Shopping in Jamaica

Great local goods can be discovered when shopping Jamaica's markets

Photo credit: © Zina Seletskaya | Dreamstime.com
 

Shopping in Jamaica is an experience in and of itself. The island's vendors peddle wares of all kinds, from local hand-made crafts to imported designer watches and perfumes, all at prices that can seem like a steal.

...Bargaining in the markets of Jamaica is a local tradition...

 

The key to shopping in Jamaica is to be prepared to bargain. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, stick to duty-free stores, large retailers, and international chains, were prices are fixed and no haggling is allowed. Prices may be slightly higher than marketplace rates, but this policy saves the hassle of bargaining with vendors, and you will likely still end up saving a few bucks.

It is important to note that, as a visitor, you will almost inevitably be approached by local drug dealers offering "something special." The use of marijuana is widespread but strictly forbidden by Jamaican law. A fun Caribbean vacation certainly shouldn't include a visit to local prisons. A firm, "No, thank you," with a stern look should be enough send a drug peddler away.

Bargaining

If you choose to do so, be sure not to approach a vendor regarding an item unless you intend to buy that item. Ask the price, and then act disappointed and begin to walk away. If the vendor wants to lower the price of the item, he may offer a discount as a special treat for you as a visitor to his country. At this time, determine how much you would like to pay for the item and suggest a price lower than that. Eventually, you and your salesperson will compromise somewhere in the middle. Just remember not to give up!

Gifts and Souvenirs

There are definitely items available in Jamaica worth seeking out. Local artists create amazing crafts; from paintings of local scenery to wood relief carvings of local people and sights, local art is unique and will spice up any home.

Exclusive to Jamaica are high-quality woven crafts, available in Montego Bay's Craft Market, or along the street from smaller merchants. Baskets, purses, hats, and other finely handcrafted items are available in a wide variety of colors, but the most commonly found will be the three bright Rastafarian colors, yellow, green, and red, that just shout "Jamaica." One favored souvenir is a hand carved figurine made from lignum vitae wood, which means "tree of life" and is the national tree of Jamaica. It takes a well-trained carver to handle this blonde colored wood, and you can find dolphins, people, and flowers carved into the wood.

Another worthwhile shopping opportunity is the Blue Mountain Coffee for which Jamaica is famous. Locally grown and harvested, this coffee sells in the United States for more than twice its local price. Duty free shops at international airports will sell the coffee in small burlap gift bags for approximately $1(USD) per ounce, but for an even lower price, seek out coffee stands in local markets. Just be wary of street-side coffee vendors; sometimes you'll get coffee that isn't really what you are looking for. Speaking of coffee, Tia Maria, a Jamaican-made coffee liquore can make for a great gift as well.

If you enjoy shopping for gifts or souvenirs consider visiting Ritz Cafe Gift Shop, which is situated in the vicinity of Montego Bay. Ritz Cafe Gift Shop allows you to recreate your stay with the Ritz Carlton in your own home, so you can revel in the experience long after you've gone home. If you are looking for something specific and want to call in advance, you can do so at (876) 953-8834.

Another option is Casa de Oro Time Square, which is located to the of Ritz Cafe Gift Shop. Best known for their line of time pieces, Casa's Duty Free Shop also offers a wide selection of fragrances, jewelry, eye wear, leather products, and more, all of which are name brand. If you have questions, call them at (876) 957-3631.

A third shop you might enjoy is Bijoux Duty Free at the Airport. Located upstairs after security in the newly expanded shopping area at the Sangster International Airport, Bijoux Duty Free allows tourists to take advantage of duty free shopping one last time before returning home. Visitors can call them at (876) 952-6718.

You can look through this table if you want more information.

Gifts and Souvenirs On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
Beach Boyz Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-4629 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril
Bijoux Duty Free Historic Falmouth Duty Free Store (876) 953-9530 Falmouth, Northwestern part of Jamaica
Bijoux Duty Free Kingston Duty Free Store (876) 953-9530 Kingston
Bijoux Duty Free Tajmahal Duty Free Store (876) 953-9530 Downtown Ocho Rios
Bijoux Duty Free at the Airport Duty Free Store (876) 952-6718 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Bob Marley Experience and Theatre Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 953-3946 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Carby's Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 926-4065 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Casa de Oro Time Square Duty Free Store (876) 957-3631 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Dis & Dat Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-4916 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril
Exquisite Floral & Gift Center Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 734-4311 Morant Bay, Eastern part of Jamaica
Giftland Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 974-6744 Downtown Ocho Rios
Jamaican Style Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-3060 Negril Beach Hotel Zone, Western part of Jamaica
Jingle's Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 974-0209 St. Ann's Bay, Northern part of Jamaica
Lamcy Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-3958 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Legends Sunshine Village Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-4534 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril
Neita's Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 963-5801 Whitehouse, Western part of Jamaica
Ritz Cafe Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 953-8834 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Santastic Gift & Things Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 975-2432 Browns Town, Northern part of Jamaica
Sona Duty Free Duty Free Store (876) 957-3151 0.4 mi. North of Central Negril
Tina's Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (876) 957-3684 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril

