Photo Credit: Scott Smith

The US Virgin Islands are among the Caribbean’s most popular duty-free shopping paradises, but the islands’ largest concentration of shops is situated along Charlotte Amalie’s harbor in St Thomas. Many cruise ship passengers head immediately for the Havensight Mall, but the former pirate warehouses on Dronningens Gade and many other Charlotte Amalie streets also contain several bargains. Food vendors serve fresh fruit and coconut milk at Charlotte Amalie’s Rothschild Francis Square, while Tillett Gardens is the St Thomas capital’s main arts and crafts shopping district.

Vendors Plaza is the only place in Charlotte Amalie where most street vendors can legally sell their wares. Visitors should avoid shopping in Charlotte Amalie on Fridays if they can help it as this is the harbor’s busiest cruise ship docking day. The most unique US Virgin Islands shops outside of St Thomas are found within Christiansted’s art galleries in St Croix, and the Mongoose Junction area of Cruz Bay in St John. St John’s other main shopping spot is Wharfside Village, just steps from the ferry terminal.

Although bartering is not a typical US Virgin Islands tradition, many merchants are willing to negotiate jewelry and perfume prices, especially during low seasons. Several designer goods cost up to 60 percent less on the US Virgin Islands than on the mainland. Jewelry, perfumes, crystal, porcelain, and china are usually better bargains than cameras or other electronics. Aside from cheap duty-free goods, other US Virgin Islands souvenirs include handmade wooden items, Haitian art, and clothing. US Virgin Islands shops aren’t usually open on Sundays or holidays, but some establishments bend this rule when cruise ships are in port.

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