A. H. Riise: Great Prices on Liquor
This is the place to get a great bargain on wine and liquor. The prices are outstanding and the service is excellent. They have several locations on St. Thomas: Main Street, Waterfront and the Havensight Mall.
What to buy: I bought two bottles of tequila, two bottles of rum and a bottle of vodka for Liz's brother.
What to pay: The total for the five bottles was only $78 dollars.
Azura(Now is a Little Switzerland): Jewelry Shopping
Azura is now a Little Switzerland (one of the two locations in Charlotte Amelie as well as numerous locations across the Caribbean and Mexico)and is a jewelry store that has a large selection of jewelry as well as high end watches. We first discovered this store back in 2008 and have continued to visit ever since.
Our first purchase here was during our first trip to Charlotte Amelie in 2008. My wife bought me a Breitling watch at a great price. I had wanted a Breitling since I was thirteen years old. This was a dream come true. I couldn't stop smiling. The saleswoman was very nice. She threw in a Breitling hat and a tote bag to carry the watch. They even took a picture of us and gave us farewell hugs before leaving the store. This level of service and quality keeps us coming back again and again.
What to buy: Our most recent visit was in december 2011 during a Caribbean cruise. My wife wanted to find an everyday wedding band to wear to work. Angela helped us find the perfect ring and at a great price. I also found a watch for myself that I wound up not buying until we got to ST. Maarten ( i needed convincing to get yet another watch).
Tanzanite International: Great Selection and Great Service
Tanzanite International was a recommended jewelry store. Liz had said she really liked the Tanzanite rings and wanted to have a look at the store and its selection. Tanzanite International is a chain of stores know all over the Caribbean. The store itself was a nice size as had a variety of jewelry to chose from diamonds to sapphires, as well as a large selection of Tanzanite pieces.
The staff was very nice and helpful. Dave showed Liz a bunch of Tanzanite rings before she narrowed it down to two choices. She though one was just a bit to gaudy and decide on a Tanzanite ring with a pave diamond setting. I loved her choice in ring, it was so her style. We were told it was rare to have a round Tanzanite since so much of the stone is cut away in the mining process.
I purchased the ring and waited for our appraisal paperwork to be completed. While we waited they even recommended some great restaurants to have lunch. We took one of the suggestions and had a fabulous meal and even ran into Dave the salesman after lunch.
What to buy: Tanzanite anything.
What to pay: The ring was listed as $2,300 but we paid $1,900 for it. We're fairly sure we should have bargained more, but we're very happy with it.
Vendor Plaza: Souvenirs, local crafts and more
Every time we visit Charlotte Amalie we stop to check out the wares at Vendor Plaza. The vendors sell a variety of souvenirs, local crafts, clothing, food and even local cocktails while under the shade of tents.
This is a place to find cheap souvenirs and even something unique to remember your trip.
What to buy: Each time we have visited this market, my wife has found nice sundresses for $20 or less.
What to pay: Inexpensive
Bliss Jewelers: Family Owned and Personal Service
Bliss is a family owned and operated jewelry store right in the Havensight Mall. They have a large selection of jewelry especially diamonds. They have a large selection of loose stones and settings to chose from. The service here was excellent. We were treated like family. They make their own jewelry so you can request just about anything to be made.
Liz and I wandered in here looking to replace an earring she had lost. She had been fixated on blue diamonds the whole trip. Lanvin one of the owners started to show her all sorts of blue diamond pieces ranging from earrings to bracelets. One particular ring really wowed her. She told him she wasn't looking to spend a fortune although the ring was stunning. We left the store and she went off to look at perfume. I told her I was going to the liquor store but instead ducked back to the jeweler and bought the blue and white diamond engagement ring she so loved. I had plenty of time to sneak back without her noticing I was not in the liquor store. The next day I proposed.
What to buy: Anything you or your special someone could desire.
What to pay: Affordable to expensive depending on your budget.
White House Black Market: My Fiancee loves this store...
Liz noticed there was a White House Black Market store so I knew we had to go inside. Immediately we saw two dresses that were incredible. One was a black and white the other was red. They didn't have the red in her size but searched and found it on the mannequin. The salesgirls were very friendly and nice. Just about any of these stores we go into have friendly sales people which makes the shopping experience pleasurable. Both dresses looked great so I bought them.
What to buy: The dresses were $178 each. We didn't have to pay tax which is a nice deal. For spending over $100 we received a $50 gift card.