Specialty Shops

One of the more popular specialty retailers in the area is Sun Divers. They're located within Negril, in western Jamaica. Whether you've never dived before in your life, or you've been doing it for years, Sun Divers has a training program and an open water dive to meet your level of knowledge. If you want to be sure they're open , call them at (876) 957-4503.

Another option is Harmony Hall, which is located 86.8 mi. (139.7 km) from Sun Divers. Their wide range of merchandise includes fine art, self-taught artists, prints, books, unusual handicraft, ceramics, and more. Their best selling item is the hand-made cedar "Annabella" boxes depicting Jamaican scenes. If you have questions, call them at (876) 975-4222.

Studio174: In addition to teaching classes in various mediums of art, the center offers other education such as English classes. The artwork created by students here is on display for anyone who cares to stop by and see it. They're located at 174 Harbour Street.

Lots of the specialty shops in Jamaica are shown in the chart below.

Specialty Shops On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
Bolivar Gallery & Antiques Art Gallery (876) 926-8799 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Clonmel Potters Gallery Art Gallery (876) 992-4495 2.7 mi. East-Southeast of Central Gayle
Colombian Emeralds Ocho Rios Jewelry Store (876) 795-0315 Ocho Rios
Frame Centre Gallery Art Gallery (876) 926-4644 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Gallery Joe James Art Gallery (876) 954-0048 Rio Bueno, Northern part of Jamaica
Gallery of West Indian Art Art Gallery (876) 952-4547 1.9 mi. South-Southeast of Central Montego Bay
Gem Palace Jewelry Store (876) 974-2735 Ocho Rios
Harmony Hall Art Gallery (876) 975-4222 0.3 mi. South of Central Tower Isle
House Of Diamonds Jewelry Store (876) 795-2921 Downtown Ocho Rios
Maximum Art Gallery Art Gallery (876) 957-4560 0.6 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Portland Art Gallery Art Gallery (876) 882-7732 0.5 mi. West of Central Port Antonio
Reve Jewellery & Accessories Jewelry Store (876) 908-2498 Portmore
Studio174 Art Gallery (718) 218-7735 Downtown Kingston
Sun Divers Dive Shop (876) 957-4503 Negril, Western part of Jamaica
Swiss Stores Kingston Jewelry Store (876) 922-8050 Downtown Kingston
Tajmahal's Jewel In Paradise Jewelry Store (876) 974-6929 Downtown Ocho Rios
Tropicana Jewelers Falmouth Jewelry Store (876) 533-6100 12.3 mi. East of Central Rose Hall
Tropicana Jewelers Montego Jewelry Store (876) 953-2242 1.0 mi. East of Central Rose Hall
Tropicana Jewelers Negril Jewelry Store (876) 957-9530 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Z Images Art Gallery Art Gallery -- 0.5 mi. North of Central Negril

Clothing and Apparel

Enjoy looking for interesting clothing? You might want to try Things Jamaican -- it's located in Kingston, Jamaica. The diversity of the products avalale at Things Jamaican is immense, from wood carvings, ceramics, and jewelry, to a wealth of homemade food products and local rums. Visitors will be able to find them at 26 Hope Road.

Another shop to consider is Maxie Department Store Mandeville -- which is found 47.5 mi. (76.4 km) from Things Jamaican. Every day wear, sports wear, swim wear, business attire, undergarments, accessories, and shoes are all available and easily accessible at Maxie Department Store. They are situated at 14 Ward Avenue.

A third clothing shop to consider is Little Ones Boutique. If you're in the market for some clothing for the younger set, you won't want to pass up Little Ones Boutique, which sells everything you need to clothe babies, toddlers, and young children. You can contact them at (876) 955-9533.

Take a minute to read the table below for more information about your options.

