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Old 01-07-2019, 09:56   #1
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Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

I'm just about to buy my next boat with the intention of sailing to the Caribbean. But in doing my research I see that things have become a lot more expensive and difficult over the last several years. There are now lots of anchoring restrictions, expensive morning fees, time limits, required cruising permits and customs fees etc. that add up to lots of money and other problems on a day-to-day basis. Am I seeing this correctly? Can crusing the Caribbean be done easily and inexpensively? How would I go about it?
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:16   #2
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

The western Caribbean can be dirt cheap. The Bay Islands or Guatemala even. There are some time limits on visa's and cruising permits. Belize is a pain in the ass, they charge to anchor in some places like the marine reserves, you need to re-new you visa all the time and you are charged for every day you are in the country. Honduras is great, last I heard it was free check in and they even have a West Marine now. Lot of people stay in Guatemala. You need to leave every 2 years for 3 months to keep the boat legal and it costs maybe $300 a year for the cruising permit and a couple of hundred to come or go. Anchoring is free. The Visa thing is a pain, you only get 90 days between stamps. I over stayed this year and it cost me like $700 at the airport flying home. I thought it was going to be only about $400 which is about the same as going to border with MX for a few days to get your passport stamped.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:23   #3
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

No generic answer, most islands are a separate countries and every country is different, you will have to do your home work after having worked out a route
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:16   #4
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

Pick a first spot, go there, hang out, talk to others, when you feel like moving on you'll likely know what the next stop is.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:38   #5
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

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No generic answer, most islands are a separate countries and every country is different, you will have to do your home work after having worked out a route

Exactly. Without counting, off the top of my head there are 25-30 different countries that border the Caribbean, each with it's own laws. Need to be more specific to get an exact answer but as a very short, very approximate answer; some places are expensive, some aren't.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:40   #6
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

We have cruised both the Eastern Caribbean and the ABCs for many years. Generally, they are easy and inexpensive places to cruise. Anchoring is free, though there are some places where anchoring is either forbidden (e.g Bonaire) or the space is very limited (some harbors in the BVI). Mooring fees are not generally too bad, except for really popular chartering areas like the BVI. If you like to spend time in marinas, they are generally cheaper than in the US or Europe.



There are restrictions on how long you can stay in any one place, generally 90 days, but we like to island hop anyway so this has never been an issue for us.


The check-in/check-out procedures have a bit of a learning curve and are different for each country, but you quickly get the hang of it. Some islands charge fees while entering, most of them(not all) are well under US$100.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:53   #7
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

We've only cruised the NE corner of the Caribb (Puerto Rico, USVI, BVIs). Marinas are crazy expensive-most seem targeted to the mega-yachts where $$ are no object, although Puerto Rico is the most reasonable. The Spanish Virgins are cost-free/anchor where you want, the USVI now have a "anchor permit", but if you stay less than 14 days in any one place it is not an issue-except the Natl Parks around St John all charge for moorings($26/night, unless you have a Park Seniors Card, then it's $13/night on the honor system). The BVI has fees to enter and leave, fees to use the Parks and moorings, and all the popular bays/Islands have mooring fields established. A BVI mooring is $30/night, but there is (usually)space to anchor(free) outside the mooring field, ...although that may well put you outside the harbor enough to be in the wind/swell. The plethora of 7-10 day charter boats and folks there for holiday, who seem willing to pay-pay-pay, really drive the $$ up.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:59   #8
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
The western Caribbean can be dirt cheap. The Bay Islands or Guatemala even. There are some time limits on visa's and cruising permits. Belize is a pain in the ass, they charge to anchor in some places like the marine reserves, you need to re-new you visa all the time and you are charged for every day you are in the country. Honduras is great, last I heard it was free check in and they even have a West Marine now. Lot of people stay in Guatemala. You need to leave every 2 years for 3 months to keep the boat legal and it costs maybe $300 a year for the cruising permit and a couple of hundred to come or go. Anchoring is free. The Visa thing is a pain, you only get 90 days between stamps. I over stayed this year and it cost me like $700 at the airport flying home. I thought it was going to be only about $400 which is about the same as going to border with MX for a few days to get your passport stamped.
I wonder some times if people expect everything to be free and easy as they enter another country , and you have to have a Visa NO not a visa and they charge you as well , blooming criminals
I wonderr if those that are US residents understand that we all need visas and have time limits to their wonderful country .
I mean who pays for all this paerwork to be processed and staff wages to be paid not the tourists no way
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:25   #9
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Re: Costs, Anchoring and Regulations in the Caribbean

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The BVI has fees to enter and leave, fees to use the Parks and moorings, and all the popular bays/Islands have mooring fields established. A BVI mooring is $30/night, but there is (usually)space to anchor(free) outside the mooring field, ...although that may well put you outside the harbor enough to be in the wind/swell. The plethora of 7-10 day charter boats and folks there for holiday, who seem willing to pay-pay-pay, really drive the $$ up.

Having finally experienced our own "7-10 day" BVI charter this year, and seeing the number of like-minded cruisers who want to cruise there... it's entirely understandable that most of the BVI spots have mooring fields with a US$30/night charge: you couldn't fit as many anchored vessels, it would be mayhem, and all that anchoring has to be more destructive than the moorings.

Is it an expensive holiday? Yes. Was it amazing sailing and delightful snorkeling every day? Oh yes. I have jokingly referred to the BVIs as the Disneyland of charter cruising.
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