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Does anyone enjoy the Open Air Markets on the Islands

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Just wondering if anyone enjoys the open air markets on the Islands. The cruise ports all have their duty free shops and mass produced sovenier shops but I really enjoy looking for handmade items that are unique or specific to the Island and support the locals. The constant bombardment of said locals to buy their stuff can be quite annoying but usually it is worth it IMO. If you enjoy these markets, which are your favorites from each Island you have been to? I am considering checking out one called the "Orange Market" when we go to Amber Cove. I have never been to Amber Cove so this will be our first time checking one out in the Dominican Republic.

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I like the one in St. Thomas, even though it can get a bit crowded. I also like the one in Aruba. One thing I've found though at most of the open air markets. If you're shopping for a souvenir t-shirt, sizes tend to be a bit small, so go for the next size up from what you'd normally buy back at home (if possible).

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[quote name='iriecruising']Just wondering if anyone enjoys the open air markets on the Islands. The cruise ports all have their duty free shops and mass produced sovenier shops but I really enjoy looking for handmade items that are unique or specific to the Island and support the locals. The constant bombardment of said locals to buy their stuff can be quite annoying but usually it is worth it IMO. If you enjoy these markets, which are your favorites from each Island you have been to? I am considering checking out one called the "Orange Market" when we go to Amber Cove. I have never been to Amber Cove so this will be our first time checking one out in the Dominican Republic.[/quote]

Hi, may I ask when you are going? We are also going to Amber Cove for the first time (in December) and my mom absolutely loves those open air markets, so if you're going before us I'd love to hear your opinion when you return.

Although...when we were in Nassau, we bought a "handmade" dress for my niece, then went to the more commercial shops and found the same obviously mass-produced dress in several shops! :') I guess they got us that time! ;p

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[quote name='swirlofhues']Hi, may I ask when you are going? We are also going to Amber Cove for the first time (in December) and my mom absolutely loves those open air markets, so if you're going before us I'd love to hear your opinion when you return.

Although...when we were in Nassau, we bought a "handmade" dress for my niece, then went to the more commercial shops and found the same obviously mass-produced dress in several shops! :') I guess they got us that time! ;p[/quote]

We are going Thanksgiving week. I will be sure to write a trip report when we get back and let you know about the market. That is funny about the dress. I had something similar happen in Jamaica with a shirt. I tend to go for the Arts and Crafts or Beaded jewlery items. One time in Jamaica the anklet I wanted was a bit snug so the lady pulled out her stuff and made one up for me right there on the spot! Hoping I can luck into some interesting finds on this cruise. I will let you know!

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I always look for atleast one authentic piece from each island I visit. St. Thomas also gets my vote as favorite. Will be seeing the Western Caribbean in January on Princess and next year on the Triumph we will be doing an 8-Day to Grand Turk/Puerto Rico/Amber Cove.

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One of my favorite purchases was on our honeymoon in the late 70's. I saw a gentleman making a beautiful basket at the straw market in Nassau. I bought the basket after getting a picture of the gentleman making it. The picture is as valued as the basket.


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I generally detest the sales tactics of vendors on all of the islands including the markets.

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I enjoy the markets as it is supporting the local economy like in Nassau when I did a tour we asked the guy about the tourism there and he said 80% of the families generate their income from some form of tourism such as tours, selling, etc - Knowing that I try and pass a few dollars around - Here are 3 big things I have learned about shopping in these markets

First unless you are getting some mega deal for buying it all from one person spend the money at several different shops (they all get from the same suppliers and even their handmade goods are generally the same so your bound to find that same item with another person) and I say this because then at least your spreading cash around to help multiple families

Second although it might be let's say appetizing to buy from the first stall you see so you don't have to finish going thru the market - think about this a bunch of other's are probably saying the same things to themselves which means those in the front of the market make a ton more money then those in the back of the market - so i tend to try and work my way towards the back to start with if at all possible I walk around the market to the back to avoid everyone in the front like in Nassau you can walk down the side street towards the back

Third haggle your price I myself have seen cheaper prices in the stores but if someone owns a store front they must be doing well enough to keep up with the rent on a place like that so they really don't need my cash - these little families in boothes need my tourism dollars much more and they are certainly willing to haggle the price down with you - I always start out lower than what I actually want to pay - I have always been able to haggle my way to the price I want and if they don't want to play that game which is rare then I move on to the next stall because someone else will gladly take my money

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I hate the open air markets but my wife loves them.

Almost all the booths have the same items made in China. The vendors are all pushy (at least the ones in Mexico). Often it is crowded.

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I loved the craft market at Mahogany Bay! Everything was made in Honduras by locals and the money made goes back to help the people of Honduras. I bought several things, but my Christmas ornament made of recycled items is my favorite![attachment=340192:name]

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[quote name='Alabaster Cruiser']One of my favorite purchases was on our honeymoon in the late 70's. I saw a gentleman making a beautiful basket at the straw market in Nassau. I bought the basket after getting a picture of the gentleman making it. The picture is as valued as the basket.


Sent from my VK700 using Tapatalk[/quote]

Love this!

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The straw market in Nassau pushes my panic button. Never again.

Other islands, smaller markets are just delightful, however. One lady juices watermelon, adds a little “sumpin-sumpin” , whizzes. It all up in a blender with chipped ice - and o my goodness!!!

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[quote name='JayDeeJay']The straw market in Nassau pushes my panic button. Never again.

Other islands, smaller markets are just delightful, however. One lady juices watermelon, adds a little “sumpin-sumpin” , whizzes. It all up in a blender with chipped ice - and o my goodness!!![/QUOTE]Nassau Straw market was fun before they opened the Atlantis complex. Our favorites now are the French side of St Maarten, Limon/Costa Rica and Cartgena, Colombia

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[quote name='CruiseAdict218']I always look for atleast one authentic piece from each island I visit. [/quote]


Me too. :)

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[quote name='maldenmusic']We really enjoyed the Craft Market on Roatan[/quote]


We enjoyed the one in Roatan as well. Not sure if the same one though. We were at the one on top of the mountain looking down toward Coxen Hole, opposite end of the island from Mahogany Bay. We were with Rony's and our driver took us up there. It was a neat place!

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[quote name='beachbum53']I like the one in St. Thomas, even though it can get a bit crowded. I also like the one in Aruba. One thing I've found though at most of the open air markets. If you're shopping for a souvenir t-shirt, sizes tend to be a bit small, so go for the next size up from what you'd normally buy back at home (if possible).[/QUOTE]



Where is the one in Aruba located?


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[quote name='LongHill44']That's where you can buy moonshine and drugs right?[/quote]

LOL! I did have someone try to sell me a duct taped box of "Capri Suns" at the Market in Ocho Rios once. Got into a hysterical banter with the guy! He knew I wasnt buying his Ganja so it was funny!!

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