11 Things You Can Only Buy in Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica  |© ricardo_mangual/Flickr
Ocho Rios, Jamaica |© ricardo_mangual/Flickr
Photo of Sheri-kae McLeod
Freelance Caribbean Writer13 October 2017

There are plenty of reasons to visit Jamaica, and shopping is certainly one of them. The Land of Wood and Water is known for its unique culture that can be found nowhere else. From the world-renowned Blue Mountain Coffee to the interesting wood carvings, Jamaicans take pride in blessing the world with items that represent their culture. Here are some of the finest products to take home with you to remind you of your visit to this Caribbean island.

Blue Mountain coffee

The Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica is considered the world’s best and one of the most expensive in the world. Its richness and lack of bitterness make it a commodity that people fly to the island to experience. The coffee is grown and harvested in a legally designated growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. The Blue Mountains are located between the south of Kingston and the north of Port Antonio and the mountains are some of the highest in the Caribbean. Blue Mountain Coffee is sold in almost coffee shop and café across the island.

Blue Mountain Coffee/ Wikimedia Commons

Bob Marley coffee

The legacy of reggae icon, Bob Marley, has lived on since his death in 1981. His children have expanded his brand far beyond the scope of music to include items such as Marley Coffee. One of Bob’s many sons, Rohan Marley, ventured into the coffee industry with the help of the Marley brand. The coffee beans are sourced from the best locations around the world – Jamaica, Central and South America and Ethiopia, and grown on a local farm. Marley Coffee, with its flavours named after Bob Marley’s songs, is sold at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston.

Bob Marley Museum, 6, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 630 1588

After waking up and choosing to be happy, your next choice is which #MarleyCoffee to drink ☕️🌞

A post shared by Marley Coffee (@marleycoffee) on

Jamaican dolls

One of the cutest gifts one can find in Jamaica are handmade Jamaican stuffed dolls. These dolls are usually found at any craft shop or craft market on the island. The dolls are soft (stuffed with sponge or other soft material) or plastic, and typically are dressed in Jamaican branded clothing or the bandana clothing made of plaid material which is a symbol of Jamaican heritage. You can also find Jamaican-patois speaking dolls that utter the most popular Jamaica-patois phrases.

Jamaica 55 is around the corner, grab one for your collection @islanddolls #jamaicandoll #dolls #toys #girls

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Wood carvings

Wood carvings in Jamaica are some of the most exquisite, creative and detailed art and craft items sold on the island. Quality wood carvings are typically made out of heavy wood like the Jamaican national wood –the lignum vitae, cedar, mahogany, or dogwood. The items are usually carved into items representative of Jamaican culture such as animals, rasta symbols and influential people. The hand-carved wooden sculptures make ideal decorative items for homes and gardens. They can be found in craft markets in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

Wood carving in Jamaica | © Kyle James/Flickr

Wray & Nephew white rum

Jamaican White Overproof Rum has the reputation of being the finest in the world and is a part of everyday life on the island. The white rum is dry, light-bodied, clear-coloured and slightly sweet in taste. It is made from the by-product of sugar cane grown on the island. Jamaican White Rum is a perfect choice for mixed drinks and cocktails because of its plain and delicate flavour. You can find a flask in the homes of many Jamaicans, as well as in bars or restaurants, and of course in the bags of every tourist returning home!

Wray & Nephew WHite Overproof Rum/Wikimedia Commons

Blue Mountain coffee candle

For over 200 years, Jamaica has grown and harvested the world’s most expensive and finest coffee. Now the euphoric scent of Blue Mountain coffee has been captured in the Blue Mountain Coffee Candle. The candle is made with essential oils, beans from the prized Jamaican beverage and genuine Blue Mountain Coffee scented beeswax collected from rural bee farmers. The fresh and sweet-smelling candle is available at The Coffee & Spice Shop at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Blue Mountain Coffee Candle │© CJ Photo/Caribbean Journal

Jamaican oil paintings

Jamaica is home to some of the best oil painters in the Caribbean. The island is known for its beautiful weather, fantastic cuisine, rich culture and influential icons. Each artist in Jamaica captures the essence of the country to create art pieces that bring a touch of tropical charm into the homes and offices of people around the world. Beautiful Jamaica oil paintings can be found in galleries such as the National Gallery of Jamaica and The Art Centre, as well as in craft markets across the island.

Jamaican oil painting │ | © JamaicanReflections/Flickr

Calabash wooden bowls

The calabash, also known as Crescentia cujete, huingo, krabasi and kalebas, is the fruit of the calabash tree and is native to the Caribbean, South, Central and North America. It is used by craftsmen in Jamaica to make a variety of craft goods including jewellery and tote bags, but the most popular item is the calabash bowls. Hand-carved calabash wooden bowls are usually used for serving and eating food, but they can also be used in the home for decorative purposes. These unique bowls can be found in craft markets and shops in Jamaica.

Calabash bowl │ | © airforcejk/Flickr

Jamaican spices

Jamaican cuisine is an adventure for the taste buds due to the mixture of potent herbs and spices used in the food preparation process. The combination of seasoning that brings out the unique flavour is what so many enjoy about Jamaican food. Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is one of the most sought-after spice mixes in the world because it’s used to make Jamaica’s delicious jerk chicken. A variety of different spices for different methods of cooking can be found in supermarkets in Jamaica.

Jerk seasoning | © Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/Flickr

Coconut wine glasses

Coconut wine glasses are made from coconut shells and exude a rustic charm. The wine glasses are lightweight and perfect for entertaining or decorating your kitchen. They are made from wood found in Jamaica including the lignum vitae, cedar or mahogany so the colours, designs and styles will vary. These wine glasses are usually made by the same craftsmen known for making popular wooden carvings. The coconut wooden glasses are found in the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios craft markets as well as Casa de Xaymaca at Sangster International Airport.

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