How much did our Pacific crossing cost us in fees for entering and exiting countries? Time for a NUMBERS post!
Important background: We are 35’ with two people aboard and no pets. We spent four seasons in the South Pacific between 2012 and 2015. I am counting the cost of all required things for entrance and exit, even if the money doesn’t go to the goverment because I’m counting how much it cost us. We made some choices that other people don’t have to make. We didn’t visit all countries. Fees have changed over the years (particularly in the Cooks) so YMMV.
In sum: If you aren’t interested in the nitty gritty, the most we’ve paid in fees for clearances was for Australia, with Mexico coming in a close second. The least we paid in fees was for New Caledonia where we paid nothing. Most other countries were in the approximately $200 range.
Country break down: All of the below are listed in the approximate USD cost.
Mexico: $400 USD buys a lot of cheap tacos! At the time of clearance in 2012 we had to pay a little over $110 for our TIP, $40 twice for fishing licences, and $210 for Mexican liability insurance (required by the govt, paid to a private party, despite our having other insurance). This would have allowed us to stay for quite a while (I forget how long) but we left after 6 months.
French Polynesia: We paid about $200 for an agent so we could avoid the bond. If we had been willing to risk the ups and downs of the currency markets and also getting our bond back in CFP at the end of our stay, this amount could have been zero, but I think our choice was fairly representative. If you count our return to Canada for our long stay visa, this would, of course, be the most expensive country on the list, particularly if we included airline tickets in our estimate of the “cost” so I’m just considering our first run through the country which was more normal.
Cooks: We paid a total of about $300 - $50 to clear in Suwarrow and then about $250 in various fees to exit.
Niue: It is a little difficult to decide how to categorize Niue. We only spent $54 in fees but you essentially must take a mooring which adds another $10 per day. Depending on how long you want to stay (and are able to with the exposed anchorage), this could become costly.
Tonga: We spent $183 in Tonga for three month stay. The clerance was inexpensive but after one month the visa ran about $30pp/per month.
Fiji: We paid $180 for all of the standard fees including visa extensions for our more than 4 month stay.
New Caledonia: No fee! No bond! No exit fee! …but you only get 3 months as a N American.
Australia: We paid $450 for two visas and the quarantee fee. Granted, they give you a year but holy crap!