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A vacation to the beautiful isles of the Caribbean can never be deemed complete without purchasing some mementos. Shopping for souvenirs is one of the things to do in the Caribbean to remind you of your time spent here.
From all of us who crave for Caribbean authenticity, this is the time to avail of these collectibles that will help support the local economy, native artisans and in many ways traditional customs.
Buying locally produced and handcrafted gifts is not only a great way to take a memory of your trip home with you, but it helps to support the people and communities of the places you visit, too.
From beachy candles to colorful artwork there are scores of souvenirs that are as much of a pleasure to keep as they are to give away. So here are some of the best gifts which you can take back home from some of these remarkable ports of call, especially with a limited time special cruise offer available these days.
Jewellery: Princess Cays
Cruise to the Princess Cays for sea-themed jewelry and precious pearls to commemorate your sailing trip to this beautiful destination in the Bahamas. This breathtakingly beautiful tropical island is a shopping paradise for interesting souvenirs to bring back home. Sea glass pendants, shell necklaces and exquisite pearl earrings can be bought here. Princess Cays is also known for pure gold accessories and elegant adornments.
Vejigante Masks: Puerto Rico
The Vejigante masks are typically made of papier mache and are a product of Ponce and Loisa. Shaped in a demon-like figure these masks have become a part of many customs in Puerto Rico, especially during Carnival time, where revellers come dressed in flowing robes and horned masks, called carteras. The next time you visit this part of the Caribbean, do not forget to pick one of these masks from the streets of Old San Juan and gain some insight on the mediaeval roots of the Vejigante.
Pottery: Barbados and Jamaica
If you really want to bring back something authentic from your Caribbean trip then roam the streets looking for handcrafted pottery items. Locals use red clay to mould them in all colors, shapes and sizes and fire them in kilns to make an excellent souvenir product that you won’t get elsewhere. Vendors with display plates, bowls, mugs, vases and even a full dinner set to keep the memories alive each night once you are back home. Note however, the pottery pieces are fragile and should be carefully wrapped before your return trip.
Coffee and Spices: Barbados and Jamaica
Some of the world’s best coffee beans are produced in the Caribbean because of the combination of high altitude and cool environs that are known to produce such famous brands as Pocillo and Blue Mountain Coffee. Be prepared to pay a hefty price if you want to pick up a bag of Caribbean coffee. The price is worth the fabulous flavor, not to be found anywhere else. As far as spices are concerned, each of the above islands have their unique mix, perfect for chicken, pork, meat or fish seasoning. The staple ingredients used are habanero, fenugreek, turmeric and anise seeds.
Amber Jewellery: Dominican Republic
While the Caribbean is a great source of some of the common natural products like coffee and spices, it also happens to significantly produce a fossilized plant resin known as Amber, from the ancient forests, some of which date back to 35 million years when resin dripped from trees and fell on the floor, only to harden and turn into Amber. An amber necklace or earrings, make a great homecoming gift for a loved one, especially the ones in the blue color, which are said to be the rarest to find. Amber is only found in the Dominican Republic.
Tortuga Rum Cakes: Cayman Islands
Most of the Caribbean souvenirs are steeped in industry, unlike some which are soaked in rum. There are few things as delicious as this tasty cake, and the Cayman Islands has been producing rum cakes since the 1980s, and these signature offerings come in several sizes, ranging from four to thirty two ounces. No matter which one you choose, be assured they will always be a hit back home. If you have forgotten to buy your share, they are available at the departure terminal of the Grand Cayman airport.
Paintings and Sculpture: Haiti
The variety of first class paintings and sculptures in Haiti is astonishing.The island has been gifted with such a prolific art scene that galleries and street artists are to be found practically everywhere in Haiti, especially in the capital city of Port-au-Prince in its Iron Market. Another dedicated art lover destination is Village Artistique de Noailles, located just a few miles east of the capital city. Here you will come across scores of metal artwork shops and even the artists themselves. Strike a bargain for their reasonably priced creations. Even if you are a lightweight luggage visitor, there are plenty of flat and lightweight metal sculptures which you can easily carry to hang on the wall when returning home.