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're looking for some gifts or souvenirs you might want to check out Bijoux Duty Free at the Airport, which is located in the vicinity of Montego Bay. Bijoux is a duty free jewelry and accessories shop, selling Luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Hublot, Tag Heuer, Chopard, Movado, Tudor, Raymond Weil, Frederique Constant, Michael Kors, Fossil, Skagen, and Michele watches. In Jewelry they carry Pandora, Roberto Coin, Fope, Endless Diamonds, John Hardy, Marahlago Larimar, and Caribbean Hook Bracelets featuring the "One Love, One Heart" bracelet. If you'd like to call ahead of time, you can do so at (876) 952-6718.

A second option is Caves Hotel Gift Shop, which is found mi. ( km) to the of Bijoux Duty Free at the Airport. If you've forgotten a few necessities while packing for vacation, Caves Gift Shop is the place to visit. Not only do they provide the essentials, but have a wonderful selection of souvenirs to bring home. They are located at 144 One love Drive.

The table below shows some details regarding 20 of the gift and souvenir shops in Jamaica.

Gifts and Souvenirs On Jamaica
Name Phone Location
Bijoux Duty Free at the Airport (876) 952-6718 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Bob Marley Experience and Theatre (876) 953-3946 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Carby's Gift Shop (876) 926-4065 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Caves Hotel Gift Shop (876) 957-0270 1.8 mi. South West of Central Negril
Driftwood Gifts -- 0.5 mi. North of Central Negril
Gifts Palace (876) 979-3111 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Jamaican Paradise Gifts -- 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Lamcy Gift Shop (876) 957-3958 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Legends Sunshine Village (876) 957-4534 0.5 mi. Northwest of Central Negril
Legends Time Square -- 2.0 mi. South of Central Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Native Gift Shop (876) 974-4972 Ocho Rios
Palace Gift Shop (876) 974-7165 Ocho Rios
Queenie's Gift Shop (876) 979-7913 Downtown Montego Bay
Ringo's Haberdashery & Gift Center (876) 952-3492 Downtown Montego Bay
Sona Duty Free (876) 957-3151 0.4 mi. North of Central Negril
Sona Gift Shop (876) 957-9548 Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Stationery Gifts & More (876) 972-6769 4.4 mi. South West of Central Priory
Toy Zone (876) 969-6685 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
V R Gifts & Souvenirs (876) 684-9030 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Weekenders Gift Shop (876) 952-7657 Downtown Montego Bay

Specialty Shops

One of the popular specialty retailers in the area is Harmony Hall. This store is found within Tower Isle, Jamaica. Jamaica's leading artists and craftsmen have a home at Harmony Hall. The building, which was a 19th century Methodist manse, came into Annabella Proudlock's possession in 1980 and she worked with a group of friends to create the perfect locale to display some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork. If you are looking for something specific and want to call ahead, you can do so at (876) 975-4222.

A second option is Clonmel Potters Gallery, which is found 7.5 mi. (12.1 km) from Harmony Hall. Clonmel Potters began their operation in a small shack of a studio in St. Mary in July of 1976 and has been growing and expanding ever since. In 1993, they move to Kingston, and as recently as 2005 moved to Clonmel. Find them at 84 Lady Musgrave Road.

Bolivar Gallery & Antiques: When it comes to purchasing art in Jamaica, Bolivar is a well-known name that you can trust. In business since 1965, Bolivar Gallery & Antiques is the longest-running art gallery in Jamaica. Named for the Latin American hero Simon Bolivar, this gallery features a collection of works by Jamaican and International artists in a wealth of mediums. They are located at 10 Grove Road.

Take a moment to read the following chart if you want more information.

Specialty Shops On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
Art Centre Limited Art Gallery (876) 927-1608 Portmore
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
Creative Flowers & Gardens Florist (876) 952-5297 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- 0.8 mi. East of Central Falmouth
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- 0.1 mi. North-Northeast of Central Ocho Rios
Frame Centre Gallery Art Gallery (876) 926-4644 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Gem Palace Jewelry Store (876) 974-2735 Ocho Rios
Grosvenor Galleries Art Gallery (876) 924-6684 Portmore
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
Reve Jewellery & Accessories Jewelry Store (876) 908-2498 Portmore
Saba Art Gallery & Frames Art Gallery (876) 940-1011 Downtown Montego Bay
Studio174 Art Gallery (718) 218-7735 Downtown Kingston
Swiss Stores Kingston Jewelry Store (876) 922-8050 Downtown Kingston
Swiss Stores Montego Bay Jewelry Store (876) 953-9274 1.4 mi. East of Central Rose Hall
Tanzanite International Jewelry Store -- 0.8 mi. East of Central Falmouth
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

Clothing and Apparel

Enjoy shopping for clothing? Consider dropping by Things Jamaican -- it's found 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. You can find them at 26 Hope Road.

A second option is Maxie Department Store Mandeville -- which is located 47.5 mi. (76.4 km) from Things Jamaican. One of the most popular department stores in Jamaica is Maxie, where growing families can take care of all of their shoe and clothing needs at affordable prices. Visitors will find them at 14 Ward Avenue.

A third place to consider is Little Ones Boutique. Little Ones is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors can call them at (876) 955-9533.

Lots of apparel shops located in Jamaica are displayed in the following chart.

Clothing and Apparel On Jamaica
Name Type Phone Location
All Wet Beachwear Showroom Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (876) 371-1649 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Beach Shoppe Negril Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (876) 957-3519 Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Conrad's Unique Fashions Men's Clothing Store (876) 918-3305 Westmoreland Parish, Western part of Jamaica
Dunrich Fashion Clothing Store (876) 966-2638 Santa Cruz, Western part of Jamaica
Elegance Designer Suits & Dresses Clothing Store (876) 952-9310 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Exquisite Boutique Boutique (876) 961-4512 Mandeville
Fancy Feet Shoe Store (876) 974-0529 0.4 mi. West-Northwest of Central Ocho Rios
GlamKollectionz Women's Clothing and Accessories Store (876) 398-9011 0.9 mi. South of Central Savanna La Mar
Ian's Footwear Shoe Store (876) 795-0840 Ocho Rios
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
Michelle Shoe Gallery Shoe Store (876) 715-3463 Port Antonio
Sammy's Shoe Shoe Store (876) 984-3200 Spanish Town, Eastern part of Jamaica
Sammy's Shoe Store Shoe Store (876) 934-1683 Portmore
Shoe Gallery Shoe Store (876) 754-0231 Kingston, Eastern part of Jamaica
Stylish Fit Clothing Store (876) 906-9713 Portmore
Tashamay's Fashions Clothing Store (876) 924-5131 Portmore
Things Jamaican Boutique (876) 928-5161 0.6 mi. Northeast of Central Kingston
Tuscany Boutique Boutique (876) 625-7093 Mandeville
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 situated in Mandeville. In addition to drinks, Mandeville Liquor also sells snacks, cigarettes, and phone cards. Guests can find them at 4 Villa Road.

Another option is Purity Bakery, which is located mi. ( km) from Mandeville Liquor Store. 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 can be found at 2F Valentine Drive.

Linstead Market: 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. You can call them at (876) 982-4318.

Take a minute to read the following table 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
Hammonds Bakery Bakery (876) 957-4734 Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Hi-Lo Food Stores Grocery Store (876) 952-2641 1.8 mi. South of Central Montego Bay
Khemlani Mart Grocery Store (876) 971-3497 The vicinity of Montego Bay
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
Sovereign Supermarket Grocery Store (876) 927-5955 Portmore
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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