Stores, Malls or Markets in Jamaica

  • Blue Mountain Coffee
    Blue Mountain Coffee
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  • Jamaican Stamps
    Jamaican Stamps
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  • Jamaican Rum
    Jamaican Rum
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Most Viewed Shopping in Jamaica

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    Patois Dictionary

    by atufft Updated Jan 16, 2014

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    There's a pretty good Patois dictionary that's cheap ($4-) and readily available in bookshops. Most Jamaican bookstores are really places where students buy supplies for school, so don't hunt for a store full of books. Another place to find this book is at a drug store, where lots of things other than drugs are often sold. In any case, this is really an interesting book. Many words incomprehensible when expressed verbally make sense to the English speaker when found in this dictionary. Here's an example:

    Leggo : to release, to let go.

    Some of this dictionary may actually not be all patois, but rather the rastafarian slang, which is more readily comprehendible.

    I gave a copy of this dictionary to a friend who teaches Spanish at a high school near Chicago.

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    Jamaican Post Office: Mint Souvenir Postal Stamps

    by atufft Written Jan 15, 2014

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    Jamaican Post Offices are located within easy reach of tourists in most cities, and surprisingly service is good. Jamaican's are rightly proud that a letter or package sent from the USA to Jamaica, or visa versa, will actually be delivered as ordered. Service in many Latin American nations by contrast is a dice roll.

    A good cheap souvenir to buy are the commemorative stamps. I purchased Jamaican Olympic Athletes, Bob Marley, and Jamaican Culture Commemorative First Day Issue Envelopes and Sheets. Be prepared to pack these yourself however as protecting packing envelopes are not provided at point of sale. Otherwise, there's nothing cheaper and easier to pack in your bags.

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    Various: Blue Mountain Coffee

    by atufft Written Jan 15, 2014

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    The Blue Mountains between Port Antonio and Kingston is a surprisingly high altitude region that can produce excellent coffee beans. Locally grown beans and ground coffee packed into small burlap bags is available everywhere on the island for tourist consumption. Look for the less attractive packaging to get the lower price but still high quality coffee. Be careful about how much you pay. We noticed that Jamaican coffee was selling for prices even higher than the best Starbucks sold at Walmart in the USA. Normally, Central and South American countries will sell really great coffee at about half the price of equivalent coffee in the USA.

    Unfortunately, Jamaica, a former British Colony, seems to have been a tea drinking nation until recently. Small hotels and restaurants rarely serve Blue Mountain coffee in a French press or filter system so commonly found in the most modest of circumstances in Central or South America. Instead, institutional coffee makers, percolated coffee, and worse, instant coffee are commonly brought to the table when coffee is ordered.

    Jamaican's like instant coffee with sweetened condensed milk, which suggests to me the influence of Hindu Indian culture. However, quality tea is also hard to find in Jamaica. Lipton tea bag and hot water will be brought to the table if tea is ordered. There are several Jamaican medicinal tea drinks where roots or herbs are soaked for their curative powers. Along with a variety of root and flower extract juices, Jamaican culture fills in with beverages unfamiliar to visitors to the island.

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    Hip Jamaican Clothes to Buy

    by atufft Updated Jan 11, 2014

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    My wife and I browsed numerous vendors in several cities, and found the craft market in Kingston to be the best supplier of everything kitsch. Within the clothes realm though we wait until we needed them, and then we appraised the overall assortment of items. My wife would have to write about the women's garments, but expect a wide variety of synthetic wraps with tropical prints. In the men's area, the Jamaican flag colored (green and yellow) swimming shoes, Bob Marley flip flops and T-shirts, and Jamaican football (soccer) jerseys, definitely worthwhile and priced right.

    Besides the swimming shoes, I found an extra long Bob Marley drawstring shoulder bag that carries my swim fins and mask very nicely.

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    Music CD purchases

    by atufft Written Jan 11, 2014

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    Since Jamaica's greatest cultural contribution to the world scene is arguably it's music, don't be surprised to find vendors wanting to sell it in CD form. Except at the airport and all-inclusive resort gift shop, most of the famous artist CDs for sale are pirated copies. Jamaican's are matter of fact about the need for music to be priced for locals to afford it, so big recording artists in Jamaica expect to have their work pirated almost from the start.

