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After our little historical loop we make our way back down the hill to the Straw Market. This is not the old Straw Market we remember as the original burned some years before. This one is a warehouse type building. It's true what we've read much of the goods are imported from Asia , with a sprinkling of local crafts. I was please to buy some local shells to feed my new found shell collecting obsession though. We enjoyed it here and it's a good chance to meet the locals .....who truly are genuine .
- Historical Travel
The Nassau Straw Market
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This is the first "sight" you will come to .... if you have managed to avoid the horse drawn surrey trip!
I would say that if you need 5 minutes to look at a map, get your bearing etc... it is better to come into the market and do that than stay outside where you will be badgered by everybody!
The market is a great place for straw goods. The top sellers are hats, dolls, bags and baskets but you have to be careful. There is a decline in basket-making throughuot the Bahamas and they have started to import from the Far East - you will probably be able to tell which ones these are because they are considerably cheaper in price.
It's a good atmosphere if you are not feeling too harassed! But then again the women who run the stalls are so enthusiastic and friendly, regardless of whether you turn them down their sale or not, that it is hard to remain aggitated!
- Arts and Culture
Nassau's Famous Straw Market
One place everybody wants to go to when they come to Nassau is its famous Straw Market. The Straw Market is a huge, mostly open air place, packed to the brim with little stalls selling all manner of souvenirs and crafts, including the famous straw-woven items that the Bahamas are known for. You'll also find people selling woodcarvings, masks, statues, jewelry, sea shells, and even hairbraiding which is REALLY BIG here. Most sellers are willing to bargain for their goods if you are respectful and fair-minded.
In the second picture you will see a man carving a large fish from wood which is quite fantastic. I could have watched him for hours, but for some reason I don't think that he and his wife appreciated it. I knew I wanted to come home with something but there were so many things to choose from that it was difficult. For some reason I finally ended up with a handpainted, carved mask which I bargained for a price of around $20. In my 4th picture you see a budding businessman with a great little personality. I bought the mask from him!!
A few years ago, the original Straw Market burned down, and the one you visit today is the most recently built (corrugated metal walls & roof). Unfortunately, they didn't seem to make it any bigger and the narrow aisles are extremely difficult to navigate.
Shopping at the Straw Market
The Straw Market downtown is a great place to shop for native crafts and touristy souvineers. The cruise ships also dock nearby so it does get crowded. Be sure to bargain as this is normal in the Bahamas. Never pay full price! I usually went down several dollars on the price, for example if they said it was $12 I offered $8 or $9. It is quite funny because many will say "this is regular fifteen dollars, I give it to you for ten"...trying to make it seem like a bargain. Of course, then I'd say I'll pay $8. ;-)
The Straw Market is located at the west end of Bay St and makes for a nice stroll around. There are well over 100 different vendors selling all kinds of goods from woodwork to T-shirts. Some of it's nice, some of it is tourist rubbish. You can watch some of the craftspeople carving wood or weaving straw. The market can become crowded when the crusie ships are in port and it can be a bit difficult to get around as the aisles are narrow.
The Straw Market
This cramped market was not worth the time, at least not for me. Here you can buy straw purses, hats and other items.
But, if you really do want to get something inexpensive and unique to the area the straw market may be a good choice.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- School Holidays
Visit the straw market located in Downtown Nassau for local crafts or souvenirs. The market is located near the water.
The market stalls offer all kinds of local craft items. Be prepared to be encouraged by every stall worker to come and see their items.
Don't pay full price for any item either. You must bargain and it is the accepted practice. I bought a beautiful foot high giraffe statue, which started out at $30. However, I only paid $20.
Bacardi Rum Plant
On the Southside of the uisland there is a Bacardi Rum Plant, while not the size of the one in Peurto Rico it is still very impressive and tours are givin throughout the day. You can sample some of their rums and in parts, even the air you breathe will give you a buzz. I recommend stopping by if you have the time!
- Road Trip
- School Holidays
- Wine Tasting
Here's the place that you've read about countless times - the Straw Market. It's beside Senor Frogs and the Hilton. If you take the 10 bus from Cable Beach, you'll get dropped off right across the street from it. If you're a big pretentious spender and could afford to take a cab everywhere at all times (although I'd advise you to take the 10 bus just to lighten up and experience the local life a little), just ask the driver. They know about EVERY touristy location in town, as they should.
Before you go shop for souvenirs on Bay street, stroll(or march) through the Straw Market first. Otherwise you'll be aguished to find that the $10 photo album that you bought at a store is being sold for an negotiable $7 in the market.
Here you'll find shot glasses, photo albums, plethra of nicely made fake designer bags (although my friend managed to score a real Coach bag complete with serial number), t-shirts, wrap skirts (sarongs), jewlery, straw hats and bags, beautiful wood carvings, etc. being sold by 500 different local merchants. They're very persistant and you even might find them to be somewhat intrusive when you're just perusing their wares - but a simple and pleasant 'I'm just looking, thank you.' will be sufficient to give you some peace. The pressure to buy could get somewhat intense so be sure you know what you're looking for before going in, and do not be afraid to haggle.
- School Holidays
In the 1940's, Bahamian women started plaiting and decorating dried palm and sisal plant leaves to create items such as baskets, bags and dolls. Soon large numbers of women were making straw souvenirs that were sought after by visitors.
Open 9 am - 5 pm
Save your purchases until the end of your vacation. That way you won't be tempted to go back and buy souvenirs you won't need.
The Straw Market. This was...
The Straw Market. This was the first place we went when we arrived. It is a unique 'open air type' market where locals display their wares, including many straw type products. We did not purchase anything and it has been awhile - so I do not remember costs and if there were bargains. It was worth walking through.
People were very friendly. The town was very colorful and has a British infulence.
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