Shopping for beautifully handcrafted Jamaican goods is probably one of the highlights of a day out wherever you are staying on your vacation on the island. While the same goods are crafted and sold regardless of area, there are some unique arts and crafts from one end of the island to the other. In other words, native goods sold in Montego Bay will likely be somewhat different to those sold in Negril. However, because it is possible to get around the island using a rental car, boat, or even public transportation, a person has access to a variety of beautiful handcrafted goods.
Remember, even if the same type of item were sold elsewhere in the world, because of the materials and methods used, those crafted in Jamaica are found only on this Caribbean island. While handcrafted goods are sold in many of the duty and tax free stores, for the most part beautiful goods are more commonly found in street and beachside shops.
Following are some examples of goods sold in and around Jamaica. In addition to making a great personal purchase, these items are ideal for gift-giving.
Tie-Dyed Clothing – In true Jamaican and Bob Marley style, tie-dyed shirts, scarves, skirts, dresses, hats, and more are available throughout the island. Not only are colors always vibrant but the items are perfectly crafted thanks to this art being refined by local artisans.
Jamaican Pottery – one unique place to buy pottery is at Wassi Art, this pottery is made by locals using old-fashioned pottery wheels and string. The artisans create one-of-a-kind pieces, each delicately hand-painted. Although Wassi Art Pottery is located in Ocho Rios, a two and one-half hour drive from Negril, it is a trip worth making to watch artisans at work and purchase impressive items sold. Another beautiful example of this work isPinto Pottery based at Good Hope in Falmouth. You can even take a class of your own and have both a unique vacation experience and a unique piece of art to show for it.
Embroidered Clothing and Handbags – Special hand-embroidery is also a craft that dates back centuries. Across the island, street vendors, beachside shops, and stores associated with five-star resorts sell a wonderful selection of goods.There are quite a few shopping malls that offer a one stop shopping experience like
Island Village in Ocho Rios.
Soaps, Oils, and Lotions – An amazing thing about the Jamaican people is their ability to create soaps, oils, and lotions using things provided by nature. In fact, a large number of hotels and resorts depend on the locals for the very amenities offered to guests but handcrafted goods are also sold to the public. These goods are natural, gentle to the skin, and they smell divine. Check out Blue Mountain Soap Works in Long Bay, Portland, as a perfect example.
Artwork – In Jamaica, artwork of any kind is treasured. Of course, there are world-renown artists who display artwork in galleries but this is something that is also sold in both small and large shops. While some artists use more contemporary materials, many of the locals depend on materials that come from land and sea.
Jewelry – Handcrafted jewelry is also popular in Jamaica. As with other handcrafted items, it is common to find various types of jewelry made from or with shells, coral, seeds, metals, fibers, and in some instances, sand particles. There are stores that specialize in some of the most popular works from artists in Jamaica like Craft Cottage.
Coffee – Thanks to Jamaica’s perfect climate and soil, the island is known for growing the world’s best coffee. Blue Mountain Coffee is a staple of Jamaica and although its rich, full flavor has been sampled by people from around the globe, it is not readily available outside the island. However, perfectly grown Blue Mountain Coffee can be purchased and taken home.
Wood Carvings – In Negril Jamaica, people will find a wide variety of beautiful carvings made from island wood. These include statues, masks, bowls, decorative boxes, stands, and much more. Handcrafted wood carvings are so popular and well-made that items are sold in high-end stores and quaint beachside shops, as well as the main Negril Craft Market by mountain roadside vendors.