If you enjoy cruising and can’t wait to indulge your love of shopping, Ocho Rios is the perfect destination for you. It’s one of the most popular cruise destinations for buying souvenirs, authentic Jamaican crafts and bargain duty-free goods. Whether you stroll through native craft markets, explore luxury plazas or discover local gift stores, Ocho Rios is a shopaholic’s dream come true.
To help you decide what to buy in Ocho Rios, here are our 14 top picks you won’t regret.
1. Jerk Spices and Sauces
Known as the home of jerk, you can’t leave Jamaica without bringing the spicy products home for more. Recreate the mouth-watering jerk chicken you’ll find across Ocho Rios with jerk spice. You can also buy jerk sauce for traditional Jamaican meat and seafood dishes from specialty stores, restaurants and supermarkets.
2. Aromatherapy Products
Candles and aromatherapy oils are perfect gifts for loved ones. Sold in pharmacies and specialty shops, luscious products include handmade Caribbean-scented soaps, bath salts, body oil, natural mosquito repellents and an array of exquisite candles.
The art in Jamaica reflects its vibrant communities and unique traditions. Shopping in Ocho Rios gives you access to world-class, original pottery pieces to take home, such as statues, teapots, cups and vases. Best of all, you’ll find items that are one of a kind, whether through design, intricate patterns or incredible colors.
4. Oil Paintings
Take a slice of scenery with you by shopping for oil paintings at craft markets and galleries. Influenced by the rich culture and stunning landscapes, paintings allow you to keep tropical vibes close. Popular scenes include plantation houses, ocean vistas, dancers, gardens, animals and, of course, Bob Marley.
Chances are that you’ve heard about Jamaica’s coffee and can’t wait to try a sweet island blend. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to buy coffee; however, the most famous is grown in the Blue Mountains region, which is certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
6. Wood Carvings
Jamaica is renowned for the art of wood carving, using heavy natural wood such as lignum vitae, cedar and mahogany. Items come in all shapes and sizes, from traditional masks to dolphin statues, wooden bowls, vases and rastafarian-inspired pieces.
Life doesn’t get much better than an afternoon by the sea sipping rum punch, swimming and lazing on the beach in Ocho Rios. Once you’ve sampled the local brands and selected your favorites, it’s easy to buy rum duty free or in local supermarkets and gift shops. Don’t like alcohol but love the flavor of Jamaica’s most famous liquor? Pick up some rum cakes for dessert instead.
8. Woven Goods
Whether they’re made from straw, wicker or palm leaves, woven goods are traditional souvenirs with the added bonus of practicality. In fact, before plastic bags, most locals used a straw traveling basket or “bankra” to carry items. Now you can buy placemats, gift baskets, vases and any number of decorative pieces for your home. Don’t forget to pick up an iconic palm leaf hat, known for strength, durability and reducing your risk of sunburn!
9. Jamaican Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil
The benefits of coconut oil have become world famous, especially in hair and skin care products. You can buy Jamaican cold-pressed coconut oil across Ocho Rios in its natural, organic form, so try it straight from one of the world’s best sources.
10. Jamaican Dolls
In terms of gifts for children or the young at heart, you’ll find Jamaican dolls at craft shops and markets. Handmade stuffed dolls dressed in traditional colors are perfect for the little ones. How about a Jamaican-patois speaking doll to remind you of the popular phrases you’ll hear during your cruise vacation?
11. Jamaican Sweets
If you have a sweet tooth, shopping in Ocho Rios will delight your taste buds. Try the coconut flavors of gizzada and grater cake. How about a mango cheesecake, banana pancake or plantain tart? For takeaway options, you’ll find gift boxes with treats like mini rum cakes, tamarind balls and peanut brittle.
12. Seashell Art
You may see a variety of seashell souvenirs during your cruise but none are like the ones you will find in Jamaica. They have their very own style of seashell art, complete with red, yellow and green color palettes and creative designs you will only see while exploring Ocho Rios. Choose from intricate necklace pendants, wall hangings and ocean-inspired decorations.
13. Coconut Wine Glasses
With a rustic charm that will always remind you of your island cruise, coconut wine glasses are a popular and easy-to-carry souvenir from craft markets and gift shops. Literally made from coconut shells, the glasses are extremely lightweight and stylish. Best of all, the next time you hold a dinner party, you’ll feel like you’re transported back to the beach.
14. Authentic Reggae Music
As the birthplace of reggae in the late 1960s, Jamaica’s music scene offers much more than the world-famous tunes of the late, great Bob Marley. No matter where you go, you’ll hear the upbeat, inspiring tunes of local artists and experience the culture through fashion and dance. Take the opportunity to seek out new reggae beats and introduce them to your friends at home, or pick up a Bob Marley CD as the ultimate Jamaican souvenir.