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Shopping In Jamaica


No vacation in Jamaica is complete without a little bit of shopping to bring home a souvenir or two from your Jamaican journey. Aside from souvenirs, there are a great number of local products that are available nowhere else. In addition, the local art community is famous for creations that can grace the collection of any art enthusiast. The first step to enjoying a successful shopping experience is to know where to look for those special, unique items that will allow you to bring home a little piece of island culture.

Harbour Street, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, features an open-air craft market, where locals come to sell their wares. Among the many varied offerings, youíll find hand-made jewelry of beads and semi-precious stones, textile products, including clothing of varying style and quality, some of which are richly colored cottons and sturdy natural fibers. There are often hand carved, wooden household items and small wood sculptures, created by some of the islandís many skilled artisans.

Island Village, at the Turtle beach Complex in Ocho Rios, is the perfect shopping area for those interested in reggae and island music culture. With more than 30 shops offering a variety of Bob Marley souvenir items, reggae culture inspired clothing, books, posters, and, of course, music, youíll need a full day to explore this village. Staying the day, though, will be no problem. There are many cafes and restaurants, and an assortment of sights to be seen, including a museum devoted to reggae and island culture.

For those who prefer a more upscale shopping atmosphere, Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay is sure to satisfy. This busy thoroughfare hosts an eclectic blend of boutiques and strip malls, set amongst some of the best hotels and eating establishments on the island. Taj Mahal in Ocho Rios is a shopping mall built on a grand scale, featuring a variety of upscale products, and also offers some of the best coffees, rums, and cigars on the island. Kingston is one of the best places in Jamaica to buy quality artwork by some of the nationís best artists. Frame Center Gallery and the Mutual Life Gallery are among the best known, and are recognized even beyond the island for the quality of art made available for viewing and purchase.

Those desiring a degree of authenticity, something representative of the culture beyond the tourist industries would do well to pay attention to the small shops and stands to be found throughout the island. The further away from the tourist centers the better when it comes to finding those special, unique items that reflect native culture. Some of the unusual take home items to be found in this way include the spices used in native cuisine and home items that are both artistic and practical.

There are many wonderful areas for shopping in Jamaica, whether it is local crafts and creations or upscale bargains that interest you. It is important to note that a certain degree of haggling over prices is expected, and is just a part of the experience.

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