The Bahamas has some of the best shopping villages in the Caribbean. Handwoven straw crafts, Bahamian souvenirs and fresh food are all items you can find in the traditional open-air markets ran by locals on the island. Here’s our list of some of the best markets not to miss when you’re visiting the Bahamas.
Straw vending is considered one of the country’s oldest industries and the Nassau Straw Market is the most renowned open-air market in the capital town, Nassau, which sells virtually every kind of souvenir you can think of, from miniature goatskin drums to handcrafted wooden walking sticks and straw accessories.
The Montagu Beach Fish Market is home to one of the largest market selections of fish in The Bahamas. Here, you will find fresh fish, including plenty of snapper, grouper, shrimp, lobster and, of course, conch (Bahamas national dish) of all sorts of different sizes, as well as friendly vendors and the best prices. At Montagu beach market, you can pick out the perfect fish to suit your budget and any occasion.
Field to Fork Community Farm | Courtesy of fieldtoforkfarm-bahamas.com
If you’re ever looking for any kind of seedlings for your own home garden or fresh vegetables for your kitchen, then the Field to Fork Community Farm is the place to be. The farm grows and harvests fresh, organic, and locally grown produce for the local Nassau market. At their farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, you can find Field to Fork’s yummy bounty of freshly-picked vegetables and fruit in all their glory, products made by local artisans, as well as potted herbs and spices.
This bi-weekly market is organized by Creative Nassau, a non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Downtown Nassau Partnership. It showcases a wide range of ‘true true’ Bahamian handmade products, which are for sale, including straw items, jewellery, paintings, ceramics, music, clothing, pet wares, local fruit popsicles and drinks, and much more. Creative Nassau obtained the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities designation for the city of Nassau as a City of Crafts and Folk Arts in 2014.
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) introduced a monthly “Da Market” event in 2011 which allows local farmers, vendors and artisans to showcase their wares one Saturday of every month. “Da Market” events take place in national parks across Grand Bahama and the Abacos, as well as in Nassau. Vendors offer a selection of produce, baked bread and sweets, seafood, savoury goodies like quiche and conch fritters and even locally made arts and crafts.
Located in the town of Bluff, there is a wide variety of straw products that can be found at this Andros straw market. The most popular item that tourists purchase at the McKinney Straw Market is the colourful Androsia – locally made multicoloured batik pieces and a symbol of the island.
The Great Stirrup Cay is one of the many private islands in the Bahamas. It is part of Bahama’s Berry Island chain and lies about 50 miles from Nassau. A wide range of Bahamian crafts and souvenirs are found at the straw market on Great Stirrup Cay. This lesser-known market is undeniably impressive and visitors can benefit from lower prices by shopping here.
As one of the island’s most distinguished artistic spaces, Doongalik serves the dual purpose of a multi-media arts and culture sanctuary as well as a Saturday morning farmers’ market. On the Doongalik grounds, you will find a variety of local produce as well as locally sourced artisan products from select vendors including native fruit sorbets, savoury chicken souse and johnny cake, lionfish fillets, and baked crab, among many others.
This indoor shopping area has over 45 stalls offering a variety of goods from local artisans. Here, you can find everything from bespoke straw bags and unique handmade quilts to one-off paintings and freshly made Bahamian delicacies, including pineapple tarts. Visitors here can also participate in land or water tours, allowing for an in-depth education on both the marketplace and the city of Nassau.
With the Andros’ rich, red soil as a backdrop, the Chiccharney farm operates a unique home-delivery box system, allowing Nassauvians to pre-order produce in $25 and $50 assortments of whatever the farm has fresh that week, with the items then delivered to the consumer’s home. The name “chiccharney” refers to the ancient Bahamian legend of a mythical bird-like creature known to bring good fortune. It is said if you happen to encounter one of these creatures in the deep forests of Andros Island where they are commonly found, you’ll have good luck.
The Port Lucaya Marketplace is the largest shopping, dining and entertainment open-air facility in the Bahamas, with over 40 speciality stores and boutiques. There are also three watersports operators that offer a variety of tour options for visitors who want to adventure into the Bahamian waters. The Marketplace features over 120 handicrafts and straw vendors with the best selection of bags, hats and baskets, together with 16 restaurants and four bars, if you’ve worked up an appetite while shopping and need to rest and refuel.