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Jamaica / Shopping

By Deana Bellamy, James Henderson

The shopping in Jamaica has all that you would expect of a major cruise ship and hotel destination – specially built malls, craft markets, shops inside the smarter hotels, selling t-shirts and towels, Cuban cigars, jewellery, watches, perfumes, and much of it duty free – but as a large island with a strong culture of its own, Jamaica also many more original things to buy. Firstly there is a large population on the island who themselves are looking for interesting products, and then there are also many craftsmen and artists on the island. You will find local fashion, pottery, wood carvings and paintings as well as local produce such as Blue Mountain coffee and island made soaps and sauces. And of course there is music.

Shopping hours do vary, but business is generally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturdays. Some of the duty free stores in the main resort areas are open from 9am to 6pm, Saturdays included, sometimes later, even on Sundays if there are cruise ships in town. Duty free shopping is available in most of the main shopping centres and in some hotels. Items purchased may be taken away on the spot. Note that you will need to present your immigration slip or passport and return airline ticket when duty free shopping.

Please beware of buying illegal products when looking for souvenirs. Please note that the sale/possession of black or white coral, turtle products, certain reptile skins (including crocodile), butterflies, shells including queen conch shells and wild plant/orchid specimens is either is illegal in Jamaica or under export restrictions.

Some of the Jamaican products you might like to consider buying:

Art, crafts and wood carving - Jamaica’s vibrant craft scene is visible everywhere as you travel around the island, in a number of galleries, in craft markets, at the roadside, in hotel lobbies and gift shops, possibly your hotel room and certainly if you are staying in a villa. Bold and colourful ‘naïve’ paintings and abstract works are amongst local works that you can purchase for reasonable prices, and the fine arts scene appears to be very much alive. Some of the large resorts hold art exhibitions where paintings can also be purchased. Jamaican pottery also produces some colourful and distinctive ware. Wood carving is also popular. Top carvers use lignum vitae wood interesting because it is the world’s heaviest and most dense wood, but you will also find carvings in softer woods such as cedar or mahogany.

Rum - You will find rum on sale island-wide, much of it duty free. The most famous rum in Jamaica is probably Appleton and their flagship is Appleton Estate V/X, a smooth blend of 5 to 10 year old rums. A tour of the factory and estate includes a tasting session, and there is a gift shop with rum and souvenirs for sale. Other rums include Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur made from rum, Blue Mountain Coffee, vanilla and cane syrup.

Blue Mountain Aromatics - An award winning company producing a line of scented products made from local ingredients including blended oils, herbal scrubs, vegetable soaps, bath and shower gels, pot pourris and beeswax candles.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee - World famous coffee, grown on the slopes of the Blue Mountains within a specified boundary and elevation restrictions. The Arabica coffee beans are handpicked from estates around Mavis Bank, Silver Hill, Moy Hall and Wallenford and processed to make what is regarded by many as the world’s finest coffee. It is certainly among the most expensive. The Jablum and Country Trader brands of pure Jamaican Blue Mountain ground or coffee beans are sold island wide. Only a fraction of all coffee exported reaches North America (around 10%) or Europe (less than 5%), because most is bought for sale in Japan, so if you are a coffee aficionado it is worth stocking up while on island, as the prices are considerably less than what you would pay at home.

Busha Browne’s - A range of products made in Jamaica which includes jerk seasoning, sauces, jams, jellies (including pepper jelly) and chutney’s.

Cuban Cigars - With Cuba located to the north of Jamaica you can purchase genuine Cuban cigars from Cigar World/Gold Plus, which have outlets in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Tryall and Negril.

Pickapeppa Sauce - A brown sauce made in Jamaica since 1921 and originating from Shooter’s Hill near Mandeville. It is made from a mix of sugar cane vinegar, tomatoes, onions, mangoes, raisins, tamarind, peppers and secret spices, then aged in oak barrels for one year.

Starfish Oils - Another award winning company, started in 1995, with a line of aromatherapy products and handmade soaps such as Blue Mountain Coffee, Nutmeg, Vanilla and Coconut Scrub, bath salts, scented candles in polished coconut shells or travel tins, plus scented body and diffuser oils, and incense.