What to pay: Inexpensive
Havensight Mall: Everything You're Looking For in One Spot
Havensight Mall is a great place to shop, and it's especially close for cruise ship passengers but it draws people from other parts of the island as well. The "Mall" is really a set of one-story buildings situated near the East side of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. All the stores are bright and airy, the buildings have Spanish-tiled roofs, and there are palm trees and flowering bushes throughout the Havensight area. Each shop lies behind a massive set of arched, wooden doors even though most stores obviously have glass floor to ceiling widows, with wrought iron hinges and such. There is a tourist info. office here so look for maps, and coupons before shopping. Havensight Mall has more jewelry shops than you've probably ever seen. Nearby is the Paradise Point Skyride, and Atlantis Submarines so it's very convenient. It's great just to wander around all the stores in the open air, grab some bargains and souvenirs and perhaps then stopping at a nearby place for cool drink to sip and riding the sky tram at Paradise Point.
On another note, the area around the Havensight Mall is a good place to catch a taxi to other parts of the island or for an island tour. If you're in the market for a private island tour or a ride to one of the beaches, don't be an insulting tourist by trying to negotiate for a ridiculously low price. Please try to KINDLY negotiate the price with the drivers who are usually willing to do so for longer rides or for tours and you most certainly will do better with a private driver than paying for an excursion from a cruise ship.
What to buy: "Diamonds International", which can be found on virtually every Caribbean island, has a shop here too as does Omni Jewelers and many other jewelers. Prices can range from around a $100 US to several thousand depending on what you like. But of course, it is duty-free which makes your purchase even more of a bargain. A.H. Riise, very famous islander store . Be sure to try some CRUZAN RUM and the many TROPICAL flavors. Since Cruzan is from the Virgin Islands, it makes a nice little gift to bring home. But remember there is a limit on how much liquor can be taken home duty free.
There are many, many souvenir shops selling the ever popular t-shirts, beachwear, cups, postcards, shell jewelry, artwork, hats, bags, leathergoods, etc. Sometimes it seems like these shops all carry the same items, but then you find something you really like and you're glad you kept shopping!!
Mr. Tablecloth??!!??: Shopping in Charlotte Amalie
If you like to shop, you'll notice that when you visit some of the them, you find there are quite a few "chain" stores and shopping on St. Thomas was probably where it all started. Of course, there are many "independent" shops, but the more you travel around the Caribbean islands, the more you'll find the recognizable names of stores like Diamonds International, Omni Jewelers,Little Switzerland, Touched by the Sun, Boolchand's and the distinctive, Mr. Tablecloth.
On St. Thomas, you'll find a jewelry store every 10 feet. If you know your prices and know something about jewelry, you may find that you can get some very decent deals in the islands. It's a great place to pick up that special anniversary jewelry, or even perhaps for a couple to pick out an engagement ring. The key thing is to take your time and shop around before you BUY.
Several years ago, we purchased a man's ring for my husband to replace the wedding ring he lost (accidental or not!?!) He chose a 14k gold ring with a pattern of pave diamonds which was $500 or less + no tax (duty)
Electronics, cameras, expensive watches, etc., can be a good deal at the island stores. "a T-shirt that goes from plain white to colorful in the sun? Find that and other sun-turning "colorful" items at "Touched by the Sun.
NOTE: Cruise ship passengers and others should look for the bevy of coupons available for free gifts (yes, free) with purchases or additional discounts. Check Tourist Info. centers or on your ship. We have been given little gold necklaces or bracelets; tiny diamond chip stud earrings; charms; frames; souvenirs, etc. It just depends on the type of store and the coupon.
What to buy: If you women are not in the market for any high end jewelry trip, how about Mr. Tablecloth? It is a great place for special linens of all sorts such as tablecloths (of course!!), table sets--placemats, napkins, runners, etc., accent table round cloths, and even sheets, pillowcases, nightgowns, pajamas and robes. The special adnornment of embroidery, smocking, battenburg lace, etc., is what makes these things special. Looks for linen, fine cottons, satins, or Jaguard fabrics. Prices range from a few dollars and up.
At Little Switzerland, look for those adorable tiny babyshoe charms, each decorated differently and collected for each child a mother has and to be worn on necklaces. They also carry LLadro, Lalique, Rado, Omega, Movado, Mikimoto, Tiffany, Tag Heurer and many other designer names.
What to pay: From a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for jewelry, watches, cameras and electronics. Remember that shopping here is duty free but purchases must be claimed on custom forms. Also the amount of importable liquer and tobacco products is limited.
Vendors Plaza: Best Buys in St . Thomas
There is a plaza called Vendors Plaza where vendors set up small booths and tables. You can find silver jewelry, t-shirts, tropical print wrap skirts, imitation bags and watches and more. There is also hair braiding, a photo op with a donkey, a coconut-for-sale stand, local food vendors and ice-cream stand. Across the street from Vendors Plaza is a Co-op store that sells locally made crafts and goodies.
