Posted on 17/08/2015
Hailed as the shopping capital of the Caribbean, and with so many duty-free stores lining the main strip in Charlotte Amalie, you can understand why. If you wander down the alleys that lead off the main Street, exploring arcades with evocative names such as Raadets Gade, Palm Passage and Hibiscus Alley, you’ll find chic boutiques and artisans’ outlets.
Jamaica has its own style and shopping on the island is an experience in itself. The islands vendors pedal wares of all kinds – find it at market places, malls and stalls. The key to shopping in Jamaica is to be prepared to bargain. However, if you’re uncomfortable with this idea, stick to the duty free stores, large retailers and international chains where prices are fixed and no haggling is allowed.
Word to the wise: If you do choose to bargain with the local vendors, be sure not to approach a vendor regarding an item unless you intend to buy that item – the aftermath of a failed transaction is not always the most pleasant.
It’s amazing how many shopportunities you can fit into just 36 square-miles! You can shop your way around AXA at Irie Life (cool T-shirts); Petals (resort wear that’s refreshingly reasonably priced); Limin’ boutique (love the clutches featuring photos of iconic beaches); and ZaZaa (where patrons have been known to notoriously lust after the spectacular – and astronomically priced – beaded necklaces). The boutiques at Viceroy, Cuisinart and Cap Juluca are well stocked with designer swimwear, clothing and accessories, most of which are beyond mere mortals’ budget. But if you visit at the end of the high season, when the big spenders have gone back to their lavish homes, you can score some huge deals (we’re talking up to 80 percent off, here, people!) as stores get rid of their leftover inventory.
Shopping experiences range from markets, supermarkets, fashion stores, restaurant chains and duty-free shops. You’ll find it worth your while though to venture to the local street market which is composed of a group of buildings. Most vendors sell similar – if not the same items and will accept either Eastern Caribbean (EC) or US Dollars. Generally, things are actually “cheaper” if you ask what the EC value is.
If you’re a ‘foodie’ The Market is definitely the place for you. You’ll find a plethora of spices and other “cooking essentials”. Two things that are unique to St. Lucia – Banana Ketchup and Banana BBQ Sauce – maybe you can give those a try along with their local Mango Pepper Hot Sauce with your next meal. Bon apetite!