Keeping currencies straight
As we move from island to island, one of the things that we need to keep straight is the currency that is being used in the local shops. Since we left home, we have used both Canadian and US dollars, Dominican Republic pesos, Euros, Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars and most recently, Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD).
Right after clearing out with Trinidadian customs, we went to the nearby grocery store and spent every last TT dollar that we had on hand. We did this because we have no plans to return to Trinidad in the immediate future. When we arrived at Union Island, our port of entry into St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we were already armed with a stash of EC dollars that we had on hand when we left Grenada. We will continue to use EC until we reach Martinique or one of the French islands further north.
Hanging out at Salt Whistle Bay.
In order for us to know if a price we are being quoted is fair or not, each time we go to purchase something, whether it be a beer at a beachside shack or a new pair of flip flops, we must do some math in order to bring the price into a common denominator which, for us, is US dollars. Unless we need to pay in some other currency, we typically don’t stress about the exact exchange rates. Instead we use a rough calculation to know how much money to fork over.
On the subject of pricing, it is extremely obvious to us when we reach an area that caters solely to tourists and charter boats. The prices in these spots are always jacked up to the point that, when doing our little bit of math, items equal their cost in the United States. For example, the going rate for a bottle of local-brand beer on virtually all of the islands is $5.00 EC, or about $1.85 US. Some smaller beach bars charge less than that and happy hour prices can be even lower still. Here on Mayreau though, the price of a beer is more in the $8-9 EC range. We know this first hand after our Cultural Tour with the Captain and guests of Diamant last night! Why are they so much more expensive? One could argue that the beer has to be imported from St. Vincent but I find it hard to buy that. As I said, in virtually every other island the price of a beer in EC dollars is pretty constant. My thoughts are that, the tourists, who must also be doing the math calculations that we do, are happy to pay the same price that they’d pay in a bar back in the states. Oh well, what’s a sailor to do when he’s hot and thirsty?
The Captain of Diamant entertaining his guests.
The Karaoke bar was the final stop in the “Cultural Tour.”