Duty-free shopping

A visit to the 100-year-old Castries Market, along the harbor under the bright-orange roofs, is a must for any visitor to St. Lucia. While the markets are open from 6 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday, Saturday mornings are the busiest and most colorful time to visit. Unfortunately, you can’t import the local produce to the US, but you can bring back spices and bottled hot pepper sauces as well as local handicrafts such as wood carvings, clay pottery, and batik and silk-screened fabrics. Be warned that pick-pocketing has occurred here, so don’t flash your money or jewelry.

Duty-free shopping for imports like perfumes, crystal, and china is available at a few outlets such as Pointe Seraphine and La Place Carenage, in Castries, J.Q.’s Shopping Malls in Rodney Bay and Vieux Fort, and of course at Hewanorra airport. You must present your passport and airline ticket to make purchases at duty-free prices.

Gablewoods Mall, 2 miles north of Castries on Gros Islet Highway, has one of the island’s densest concentrations of shops as well as three restaurants. You may want to pick up a bottle of Bounty Rum, the local liquor made at a distillery in Roseau, at either the grocery store or liquor store here.

You can combine sightseeing and shopping by visiting the 100-year-old Caribelle hilltop house, where local artisans make batik and screen-prints. The Choiseul Arts and Crafts Center, on the southern coast of the island, is a wonderful source of hand-woven baskets, placemats, chairs and woodcarvings.

Store hours vary, but the majority are open from 8:30-12:30 and 1:30-4:30 Monday to Friday, and from 8:30-12:30 on Saturday. The major shopping centers may be open Saturday afternoon as well. Most shops are closed Sunday, with the exception of the marina-based shops.

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