While in the Caribbean do you have a desire to sample exotic fruits found only in the region? Or are you in need of some souvenirs of your time in paradise? Then you must head off to the local market for these and other goodies that only the islands can provide.
Shopping in one of the many Caribbean markets can be an exhilarating experience. Mornings are busy, noisy, and sometimes smelly if meat products are on offer. However, being elbow-to-elbow with the locals, getting great bargains, trying tasty new foods and hearing the local gossip is just about as good as a market gets, right? Try haggling with the vendors for better prices. Most love to bargain and willingly try to get the best prices for their wares while not letting a potential customer walk away without a purchase.
Start your shopping adventures on the island of Nassau, Bahamas. Here at Straw Market just past the docks, tents line up in rows, housing every kind of trinket and treasure. Souvenirs, handbags, palm fans and jewelry are laid on tables, in piles and along shelves on the walls. Vendors, though sometimes persistent, are very friendly and willing to try to meet your price. If you are looking for some local flavor, head down under the Paradise Bridge and find the vendors selling fresh seafood right from their boats at Potter‘s Cay. Sample conch fritters and fried plantains. Watch as chefs chose from black crabs and white conch and other aquatic delights.
Coronation Market located in Kingston, Jamaica is well known by tourists and Jamaicans alike. Here you can reggae your way down the outdoor stalls while sampling Jamaican jerk chicken or pork, island specialties. Breadfruit, which is used like the US potato, can be boiled, fried, roasted or stewed. Take some home and give it a try. Or pick up some guineps which are somewhat similar to lychee and oh so delicious. This market is one of the biggest in the Caribbean, so wear your comfortable shoes. Men with wooden carts will transport all of your purchases for a small fee.
Trinidad boasts a daily market filled with tasty treats. Chaguanas Market has rows upon rows of tables filled with spices, fruits and fish. The best way to decide what you like is to try it. So, nibble on some curry flatbreads or take the bite out of ‘bake and shark’. This local favorite consists of shark filet, deep-fried, topped with slaw, chutney and cilantro, and served in ‘fry bread’.
Market Square in St. George, Grenada, is the place to go for spices. With Grenada being known as the ‘spice island’, is there any wonder why? Walk among the great smelling tables loaded with vanilla, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Choose one jar of spices, or take home a locally-made straw basket filled with all of the goodies.
Castries Market on St. Lucia is well known for its open-air market. Pass the touristy part and head to the open for great fresh coconuts, spices and cocoa sticks which people use to make cocoa tea. It is best to get there early. Vendors start closing up after lunch. Be aware that some of the sellers are very persistent.
Use caution and enjoy your shopping in the Caribbean.