Walkerswood - For a taste of Jamaica back home, Walkerswood is the island’s top brand of Jamaican seasonings and sauces. Their range includes Jerk Seasoning, Jerk Marinade, Dried Jerk Seasoning and Escoveitch Sauce. They are available in supermarkets, souvenir gift shops and at the airports.

Duty Free Shops

Each of the main resorts has areas with shopping centres and duty free shopping malls. Do note that bartering, even in duty free shops, is commonplace.

Montego Bay - Montego Freeport Shopping Centre (which services the cruise ships), the City Centre Mall downtown, the Holiday Village Shopping Centre, mostly gift shops, and the upscale Half Moon Shopping Village which has a crafts area and a good range of shops.

Ocho Rios - Island Village is a themed entertainment and shopping complex next to the cruise ship pier which includes Reggae-Xplosion (a reggae exhibition and museum), Soni’s Plaza is on Main Street, Ocean Village Shopping Plaza on Main Street and the Taj Mahal Shopping Centre, also on Main Street, which has entertainment, a jerk centre and internet café.

Negril - Time Square Shopping Centre, a craft market is on Norman Manley Boulevard

Kingston - Mall Plaza in Constant Spring Road, plus shops are located on Dominica Drive near the Hilton and on Harbour Street

Port Antonio - The Village of St George is a shopping mall featuring crafts and jewellery, but like the rest of Port Antonio it has no duty free shopping.

Some of the main duty free outlets in Jamaica which carry the well known luxury brands are:

Bijoux Jewellers - A chain of shops selling leather goods, crystal, perfume, watches, jewellery, pens and electronics located in Kingston, Half Moon Shopping Village and the airport in Montego Bay, and in Ocho Rios at Soni’s Plaza, Island Village and Taj Mahal Shopping Centre.

Casa de Oro - Perfume, jewellery and watches with brands such as Cartier, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co, with locations in Montego Bay at the City Centre Mall and Half Moon Shopping Village, Time Square Centre in Negril, and in Ocho Rios at Soni’s Plaza and Island Village.

Cigar World/Gold Plus - Cuban and Jamaican cigars at locations in Ocho Rios at Taj Mahal Shopping Centre, Gloucester Avenue and Tryall Duty Free in Montego Bay, and Times Square Mall, Negril

The Royal Shop - A chain of shops selling perfumes, cameras, cosmetics, watches and jewellery. There are shops located in Montego Bay’s City Centre Mall, Freeport cruise ship terminal, the airport, Half Moon Shopping Village and Wyndham Rose Hall Golf & Country Club, in Negril’s Time Square Mall, and the Taj Mahal Shopping Centre and Soni’s Plaza in Ocho Rios.

Swiss Stores of Jamaica - Official retail outlet for Rolex in Jamaica since 1935 with locations in Kingston at Mall Plaza, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel and Harbour Street, Montego Bay on Gloucester Avenue and Half Moon Shopping Arcade (not the shopping village), Island Village and Ocean Village in Ocho Rios.

Tajmahal’s - A wide range of jewellery, watches, gemstones and perfume located in Montego Bay’s City Centre Mall & Half Moon Shopping Village, Time Square Mall in Negril, and at Taj Mahal Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios.

Tropicana Jewellers - Designer jewellery, watches, pens and leather goods with locations in Montego Bay’s City Centre Mall and Half Moon Shopping Village, Time Square Mall in Negril, and Island Village and Taj Mahal Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios.

Browse Shopping on other islands

Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada & Carriacou | Jamaica | Montserrat | Nevis | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks and Caicos Islands

Or read our other island guides

Anguilla | Antigua | Aruba | Bahamas | Barbados | Bermuda | Bonaire | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Cuba | Curacao | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada and Carriacou | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Montserrat | Nevis | Puerto Rico | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks & Caicos Islands | US Virgin Islands

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Looking for inspiration?

  1. Sample some fiery jerk chicken or pork at one of the many stands in Boston - the home of jerk 
  2. Take a tour of Appleton Estate, Jamaica's oldest rum producer
  3. Spend the day exploring Dunn's River Falls & Park
  4. Enjoy a round of golf at one of Montego Bay's five, 18-hole courses
  5. Immerse yourself in local culture and pay a visit to the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston

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