With a captivating entertainment scene, diverse cuisine, and great options for excursions, Jamaica has all the ingredients of a perfect vacation destination. Add all-inclusive resorts like Sandals to the mix and what you’ll have is the beginnings of an unforgettable adventure.
In Jamaica, after snorkelling around Seven Mile Beach, taking the plunge at Dunn’s River Falls, rafting down the Martha Brae River, exploring Mystic Mountain, and embarking on countless other adventures, you’ll not only fall in love with the island but long to take a bit of it home with you as well by purchasing an authentic souvenir.
If you find yourself in that position (madly and utterly in love with an island!) perhaps some souvenirs will be just what you need. Plus, you’ll be able to share them with friends and family in the hopes that they’ll join you on your next visit to this rhythmic Caribbean island.
Read on for some of our top Jamaica souvenir choices, from t-shirts and paintings, to hot sauce and Blue Mountain Coffee!
In this article on the Sandals Blog:
Want to take some good Reggae jams back home with you after an amazing vacation? If so, Jamaica may just be your go to. This vibrant Caribbean isle is the birthplace of Reggae music.
On this island, you might be surprised how many Reggae artists there are that you may not have heard of, and how diverse the local music selection is overall. Other popular genres you’ll hear on this island include Dancehall, Dub and Ska.
For the ultimate souvenir or keepsake, you’ll be able to purchase albums that you might have a hard time finding elsewhere. Those wanting to venture even deeper into the world of Reggae music will be intrigued by the Rasta community at Mount Debre Zeit near Papine, Kingston, where the Reggae vibes are always authentic. Mount Debre Zeit Records and Variety Store will be your go-to for souvenirs. While there, you’ll also be able to have a heart to heart with ‘Ras’ while sipping on locally made roots tonic, listening to new music, and getting the 411 on who’s hot currently in Jamaica.
You won’t stop hearing about Blue Mountain Coffee while in Jamaica, and one sip of the sought-after coffee will explain why. Known for its exclusive nature, high growth elevations, and hand-picked appeal, Blue Mountain Coffee is both pricey, and one of the best coffees in the world. Much of the Blue Mountain Coffee crop is exported to Japan — as much as 80 percent. Fortunately, even with those numbers it isn’t hard to find Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica, particularly in gift shops at resorts like Sandals, or on local coffee farms. Take some home with you to share the wealth at a fraction of the cost!
Natural inspiration is everywhere you look in Jamaica. Translating that inspiration into the most incredible works of art are the island’s amazing artists. On your vacation to Jamaica, you’ll be able to find and purchase some original pieces to take back home as a souvenir. The art scene is pretty notable on this island, and it won’t be hard to find something top quality at reasonable cost, including vibrant oil paintings that’ll be easy to roll up and fit into your luggage. Art related events in Jamaica include regular public auctions which can be super lively, as well as art gallery affairs which often feature works by master painters. Some of the stand out artists in Jamaica include Albert Huie, Barrington Watson, Cecil Cooper, and Milton Harley.
Take that feel good Jamaican spirit home with you by sourcing some local rum. Some of the rums produced in Jamaica are among the best in the world and can add the perfect touch to any cocktail. Jamaican whiskies as well, are known to be super smooth, and will go down well with anyone with a taste for the finer things. In Jamaica, you can do tours of some of the local distilleries, like Appleton Estate, where you’ll learn about the rum making process and also get a chance to purchase some souvenirs.
Insider tip: Want to be treated to some of the finest rum cocktails during your all-inclusive Caribbean vacation? Premium liquors are included and unlimited at the many bars located across the six Sandals Resorts in Jamaica!
If you like creamy rum, you’ll love some of the Jamaica varieties which sometimes include nuts, spices, and even dried fruits. Rum cream is a mellow, alcoholic drink that you can share with friends and family to let them know that you thought of them, even while having the time of your life in paradise! Rum cream mixes well with Blue Mountain Coffee.
Caribbean islands like Jamaica are known for their flavorful cuisine, some of which have gained popularity internationally. Spices are key when cooking up and serving scrumptious Jamaican dishes, and so is a good bottle of hot sauce! Jamaica hot sauce typically includes scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest Chile peppers in the world) as a key ingredient, and this is one souvenir that comes packed with fire and flavor. If fiery isn’t quite what you’re going for, there are also milder versions of hot sauce made with fruits including mango and banana.
Coconut oil is one of those things you just don’t want to leave the Caribbean without. While in Jamaica, get a couple bottles of Jamaican cold-pressed coconut oil which comes in handy for just about anything, including hair and skin care, makeup removal, and a range of health uses. This oil is according to the experts, one of the healthiest around, and it is said to help protect the body and brain. The potential health gains of this amazing wonder oil makes it a great gift — don’t forget to get some for yourself as well.
Jamaican jerk meats are in a class of their own, and hopefully if you decide to vacation in Jamaica, you’ll make lots of time to savor amazing jerk meals. If you love it (which you likely will!), you’ll be able to take some jerk seasoning home with you where you can challenge yourself to recreate some of these wonderful spicy meals. Jamaican jerk seasoning makes a great present to bring home, but make sure to get some for yourself as well. Look for the brands Walkers Wood and Island Spice, which you can find at local supermarkets and at some souvenir shops.
A bite into an authentic Jamaican beef patty might be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. There’s so much flavor packed into this sizeable pattie, that you just might not be able to get enough! Fortunately, it's completely possible to bring home some frozen patties to share with friends and family back home!
Who wouldn’t want to learn how to cook Jamaican style, after spending some time on these eclectic and exciting shores? For this reason, a Jamaica cookbook will come in handy not just for you, but also to be able to share the people of this island’s unique way of cooking with those you love.