Clothing and Apparel On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
7 Leaves Boutique Boutique -- 0.5 mi. North of Central Negril
All Wet Beachwear Showroom Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (876) 371-1649 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Conrad's Unique Fashions Men's Clothing Store (876) 918-3305 Westmoreland Parish, Western part of Jamaica
Da Core Unisex Clothing Clothing Store (876) 962-3108 Mandeville, Central Jamaica
Dunrich Fashion Clothing Store (876) 966-2638 Santa Cruz, Western part of Jamaica
Eagle Wing Sports & Things Men's Clothing Store (876) 965-8201 Portmore, Eastern part of Jamaica
Fancy Feet Shoe Store (876) 974-0529 Ocho Rios
GlamKollectionz Women's Clothing and Accessories Store (876) 398-9011 0.9 mi. South of Central Savanna La Mar
JSL Boutique Boutique (876) 957-4551 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril
Little Ones Boutique Boutique (876) 955-9533 1.0 mi. West-Northwest of Central Johnson Town
Maxie Department Store Mandeville Department Store (876) 625-0525 Mandeville, Central Jamaica
Mello Magic Boutique Boutique (876) 966-9543 Santa Cruz, Western part of Jamaica
Norma Soas Boutique Boutique (876) 953-3429 4.5 mi. West-Northwest of Central Spot Valley
Pablo Palair Fashion Clothing Store (876) 979-1255 Downtown Montego Bay
Princess Fashion Boutique Boutique (876) 939-6534 Portmore, Eastern part of Jamaica
Puma Store Shoe Store (876) 754-5000 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Sammy's Shoe Store Shoe Store (876) 934-1683 Portmore
Stunning Boutique Boutique (876) 929-8636 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Things Jamaican Boutique (876) 928-5161 0.6 mi. Northeast of Central Kingston
World of Sports Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (876) 957-9581 0.4 mi. North of Central Negril

Food and Grocery

Hungry? Mandeville Liquor Store is located in Mandeville. In addition to drinks, Mandeville Liquor also sells snacks, cigarettes, and phone cards. They're located at 4 Villa Road.

A second possibility is Linstead Market, which is located 31.8 mi. (51.3 km) to the east of Mandeville Liquor Store. Canned and jarred at the peak of freshness, Linstead Market specializes in Ackee, Callaloo, jams, jellies, spices, sauces, peas, and soups. The jams and jellies come in flavors like guava pineapple and mango chutney, while soups are local favorites: pepperpot soup, gungus pea soup, and red peas soup. If you're looking for something specific, try calling them at (876) 982-4318.

Purity Bakery: For over 50 years, this company has been baking breads and buns in a variety of flavors using timeless, fresh ingredients. They keep the island's stores stocked with breads that everyone can agree on. They're located at 2F Valentine Drive.

Review the table below for more information about your options.

Food and Grocery Stores On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
1876 Wines Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (876) 756-1876 Portmore
Book & Nutrition Center Nutrition and Body Care Store (876) 924-5227 Ocho Rios
Captain's Bakery Bakery -- Downtown Montego Bay
Captain's Bakery Bakery (876) 986-2183 May Pen
Flagstaff Bakery Bakery (876) 971-4694 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Hammonds Bakery Bakery (876) 957-4734 Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Linstead Market Fruit and Vegetable Market (876) 982-4318 Linstead, Central Jamaica
Mandeville Liquor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (876) 625-6900 Mandeville
Purity Bakery Bakery (876) 924-1151 Kingston
Rituals Coffee House Coffee and Tea Store (876) 953-6031 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Salmon Bakery Bakery (876) 952-2579 Downtown Montego Bay
Small's Bakery Bakery (876) 972-6212 4.4 mi. South West of Central Priory
Stop & Shop Supermarket Grocery Store (876) 973-7168 Runaway Bay
Super Plus Food Stores Grocery Store 634-3914-5 Black River, Western part of Jamaica
Superplus Food Stores Grocery Store (876) 940-4969 Downtown Montego Bay

Duty Free

Items available at duty-free savings are in abundance in the duty-free shops in Jamaica. U.S. visitors can save 25 to 30 percent on popular items such as brand name crystal and china, brand name watches and perfumes, and brand name leather products such as Fendi and Liz Claiborne.

Another important thing to remember is that in order for shopping items to be considered "duty-free," they must be paid for in foreign currency. American dollars will be accepted almost everywhere, and many locations accept major credit cards.

Restricted Items

Certain items, such as coral and turtle products, are illegal under current Jamaican law, given the damage to the environment caused by their popularity. Although these items may still be found, purchasing and carrying them through the airport could cause unnecessary difficulty in going through customs, both in Jamaica and the United States. Additionally, Cuban cigars, though also readily available, will be confiscated during any U.S. customs inspections.

Although shopping is not one of the main reasons tourists visit Jamaica, there are some great deals to be had if you know where to look. Duty free shopping means you may be able to snag a few designer goods on the cheap, and you certainly won't want to miss a chance to bring home a few locally made souvenirs.

 

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