The Caribbean's Best Airport Shopping


So you’ve committed the ultimate shopper’s sin: Waiting until you get to the airport to buy souvenirs. But your procrastination needn't mean that your friends will be forced to fake delight as you present them with tired T-shirts, made-in-China shot glasses, or tacky fridge magnets. Thankfully, some Caribbean airports pump up the present-giving potential with a trove of shops selling stuff friends will actually appreciate. Here are a few of my favorite concourse finds:

IMG_7631Nassau, Bahamas: My Ocean soaps & ceramics

With prices beginning at $12, the handmade glycerin soaps and colorful ceramics at this “Bahamian version of The Body Shop” make thoughtful and relatively inexpensive gifts. Check out their store in the US Departures terminal at Lynden Pindling International.

IMG_4434Kingston, Jamaica: Patties

You can’t go wrong with food gifts. And if you’re exiting through Sangster International, it would be downright rude to return home without at least a half-dozen patties in your carry-on. I buy mine frozen and boxed for export from 2 Hampers & A Mule.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 7.06.50 PMCancun, Mexico: Viagra

It seems that you don’t need a ‘scrip to purchase the little blue pill south of the border. Passing through Terminal 3 at Cancun International a couple of years ago, I saw it for sale over the counter in the pharmacy there. Probably NOT something you want to take back for someone else, but I’m just sayin’ …

BMcoffeeMontego Bay, Jamaica: Blue Mountain coffee candle

You don’t have to be a coffee drinker to be intoxicated by the heady scent of this hand-poured candle, made with essential oils and beans from one of the world’s best and most expensive coffees. Pick up Starfish Oils' best-selling luminary at Things Jamaican or Coffee & Spice on the departures level at Sangster International.

photoPort-of-Spain, Trinidad: Steel pan jewelry

Nothing says Trinidad like steel pan music, so why not buy a piece of gold or silver jewelry embellished with a miniature version of the musical memento? I scored a silver steelpan for my charm bracelet before I’d even entered the island (you can shop duty-free on arrival AND departure at Piarco International). But if charms aren't your thing, there are pan-embellished earrings, pendants and bracelets, too.