Forgive our materialism, but sometimes the best way to remember a trip is to bring home a souvenir. And, given today's digital environment, a picture doesn't always last forever. A popular tourist destination, the options for where to shop in the Bahamas can feel overwhelming. The Bahamas is home to bustling straw markets selling one-of-a-kind clothing, as well as shops and distilleries offering unique Bahamian goods. From straw hats to Batik towels, hand-bottled rum to hand-rolled cigars, here are the best places to go shopping in the Bahamas.
After all, your batik hat won't fade as quickly as your tan inevitably will—though we can't promise the same longevity with your rum cake and cigars. Read on for the best places to shop in the Bahamas, so you will be well-prepared for your next vacation in the islands.
Androsia Hand Made Batik Factory
We're abandoning the capital of Nassau for the out islands of the Bahamas, with a visit to the shop of Androsia in Central Andros. As the name suggests, this batik company sells colorful wares inspired by the culture and heritage of the residents of Andros Islands—otherwise known as Androsians. Fans of Lilly Pulitzer will be unable to resist.
Graycliff Cigar Company
The Graycliff Cigar Company is known around the world for the quality of its hand-rolled cigars, but even if you're not a cigar aficionado, the shopping experience alone is worth considering as an afternoon excursion. Take a cigar rolling lesson or indulge in a cigar and rum pairing session with expert guides within the historic walls of the Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, where the cigar company is located.
John Watling's Distillery
This historic distillery in Downtown Nassau is located in the Buena Vista Estate (which was established in 1798). The rum company is known as the "Spirit of the Bahamas" and each product is hand-bottled with love. Enjoy a tasting of the distillery's small-batch rums during a tasting at the Red Turtle Tavern, before deciding which variety to bring back with you on the flight home.
McKinney Straw Market
This straw market takes place in the town of Bluff, in South Andros, and features a dizzying array of straw products (to wear, to carry, to display, etc.) The most reliably popular item, however, is always the batik Androsia pieces mentioned above, as the prints have become a symbol of the island.
If you're looking for a one-stop destination for all of your shopping needs, consider a visit to Festival Place, which is the largest open-air market in the Bahamas, boasting over 45 stalls. Of course, the patrons are catering to clientele disembarking from a cruise, so try to time your visit so you avoid the throngs—and make sure to bargain beforehand.
Bahamas Rum Cake Factory
Though rum cake is associated with island cuisine, of all the islands and nations throughout the Caribbean, the dessert is truly a specialty in the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. And there's no better place to shop for a sweetly rewarding souvenir than the Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, an institution in Downtown Nassau that serves the homemade delicacies right on the spot.
Bahama Hand Prints
An absolute classic in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, Bahama Hand Prints sells clothing that embodies the tropical lifestyle and upbeat mentality that is associated with life in the islands. Established in 1966, visitors are encouraged to drop by the factory to see the artisan's craftsmanship at work.
A Bahamian shopping tradition since 1929, John Bull is now in its third generation of family ownership, with a diversified selection of offerings since its inception nearly 100 years ago. Most notable is, the perfume selection, which provides a wide array of options for the discerning palate, though, of course, there's Cartier jewelry for sale, as well, if you find yourself bored with the olfactory inventory.
Nassau Straw Market
We'd be remiss not to include the most popular straw market in all the islands, located in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. The market is open from 9 to 5 pm, but try to get there early, before the cruise ship disembarks. And keep on the lookout for art and jewelry, in particular, as there are hidden treasures to be found in this (often chaotic) environment.