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April – May 2012 Cruising Expenses

The best parts of cruising are free

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go.

 –Sterling Hayden

They say that cruising to the South Pacific is expensive. But somehow — after blowing our budget month after month in Mexico — we managed to spend less in each of our first two months here than in any month on our cruise so far. I think there are a few reasons for this: since we bought 3+ months worth of food in Mexico we haven’t needed to buy many provisions other than fresh items like produce, meat and eggs (and ice-cream of course). Second, many things are so expensive that we don’t even bother to buy them. For example: eating out with drinks for our family of four can easily cost over $100, internet is $5/hour so we aren’t checking Facebook much other than a quick peek now and then to see if anyone has been born. Laundry is $10-15 per load so nearly all of ours has been done in buckets in the cockpit and dried on the lifelines. Finally, there just isn’t a whole lot to buy in the middle of nowhere, like most of the Tuamotus and many Marquesan anchorages.

Some things were rumored to be very expensive and it turned out to be just not true. We paid less per gallon for duty-free diesel in Nuku Hiva than we did in California. A returnable 17 oz. bottle of Hinano beer is $3 in the Marquesas ($2 here in Tahiti). Many grocery items are very reasonable and on par with US prices such as pasta, rice and French cheeses (and of course baguettes!). Overall, we’d say that prices down here (at the current exchange rates) seem to be about 10% over what we were paying in Canada – south seas paradise cruising is a very good deal so far for us.

S/V Wondertime’s April & May 2012 Cruising Expenses

beer – $119
diesel – $100
dinghy gas – $36
dive tank fill – $10
eating out – $390
groceries – $482
internet – $97
laundry – $88
music CD – $26
personal care – $5
pharmacy – $31
phone card – $21
postage – $3
propane – $44
souvenirs (incl. tattoo) – $757
taxi – $6

total – $2,215


  1. Brian H says:

    1/3 of your budget was souvenirs…what’s the going rate on tattoos down there?

  2. Sara says:

    Hi Brian — If you subtract the price of my tattoo we hardly spent a thing! Mine was about $650 but it took all day to do. Friends who got smaller pieces spent $150-300. Really affordable for beautiful tattoos.

  3. Stacy says:

    I think it’s always a good sign that you are spending more on beer than diesel! Cheers to you all!

  4. So that’s roughly $1,100 per month? Not bad at all! In fact, that gives many of us hope for the cruising life.