Duty-free shopping is an island staple, and you'll find the most extensive array of shops for such things as jewelry, perfume, liquor and designer fashions in

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas


Philipsburg, St. Maarten

; and


, which also features English and Irish woolens, crystal and porcelain.


St. Barts

, more than 200 boutiques sell upscale luxury goods. Top fashions from New York and Paris are among the items, and such stores as Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Cartier line the streets. The island is a duty-free port, but given the value of the euro against the dollar, you're not likely to come away with big bargains in clothing - although duty-free French wine might be a deal.

For locally made items, including folk art,

Puerto Rico



are probably your best bets, with higher-quality art more likely to be found in Puerto Rico.


has wonderful colorful crafts and art. Crime, among other things, has taken Haiti off the tourist radar, and probably as a result, Haiti has been exporting some local works to

Grand Cayman


Grand Cayman's duty-free bargains come with a bonus: no sales tax. Locally produced items include jewelry made of a marblelike stone called caymanite, and the island has clothing boutiques with brand names from the United States and Europe.


has a major shopping mall and is building a second.

Shopping for spices? Try an outdoor market in


or the farmers market in

St. Lucia

to pick them up for a fraction of the stateside cost. Also in St. Lucia, across from the farmers market, a craft market is filled with baskets, leather goods, pottery and wood carvings. You'll also find in town a good selection of batik and silk-screened clothing and table linens.


, which goes all out creating costumes for Carnival, is another great place to buy fabrics, plus leather goods.

In addition to duty-free goods,


has two shopping areas, in



St. Lawrence Gap

, that sell local products from brightly painted shops. Crafts include pottery, glass, wood carvings, handmade dolls and paintings.

In addition to being a source for clothing, high-end pottery and glass from local artists and duty-free luxury goods,


is the largest retailer of Colombian emeralds in the world.