Christmas in the Mail
14 January 2008 | Saint Georges FedEx
We received our mail today. Our Saint Brendan's Isle box has been piling up for a while now. We were a little too concerned with the customs red tape in Trinidad to try to receive mail there. Perhaps it is fine but I didn't want to chance it this time as we had a few things in this shipment that we didn't want lost in transit.
In particular my Mom sent us cookies and dog treats for Christmas. This was our first shipment since November so we had a late Christmas party with coffee, cookies and dog treats tonight.
Of the places we have had mail forwarded I give the following ratings:
BVI #1 by far. You have it shipped, cheapest way you like, and it arrives at your boat if you are in a marina. End of story.
Grenada #2. You have to use Fedex to ensure fast reliable delivery in Grenada but if you do things arrive in one day from Florida. As long as that day is not Friday you can probably pick you package up in the afternoon of the day after you shipped. If it is a single item or just mail you get the package and FedEx charges $50EC ($18.86 US) to handle the customs. If customs can't understand the stuff on the list or thinks it is too complicated you have to take the packing list to customs to get it approved, which they always due after asking a few questions. As soon as they realize that it is just you mail (perhaps with a little online shopping mixed in) you are set. You fee is 0% if the mail is personal affects (a good thing to put on the customs declaration!), 2.5% if it is ships stores (i.e. parts or stuff for the boat), and 5% is it is "other". Fail to mark the invoice "Yacht in Transit" and you may be in the 100% duty bin.
Saint Lucia #3. A distant third was Saint Lucia. While I felt that our packages were safe I often was not sure whether we would actually be able to get them released. We had to run around town between the FedEx office and Customs twice, pay steep fees and in general were not treated like guests of the country. One pack of mail took a good four hours to receive with a cabbie meter running the entire time.
Place I choose not to try receiving mail even though it would have been handy: Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Saint Vincent, Trinidad & Venezuela.
Places I think would be pretty easy for Americans (but maybe not other nationals): Puerto Rico, USVI
Places I think would be easy for anyone to receive mail: Any French Island