Particularly if you are on a cruise, the best prices for liquor are at either of two non-tourist stores, both of which are walkable from the cruise ship dock (I've done it, I know).
There is a Pueblo super market and a little further down the road there is a K-Mart, which also has beach supplies, some T-shirts and other souvenirs. Both places have the cardboard 'six-pack' boxes to carry your bottles home in.
What we did was take a taxi into town for the 'shopping marathon' and then on the way back we asked the driver to make a stop at the K-Mart. I got off to buy the booze and my family stayed on til the cruise ship dock. I walked the rest of the way home with the bottles, all 12 of them-good exercise after all the ship's buffets ;).
For U.S. residents you are allowed to bring 6 bottles back from the Virgin Islands duty-free instead of the normal allotment of 5, as long as the liquor in one of the bottles was locally made, i.e., RUM!Related to:
Charlotte Amalie - duty-free shoppers paradise!
There are over 400 shops just in downtown Cahrlotte Amalie. And more than 50 at Havensight Mall, the shopping area built to accommodate the cruise ships. Excellent buys are available for jewelry, watched, perfumes, linens, crystal, china, cameras, electronics and liqours
What to buy: person favorites - jewelry! Fantastic selection of every gemstome and watch brand. Similar selection s to that you find in New York city, without the 8% sales tax!
What to pay: Be sure to know what you would have to pay at home - the duty-free calculations are based on suggested retail prices...if sale prices at home approach 50% off, you might do just as well at home! Be sure of what you want and what it would cost at home!
Caribana: Cheap Souvenirs
Caribana is a souvenir shop right by the Havensight Pier(there is also a location in town). The shop has just about anything you could want for a souvenir: shot glasses, tee shirts, bathing suits, local hot sauce, liquor, hats, bags etc. We stopped in here for a few small items; a shot glass for our friend Koky and a baby tee shirt for our nephew. My wife also found a few sundress to use a beach coverups for a really low pice of $10 a piece.
This is definitely the place for inexpensive souvenirs.
What to pay: The shot galss was $2, the sundresses were $10 each and the baby tee shirt was $8.
Cardow's: Jewelry, Jewelry, Jewelry!
Cardow's (not totally sure if that's the correct spelling) has the largest selection of diamond jewelry in the world! I'm not just saying that, it is a proven fact. Their diamonds especially are gorgeous and unbelieveably inexpensive compared to buying diamonds anywhere else in the world. Their diamonds are so precisely cut and their jewelry is the best quality. My mom and aunts have purchased jewelry from Cardow's in St. Thomas on every visit. Cardow's is a must visit for jewelry seekers! Other great bargains on jewelry can be bought from Little Switzerland, Tiffany & Co., and a few other top-name jewelry stores.
What to buy: Diamonds!!!
What to pay: Diamonds especially, and all other jewelry, are sooo much cheaper in the Caribbean, especially in St. Thomas. Buying jewelry here is a definite must because you are getting the bargain of a lifetime!Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Luxury Travel
'Shop Til you Drop' Central!
No one word describes Charlotte Amalie as well as SHOPPING. It is a duty free area and there is no sales tax so many luxury items are bargains compared to the continental U.S.
Shopping here falls into 3 main categories: Jewelery, Perfumes, and Liquor, and to a lesser extent electronics. (see my other shopping tip for liquor).
What to pay: It is important to have an idea what the items you're looking for cost back home, don't just throw yourself in head first, taking for granted that everything is cheaper. Also bargaining is practiced in most jewelry stores, particularly if you are buying more than one item. Go to several stores before deciding so you can compare and get the best price. You can sometimes use one price quoted as a basis for further discount at a different store.Related to:
- Family Travel
Little Switzerland: Bring an empty credit card if you can swing it.
There are a many places to shop duty free in St. Thomas. I splurged on a Breitling Crosswind at Little Switzerland. I didn't worry about declaring duty on the watch when I flew back to the states, the customs agents seemed more concerned with the huge amount of liquor I was taking home. Personal consumption of course!!
What to buy: Jewls, watches, booze in particular are good buys.
What to pay: You can save up to 35% (plus tax) on purchases here.
St. Thomas Hotels
Magens Bay Road, , 00802, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
7338 Estate Bakkeroe, Charlotte Amalie, Caribbean
Good for: Business
The hotel rooms were old and the bathroom's were rusty, dirty, and downright disgusting. The food...more
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