If you’re the kind of person who travels with a half-empty suitcase so that you can bring home a shopping mall’s worth of souvenirs, you’ll be in retail heaven in Montego Bay. The second-biggest city in Jamaica has no shortage of outlet stores and shopping strips but, if it’s authentic Caribbean goods you’re after, you’ll find the best bargains at the craft markets.
Harbour Street Market and Old Fort Market are set among the hustle and bustle of downtown Mo’ Bay, just a short taxi ride from all the area’s main hotels. The colourful stalls are packed full of properly Jamaican goods, from home-grown coffee to one-of-a-kind wood carvings. Here are 5 things you won’t want to come home without…
With its mild flavour and lack of bitterness, Jamaica’s home-grown coffee – straight from the island’s Blue Mountains – will convert even the most diehard tea drinker. You can buy the beans whole, or pick up bags of ground coffee to use in a cafetiere. You’ll never touch a jar of Nescafé again.
Because where’s the fun in drinking from plain old glassware? Jamaica is plastered in palm trees, and some entrepreneurial soul had the bright idea of turning some of the coconut shells in to wine glasses. When you get home, crack open a bottle of Pinot, pour it in to one of these fine vessels, and you’ll feel like you’re back on the beach.
Once you’ve sampled some real Jamaican jerk chicken, there’s just no going back to Nando’s piri piri sauce. You can get your hands on jars of spices and seasoning for just a bit of small change, and recreate your favourite holiday dishes at home.
If you’re after a souvenir with a bit of wow factor, look no further than a painted wood carving, made from the island’s native cedar and mahogany trees. They come in all shapes and sizes, so you can play it safe with a small replica of a Red Stripe, or go all out and bring home a TV-sized model of Bob Marley’s face.
If you’re not already familiar with Bob Marley’s greatest hits, we guarantee you will be by the end of your holiday. The reggae master is the nation’s sweetheart, and you’ll hear the lyrics to Three Little Birds blasting out from every beach bar in the country. Pick up a mixed CD of his best tunes, or opt for a compilation of lesser-known singers.
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Author: Samantha Shillabeer
Published: February 3, 2016
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