Bet your friends don’t have any coconut wine glasses yet, and they’ll be totally surprised if you get them some directly from Jamaica as a souvenir. It’ll almost be like they went there themselves, and they for sure will want to show off these goodies made with real coconut shells. Coconut wine glasses won’t be hard to find in Jamaica — you can pick them up from most craft vendors in Montego Bay and other parts of the island.
Never mind how unique and intricate wood carvings tend to be, they aren’t something the average person will think about purchasing for themselves on a regular day. Unless of course, they’re really into art, in which case, this will make the perfect souvenir. Help your lucky friend or family member add wood carvings made in Jamaica to their collection by visiting Fern Gully near Ocho Rios where you’ll find some of the best wood carvings on the island. Items include artfully made bowls and trays, and other carefully crafted creations.
Insider tip: Guests of Sandals resorts in Jamaica can arrange their excursions easily through the resort, which makes getting to the best souvenir shopping locations a breeze!
A good ol’ straw hat (or a brand new one) can come in handy in and out of the Caribbean. This is a great gift if you want to take some sunshine back home to your friends or family members, at which point you’ll be able to share a bit of history on how these straw hats are made from handmade origami in Jamaica. You can find these straw hats at most craft stops in Jamaica, and there are usually a wide variety to choose from.
Much like this island has its very own music, it is also possible to get authentic Jamaican branded clothing on this island. Many of these brands feature the colors of the Jamaica flag, portraits of popular musicians, and other artwork. You can get everything from t-shirts to track suits, as well as rasta hats, belts, bracelets, and baseball caps. You can also get things like branded footballs, mugs, and beach towels, all of which make cool souvenirs.
Jamaican root tonic is made from medicinal plants, herbs, roots, and tree bark. It is considered a healthy drink, which can help build strength, vitality, and even increase sex drive. Many Jamaicans swear by this concoction, and based on the fact that it still remains just as popular today after being around for many years, we’ll say it may just be worth a try! While in Jamaica, get a few bottles of this for yourself, and also to share with those nearest and dearest.
An authentic pair of leather sandals are a good find wherever you go, but if you’re looking for souvenirs that will also last and be useful, this will be a good buy in Jamaica. Made from all-natural materials, you’ll be able to find tasteful leather sandals in Jamaica if you look hard enough. Gift shops and craft booths in Montego Bay are a great place to start looking.
No matter the age of the person you’re getting an authentic handmade doll for, they’re bound to appreciate the ones made in Jamaica. Many craft shops stock this item, and there are a range of dolls you can choose from made with soft spongy materials, or hand plastic. Typically, these dolls can be found rocking traditional Jamaica wear and trendy Jamaican hairstyles which both adults and kids will love!
If there’s anything you simply can’t leave Jamaica without, it's the sort of peace of mind and stillness that can only be found in a Caribbean paradise island such as this. Definitely leave your worries in Jamaica, and go back home with more than a few doses to spare of laid-back living, and watch how much your outlook on life changes for the better as a result!
Pro tip: If you are staying at any Sandals all-inclusive resort you will be able to find lots of high quality souvenirs at the resort shops, which includes items like Blue Mountain Coffee, jewelry, t-shirts and Jamaican rum.
Unless you want to end up with a random item manufactured somewhere like China, and not an authentic Jamaican keepsake, look carefully at all items before you purchase them. Read tags and ask questions to avoid being duped.
If you’re going to go souvenir shopping, commit to it. Don’t just buy the first things that catch your eye as that’s a sure way to overspend and to leave without getting what you actually want. Look around at the various options even if that means going to a few stores in a couple different locations. Definitely compare prices as you go along.
Bargaining is all part of the game when souvenir shopping. If you see something you like, sometimes it’s worth negotiating with the vendor to arrive at a fair price, especially if you for sure saw the exact item for less money elsewhere.
The competition is stiff for the vending market in Jamaica. This means you can expect to be approached with lots of offers while shopping around for souvenirs. No worries though, if you aren’t interested, just say so with a simple “No, thank you”.
There are many places in Jamaica where you can find great souvenirs. Here are some of our top choices:
If authenticity is what you seek, the Montego Bay Craft Market is a good starting point for souvenir shopping. This market is located in a convenient location in the city and you’ll be able to find some great bargains. Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean are two amazing resorts located within close proximity of the Montego Bay Craft Market.
If you’re staying at Sandals Ochi or Sandals Royal Plantation, the Ocho Rios Craft Market is worth checking out as it is located near both of these resorts. This is the largest market in Ocho Rios, and there are over one hundred vendors set up in this location. This means it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for before you go so you won’t be overwhelmed.
There are quite a few shopping options in Negril when souvenir shopping, but the Negril Craft Market is a good place to go if you want more items all in one place. Located just off Norman Manley Blvd, at this location you’ll be able to find handmade crafts (including baskets, jewelry and wood carvings) and even some vintage items.
Insider tip: Negril is an amazing place to shop in Jamaica where you can also find some incredible beaches (like the world famous Seven Mile Beach) and resorts like Sandals Negril which offers guests 7 restaurants, and 5 bars including swim-up bars! The best part: all drinks and food are included and always unlimited.
The Port Antonio Market is a small, vibrant space where you’ll be able to get a feel of the Jamaica market experience while shopping around for souvenirs. There’s a wide variety of choices at this location, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed!
Picture: The authentic Jamaican and charming Sandals Royal Plantation, an all-inclusive butler resort in Ocho Rios.
All that’s left to do now is plan your vacation! Whether you have your heart set on a romantic and laid back resort like Sandals South Coast, the enchanting and charming Sandals Royal Plantation, or at any of the other 5-star all-inclusive Sandals properties in Jamaica, you’ll be close enough to some of the best souvenir shopping spots in Jamaica.