    Pirated CDs are sold two ways: 1) as obvious imitation of the big commercial producers, and 2) as burned directly to CD for you on the street. I prefer the latter method. When we were in Falmouth, a street side DJs with huge loudspeakers played a song that my wife liked. So, I asked the DJ for the artist name, and he led us around the corner to a woman with a computer set up who instantly burned a selection of music by that artist. After some discussion, she also burned several other CDs of selections we might like. She used a felt pen and paper sleeve to package the products. Nothing fancy, but the results were very professional in audio quality. Price was US$5- per CD.

    Vendors selling CDs are everywhere in Negril and other beach cities, and at restaurants and concerts. Many of these are overpriced on the first bid, so don't be afraid to bargain down. We were pitched prices of $20- per CD, but I refused to pay more than $10-. Also, make sure the CD is actually in the case. Once, the vendor offered to pay cuts from a CD he wanted to sell, then forgot to put the CD back into the case when all my goods were bagged. This was not likely a deliberate attempt to rob me of my merchandise, but in Jamaica silly mistakes are made all the time.

    Here is a short list of important Reggae Artists to look for:

    Bob Marley and the Wailers (of course)
    Peter Tosh (solo, former Wailer lead guitarist)
    Jimmy Cliff
    The Abyssinians
    Gregory Issacs

    Also, consider buying non-Reggae. An earlier form of Jamaican music that includes interesting drum and banjo music is called Mento.

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    Cuban Cigars

    by atufft Written Jan 11, 2014

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    Jamaica doesn't produce cigars, but many stores have a humidor for fine cigars from Cuba, and elsewhere in Central and South America. In Negril and other beach resort areas, these shops may be staffed by local Indian-Jamaican shop keepers who know about the presumed value of the cigars, but don't actually smoke cigars themselves. So, it's difficult to determine which type of cigar to buy based on the vague advice. I generally find the darker bullet and Churchill style cigars to be the finest mouthful.

    In New York City's Bronx Italian Town, I can purchase freshly rolled cigars made from aged Honduran or Nicaragua tobacco for between US$5 and US$15 dollars each. I found the Jamaican prices for Cuban cigars to average $5- each, and maybe lower if several are bought.

    A rum drink and a cigar at night on the beach is sweet. I prefer this to smoking ganga, actually. You can buy cutters, but it helps to pack your bag with one.

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    Various: Jamaican Rum

    by atufft Written Jan 11, 2014

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    Most Jamaican Rum is made using a Solera process, where aged rum is extracted from barrels that have from one to twenty years, or so, of aged rum. Blended Jamaican Rum rarely has a vintage or specific age, some good bottles have no age on the label at all. Nevertheless, Jamaican Rum tends to lag behind other producers in the Caribbean, in my humble opinion, and this belief is supported by the vague language on Jamaican Rum labels. Appleton Estate Rum is a tourist attraction, but the reputation for quality is lower than some other Jamaican brands, adding to the confusing about what to buy.

    Grocery stores and smaller local shops are better places to shop for rum than the all-inclusive hotel gift shop. Higher priced bottles should reflect longer average aging from the solera.

    What to pay: Jamaican Rum is matched the market prices for such liquor in the USA, significantly higher than other places in the Americas.

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    Artisans Market: Not Chinese, I presume

    by solopes Updated Sep 25, 2012

    An outdoor market, where some artisans sell their products while working, seems a good idea.

    It was a quick visit, but it seemed the best location to buy real local crafts at a reasonable touristy price.

    What to buy: All kind of local craft works

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    Times Square: Negril's best

    by solopes Updated Sep 25, 2012

    I was not impressed with this mall (nor the other, I must say), referred as the best in Negril - Many small jewwellery shops, a couple of touristy stuff, and it was all.

    But, remember, I'm a very bad buyer.

    Fernanda is my opposite, and she didn't get impressed too, so...

