Basseterre Great Shopping on Your Beach Getaway
St. Kitts is one of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean and a welcome getaway for those who want to unplug, disconnect and unwind in a beautiful island paradise.
In addition to visiting the spectacular beaches of St. Kitts – from the lively Frigate Bay South to the black sand and isolation of Pump Bay, you’ll find some great shopping opportunities in the capital city of Basseterre. Browse its shops and stores for that perfect souvenir, gift for someone back home or something unique and special for yourself.
In the middle of downtown Basseterre, just a stone’s throw from where the cruise ships dock, is an area known as the Circus. This roundabout, where Liverpool Row, Bank Street and Fort Street come together, was named after the famous Piccadilly Circus in London’s West End. The unique green Victorian-style Berkeley Memorial Clock, erected in 1883, stands at the very center of it all. Its four clock faces are oriented toward the streets that lead into the roundabout. The area has quaint buildings, shops, restaurants and small businesses.
Check out Island Hopper – known as “The Big Shop of the Little Island” – for its great selection of jewellery, apparel and one-of-a-kind island souvenirs. It’s one of the most popular stores on the island and certainly has the largest inventory. Browse the t-shirts, batik, silk dresses from China and Caribbean-style dresses as well as skirts, shirts and designer labels. Island handicrafts such as baskets and candles are also plentiful. About half of the merchandise is made locally.
For cologne, perfume, fine porcelain, Baccarat crystal, designer handbags, watches, pens, sunglasses, skin products and jewellery, stop in at Ashburry’s, a luxury retail chain based on St. Maarten. Watch brands include Baume & Mercier, Movado and Phillipe Charriol. Leather products by Paloma Picasso and Fendi are also available. You’ll be happy to pay 25%-30% less than what you would pay in North America.
While they may not be anything like the megamalls found in other countries, Basseterre has several charming shopping malls that contain a variety of stores.
Pelican Mall, a two-minute walk from the Circus on Bay Road, contains about two dozen stores on two floors. Opened in 1991, it has a bank, restaurant and several gift and jewellery shops. Shop for island wear, souvenirs, accessories and fishing equipment. Luxury items, mass-produced goods and locally made products can also be found there. Smoke N Booze offers a wide selection of duty-free alcohol as well as cigarettes and tobacco products. If you are shopping for gifts or mementos for yourself, Island Style has a great selection of inexpensive items including mugs, key chains, magnets and other trinkets and knick-knacks. The St. Kitts Tourism Office and the philatelic bureau are also located in Pelican Mall.
Head in the other direction from the Circus – north on Fort Street – and in two minutes you’ll be at TDC Mall. Island crafts, jewellery, apparel and souvenirs can be purchased at various shops. Check out Brown Sugar for t-shirts, shorts, shirts, tops, swimsuits, shoes, hats and jewellery. Harley Davidson Shop and Shells Souvenirs also see a lot of customers. If you need to sit down and recharge with a cold drink and a meal, Chef’s Garden restaurant is a good place to do it. And a pleasant courtyard provides a shady spot to get off your feet and rest for a few minutes.
Port Zante is one of the most popular shopping venues on St. Kitts. Located right at the cruise ship pier, it is one of the first things disembarking ship passengers see and they make a beeline for this large shopping complex of over 60 stores. Built less than 20 years ago on landfill that was dumped into the harbour, Port Zante’s main focus is on things that sparkle and shine: watches, jewellery, diamonds and coloured gemstones. Apparel, cigarettes, alcohol, coffee and souvenirs are also available. For an upscale shopping experience, don’t miss Linen and Gold. As the name implies, jewellery is available, but the main attraction is the beautifully handcrafted tablecloths, doilies and napkins. Admittedly, Port Zante caters to cruise ship tourists. So if you’re looking for locally-made items that reflect the spirit of St. Kitts, other retailers may be more up your alley.
Other Places to Shop
Of course, shopping in St. Kitts isn’t restricted to large stores and malls. Sometimes the most unique and original items are found at small, off-the-beaten-path shops and stalls. Stroll the streets of Basseterre and check out the less prominent places. Here are a few suggestions:
Occasions, on Fort Street, is perfect for those small gifts and trinkets you want to bring back home for friends and family. Get a small floral arrangement, perfume, small toys and skincare products.
Just a minute or two walk from Occasions is Pirana Joe. The shop was started by three friends who had a run-in with real live piranhas and decided to open a store that would reflect their past adventures. If you are looking for distressed clothing and a few mischievous, fanciful souvenirs, this is the perfect place.
If locally made is what you’re after, head to Amina Craft Market, where local artisans sell their own handiwork. The selection includes pottery, jewellery, clothing, oils, soap and many other original items. Here you can avoid the mass-produced souvenirs and get something truly unique and different. It’s nothing fancy – just a couple rows of small shops – but the vendors are friendly and willing to negotiate, so you can get one-of-a-kind treasures at good prices. Amina Craft Markets is located in the area of Port Zante.
To be sure, there are many more gift and souvenir shops, jewellery stores, clothing stores and even grocery stores in Basseterre. Scores of charming boutiques dot the downtown area and welcome visitors to come in and browse. So enjoy the tropical sunshine and sea breezes, visit the landmarks, learn a little about the history of this 400-year-old city and sample the shops until you find exactly what you’re looking for. Chances are, you will.