We spent three weeks in Port Antonio, Jamaica. One week getting our act together and then another two weeks waiting for a good weather window to cross to Panama. Port Antonio is a pretty spot, a perfectly protected harbour with a backdrop of lush, tropical mountains.
The Jamaican customs, immigration, police and quarantine officers are also friendly, professional and efficient. Checking in cost nothing and took less than a day.
Port Antonio Marina (AKA Errol Flynn Marina) is a good value stop. Marina manager Paul Dadd does a great job. Dockhand “Flower” is darn good at his job. Boatyard manager George is helpful and informative. Marsha does a great job keeping the facilities sparkling. With good staff, Internet and clean facilities at a $1/foot it was easy to justify staying at the marina while we caught up on maintenance and work. The marina has an affordable Cuban run poolside bar – the $2.50 beers and $4 hamburgers added to our enjoyment and waistlines! We went to Cuba after all.
John (The Hulk) and Rudy, a husband and wife team, polished our stainless steel, scrubbed our topsides and rinsed our hull for less than US$100. Visiting boaters who need the same service can call them on 1 876 429 3007 or email email@example.com. Presley is another friendly local who is willing to help boaters out with Jamaican courtesy flags, manual labor, propane refills and other services. Presley’s phone number is 572 3959.
Port Antonio has a reputation for being relatively hassle free compared to other Jamaican towns. Most vendors were respectful after we firmly said “No”, but some were annoying persistent. Three vendors to avoid in Port Antonio include Clive the Banana Man; Randal, fixer and pimp; the CD Man and the Lemon Grass man. No you did not suddenly become more likable, attractive and charismatic the minute you stepped foot in Jamaica!
Highlights of our stay in Jamaica? The poolside bar where Franklin started really swimming, good Jamaican patties, trying out real Jamaican jerk in Boston Bay, Reach Falls with Andre and Christine, wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables, friendly people and the generally friendly and helpful staff at the Port Antonio Marina. Thanks Jamaica. Yeah Mon.