Terry picked this wonderful wood carving up while in Jamaica, it's almost 4 feet long, solid wood with great detail. This was carved by a local craftsman and well worth the price of $75.00, but then you have to get it home. No honey it won't fit in your suitcase it's too big! The hotel did have DHL come get it and ship it home for $78.00, so make sure if you buy some thing you have a way to get it home. It was well worth the price between shipping and cost, so support the local craftsman and buy some thing made locally for you to remember you trip for a life time.
It's hard to categorize this particular shopping tip because an enterprising man was selling his vegetables and fruit from the back of a truck. As the locals crowded round to buy some fresh produce, I spied a neat row of conch shells set up near the beach.
He said he had taken steps to empty the shells of their contents, polished them up a bit and was hoping to sell them. His price was $10. I didn't have to think twice about purchasing one and handed him the money.
I had priced conch shells in Cape May, New Jersey when we lived on the East coast and they were expensive. The only drawback with my purchase was that I had to tote the rather weighty item with me until returning to the boat, but this was the best bargain of the entire trip!
What to pay: $10 for one beautifully polished conch shell
As we neared Tulum, our guide stopped the van for a 20 minute break outside a shop which announced ARTISANIAS HANDCRAFTS.
After browsing the aisles, I thought the prices of some of the items were a little high, but I had no comparison since we had just arrived in Cozumel. I did find a bright orange t-shirt for my husband for $19.00, which I purchased because I liked the design (picture 2). He seemed happy enough to receive it!
The shop carried vibrantly painted ceramics, terra cotta pieces, leather accessories, silver jewelry, Mexican cigars (picture 3) and other souvenirs. They took credit cards, debit cards and of course, cash.
What to buy: Jewelry, handcrafts, rumcakes, liquor
What to pay: Less than in the U.S.
If you want to add a beautiful piece of jewelry to your collection, be sure to stop at Colombian Emeralds. It's the perfect shop to find emeralds, diamonds, tanzanite and other jewelry at reasonable prices.
I bought my first piece from Colombian Emeralds on a cruise to Bermuda a few years ago. To be recommended by the cruise lines a shop has to have good business ethics. They appraise your piece and give you a certificate after your purchase. We had excellent service from this business both times!
This recent visit was to upgrade my diamond ring after 37 years and thanks to my loving hubby, I now have a beautiful new one (picture 2).
What to buy: diamonds, emeralds and other fine gems
What to pay: duty and tax free---plus any discounts applied
I mentioned earlier that the ship provided onboard shopping information on each port of call and offered discount coupons for certain shops.
Those who attended were also given a card for a complimentary charm bracelet--the idea being that certain shops added free charms to your bracelet. The bracelet could be collected at DIAMONDS INTERNATIONAL, a shop found in several ports throughout the Caribbean.
I thought it was a clever way to encourage shoppers to venture into particular stores to collect their charms. We're not talking gold bracelet, but goldtone--yet I thought it was a cute idea.
What to pay: FREE
The SAVVY TRAVELER was sold onboard for about $20.00 at the shopping informational meeting. There were only a limited number available for sale, so those at the meeting bought up nearly all of them. I understand a few were left, but snatched up quickly a short while later.
The SAVVY TRAVELER is a discount shopping book which includes maps of the port of call, discount coupons for many, many shops and restaurants and plenty of free merchandise just for stopping by.
If you plan to do any amount of shopping, this book pays for itself. I was able to pick up a free pair of tanzanite post earrings and other small items just for using my coupons...collector coins,etc. You can apply the coupon to larger purchases, too, which definitely helps defray the costs (picture 2).
What to buy: Coupons for use from Acapulco to Tortola
As we made our way through Grand Cayman, our van made a planned stop at the Tortuga Rum Company where spirits were available at discount prices.
However, it was the island's famous rum cakes that I wanted to pick up to give as souvenirs back home (picture 3). My father is very difficult to buy for, so I thought this item would be a great gift for him. The cakes came in golden vanilla and chocolate--I picked up both.
People left this shop loaded down with bags of purchases and munching on samples of rum cake, so it seemed to be a very popular place.
What to buy: Discounted spirits
What to pay: Four small rumcakes for under $20.00
the last day starting first thing in the morning they had 2 big tables full of t-shirts and they kept refilling them all day long with 10.00 t-shirts what a bargain these are their real nice shirts nothing old or outdated 1st. qualitiy wait til the last day to buy your shirts. also they had half off jewwely the last few days of the cruise i got a few nice sterling silver rings for 15. each and a watch and scarf for 10. each.