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    Grocery stores and tourist shops: Are you crazy about coffee?

    by melosh Updated Jun 22, 2009

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    Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. (I have read that it was the most expensive until recently passed on the international market.) Currently (June 2008) you can find it on the internet for $30 to $70 US dollars a pound. It was available at the Montego airport for about $30 a pound. At grocery stores it was a few dollars less than $20 a pound. There seems to be 3 brand names. The confusing thing is that there are apparently various grades but I never saw them mentioned on the packages.

    The high price is certainly as much due to the scarcity as with the reputed high quality. A buyer should be aware that the somewhat cheaper "High Mountain Coffee" is often stocked on the same shelves as the blue mountain coffee and in similar packaging, so if you want the "real" thing check the label carefully.

    2009 update: The price for Blue Mountain Coffee seems to have dropped since 2008. A pound can be seen for as little as $12 a pound. At the Kingston airport the price was $24 US.

    What to buy: If money is no object and you or a special friend love coffee, then I guess this could be a good purchase. Otherwise consider buying some Jamaican spices. You will find the best prices at grocery stores or large discount stores. Beware that large stores may add the Jamaican 16.5% tax to the price of your purchases.

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  • shopping in Jamaica

    by shell61 Written Aug 22, 2008

    I just returned from Jamaica and found shopping to be not as bad as I had read.. it depends on your personality and how you deal with people. Just as in the states be polite, respectful yet firm. You need to remember this is their living,if you are not interested say no thank you smile.. move on.... when no prices are on item ask what they are asking..haggle..don't pay 1st amount they ask.. if you are asking to low they will tell you..it can be intimidating to have a group of vendors around you.. asking you to look at their wares..but just buy what you want..ar say you are just looking...give respect.. get respect!

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    Any Retail Shop: Blue Mountain Coffee

    by onestepaway Written Aug 13, 2008

    Go to any of the shops that have the seal of approval on it or you will be sorry! We bought some from our resort by one of its employees, got hom and it we had been scammed!

    What to buy: Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee with the Jamaica seal of approval!!!!

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    Sangster Airport In Jamaica: Shopping 101

    by onestepaway Written Aug 13, 2008

    This was where we went wrong, we bought all our items elsewhere and when we got to the airport, we should have listened to other reviews like the one I am writing here! Please, do not go and spend money like I did and regret it when you hit the airport. ALL the knick knacks and liquor was way cheaper here. I was angry at the end of my trip when I noticed the small bottles of liquor I bought was in bigger bottles at the airport and cheaper.

    Heres the list of shops:
    Specialty Retail Concessions
    Stores & Kiosks Descriptions of Products Sold

    Bob Marley (One Love) Branded clothing & merchandise
    Body Vibes Body & Aromatherapy Products, Casual Clothing
    Books & Sundries Books, Magazines, Snacks, Gifts, Confectionary
    Casa De Xaymaca Clothing, Craft, Accessories
    Coffee & Spice Jamaican Coffee, Tea, Sauces, Spices
    Cool Gear Branded Casual Clothing & Merchandise
    Cool Kidz Gear Children's clothing & Gifts
    Craft & Linen Craft Items, Apparel, Gifts
    Cynthia's T-Shirts Clothing & Jamaican Accessories
    Extra! Extra! News, Gifts, Books, Magazines, Snacks, Confectionary
    Flights of Fantasy Fine-quality Silver Jewellery & Accessories
    Island Leisure Sports Jamaica Themed Casual Clothing and Merchandise
    Jamaica Bobsled Jamaica Bobsled Team Branded clothing & merchandise
    June's Cookies Island Cookies, Chocolates, Confectionary
    Not Just Books Caribbean Literature, Bestsellers, Magazines, Gifts, Confectionary
    Reggae Vibes Reggae Concept Clothing, Music, Accessories
    Starfish Oils Body & Aromatherapy Products
    Sun Free Hut Designer Glasses
    Tads International Music & Music Accessories
    The Coffee Mill Jamaican Coffee, Tea, Sauces
    Things Jamaican Jamaican Craft Items, Gifts

    Duty Free Concessions
    Stores & Kiosk Descriptions of Products Sold/Services Offered

