when we entered SVG in the quarantine area (covid-19 specific rules). But most of the time we anchored as it is cheaper than mooring buoys and safer (a lot of mooring buoys are not well taken care of). We stayed in marina in Jolly Harbour and in Sint Maarten. At both places we payed approximately €30/night, so not as expensive as you might think a marina in the Caribbean to be.
Sailing on a budget? Anchor instead of staying in marinas, if possible. Stay longer at one place, in a lot of marinas you pay less if you stay a longer time.
Covid-19 PCR tests
We did the following covid-19 tests in the Caribbean; one when entering SVG, one when leaving SVG, two when entering Dominica and one when leaving Dominica. In total we did five PCR tests.
Park fee for Tobago Cays, we stayed 9 nights in total at Tobago Cays.
We bought local sim-cards at Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Sint Maarten. Did one or two regular calls with our Swedish sim-cards.
Sailing on a budget? Buy local sim-card, use Wi-Fi at bars/restaurants.
We fueled up a few litres in Jolly Harbour and then full tanks in Sint Maarten for the crossing back to Europe. Fueled up a lot with petrol for the dinghy.
Sailing on a budget? Don’t start the engine if you don’t have to. Sail as much as you can.
Refill of gas bottles for the stove. We did it in Bequia and Jolly Harbour.
We have paid both our personal insurance and the liability insurance for the boat in advance. But as both are valid throughout our entire sailing trip we choose to divide it to all geographical areas, otherwise northern Europe would show a higher cost than is actually true. So below is the insurance costs corresponding to the time we spent in the Caribbean.
|Third party liability (for the boat)||2’139||210||257|
Third party liability
We had a third party liability insurance only, with limit €3’000’000. The liability insurance covered all areas we would sail through. We used Y Yacht (now bought by Topsail). Finding insurance wasn’t easy, and you can read more about it HERE.
We extended our travel insurance offered by the insurance company we already have.
Sailing on a budget? Have a third liability only for the boat (but of course depends on what your boat is worth). And research to find a good insurance. Don’t go without an liability or personal insurance to save money, that is stupid, in our opinion.
|SUMMARY OTHER COSTS||4’981||488||598|
Just minor pharmacy stuff; like seasickness pills and a massage
Bought some courtesy flags, a machete, rum from a rum tasting, some clothes shopping in Sint Maarten.
Laundry service (in Caribbean either you handwash our drop it at a laundry service, in the beginning we tried to handwash but then we got lazy) and garbage disposal fees.
Souvenirs and some tennis balls.
Sailing on a budget? Simple, don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
Comparison Different Geographical Areas
Here is our cost/day through the different geographical areas we sailed through. It is presented in EUR/day.
|Northern Europe (EUR/day)||Atlantic Europe & Africa (EUR/day)||Caribbean (EUR/day)||Europe return trip (EUR/day||Entire trip (EUR/day)|
|Food & Drinks||31||33||40||34||36|
|Cruising Fees (excluding covid-19 PCR tests)||16||12||8||13||11|
This was our cost for sailing in the Caribbean. Here are the links for the other geographical areas:
- Cost for sailing Northern Europe
- Cost for sailing Atlantic Europe and Africa
- Cost for sailing Europe return trip
and also the page presenting the costs for the entire trip: