There's plenty to entice you in St. Kitt’s cruise port of Port Zante, with colorful clothing, T-shirts and gifts in the Amina craft market. But if you want an original artisan souvenir of vibrant batik, artworks that reflect the richness of life on St. Kitts or foodie gifts that are produced locally, here’s what to look out for.
In the green and shade-filled Independence Square, just a five-minute walk from Port Zante, the pastel shutters and awnings on a whitewashed wooden house signal the Gallery Café. This traditional St. Kitts house, one of the oldest on the square, was in the same family for centuries. Then it was bought by local artist Rosey Cameron Smith, who now runs it as an art gallery and café. The airy rooms show off Smith's colorful artwork, scarves by well-known St. Kitts artist Kate Spencer, as well as sculptures, pottery and glass from other local artists. Buy a small print or miniature artwork (from $15) to remind you of the nature and street scenes in St. Kitts long after you've unpacked your suitcase.
Most island tours stop at Wingfield Estate and the adjoining Romney Manor. There, you’ll visit Caribelle Batik, set in the plantation house once owned by the great-great-great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. The batik makers will explain how the cotton cloth is painted with wax designs and dyed multiple times, with no two pieces turning out the same. The shop sells a wide range of vibrant batik items, from sarongs and cushions to all types of clothing to brighten your wardrobe.
To re-create the spice and flavor of the Caribbean after you return home, buy some edible souvenirs that you can easily pack into your luggage. Many shops sell bottles of the fiery Mrs. Greaux or Brimstone pepper sauce made with Scotch bonnet peppers (popular on some Caribbean islands). For something milder, look for jams and preserves made from local fruits such as guava, tamarind and sorrel. Your sweet tooth will thank you for a bag of the local jelly sweet known as guava cheese. And if you’ve enjoyed St. Kitts rum, take home miniatures of Belmont, Brinley Gold and CSR from the liquor stores of Port Zante.
Take home a little piece of the ocean. At Shell Works at Palm Court Gardens, the workshop produces handcrafted boxes, decorations and jewelry made from shells, driftwood and other materials. There’s often someone demonstrating their craft outside the small gift shop, showcasing a range of jewelry made from freshwater pearls and coral at affordable prices, from $35 for necklaces.
An artistic glass dish or plaque to hang in your window is a charming reminder of St. Kitts. Look for art made with glass reflecting the natural world and scenes from life on St. Kitts. The best places to find these are at galleries on the island such as The Gallery Café and Les Mains d'Or gallery in Frigate Bay, which also sells a wide range of pottery. Also, look out for the unique work of Calvin Delpleche of Caribbean Glass, who sells through the galleries mentioned and sometimes has a stand in the Amina Craft Market in Port Zante (smaller glass items $15-40).
Fall in love with the delicate shell jewelry that is made on St. Kitts by local artist Jenny Peets of Living DeLife Jewellery and Accessories. Conch fritters and chowder are on every beach bar menu, but the shells are often thrown back into the sea. Here, the naturally pink shell is polished and made into pretty bracelets, earrings and necklaces. There are also pendants and rings made from the ice-blue quartz larimar stone and natural speckled brown jewelry from large whelk shell. Rings, bracelets and pendants start from $15 and Jenny's stand can be found in the Amina Craft Market of Port Zante.
Places to shop for other local crafts and souvenirs