Jamaica

Shopping is not really one of Jamaica's high points, though you will certainly find things to buy. Good choices include Jamaican crafts, which range from artwork to batik fabrics to baskets. Wood carvings are a top purchase; the finest are made from the Jamaican national tree, lignum vitae, or tree of life, a dense, blond wood that requires a talented carver to transform it into dolphins, heads, or fish. Bargaining is expected with crafts vendors. Naturally, Jamaican rum is another top souvenir, as is Tia Maria, the Jamaican-made coffee liqueur. Coffee (both Blue Mountain and the less expensive High Mountain) is sold at nearly every gift shop, but the cheapest prices are often found at local grocery stores, where you can buy coffee beans or ground coffee.

Unless you have an extremely early flight, you'll find plenty of shopping at the Sangster International Airport, which has a large shopping mall. Fine handmade cigars are available there and at the island's many cigar stores. You can buy Cuban cigars almost anywhere, though they can't be taken back legally into the United States. As a rule, only rum distilleries, such as Appleton's and Sangster's, have better deals than the airport stores. Best of all, if you buy your rum at the airport, you don't have to tote all those heavy, breakable bottles. (Note that if you purchase rum—or other liquids, such as duty-free perfumes—outside the airport, you'll need to place them in your checked luggage when returning home. If you purchase liquids inside the secured area of the airport, you may board with them, but, after clearing U.S. Customs on landing, you will need to place them in your checked bag if continuing on another flight.)

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  • 1. Carriacou Gallery

    Crafts

    The work of Hotel Mockingbird Hill owner Barbara Walker and other local artists is showcased. Art classes are also offered. ...Read More

  • 2. Gallery of West Indian Art

    Crafts

    This is the place to find Jamaican, Cuban, and Haitian paintings. A corner of the gallery is devoted to beautifully carved and painted birds...Read More

  • 3. Harmony Hall

    Crafts

    Eight minutes east of town, a restored 19th-century minister's house now carries original works of art. On sale are late owner Annabella Proudlock...Read More

  • 4. Ocho Rios Crafts Market

    Crafts

    This largest market has stalls selling everything from straw hats to wooden figurines to T-shirts. Vendors can be aggressive, and haggling is...Read More

  • 5. Pineapple Craft Market

    Crafts

    This small, casual market on the outskirts of Ocho Rios has everything from carved figurines to coffee-bean necklaces. ...Read More

  • 6. Wassi Art Handcrafted Caribbean Home Accessories

    Crafts

    You'll find ceramics and other arts and crafts, all of which are made in Jamaica. ...Read More

  • 7. Hemp Heaven

    Crafts

    Hemp Heaven sells apparel and accessories made of hemp. ...Read More

  • 8. Starfish Essentials

    Crafts

    Starfish Essentials sells Jamaican-made candles. Don't miss the Blue Mountain candle, with whole coffee beans in the wax. ...Read More

  • 9. Things Jamaican

    Crafts

    Here you can find some of the best Jamaican crafts—from carved wooden bowls and trays to reproductions of period silver and brass pieces. ...Read More

  • 10. Things Jamaican

    Crafts

    As its name suggests, Things Jamaican sells local items: books, music, crafts, spices, sauces, beachwear, and more. ...Read More

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