The best thing we visited in Ocho Rios was the crafts market.
We could see artisans at work and bargain some crafts definitively not "made in China".
Of course, Bob Marley and "rasta" figures dominate, imagination... not much. Prices are cheap, and it seems to be the best place to buy the garbage we usually carry back home.
it is a small, locally owned shop on main street in downtown ocho rios by the taj mahal shopping centre and burger king. they sell something the other stores don't-- something different! the clothes aren't touristy in any way and it is a very quaint and unique boutique. what make this store truly different however is the service you receive-- in short, I received a nice LONG fit from the owner. she forced me to buy a dress that was broken on the rack. I never got the chance to try it on... Mrs. Kavolo screamed until she turned blue in the face and even called the police! I was forced to buy the dress and i harassed to the point of a panic attack by her and her employee. she is very confrontational and even had the nerve to get right in my face! later on, she almost pushed one of the women I was with. I recommend caution-- cute clothes can be deceiving. if you choose to go in, don't touch anything; you'll lose $70 US
What to buy: when in ocho rios, there are a few boutiques like kavolo's. you just need to look around near the local shops-- I believe the main street area has a few! also, while going on the chukka tours, I found the most adorable swimsuits! There are also some designer brand name sun glasses stores and puma stores around.
What to pay: in a local shop, you can haggle a price down to as low as you want! but there are some stores where it is inappropriate to do so, although sometimes you are offered lower prices. trust me when I say you'll sort of know in which stores you can haggle and which you cannot
This is a well stocked super market with a variety of local and imported foods/goods.
They have fresh foods, snacks, beer, liquor, magazines, phone cards and toiletries.
It is neat and clean inside. Right on the building it says that it is "the everything store"
I believe they were right.
Jewels and touristy crafts - the malls' architecture change a little, but the contents is essentially the same everywhere.
A brake in sun and swim, but nothing special. Anyway, this was, maybe, the best mall that I saw in Jamaica.
Like most Jamaicans towns of any size, Ocho Rios has a craft market aimed squarely at separating tourists from their dollars! All of them sell much the same things – indeed it seemed to me that every stall in each market sold very similar things to its neighbour on either side! But if you’re looking for wood carvings, paintings, fabrics such as sarongs, hats, spices, drums etc., and are prepared to put up with some low-level (in our experience) hassle in return for the opportunity to haggle over prices, this is the place to come.
By the way, if knowing that your souvenir is local in origin matters to you, do bear in mind that some of the wood carvings in particular are likely to be imported and possibly mass-produced. But we saw several guys here carving by their stalls, which is a good sign, and careful inspection should reveal which items are genuinely hand-carved – look for those that are less smooth in their finish and aren’t all uniform.
What to pay: We were “just looking” so I’m not sure what prices were like here, but nowhere on the island did they seem very high, and judicial haggling will bring them even lower. As an indication, we later paid US$10 for a pretty cushion and US$12 for a leather and coloured glass necklace in fixed-price galleries in Negril.
This is one of the most famous shopping centers in Ocho Rios, close to the harbor... it's built as a replica of the Taj Mahal (that's where it gets its name from) and this isn't random.... the owners of the shops located there are mostly from Indian origin! I was amazed to see so many Indians in Jamaica (so far from their country!!), but they're the rich people there....
What to buy: Souvenirs, beach stuff, etc... Something I didn't like from the shops in general is that people will be REALLY PUSHY in order to get you to buy something, they'll haunt you all around the store trying to make you buy everything you look at, and that's something I personally dislike a lot.
What to pay: Well, in fact prices are high for the kind of items you can find here... sometimes you can bargain a little, if you like such practice, but they won't reduce them a lot anyway!
If you’re pressed for time or you don’t want to pay to participate in the shopping excursion into town, look no further than the open-air market across the street from SOR. The resort offers free, guided tours to this shopping area throughout the week, but it’s not difficult to find on your own. Here you’ll find local vendors selling Jamaican tchotchkes, coffee, art, etc. The vendors accept both Jamaican Dollars as well as US Dollars (they’ll give you your change in JD) and they’re always ready to bargain with you. It’s a little off-the-beaten path, but you’ll find more variety in the merchandise here than from the vendors at the resort. I was even able to find original art here by a local artist that was unique – so totally unlike all the “traditional” art I saw at every other stand in town. It’s worth a look. What you'll miss out on: the crowds and the prices of downtown.
What to buy: Cuban cigars, Jamaican coffee, local art & crafts, T-shirts, magnets, etc. Items vary from vendor to vendor. Shop around and bargain... you'll be sure to find a deal.
What to pay: Bargain with the vendors to get the best prices.
Harmony Hall, a mid-1800s Methodist manse 4 ½ miles east of Ocho Rios, is home to an art gallery featuring the work of local artists. On selected Sundays from November-April there are exhibitions where you can meet local artists
What to buy: We visited on a Sunday and saw one of the special exhibitions featuring watercolor paintings of local houses. Several other artists were set up outside Harmony Hall selling hand painted frames, small paintings and other craft items.
What to pay: The artwork inside the gallery from the featured artist was $200 US+ for his watercolors. Some other local artists were set up in the garden, the prices more affordable.
We missed all the resort sponsored shopping trips into Ocho Rios, Couples Ocho Rios is several miles from downtown Ocho Rios and we didn't want to pay $30 round trip to get into town via taxi so we wandered across the street from the resort to the craft market. It's pretty small as craft markets go, only a handful of vendors.
What to buy: The market had most of the usual Jamaican souvenir items-beaded jewelry, carved wood figures, tshirts, baskets/purses, knit hats and dolls-but just a smaller selection than the larger markets. We bought a couple of tshirts for nieces and nephews and a clever wooden lobster for my husband's knick knack collection.
What to pay: Bargaining is expected in Jamaica, we started at $45 and got down to $30, I'm sure we still overpaid but I was OK with the prices and the prices were better than what I saw at the airport.
On the main street Ocho Rios has two craft parks: The Ocho Rios Craft Park, opposite the Ocean Village Shopping Centre, is open Monday through Saturday and It has more then 15o vendors selling everything from sandals to woodcarvings to straw goods. The other craft park is "Olde Market" is nearby and also has plenty of handmade goods.
What to buy: There are a lots of hand made wood carving and differend kind of masks.
Going round a tourist market could be an adventure. You have to take your courage in both hands. As soon as you begin to look around, the sellers come towards you saying: 'Look in! Look in!' inviting to their stall. They are very persistent and you begin to feel just a little nervous.
What to buy: Here you can buy beautiful wood carvings, paintings, t-shirts, bracelets, chokers and Rasta caps with the typical colours of Jamaica.
What to pay: If you want to buy something you have to bargain over the price and the negotiation could be very tiring!!
Modern mall, waiting for tourists it didn't add anything to our visit - jewels and touristy crafts, and that was all.
As a matter of fact, we had nothing in mind for shopping there.