Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Your guide to Caribbean family vacations from a husband-wife team of professional travel writers and guidebook authors.
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Shopping in Jamaica
This island has a wealth of arts and crafts,
everything from colorful paintings to folk art wood carvings, not to mention
batik T-shirts and crocheted tams in Rastafarian colors (yellow, red and
green). Shopping at the roadside stands or on the beach involves negotiating
of price. Its part of the fun.
Our favorite purchases are the woodcarvings,
both freestanding and bas relief of local animal life, faces, fish, and
just about everything else you can imagine. The finest pieces are carved
from lignum vitae, or wood of life, a pale hardwood that is so dense it
Each resort area is home to a Craft Market.
Many travelers avoid the market because of fears of high-pressure sales,
but we have found the market delightful. A friendly good morning,
abstaining from photos until a purchase (no matter how small) is made,
and general good manners will go far with the salespeople. On a recent
visit, one cheerful vendor gave us a small basket as a gift. After shopping,
take a break with a soft drink or sky juice (like our snow
cone) sold from pushcarts beneath the shade trees.
Some small purchases include small straw baskets,
perfect for a youngsters jewelry and prized possessions ($2), tiny
straw purses ($4), friendship bracelets in rasta colors ($1), coffee bean
necklaces ($2), and bamboo bangles ($4).
For fixed prices, head to the shopping centers.
In Montego Bay, the top shopping centers are City Centre, a block-long
collection of duty-free shops, the nice but high-priced Half Moon Shopping
Village, and our favorite, the Holiday Village Shopping Centre near Holiday
Inn SunSpree. Look for Bob Marley T-shirts, rasta tams, woodcarvings,
straw baskets, and more.
In Negril, the Hi-Lo Shopping Center offers
a good selection of souvenir, liquor, music, and sportwear stores. The
Hi-Lo grocery itself is an excellent shopping stop; pop in to purchase
spices, hot sauces, and Blue Mountain coffee at prices far lower than
youll see in the hotel gift shops.
Ocho Rios is home to the Taj Mahal Shopping
Centre, a complex of fine duty-free shops and other stores that sell souvenir
Back to Jamaica with Kids