    Appleton Appleton Branded Liquor & Apparel
    Bijoux Fine Jewellry & Accessories
    Blue Mountain Duty Free Liquor, Wines, Spirits
    Buccaneer Duty Free Liquor, Wines, Spirits
    Chulani Luxury Jewellery & Accessories
    Estee Lauder Perfume, Body & Aromatherapy Products, Cosmetics
    Euro Bags European - made bags, scarves, belts, wallets,
    Fossil Jewellery & Accessories
    Guess Guess Watches & Accessories
    Jamaica Farewell Liquor, Fine Wines, Cigarettes, Cigar
    Majorcia Fine Pearl Jewellery
    Sunshine Liquor Fine Wines, Liquor, Tobacco
    The Cigar Hut Cigar's & Tobacco related gifts
    The Perfume Shop Perfume, Skin Care Products, Cosmetics
    The Tobacco Shop Fine Cigars & Cigarettes
    Tortuga Rum Company Rum Cakes, truffles, fudges, sauces, spices
    Vinar Ltd Electronic items, cameras, watches

    What to buy: Liquor is a must buy at the airport, you will be saddened if purchased elsewhere.

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    "Straw market" at Montego bay: Market purchasing

    by melosh Written Jun 25, 2008

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    Lots of shops selling the same collection of things. The vendors were aggressive in a friendly sort of way. None were obnoxious. Mostly it was in a "Please come and look inside my shop' approach. All prices were negotiable, and if you do not bargain hard you will pay too much. You will do best if you have time and some idea of the real value of what you want.

    For example, I wanted a large Jamaican flag. I had seen one of reasonable size (I actually wanted a larger one.) for 500 Jamaican dollars at a store in Black River. At the market I was asked for anywhere between 1500 and 1100 Jamaican dollars by multiple vendors with no significant drop even when I told them that I could and eventually would return to Black River where I knew that the price was 500 dollars. It took awhile but eventually a vendor agreed to a price of 500. A little later another vendor came up to me while a I sat with another member of our group and also offered to accept $500 Jamaican. So she bought one as well.

    In markets I usually expect to beat the CHEAPEST store price for an item of equal quality by at least 10% before any sale tax (In Jamaica this 16.5%). If you have to compare with average or high end tourist shops then you should expect to get a final price at least 20% lower than the store price. To achieve this your first offer will have to be as much a 50% less that the store price.

    In this case, the 500 Jamaican dollar price was acceptable to us and the vendors. I did not have the time, energy or inclination to fight for a lower price, but I do believe that there was a fair lower price. Probably at around 450.

    There is smaller "craft" market just off the strip in front of Doctors Cave Beach, but a Jamaican lady told me that the best place to go for quality and price were shops along Freeport Road. She said that you would see the craftsman at work and could buy more items from the actual producers.

    What to buy: baskets, iron wood carvings, cheap jewelry, spices, coffee

    What to pay: If you do not know the real value, expect to pay too much. One friend of mine found the shot glasses he bought at the market for 1/3 the price at the large (K-mart type) discount store in Montego Bay. Even after adding the 16.5% tax he would have paid at the store, he paid too much at the market.

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    ~ Bamboo Village ~: ~ Shoppers Paradise ~

    by Heavens-Mirror Written Apr 6, 2006

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    There are lots of shops along the beaches in Jamaica. I really enjoyed shopping in the Bamboo Village in Falmouth. There are lots of little huts which sell local crafts such as wood carvings, mugs made from Bamboo, lighters, ashtrays, tshirts, swimwear, bracelets, necklaces, hair braiding, paintings and much more.

    What to buy: The wood carvings are fantastic, there is some great work which has been done by local Jamaicans. I also liked the bamboo mugs, you could have your drink in the mug allday and it stayed chilled. I bought two huge mugs for only 10 US Dollars, they charge 8 US Dollars per mug at the shops in the hotels so wait until you go to a local shopping market for these great bargains.

    What to pay: When they offer you a price you need to haggle them down to at least half the price. My Auntie wanted a wood carving... the man wanted 60 US Dollars and she haggled for a while and got the carving for only 10 US Dollars.... so use your haggling skills!

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