Half or full day sailing charters, overnight charter trips and long term bareboat charters (renting a sailboat yourself) are becoming very popular ways to explore tropical locations. Location, sailing experience and cost are usually the three primary decision-making factors to consider when choosing one of these three options. How does one choose the right trip with an itinerary that will be the most cost efficient as well as enjoyable?
First of all, one must choose the location from which to base your sailing charter. As one of many southern Caribbean islands, Grenada offers wonderful beaches, beautiful forests, diverse mountain scenery, a huge variety of sea and wildlife, and ample restaurants, supermarkets and boutiques for shopping. English is the language of Grenada, therefore making bookings and purchases is relatively simple.
Secondly, the personal sailing experience of the individuals planning the trip will determine whether you rent a sailboat yourself or book a trip with a registered charter company that includes captain and crew. Initially, the cost for renting your own sailboat may seem cheaper, especially when split between a number of people, however there are many hidden or extra costs involved in this option. Stocking food and supplies for the boat will need to be done locally and depending on the location, may be very expensive.
Added fees may include mooring fees, clearance fees for customs and immigration, marine park fees, fuel and others. Therefore, whether you are choosing a day sail, a short overnight trip, or a longer time at sea, it is important to count the cost of all the expenses you will incur.
There are a wide variety of sailing options to choose from but one of the most cost-effective destinations/length of stay/all-inclusive options is an itinerary for a three day/two night trip to the Tobago Cays. When priced per person, this kind of itinerary packs the absolute BEST value for the number of islands visited, the service, the food and drink quality and amount, the activities available to experience, and the peace of knowing that ALL costs are included. You are free to enjoy your three days of sailing, snorkeling, swimming, exploring, fine dining, sunbathing and more, without the fear of unexpected extra costs.
There is always an opportunity to customize a sailing charter, but here is what a typical, suggested itinerary to the Tobago Cays would look like.
Day 1: Leaving from Grenada’s sister island of Carriacou (accessible by ferry from St. George’s port in Grenada), the charter would start when you board the ship at Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. Leaving Tyrell Bay, it is a short sail to Anse la Roche to do some snorkeling. A gourmet lunch is served by the onboard chef and then it is a short sail to Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A drink at Happy Island, a tiny man-made outcrop of rock, is a must do while the captain checks everyone in at customs and immigration. Watching the kite surfers speed past the anchored boats is nonstop entertainment! Time to set sail again, this time to anchor at Mayreau for a beautiful sunset, dinner, and evening of drinks and conversation before getting a good night’s rest under the stars or down below deck.
Day 2: Coffee and a breakfast buffet starts the second and very full day of the charter. Arriving in the Tobago Cays at approximately 11am, you are free to swim with the turtles, watch the stingrays beneath the water, kayak to shore, enjoy the sun and the wind, have lunch and a few drinks while you take in the incredible surroundings. The afternoon flies by quickly and after another gourmet meal at sunset is served, it’s time to go for a night snorkel! Dive lights are provided for a truly unique underwater experience.
Day 3: Getting up early to go for a last swim with the turtles is a must on day three! Assuming that you will be catching the ferry from Carriacou back to Grenada this afternoon, the breakfast buffet is served at 9am and the anchor is up at 10:30am. A special stop at the tiny island of Petite Tabac of Jack Sparrow fame is the last highlight of the Tobago Cays before setting off on a direct course back to Carriacou. This is your chance to spot dolphins, try to catch a fish, perfect your tan and reflect on the incredible amount of things you have experienced in the past three days. At Tyrell Bay, the captain clears you in at customs and immigration and you board the ferry back to Grenada.
Consider that the average vacation time spent in any location is two weeks. No matter where you decide to spend those two weeks, there will be many different activities, day trips, meals out at restaurants, and bars visited within that time. If one were to add up the cost of eating out, even only once a day at a nice restaurant, the cost would be upwards of $75 US per person with drinks.
Add to that the cost of renting a kayak, or snorkeling equipment, or a beach chair and umbrella during the day. Island tours to coffee plantations or zip-lining or chocolate making factories can add another $50-$100 US per person to your budget.
Now consider the three dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts from your charter. Included in the price of your charter along with these seven meals are unlimited soft drinks, water and alcoholic beverages. Also included is the price of two overnight accommodations, all the snorkeling equipment, swimming toys and lounge chairs, a spectacular view from every vantage spot, four island destinations, and all of it organized ahead of time for you! The captain, chef and crew work to make this a stress-free experience that you will remember for a lifetime.
Do a cost per day comparison! A sailing adventure may not be as expensive as you thought! It certainly would be a special addition to any vacation.