A group of us hams were sailing to Navassa Island (see section on KP1). Kingston, Jamaica served as our point of embarkation.
Before we sailed to Navassa I stayed at (see picture to the right):
This hotel was very small (maybe only 20 rooms), but they were very accommodating. It was run by Germans, and it appeared that most of the guests were European.
Upon returning I stayed at:
This is also where our ship “High Isle” docked, so we could board for Navassa. This hotel had a little more resort flair to it. It had a beach, although I wouldn’t swim there (see picture to the left), a pool, a gift shop, and it was a quick ride from the airport. It appears that most of the flight crews from the airport that have to overnight in Jamaica stay here.
Hotel Four Seasons
Sailing for KP1
Jamaica Day Trip
WJ2O/6Y5 QSL Card
Licensing: You can apply for a license for free. There is an application you must fill out, and you can request a copy of it from either Jamaica or the ARRL. It can take up to 8 weeks via mail, so plan ahead. A group of three Japanese hams that were with us went to the issuing office one afternoon and were granted a permit while they waited. The address is: Mr. Matheson Posts and Telegraphs Department South Camp Road P.O. Box 7000 Kingston, Jamaica
On many small island countries, import duties are the only source of national revenue. Customs officials are concerned that you are going to sell the equipment without paying the duty. To varying degrees, they are also looking for drugs depending on the country. Jamaica has a serious drug problem, so they are looking real carefully there.
I found it’s best to act like a dumb tourist whenever dealing with customs (this is a feat which comes naturally to me). If you have a native of the country you’re visiting waiting for you, I believe it’s worse if customs knows that. They may assume that person to be your connection to fence your equipment.
I had no trouble with customs here, but out of 9 guys coming in with equipment, I was the only one. Being able to produce a license often helps (whenever possible I always try to get my license in advance).
Bribes and payoffs are a way of life in Jamaica. When all else fails, you might give it a try. You have to be very careful, there is as much of an art to presenting green as there is to stuffing it in one’s pocket. Be very discreet. Don’t give it to the first official who questions you with a crowd around, wait until they take you aside. If you and/or your equipment land up in customs jail, sorry, you shouldn’t have listened to me.