The Caribbean is an amazing destination, with sun, sand, surf, and enough delicious food and drinks to send you into a state of bliss as you relax on pristine beaches. Without a doubt, St. Lucia is the perfect place to enjoy these activities. But did you know you could also have a blast spending time shopping for souvenirs and gifts too?
If you’ve never been to St. Lucia, you can expect plenty of shopping opportunities in this tiny slice of paradise. Your port of call is likely to be just a stone’s throw away from downtown Castries, where you’ll find shops and vendors selling unique local wares.
Not sure what to look for in St. Lucia? Check out these top 10 local items to bring back home as a memory of your cruise to paradise.
What to Buy in St. Lucia
1. Painted Masks
St. Lucia is famous for its brightly painted, hand-carved wooden masks. These long, thin masks allow you to bring home the colors of the Caribbean in a truly unique work of art. Look for original Zaka masks at an artist’s shop and take home one that speaks to you.
2. Handmade Pottery
St. Lucia has a long tradition of handcrafted pottery made by locals. Originally, people made pots for practical purposes such as cooking, but today both locals and artists make decorative pieces for visitors. Unique pottery is easy to find throughout St. Lucia and will make a beautiful addition to your home.
3. Cocoa Sticks
The tropical climate of St. Lucia is perfect for growing cacao trees, and locals love their hot chocolate (although they call it cocoa tea). Cocoa sticks are made from ground, fermented cocoa beans (or “nibs”) and pressed into a little log about the size of your finger. Bring some home and make yourself the best cocoa you’ve ever had.
4. Hot Sauce
Spice things up back home with a bottle of hot sauce that commemorates your trip to St. Lucia. The local favorite is a yellow sauce instead of orange and made from fiery-hot Scotch Bonnet peppers.
Pro Tip: Sample as many as your mouth can withstand as you eat a local meal; then, purchase your favorite before you leave the port of call.
The Caribbean is a well-known hub for sugar cane, so it’s no surprise that the region has a long history of distilling rum. St. Lucia has excellent local rums to try, whether you prefer them plain or spiced. Bring back a bottle — or several — for the mixologists in your life.
6. Local Honey
Honey tastes different everywhere in the world since bees make it from a unique mix of local flower nectar where they live. St. Lucia is a prime location for bees to gather nectar and pollen all year round. If you love honey, you’ll be eager to try the varieties from St. Lucia. Finding a delicious local honey will bring a totally new flavor into your life. Many people think that honey reminds them of the way a place smelled, so this could be a mini-vacation in a bottle later on!
7. Batik Textiles
St. Lucia is a great place to pick up a lovely, lightweight sarong or scarf you can wear in the summer. Many of these are decorated by local artisans with batik dyeing techniques, where they use wax to create designs on the fabric that will not absorb the dye during soaking. If you enjoy cloth accessories, you can probably find a batik version in St. Lucia.
8. Wood Carvings
The arts and crafts scene in St. Lucia is a vibrant one, and you’ll find many wood carvers selling their wares in markets and stalls. In addition to masks, you may find serving bowls, utensils and other items featuring designs of local animals or imaginative patterns carved into indigenous woods.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has shot up in popularity in recent years as a tasty way to fry food or whip up vegan desserts without relying on animal fats. St. Lucia is known for its coconut harvest, so once you sample coconut milk, look for pure, cold-pressed coconut oil to take home with you. You can find it at a farmers market or grocery store.
Pro Tip: Pure coconut oil also makes a luxurious hand cream when used right out of the container!
Rounding out St. Lucia’s arts and crafts scene are local jewelers who make beaded bracelets and necklaces. Among the most popular items are shiny, black hematite and clay beads. These pieces make great gifts for kids and anyone who loves a new bauble, and you can pack them easily in your suitcase for the trip home.
Shopping in St. Lucia is its own adventure, and you’re sure to find something wonderful that lets you remember your trip. Whether you choose a handcraft or an edible product to spice up your home cooking, you won’t have any trouble finding stunning gifts on this special tropical island. Visit local markets at your port of call, and pick up truly unique souvenirs for your loved ones and yourself as you enjoy your time in St. Lucia.