On an Eastern Caribbean cruise, I shopped about a dozen jewelry stores. I found that the ones along the ship docks were as high or higher in prices than what I am used to finding in the USA mainland. But, shopping "inland" from the ship docks provides real bargains.
I finally found something truly at low prices at Cardow's Jewelers in the main street of St. Thmas, American VI. The street is narrow and thickly packed with shoppers. I'll write other shopping tips on my purchases of linens and spirits. Cardow's had a wide selection of what I was seeking: diamond and sapphire jewelry in white or yellow gold settings.
The store clerk was extremely knowledgeable about gems and jewelry construction, having a degree from SoCal in gemnology. We shopped at a leisurely pace and he never hurried us. And, the prices were about 50 percent of what I would expect if shopping on the US mainland.
What to pay: I have shopped for jewelry for my wife for over 20 years, so I've got a good shopper's sense for jewelry prices. I found jewelry shops near the ship were no bargain. Shops inland from the ship had true bargains, anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less than what I would pay in the US mainland.
It's your basic gift shop. However, they had these stuffed St. Bernard toys that, when they had one of their ears squeezed, play the entire "My First. My Last. My Everything" by Barry White. The ENTIRE song. Why you'd need or want this, I'll never know, but if you've been looking for one, look no more....
What to buy: Every kind of Carnival souvenir like t-shirts, towels, robes and Christmas ornaments.
What to pay: Lots and lots.
Mr. Tablecloth is a retail store, comparable to Riise's (which sells liquors, tobacco, perfume, etc.), or Cardow's (which sells jewelry). I shopped at both in Charlotte Amalie and reviewed both here.
Mr. Tablecloth is -- as you might guess -- a retail store that sells tablecloths, napkins, table runners, placemats, as well as a small line of high-concept evening wear for women (think heavily beaded and/or sequined tops, shells, blouses, etc.). But, the vast majority of their inventory is table linens.
I learned of the store on the cruise from two women who visit St. Thomas every year (!), and shop at Mr. Tablecloth each time they visit. Turns out my wife and I were looking for this kind of merchandise, and we were thrilled with the vast selection available at Mr. Tablecloth, as well as the prices.
Google Mr. Tablecloth and St. Thomas and you'll come up with their web site.
What to buy: Tablecloths in round, rectangular, and circular shapes, in virtually any size you could wish. I purchased one tablecloth 48 inches by 168 inches to use as an altar cloth for our parish church. Table runners and placemats are also available. Table cloths are sold with matching napkins. A bewildering amount of merchandise.
What to pay: Expect to pay 30 to 50 percent of what you'd pay for comparable merchandise on the American mainland.
What to buy:
it is great to buy jewlery and other souviners in the caribbean. if you do though, it is ofen a good idea to link up with someone else who is with you and buy things together. ie: if you are both buying a necklace, you can ask to have one half price and they will often give you a deal for buying more than one. (or the 3rd one free or something to that extent).
What to pay: definitely don't pay more than what you'd pay here. things are generally cheap.
I was directed to this store by the travel agent who helped me select a Caribbean cruise. He advised me that if I had my purchase with them completed before noon, they would deliver it free to the ship (obviously a Big Help if I were to purchase several liters of distilled spirits, for example).
The store was quite crowded with cruise shoppers, who must have had similar advice! The wares were stocked along both sides of a very deep store. Clerks were abundant and eager to assist you find what you were looking for, or to answer questions. They did not carry, for example, an Austrian rum I was seeking. On the other hand, when I asked they directed me to several port- and sherry-finished Scotches, available at amazing prices (amazing to me, of course). It was not long before Ihad selected one bottle of local rum, three liquers, a large bottle of Southern Comfort, and one of the sherry-finished Scotches. All arrived safely at the ship, packed in a very strong cardboard container which I simply placed in my luggage. They arrived safe and sound after the long flight home.
What to buy: Any and all varieties of distilled spirits. Scotch afficianados will find a lot to consider here. All standard whiskeys, brandies, and liquers are available here at greatly discounted prices (actually, free of various duties/taxes).
What to pay: Expect to pay 30 to 40 percent less than prices for the same product on the American mainland.
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